At Home with Grief: Continued Bonds with the Deceased (Paperback) book cover

At Home with Grief

Continued Bonds with the Deceased

By Blake Paxton

© 2018 – Routledge

174 pages

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pub: 2018-02-06
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Description

What would you say to a deceased loved one if they could come back for one day? What if you can’t just ‘move on’ from grief? At Home with Grief: Continued Bonds with the Deceased chronicles Blake Paxton’s autoethnographic study of his continued relationship with his deceased mother. In the 90s, Silverman, Klass, and Nickman argued that after the death of a loved one, the bond does not have to be broken and the bereaved can find many ways to connect with memories of the dead.

Building on their work, many other bereavement scholars have discussed the importance of not treating these relationships as pathological and have suggested that more research is needed in this area of grief studies. However, very few studies have addressed the communal and everyday subjective experiences of continuing bonds with the deceased, as well as how our relationship with our grief changes in the long term.

In this book, Blake Paxton shows how a community in southern Illinois continues a relationship with one deceased individual more than ten years after her death. Through this gripping autoethnographic account of his mother’s struggles with a rare cancer, her death, and his struggles with sexuality, he poses possibilities of what might happen when cultural prescriptions for grief are challenged, and how continuing bonds with the dead may help us continue or restore broken bonds with the living.

Reviews

Paxton returns to his hometown to immerse himself in stories about his mother who died when he was eighteen. Artfully weaving research methods, small-town cultural descriptions, rich remembrances, and a developmental view of both the author’s coming out process and a particular mother-son relationship, Paxton describes an alternative to socially constructed closure after death. He brings to life the possibility of continuing bonds with the deceased, providing a rich alternative to letting go as the only healthy conclusion to a devastating death. Paxton’s homing route helps readers map their own journey to continuing, loving bonds with their deceased.

Dr Joyce L. Hocker, Clinical Psychologist, Missoula, Montana

At Home With Grief is poignant, vulnerable, funny, and thoughtful. Paxton captures this mess of emotions we call grief in moments both small and wide-ranging, crystallized in a compelling narrative that offers something valuable to those dealing with grief, those writing about grief, and those who write and study autoethnography.

Dr Kurt Lindemann, School of Communication, San Diego State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction: The Rendezvous

Chapter 1. Goodbye

Chapter 2. Re-membering

Chapter 3. Home

Chapter 4. Reassessing Continuing Bonds and the Causality Thesis

Chapter 5. Future Directions for Continuing Bonds Research

Afterword: A Family Wedding Reception to Re-member

Appendix: Methodology and Analysis as Mourning

References

Index

About the Author

Blake Paxton is an assistant professor of communication at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. He has published and presented research in the areas of interpersonal and family communication, health and end of life communication, and women’s and gender studies. Paxton is a member of several professional organizations including the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, the Organization for the Study of Language, Gender, and Communication, and the National Communication Association.

About the Series

Writing Lives: Ethnographic Narratives

Writing Lives: Ethnographic Narratives publishes narrative representations of qualitative research projects. The series editors seek manuscripts that blur the boundaries between humanitites and social sciences. We encourage novel and evocative forms of expressing concrete lived experience, including autoethnographic, literary, poetic, artistic, visual, performative, critical, multi-voiced, conversational, and co-constructed representations. We are interested in ethnographic narratives that depict local stories; employ literary modes of scene setting, dialogue, character development, and unfolding action; and include the author's critical reflections on the research and writing process, such as research ethics, alternative modes of inquiry and representation, reflexivity, and evocative storytelling. Proposals and manuscripts should be directed to abochner@cas.usf.edu.

 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC019000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Methodology
SOC024000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Research
SOC036000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Death & Dying