Chapter Eleven: Bereavement and Post-Death Adjustments: A Lifespan Approach to Bereavement
Bereavement AND Post-Death Adjustments: A Lifespan Approach TO Bereavement
We will all grieve the death of a loved one at some point in our lives. As children and adolescents, we may experience the death of a beloved grandparent or pet. During adulthood, we will encounter “expected” deaths, such as the death of an elderly parent. As older adults, our lifelong friends and family members will die. During the course of a lifetime, some of us will experience tragic and life-changing deaths, such as the death of a child or the death of a spouse/romantic partner.
The death of a loved one is more than physical absence. Our relationship(s) with the deceased is (are) forever changed, as we can no longer enact familiar patterns of communication. The death of a loved one also changes how we see ourselves and the world around us. Indeed, the very purpose of grieving is to learn how to exist in the world without our deceased loved ones (Attig, 1996). Communication is at the heart of the grieving process as we create narratives and stories of loss to find meaning in our loved one’s death (Neimeyer, 1999). Through rituals, conversation, storytelling, writing, and other forms of communication, we co-construct our stories of grief and loss (Neimeyer, Klass, & Dennis, 2014; Neimeyer, Prigerson, & Davies, 2002). Talking with others about a loved one’s death validates our pain (Harvey, 2000) and helps us bear witness...
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