By Grace Hyslop Christ
In this unique book, Grace Christ relates the powerfully moving stories of eighty-eight families and their 157 children (ages 3 to 17) who participated in a parent-guidance intervention through the terminal illness and death of one of the parents from cancer. Using extensive case examplesthroughout, Healing Children's Grief: Surviving a Parent's Death from Cancer provides a detailed examination of how children and adolescents cope with this loss. Covering a critical 20 month period, from 6 months before to 14 months after the death of a parent, Christ reports that a majority of thechildren successfully adapted to the loss during the subsequent months after the death. The book is divided into two major sections. The first summarizes the theoretical background and methodology. The second presents the findings of the five developmentally derived age groups (3-5, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, and 15-17). Using qualitative analytic methods, these findings clarify importantdifferences in children's grief and mourning processes, in their understanding of events, in their interactions with families, and in their varying needs for help and support. The author describes how parents participated in healing their children's grief by: preparing, informing, and guidingchildren through the experience; understanding their developmental needs; supporting and resonating with their unique expressions of grief; helping them construct a positive legacy; and reconstituting relationships without the day to day presence of the parent who died. Healing Children's Grief:Surviving a Parent's Death from Cancer provides practical guidance and direction for professionals and physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, guidance counselors, and teachers.