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A Parental Bereavement Model

This past year I came across Gili’s Book, a book that changed my thinking, and my grieving, in a profound way.

The book, Gili’s Book, A Journey Into Bereavement for Parents and Counselors by Dr. Henya Shanun-Klein, is a personal and heartbreaking testimonial of a mother and psychologist who experienced the untimely death of her eleven-year-old daughter, Gili, who was killed by a reckless driver. The author described her personal experience as a bereaved parent and then presented a new theoretical model of parental bereavement, which I will expand on and use as a guide throughout this site.

A few points from the Readjustment Model of Parental Bereavement, and advice from Dr. Shanun-Klein:

A few points from the Readjustment Model of Parental Bereavement

  • Parental Bereavement is a normal reactive process to an abnormal event. It is complicated, complex, multi-dimensional and profound.
  • The duration of grief is lifelong with varying intensity. It requires readjustment to a new reality.
  • The process of readjustment is defined both from the bereaved parent’s perspective and from the outside observer’s.
  • Readjustment entails constant resonating changes in grief experienced and expressed, in changes of perception of self, of the deceased child, of the relationship with deceased and with the living.
  • The process is characterized by deep sadness, simultaneous inward searching and outward steps, re-connection to life by a continued attachment to the deceased child, by an emergence of the new self or identity, and by the discovery of new meaning and turning points.
  • Adjustment to life, embracing grief, means the ability to eventually re-connect to life in a productive and non-destructive manner.

Advice from Dr. Shanun-Klein 

  • reconnect with life
  • honor your child and the life he/she could have lived
  • respect yourself by taking care of your body and soul
  • give yourself permission to laugh
  • do for others
  • don’t wait for an invitation to get involved

To read more publications by Dr. Shanun-Klein, or if you are a professional who works with bereaved parents, click here: Readjustment Model of Parental Bereavement

Categories: Rewriting Life After Loss

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Rewriting life since the sudden death of my nine-year-old son, Sam (2007).
Trying to LEARN, think, remember, IMAGINE, cope, care, read, EAT, write, live, LAUGH, listen, enjoy, walk, meditate, stretch, watch, stop, BREATHE...and keep going.

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