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dc.contributor.advisorReeves, Andrew
dc.contributor.advisorWest, William
dc.contributor.authorSweeney, Susan
dc.identifier.citationSweeney, S. (2023). Negotiating recovery following sudden bereavements: An autoethnographic approach to making sense of historical personal cumulative grief in the context of Covid-19 [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.en_US
dc.description.abstractWe are all likely to experience bereavement during our lifetime. The impact of the loss is determined by many variables including age, intensity of relationship to the deceased, and social support systems. Traumatic sudden bereavement features additional causative factors of unfinished business, being unable to say goodbye, and sense of an incomplete life. The trauma of repeated sudden unexpected bereavement results in a potentially long-lasting disintegration of self that may lead to prolonged or complicated grief. The purpose of this qualitative study is to contribute to understanding of the lived experience of sudden bereavement and cumulative grief, what is meant by recovery and how it might manifest. It explores the impact of multiple losses, how sudden death can leave a traumatic imprint, and how each may be mitigated through life choices. This study aims to inform professionals and the bereaved in their understanding of sudden, unexpected bereavement in the context of widespread Covid-19 grief. An autoethnographical approach was used to explore the researcher’s lived experience as a young adult of sudden bereavement of three primary family members within a relatively short time span of seven years. All were traumatic losses, with one bereavement especially so. The resulting cumulative grief is investigated along with the researcher’s perception of progress and relapse in terms of recovery and sense-making of historical personal grief. The concept of posttraumatic recovery is explored in the context of the researcher’s personal experiences and linked to current sociological collective encounters with unprepared for, sudden death experienced by many during the Covid-19 pandemic. Data collection and analysis is a constantly changing interplay of interpretation and discovery. Continuous reflection of memories and emotional responses to the autoethnographic and personal journal writing, poems, and image-making provided data through which unexpected themes emerged, expanded, and evolved, leading to an increased level of sense-making that had been previously absent. This thesis adds to the limited extant literature on sibling and parental bereavement experienced by young adults aged 19-26 years, particularly that of multiple, sudden bereavement and cumulative grief. An individual’s experience of grief is profoundly personal and there is no definitive period of recovery that can be applied. The researcher’s isolating journey of historic traumatic bereavements is viewed within a culture where traumatic loss became an everyday occurrence during the Covid-19 pandemic. This proliferation changed the rhetoric from an individual to a shared experience, permitting the previously silenced to become heard, assisting readers to navigate their own experiences of grief, loss, and recovery through the lens of a more grief-informed society, and to inform professionals and affected others in their understanding and support of sudden ‘unprepared for’ bereavement during Covid related deaths and beyond.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Chesteren_US
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.subjectTraumatic sudden bereavementen_US
dc.titleNegotiating recovery following sudden bereavements: An autoethnographic approach to making sense of historical personal cumulative grief in the context of Covid-19en_US
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonRecommended 6 month embargoen_US
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