Ocean of Tears: An Autoethnographic Journey Through Cumulative Grief and Loss
AdvisorHarrison, Thomas C.
Counseling and Educational Psychology
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The purpose of this qualitative research study is to examine, portray and deepen the understanding of the complexity of a cumulative grief and loss experience through an autoethnographical approach. A review of grief and loss literature reveals a paucity of information on cumulative grief and loss. Through autoethnograpical narrative, this study will contribute to an increased understanding of one researcher who experienced multiple losses and the grief journey that followed. The research will contribute to an increased understanding of how multiple losses can impact one’s grieving process, link personal experience to current literature in the grief and loss field and inform helping professionals with new implications in working with grief and loss clientele. The process of data collection and data analysis is fluid, evolving, and each part is intrinsically connected to one another. It is through each re-reviewing of personal journals, re-writing of recollected memories, and re-examining of artifacts that this study becomes more enriched with meaning as themes emerge and are examined. Discoveries and interpretations of the data arise continually throughout the collection process and are documented in the final analysis of the study. Findings indicate that the application of a grief stage model does not fully explain the experience of cumulative grief and loss. The use of the autoethnographical method allows entrance into a world that would otherwise be overlooked, assumed, or silenced. This study shares a voice heard both against a simplified, linear line of grief and the stigma of stigmatized death. In addition, through writing and the use of feminist and poststructural reflexive thinking one may be able to establish meaning-making, completion of unfinished business, and a means for ending grief.