Finding meaning in the loss of a child: Journeys of chaos and quest

Barb Titus, Rebecca de Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The death of a child can be one of the worst things to happen to a family. Despite the significance of such a powerful event, parental loss is an area that has not been fully explored in the literature. This study uses narrative methodology to explore the grief experienced by 10 parents before and after the death of their child. We found four primary tensions in the stories written by parents: a time of chaos and control; disruption and normalcy in family life; heartening and disheartening experiences with others; and senselessness and meaning in death. The analysis illuminates the personal, familial, and social nature of grief. Parents grieve the loss of their child, but they are also deeply affected by changes in family and social relationships. The discussion elaborates on the transformation that some parents reveal as they move from "chaos" to "quest" narratives, and the role of narratives in health and healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-460
Number of pages11
JournalHealth communication
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011


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