Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

Synopsis

When a loved one dies we mourn our loss. We take comfort in the rituals that mark the passing, and we turn to those around us for support. But what happens when there is no closure, when a family member or a friend who may be still alive is lost to us nonetheless? How, for example, does the mother whose soldier son is missing in action, or the family of an Alzheimer's patient who is suffering from severe dementia, deal with the uncertainty surrounding this kind of loss? In this sensitive and lucid account, Pauline Boss explains that, all too often, those confronted with such ambiguous loss fluctuate between hope and hopelessness. Suffered too long, these emotions can deaden feeling and make it impossible for people to move on with their lives. Yet the central message of this book is that they can move on. Drawing on her research and clinical experience, Boss suggests strategies that can cushion the pain and help families come to terms with their grief. Her work features the heartening narratives of those who cope with ambiguous loss and manage to leave their sadness behind, including those who have lost family members to divorce, immigration, adoption, chronic mental illness, and brain injury. With its message of hope, this eloquent book offers guidance and understanding to those struggling to regain their lives.

Excerpt

I grew up in a midwestern immigrant community where everyone I looked up to came from someplace else. Parents and grandparents had crossed the Atlantic in the early 1900s to find a better life in the fertile valleys of southern Wisconsin. But it wasn't always better, because ties had been severed with beloved family members back in Switzerland. Letters came at least until World War II, but they were bittersweet. They always ended with lines like "Will we ever see each other again?" I remember my father being melancholy for days after he got a letter from his mother or brother. And my maternal grandmother pined ceaselessly for her mother back in her homeland. She knew they would never meet again because poverty and then World War II prevented travel. Homesickness became a central part of my family's culture. I never really knew who was in or out of our family--or where home really was. Was it in the old country or the new? Were these people I had never seen or met really my family? I did not know them but I was keenly aware that my father and grandmother did. Many times their thoughts . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.