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The Labyrinth of Grief: A Phenomenological Exploration of Turning Toward Loss
Janelle K. Drisner (author)Derrick W. Klaassen (thesis supervisor)Mihaela S. Launeanu (second reader)Darcy Harris (external examiner)Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
This study explored the Existential Analytic grieving activity of turning toward loss. Four women, each bereaved of either a parent, spouse, child, or sibling, participated in one hour interviews. The research question was, “what is the lived experience of turning toward loss?” To understand how participants encountered and engaged with their grief, a hermeneutic phenomenological method was employed. Through lived experience descriptions, eight thematic meaning structures were revealed: (a) encounter with death, (b) surrendering to grief, (c) choosing community, (d) permitting and pursuing grief, (e) transformation of self, (f) rooting in relationship, (g) embracing life, and (h) ground of faith. From the thematic meanings emerged the metaphor of a labyrinth of grief, which symbolized the various paradoxes of grieving, signifying that turning toward loss was essentially spiritual and transformative. In describing how they turned toward their losses, the participants highlighted the inherent relational and dialogical nature of grieving.
Grief.Grief therapy.Loss (Psychology).Bereavement—Psychological aspects.Death—Psychological aspects.