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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of grief for surviving friends Martin, Debra Lucille


The expanding body of literature in the field of bereavement has predominantly focused on the grief reactions of family members. The role of "bereaved", with its attendant grieving rights, has almost exclusively been accorded to the spouse and kin of the deceased. Despite the intimacy of the relationship often shared between the surviving close friend and the deceased, minimal research exists defining the experience of grief for these bereaved. Little is known about the meaning the bereaved friend bestows on his or her experience of grief. The purpose of this study is to explore the experience of grief in surviving friends. A phenomenological study based on unstructured interviews was undertaken to explore this experience with four adult women who have survived the death of a close friend. By making explicit the meanings implicit in their experience of grief, the meaning structure containing the essential elements of the phenomenon of grief for these bereaved friends was clarified . Ten elements or themes common to the experience of grief for all informants were illuminated and described. Implications for research and practice were also discussed.

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