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This volume was first published by Inter-Disciplinary Press in 2016.

This inter- and multi-disciplinary volume examines various approaches to suffering: how to define it, discuss it, treat it, measure it, 'hold' it, endure it, chart it, share it and survive it.
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This paper examines how we might use personal grief archives (such as those constructed in a classroom, explained below) as a way to study communitywide outpourings of grief and the archives they produce following tragedies labelled as ‘public’ and/or ‘national.’

The theoretical nature of this paper considers personal grief archives as a way to reflect on death attitudes derived from various agents of socialization. In this case, the personal archives discussed result from a series of in-class writing assignments that include death inventories, childhood loss/early thoughts about death diaries, questionnaires about life threatening illness and death fears, advance directives, and ethical wills. The practical nature of this paper considers a pedagogical mechanism to approach the events of September 11th, 2001 in light of personally constructed grief archives. My research will elaborate how meaning-making on the individual level in times of loss provides a vital lens through which to consider, to critique, and ultimately to evaluate the meaning assigned to those same events vis-à-vis more ‘national’ or ‘public’ stages.

Every death, like any archive, tells a story. Sharing these stories can provide emotional relief and promote a search for meaning. Grief archives can function as a means to bring people together in mutual support during a time of loss. Grief archives also assist individuals and communities to revise, reform, and continue relationships with the deceased over time. Bonds sustained through memories and linking objects serve as ‘threads of connectedness’ to those deceased whose deaths are grieved and remembered. They also form complex (and sometimes problematic) lineages through which individuals preserve, (re-)orient and (re-)frame their own histories/ identities within the context of a larger societal matrix.

In: Re-Imaging Death and Dying
In: New Perspectives on the Relationship between Pain, Suffering and Metaphor
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Using an inter-disciplinary approach, this chapter argues that discussions of suffering, even those broadly conceived, must move beyond mere academic postulations that assert suffering as a phenomenological ‘given,’ a feature of human experience so naturally inherent that no human response can augment its impact. Such uninvolved approaches toward suffering too often render apathetic responses to real human tragedies. This chapter explores both the inward experience of suffering, the myriad causes of suffering, and how, in some cases, such suffering can be articulated, understood, and even overcome in certain circumstances. Analysis is also given to the role meta-narratives have in framing conversations about suffering, and how such narratives can mitigate the concrete circumstances that give rise to suffering (or maintain it).

In: New Perspectives on the Relationship between Pain, Suffering and Metaphor
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Descriptions of illness and disease in the US often invoke war nomenclature, e.g., ‘the war on cancer.’ Engendering this discourse of war suggests patients’ bodies are ‘battlefields,’ ones upon which medicine clusters an attack. Viewing the patient as besieged, military metaphors tend to conceive loss of life not as ‘natural’ but rather the result of ‘failed, heroic interventions.’ Conceiving illness and disease in this manner causes an intractable dilemma for both the caregiver and patient, since war declarations rarely promote respectful active listening. Yet, during end of life contexts, establishing caring, careful, and supportive patient-centred dialogue remains essential to honouring the patient’s wishes. This paper argues that invoking war terminology as a means to frame a patient’s illness often leads to unreflective habits of caregiving, and these habits of care are often callous to the patient’s own experience of the illness. Furthermore, using war terminology in medical encounters inhibits healthy caregiver-patient dialogue and hinders prognostics. This paper will consider the consequences of such habit-taking in clinical settings, and present ideas for inculcating better communication between the caregiver and patient.

In: Exploring Violence in Families and Societies
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This paper examines how we might use personal grief archives (such as those constructed in a classroom, explained below) as a way to study community-wide outpourings of grief and the archives they produce following tragedies labelled as ‘public’ and/or ‘national.’ The theoretical nature of this paper considers personal grief archives as a way to reflect on death attitudes derived from various agents of socialisation. In this case, the personal archives discussed result from a series of in-class writing assignments that include death inventories, childhood loss/early thoughts about death diaries, questionnaires about life-threatening illness and death fears, advance directives, and ethical wills. The practical nature of this paper considers a pedagogical mechanism to approach the events of September 11th, 2001 in light of personally constructed grief archives. My research will elaborate how meaning-making on the individual level in times of loss provides a vital lens through which to consider, to critique, and ultimately to evaluate the meaning assigned to those same events vis-à-vis more ‘national’ or ‘public’ stages. Every death, like any archive, tells a story. Sharing these stories can provide emotional relief and promote a search for meaning. Grief archives can function as a means to bring people together in mutual support during a time of loss. Grief archives also assist individuals and communities to revise, reform, and continue relationships with the deceased over time. Bonds sustained through memories and linking objects serve as ‘threads of connectedness’ to those deceased whose deaths are grieved and remembered. They also form complex (and sometimes problematic) lineages through which individuals preserve, (re-)orient and (re-)frame their own histories/identities within the context of a larger societal matrix.

In: The Presence of the Dead in Our Lives
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This paper examines how we might use personal grief archives (such as those constructed in a classroom, explained below) as a way to study community-wide outpourings of grief and the archives they produce following tragedies labelled as ‘public’ and/or ‘national.’ The theoretical nature of this paper considers personal grief archives as a way to reflect on death attitudes derived from various agents of socialisation. In this case, the personal archives discussed result from a series of in-class writing assignments that include death inventories, childhood loss/early thoughts about death diaries, questionnaires about life-threatening illness and death fears, advance directives, and ethical wills. The practical nature of this paper considers a pedagogical mechanism to approach the events of September 11th, 2001 in light of personally constructed grief archives. My research will elaborate how meaning-making on the individual level in times of loss provides a vital lens through which to consider, to critique, and ultimately to evaluate the meaning assigned to those same events vis-à-vis more ‘national’ or ‘public’ stages. Every death, like any archive, tells a story. Sharing these stories can provide emotional relief and promote a search for meaning. Grief archives can function as a means to bring people together in mutual support during a time of loss. Grief archives also assist individuals and communities to revise, reform, and continue relationships with the deceased over time. Bonds sustained through memories and linking objects serve as ‘threads of connectedness’ to those deceased whose deaths are grieved and remembered. They also form complex (and sometimes problematic) lineages through which individuals preserve, (re-)orient and (re-)frame their own histories/identities within the context of a larger societal matrix.

In: The Presence of the Dead in Our Lives
Author:

This paper examines how we might use personal grief archives (such as those constructed in a classroom, explained below) as a way to study communitywide outpourings of grief and the archives they produce following tragedies labelled as ‘public’ and/or ‘national.’

The theoretical nature of this paper considers personal grief archives as a way to reflect on death attitudes derived from various agents of socialization. In this case, the personal archives discussed result from a series of in-class writing assignments that include death inventories, childhood loss/early thoughts about death diaries, questionnaires about life threatening illness and death fears, advance directives, and ethical wills. The practical nature of this paper considers a pedagogical mechanism to approach the events of September 11th, 2001 in light of personally constructed grief archives. My research will elaborate how meaning-making on the individual level in times of loss provides a vital lens through which to consider, to critique, and ultimately to evaluate the meaning assigned to those same events vis-à-vis more ‘national’ or ‘public’ stages.

Every death, like any archive, tells a story. Sharing these stories can provide emotional relief and promote a search for meaning. Grief archives can function as a means to bring people together in mutual support during a time of loss. Grief archives also assist individuals and communities to revise, reform, and continue relationships with the deceased over time. Bonds sustained through memories and linking objects serve as ‘threads of connectedness’ to those deceased whose deaths are grieved and remembered. They also form complex (and sometimes problematic) lineages through which individuals preserve, (re-)orient and (re-)frame their own histories/ identities within the context of a larger societal matrix.

In: Re-Imaging Death and Dying
Author:

Descriptions of illness and disease in the US often invoke war nomenclature, e.g., ‘the war on cancer.’ Engendering this discourse of war suggests patients’ bodies are ‘battlefields,’ ones upon which medicine clusters an attack. Viewing the patient as besieged, military metaphors tend to conceive loss of life not as ‘natural’ but rather the result of ‘failed, heroic interventions.’ Conceiving illness and disease in this manner causes an intractable dilemma for both the caregiver and patient, since war declarations rarely promote respectful active listening. Yet, during end of life contexts, establishing caring, careful, and supportive patient-centred dialogue remains essential to honouring the patient’s wishes. This paper argues that invoking war terminology as a means to frame a patient’s illness often leads to unreflective habits of caregiving, and these habits of care are often callous to the patient’s own experience of the illness. Furthermore, using war terminology in medical encounters inhibits healthy caregiver-patient dialogue and hinders prognostics. This paper will consider the consequences of such habit-taking in clinical settings, and present ideas for inculcating better communication between the caregiver and patient.

In: Exploring Violence in Families and Societies
Author:

This chapter elaborates recent and seminal hospice and palliative care research which expands latent ethical issues commonly faced at life’s end, and discusses practical ways to address these morally complex dilemmas as they emerge in clinical encounters with clients and their families. This chapter also explains how certain types of community-based palliative care models are finding new ways to deliver higher care quality, at a reduced cost, and even more, why increasing numbers of patients are living longer with palliative support and despite reduced curative interventions. The sum of these efficacious outcomes has hospital administrators in the U.S. re-considering the role of patient care throughout myriad care-delivery systems. This chapter describes why these burgeoning trends may signal more watershed changes in how quality of care is perceived, and delivered.

In: And Death Shall Have Dominion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dying, Caregivers, Death, Mourning and the Bereaved