Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The meaning of her child's death: A mother's experience of grief
by Grunnet-Alden, Vicki, Ph.D., Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago), 2008, 135; 3334414
Abstract (Summary)

A young adult child's sudden death is traumatic and significantly life changing for the mother. She no longer perceives herself, her world, or the others in that world in the same way she did before the death. She knows she is no longer who she was and questions who she will become, or if she will become anyone. This study searches for the essence, the meaning, of this lived experience. Each woman interviewed told her story from the moment of knowing about the death until the time of the interview. The researcher's experience of the loss of her young adult son was bracketed during the interviews and reintroduced into the research results. The methodology utilized is existential phenomenology that searches for the essence of a phenomenon through the four pre-determined subjective lived-world categories of lived-space, lived-body, lived-time, and lived-other. The results indicate that each woman in the study experienced severe trauma leading to an unpredictable lived-world and a loss of self regulation. Grief becomes a way of life. Closure never occurs. A feminist perspective of the phenomenon is included to explore if the patriarchal societal beliefs about grief fit the woman's experience and her needs. The conclusion is that the woman who has lost a young adult child knows how she must grieve, but the patriarchal societal view expects her to grieve in a different and unsatisfactory manner.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vincent, Neil
School: Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Child death, Death, Grief, Mother, Mother's grief, Off-time death, Sudden death, Young adult death
Publication Number: 3334414
ISBN: 9780549870258
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