Girl, interrupted: An exploration into the experience of grief following the death of a mother in young women's narratives

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Abstract

This paper explores six young women's experience of grief following the death of their mother. Employing a narrative approach, the focus is placed on exploring the meanings the six participants may make from the experience of the death of their mother and how these meanings are incorporated into their sense of self. The paper highlights how the women's narratives which emerge through the process of making meaning of death can be more complex, ambiguous and ambivalent than traditional grief models account for. Judith Butler's (2004) idea of ‘coming undone’ by grief is thus used to explore the possibility that the death of a mother causes not only an interruption in a young woman's world but an interruption in their sense of self. In accepting the ambivalence of the ties the women held with their mothers, and acknowledging the transformative effect of grief, this paper argues that it is possible to look beyond recovery and finally accept the death of a mother as the making of the self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-53
JournalMortality
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2011

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