Tag Archives: Parental Bereavement

Willower, defined

We use the words widowwidower, and orphan, but there is no word in our vocabulary that identifies the bereaved parent.

So I’ve coined the term willower.

will·ow·er (wĭlʹō-ər) noun

a. A bereaved parent.  b. A person whose child, or children, has died. c. A person that willows, or grieves the death of their child, or children: Each willower processes grief in his or her own way, in his or her own time.

[From the words willow, a weeping tree that has come to symbolize deep mourning, and willpower, the strength of will to carry on—despite loss.]

On Keeping Belongings

On Keeping Belongings – The 10th Anniversary of Gili’s Death.

By Henya Shanun-Klein, Ph.D.

If you ask a bereaved parent: “What would you have saved first (assuming that there were no people nor animals in the house) if your house was caught on fire?” My guess is that the parent’s response would be: “I’d try to save my (deceased) child’s belongings.”

Why? Because the bereaved parent is left with ‘lasts’, with ‘neverness’.

Each object – a symbol, not a replacement, of your child who once touched it or produced it. You can put your hand on the place that once was touched by your child, and symbolically your hands now touch. This ‘neverness’ then, for a fleeting moment, becomes more tolerable.

Keeping these last belongings – all or some – are important then to the bereaved parent. The attachment the parent feels toward these objects, which became symbolic representations of the deceased child’s life and the relationship the parent had with this child, enables the grieving parent to transcend his or her pain into a more evolved level of grieving. Which in turn facilitates the process of readjustment to living in this new reality.

Henya Shanun-Klein, Ph.D. is a bereaved mother, widow, psychologist, author, and speaker. 

To read this entire article, go to : On Keeping Belongings

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:

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