Love Beyond Death: Suicide, Acceptance and the Awakening of the Bereaved

  • Author / Creator
    Kostromin, Libby
  • In the West today suicide is considered a major public health issue of tragic consequence; universally devastating to those it bereaves. This enquiry explored an unusual experience of bereavement by suicide for the purpose of challenging common cultural beliefs, including that: suicide is violent, irrational, tragic, selfish, unexpected and always the result of mental illness, and; that those bereaved by suicide are inevitably guilt-laden, devastated, angry and ashamed. The research methodology was autoethnography within the context of a spiritual research paradigm. Analysis and interpretation drew upon three complementary approaches/orientations: Buber’s philosophy of dialogue, critical theory and hermeneutic interpretive phenomenology. Findings consist of narrative compositions which illustrate how a lived spiritual orientation can not only ameliorate the effects of suicide bereavement and insulate survivors from social stigma but may also trigger an awakening of the bereaved. This lived spirituality included: a cosmic perspective; an openness of heart and mind; the recognition and valuing of relationship and connection; a stance of humility with respect to one’s capacity to influence another’s intentions; an acceptance of the ‘unacceptable’; the willingness to fully face the prospect of a loved one’s intentional death, and; enduring attempts to ‘be’ unconditional love. This research creates space in which freedom from oppressive social forces can be conceived and invites psychotherapy practitioners into deeper relating in support of spiritual maturation.

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  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
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  • License
    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.