Berevment Essay

1917 words - 8 pages

#1. In today's society, death and grieving are common experiences. However, Kenneth Doka presents his readers with different types of grief, one that is even more common than the normal form. In his article, Doka discusses "disenfranchised grief". Along with this, he speaks of certain problems associated with this type of grief. These problems are serious and may in themselves pose more problems to the bereaved.It is only logical that we first define "disenfranchised grief" in order to understand the impact of the problems associated with it. Disenfranchised grief is when a person experiences a sense of loss, but does not have a socially recognized right, role or capacity to grieve. This ...view middle of the document...

The second type of death is psychological. This occurs when the person lacks a consciousness of existence (i.e.: brain dead). The third and final kind of death encompassed here is the "psychosocial death". This is so-called because the persona of someone has changed so much due to illness or personal transformations (such as addictions) that others perceive the previously known person as dead.The third reason for disenfranchised grief is because the griever may not be recognized. The person experiencing the loss is not socially defined as capable of grief. The very old, very young and mentally disabled would fall under this explanation.As mentioned earlier, there are several problems associated with disenfranchised grief. As also previously mentioned, such problems pose more complications for those involved. The first problem is that situations of disenfranchised grief tend to intensify emotional reactions. Emotions that are considered normal in the face of a loss (such as guilt, sadness and anger) can become complicated with disenfranchised guilt. These feelings of sadness and guilt give rise to feelings of powerlessness and intense anger.A second problem with disenfranchised guilt is that ambivalent relationships and concurrent crises often exist, which makes the grieving process that much harder on the bereaved. Multiple crises are common amongst cohabitation couples. Survivors experience legal and financial difficulties with regards to inheritance and ownership, credit and leases that may be left by the deceased. Ambivalence on the other hand can be found in cases of abortion and among families of Alzheimer's victims.The third problem associated with disenfranchised guilt is that many of the factors that facilitate mourning are not present. There are several ways in which this could occur. First of all, the bereaved may be excluded from having an active role in caring for the dying. Secondly, funeral rituals may not even happen and if they do, the bereaved may not be in attendance. Thirdly, if the funeral rituals are carried out, the bereaved may have no role whatsoever in the planning of these rituals, which can be extremely beneficial.The final problem with disenfranchised guilt is that grief may have to remain private. There may be no recognized role in which the bereaved can display their grief and subsequently be supported. Bereaved persons may not be given time off work and thus don't have the opportunity to properly verbalize or express their loss, hence not receiving sympathy and support. Another aspect of grief remaining private involves traditional sources of comfort and solace. These once dependable outlets may be turned away in cases where relationships (such as cohabitation and homosexual relations) or acts (such as abortion) are condemned.These problems are serious and if we don't find a way to fix them, they will become more harmful. Unless we get these problems under wraps soon, the proportion of people who have to struggle...

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