CRIS 608 Liberty University Death and Grief Discussion

Please respond to the following discussion

200 – 250 clear and concise words in your initial reply. Be sure to support your views with scholarly material that may include the texts and presentations. The reply is a unique contribution that reflects thoughtful analysis of topic and thread.

Please refer to the attached grading riubic

Attached is the presentation from this module to assist with replying if using the presentation as a reference.

S M-Z Posted

The Death of an Ex-spouse

Disenfranchised grief is a form of bereavement that takes place when a cherished loved-one has died but the griever is not given the social acceptance or support to openly grieve the loss (Corr, Corr, & Doka, 2019, p. 262). A person’s employment and social circles seem to want to place approved reactions and measure of appropriateness on other’s grieving. For example, in the death of a significant other in an adulterous affair, the survivor may not be able to openly express their grief or attend a funeral service (Corr, et al., 2019, p. 263). Another example is grieving the loss of an unborn child due to miscarriage, may have an extremely limited amount of socially approved mourning (Tullis, 2017). The loss of a pet may not be considered legitimate grief at all (Tullis, 2017). In these situations, there are limited resources available to assist the griever in the mourning process (Tullis, 2017).

Marriage and divorce will increase the number of blended families and is blurring the appropriate mourning rituals for those left behind. I believe that one of the most challenging disenfranchised grief situations is grieving the loss of an ex-spouse. Sadly, there are precious few articles on the subject and extremely limited studies on this growing trend. One of the few articles discussed the death of an ex-husband and what the ex-wife referred to as a “quasi-widowhood” (Foltyn, 2016). Foltyn’s (2016) discussed the complexities of grieving as she cared for her dying ex-husband. Another discussion was from an ex-wife who received the shocking news of her ex-husband’s death, via text message from a friend (Tullis, 2017). Without being a current family member, she was not given the news with compassion as a current wife would have. She dealt with the complexities of not knowing how to mourn or if it was appropriate to cry, though she clearly felt his loss (Tullis, 2017). In a recent article, it was recommended that ex-spouses attend the funeral service, with permission from the current family and with the utmost display of manners (Should you attend an ex-spouse’s funeral? 2019). Another helpful hint was to remind the attender that the current family has the appropriate title of next of kin and has the social approval of publicly grieving (Should you attend an ex-spouse’s funeral? 2019).

I recently attended the funeral of an aunt who committed suicide after a nasty public divorce from her cheating husband of over twenty years. The couple had adult children together and shared remarkably close family ties with both sides of union. The ex-husband arranged the funeral services. He also attended with his new wife, who awkwardly resembled my aunt in almost every way. Like most of the attenders, I did not appreciate his or his new wife’s tears or public grieving. After all, would my aunt have found the support that she needed to overcome her darkness had he been faithful? The funeral service was ridiculously uncomfortable as family members tried to offer support to each other. I do believe that my ex-uncle needed to grieve our loss, however inappropriate it seemed at the time. I also believe that my ex-uncle’s new wife also needed to mourn as she witnessed this painful event.

It seems easy to read about unrecognized grief and try to imagine how each of us would respond in these situations. As a crisis and trauma student, it is also easy to understand why grief needs to be dealt with for emotional health. Yet, as a family member attending a funeral that should have never been necessary, I felt sadness, anger, and frustration. It took a great deal of thoughtful prayer before I understood that the whole family needed to grieve. We needed to grieve the loss of a longtime marriage. We needed to grieve the loss of our familiar family traditions. And, we needed to grieve together, including the new wife, the tragic suicide of our precious aunt. Moreover, we had to find forgiveness so that our family can heal. There is no rule book, for grieving the death of an ex-spouse. There is even less literature on mourning the suicide of a new husband’s ex-wife. In the end, we have all fallen short and find ourselves in need of a Savior’s grace. 1 Peter 3:8 is a good reminder for all of us to have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

Corr, C. A., Corr, D. M. & Doka, K. J. (2019). Mindtap Death & dying, life & living (8th ed.).

Boston, MA: Cengage.

Foltyn, J. L. (2016). What remains: Crossing personal, professional, and spiritual boundaries

while caring for a dying ex-spouse. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 12(1-2), 10-16.

Should you attend an ex-spouse’s funeral? (2019). The Standard

Tullis, J. A. (2017). Death of an ex-spouse: Lessons in family communication about

disenfranchised grief. Behavioral Sciences, 7(2), 16.


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