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Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship: Family Bereavement, Relational Grieving, and Continuing Bonds
B. Tammy Bartel (author)Derrick W. Klaassen (thesis supervisor)Janice W. Nadeau (second reader)Lauren J. Breen (external examiner)Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
This study explored the complex, multifaceted, relational dimensions of grieving in the family unit. Three bereaved families, who had lost a child participated in a family conversation and individual processing interviews. The guiding research question was, “how do bereaved families grieve together and continue a relationship with their deceased child?” Data were collected using the qualitative action-project method (QA-PM). This unique methodology offered a glimpse into how these families engaged with each other in their joint grieving actions. Data analysis was informed by action theory, family systems theory, and an instrumental case study approach. Family grieving processes were identified for each family and commonalities included turning towards their grief, sharing the pain, experiencing both joy and sorrow, participating in mourning events, ongoing rituals and remembrances, recognizing different individual grieving styles, and a shared, enduring connection to their deceased child that connected them to each other. The findings from this study demonstrate the importance of recognizing the interpersonal dimensions of the grieving process, and the family as a resource in this process.
Bereavement—Psychological aspects.Death—Psychological aspects.Children—Death—Psychological aspects.Grief.