MA CPSY Thesis Defense, Marnie Venema, “Grieving in Community: Accompanying Bereaved Parents”

Academic Events
Trinity Western University
Board of Governors' Hall, Reimer Student Centre
7600 Glover Rd
Langley, BC v2y1y1

Supervisor: Dr. Derrick Klaassen

Second Reader: Dr. Janelle Kwee

External Examiner: Dr. Richard Young, UBC

Exam Chair: Dr. Robynne Healey


This study explored relational grieving in community through examining how community members grieve with bereaved parents after the death of a child.
Three bereaved parent couples and their community members were interviewed together using the qualitative action-project method (QA-PM) to examine their shared grieving actions.
Data was analyzed through top-down and bottom-up processes to understand the shared intentions of their grieving actions together. The findings of this research elicited thick descriptions of relational grieving at a community level.
Four main assertions of how communities grieve with bereaved parents emerged including:
(a) selflessly offering emotional and practical support,
(b) engaging in and honoring vulnerability,
(c) holding the complexity of grieving, and
(d) fostering remembrance of the deceased child together.

The novel descriptions of relational grieving in community contributed to the growing area of relational bereavement research. The theoretical, empirical, and clinical implications of this study were discussed.