oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Give sorrow words : the meaning of parental bereavement



A fundamental tenet of hermeneutic phenomenology is that people seek to create meaning of their experience from the response sited within human consciousness. The focus of this study is on the world of the lived experience as it is interpreted by participants through memory and language as accessed by interviews in order to produce an understanding of the participants' experience. Three participants were interviewed whose adult children had died as a result of an AIDS-related illness. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and interwoven analyses sought to illustrate the participants' lived experience of the phenomenon. An attempt was made to understand how the various phenomena relating to parental bereavement were reflected by participants in the interviews. Common themes included reactions to the knowledge of the illness, the experience of being with their dying child, coping with the pain of the loss, and spiritual and existential concerns. There are references to how others judge their grieving behaviour. Issues of retribution and punishment are prominent and these appear to place a particular burden of sorrow on the grieving parent. The study provided insight into the lived experience of bereavement and the forging of new meaning structures that can accommodate the loss


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