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Silent Stories: A Narrative Inquiry into Men's Journey with Grief in Middle Age Open Access


Other title
grief phases
men in middle adulthood
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Andrius Petras Gustainis
Supervisor and department
Dr. Thomas Attig
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Marla Buchanan
Ara Parker
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts in Pastoral Psychology and Counselling
Degree level
The phenomenon of men's grief during middle adulthood after a significant death has been largely neglected in the literature. This narrative study provides insight into the lived experiences of three recently bereaved men as they recounted their stories of grief and loss. Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews, field notes, and follow-up interviews. The data was analyzed and reorganized through a process of restorying each narrative into a common framework which was validated by the men. Further understanding of the phenomenon was gained through examination and interpretation searching for themes and commonalities in the stories. The results indicated three distinct phases were present in each grief story at the macro level, (1) The Descent, (2) The Struggle, and (3) The Expansion. Within these three phases, ten narrative themes were also evident. These phases and themes were then studied in conjunction with theoretical models of grief, male psychological development milestones and difficulties, and a spiritual dimension. The findings suggested each man's experience of grief and loss transformed the process into a personal quest for salvation, healing and meaning. The encounter of death and bereavement in middle age became catalysts in their heroic journey for greater self-awareness, psychological growth, and spiritual maturity. In order to better serve the bereaved male population in middle adulthood, a re-framing of the male grief experience was required. This re-positioning of grief work for men would suggest a heroic encounter to integrate the losses into their life stories, and make meaning in their lives and speaks to the masculine psychology necessary to attract men to counselling support.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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File title: Chapter One: The Beginning
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