A Pragmatic Belief System in Family Meaning-Making After Death

  • Black H
  • Santanello H
  • Rubinstein R
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The authors explored a sample of families' beliefs concerning creation of meaning in the recent death of the elderly husband and father and his existence in an afterlife. Data were collected through qualitative inquiry. Family members from 34 families were asked about their reaction to their loved one's death. Three themes emerged from participants' responses (a) the significance of context in the father and husband's life and death; (b) family members' folk beliefs; and (c) recalling the after-death ritual. The themes interpenetrate at the point where family members, although doubtful, hoped their loved one continues in an afterlife.

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  • Helen K. Black

  • Holly R. Santanello

  • Robert L. Rubinstein

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