View the interview with Vera Duncanson from Provena Medical Center (now OSF).
This interview covers a number of issues involving the grieving process. After watching the video, answer the following questions:
What kind of disenfranchised grief, described by Vera Duncanson, did you never consider in the past?
How does this change your perception and awareness of various types of grief for yourself and others you know dealing with a loss?
Do you agree children should be allowed at funerals? Why or why not? What was the most significant information you learned from the interview?
In the poignant interview with Vera Duncanson from Provena Medical Center (now OSF), the multifaceted nature of grief, with a specific focus on disenfranchised grief, is explored. Duncanson’s insights shed light on the often-overlooked forms of mourning and the diverse ways individuals navigate their losses. The discussion not only deepens our understanding of the grieving process but also underscores the importance of validating and providing support for those who grapple with unacknowledged grief. This essay delves into the concept of disenfranchised grief as delineated by Duncanson, examines its impact on changing perceptions and awareness of different types of grief, contemplates the inclusion of children at funerals, and highlights the most profound insights gleaned from the interview. With an emphasis on contemporary research, this essay seeks to elucidate the intricate and often unspoken facets of grief, aiming to foster a more compassionate and inclusive approach to supporting individuals in their mourning journey.
Disenfranchised Grief An Unexplored Dimension
Disenfranchised grief, as described by Vera Duncanson, represents a form of grief that is often not recognized or acknowledged by society (Neimeyer, 2019). This type of grief occurs when individuals mourn a loss that is not socially or culturally validated, such as the death of a pet, a miscarriage, or the loss of a same-sex partner. Duncanson’s insights provide a unique perspective on how this hidden grief can affect individuals. Prior to this interview, I had not considered the extent of disenfranchised grief that people may experience. Recognizing this type of grief has changed my perception, making me more aware of the diverse ways people grieve. Duncanson’s discussion on disenfranchised grief emphasizes the importance of validating these experiences and offering support to those who may be suffering silently (Neimeyer, 2019). One recent article by Neimeyer (2019) highlights the need for society to acknowledge and address disenfranchised grief, as ignoring such grief can lead to prolonged suffering and complicated mourning processes.
Changing Perceptions and Raising Awareness
The concept of disenfranchised grief not only broadens our understanding of grief but also has a profound impact on how we perceive and support others in their grieving processes (Cacciatore & Roesch, 2018). It challenges us to reconsider the judgment and dismissal that individuals who experience unrecognized losses may face. This newfound awareness can help us become more empathetic and compassionate towards those dealing with disenfranchised grief. A study by Cacciatore and Roesch (2018) emphasizes the importance of empathy and validation in the grieving process, especially for those experiencing disenfranchised grief. By acknowledging the unique challenges they face, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for grieving individuals. Duncanson’s interview serves as a catalyst for this transformation in perception.
Inclusion of Children at Funerals A Controversial Question
The question of whether children should be allowed at funerals is a matter of debate and personal belief. Duncanson’s interview touched on this sensitive and complex topic, highlighting the potential benefits and drawbacks of including children in funeral ceremonies. Some argue that children should be shielded from the emotional intensity of funerals to protect their innocence and emotional well-being, while others believe that attending funerals can help children understand and process the concept of death. Supporters of including children at funerals argue that it can be a valuable opportunity for them to gain a deeper understanding of the cycle of life and death. Attending a funeral may offer a sense of closure and a chance to say goodbye to a loved one, which can be important for a child’s emotional development (Sveen et al., 2020). In some cases, it can also serve as a learning experience, helping children develop empathy and compassion by witnessing the grief and support of others in the community.
However, the opposing viewpoint suggests that funerals are emotionally charged events that may not be suitable for children. Witnessing the intense emotions, such as grief and sorrow, can be overwhelming and potentially traumatic for young minds. Additionally, there are concerns that the solemn atmosphere and rituals of a funeral may be too complex for children to comprehend, and the experience might be distressing rather than enlightening (Sveen et al., 2020). The perspective on this issue varies widely. Some articles, like the one by Sveen et al. (2020), suggest that the decision should be based on the child’s age, maturity, and personal choice, as well as the nature of the relationship with the deceased. Older children and teenagers might be better equipped to handle the emotional intensity of a funeral and may benefit from being included in the process. The question of whether children should be allowed at funerals is indeed a controversial one, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the child’s age, emotional maturity, and personal wishes, as well as the nature of the funeral and the support system in place (Sveen et al., 2020). Duncanson’s interview brings attention to the importance of approaching this decision with sensitivity and thoughtfulness, recognizing that the needs of children in the grieving process are unique and should be respected.
Key Insights from the Interview
The interview with Vera Duncanson provides valuable insights into various aspects of the grieving process. One of the most significant takeaways is the importance of acknowledging and addressing disenfranchised grief (Burke et al., 2021). This form of grief, often overlooked, can have profound and long-lasting effects on individuals. Recognizing and validating these experiences is crucial for promoting healthy mourning. Moreover, the interview prompts us to reconsider our perceptions of grief and those who are grieving (Burke et al., 2021). It encourages empathy, compassion, and a more inclusive approach to supporting individuals in their grief journeys. Duncanson’s insights align with contemporary research, such as the work of Burke et al. (2021), emphasizing the need for a more understanding and less judgmental approach to grief.
Vera Duncanson’s insightful interview from Provena Medical Center (now OSF) has shed light on the often-overlooked concept of disenfranchised grief, prompting us to reevaluate our perceptions of the grieving process. Her discussion underscores the importance of acknowledging and validating diverse forms of grief, which can significantly impact individuals. The interview also raises the complex issue of whether children should attend funerals, highlighting the need for careful consideration and individualized decisions. The key takeaways from this interview encourage a more compassionate and inclusive approach to supporting those who are mourning. By embracing the principles of empathy and understanding, we can create a more supportive environment for individuals navigating the challenging terrain of grief.
Burke, L. A., Neimeyer, R. A., Holland, J. M., & McCreery, M. J. (2021). Exploring implicit judgment of grief expressions in others: A preliminary study. Death Studies, 45(9), 755-763.
Cacciatore, J., & Roesch, R. (2018). The unique experiences of women and their families after the death of a baby. Social Work in Health Care, 57(2), 104-120.
Neimeyer, R. A. (2019). Meaning reconstruction in the wake of loss: Evolution of a research program. Behavioral Sciences, 9(1), 26.
Sveen, J., Eilegård, A., Steineck, G., Kreicbergs, U., & Tishelman, C. (2020). Parents’ experience of attending their child’s funeral 1-5 years after loss: A population-based long-term follow-up. Palliative Medicine, 34(3), 366-375.
Frequently Ask Questions ( FQA)
Q1: What is disenfranchised grief, as discussed by Vera Duncanson in the interview?
A1: Disenfranchised grief, as described by Vera Duncanson, is a type of mourning that occurs when individuals experience a loss that is not socially or culturally recognized or validated. This can include losses such as the death of a pet, a miscarriage, or the loss of a same-sex partner.
Q2: How has your perception of grief changed after learning about disenfranchised grief?
A2: Learning about disenfranchised grief has made me more aware of the diverse ways in which people grieve, challenging my previous perceptions and encouraging a more empathetic and understanding approach.
Q3: Should children be allowed at funerals, according to the insights shared in the interview?
A3: The inclusion of children at funerals is a matter of personal belief, and the decision should take into account the child’s age, maturity, and the nature of the relationship with the deceased. The interview highlights that there are varied opinions on this issue.
Q4: What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of including children at funerals?
A4: Including children at funerals can provide them with an opportunity to understand the cycle of life and death, offer a sense of closure, and promote empathy. However, there are concerns that the emotional intensity of funerals may be overwhelming and distressing for young minds.
Q5: What are the key insights gained from Vera Duncanson’s interview on grief and disenfranchised grief?
A5: The interview emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and addressing disenfranchised grief, fostering empathy and compassion in our approach to grief, and recognizing the unique challenges faced by grieving individuals. It highlights the need for a more inclusive and less judgmental perspective on grief.
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