Asian Journal of Human Services
Online ISSN : 2188-059X
Print ISSN : 2186-3350
ISSN-L : 2186-3350
A Study on the Grief Work of an Elderly Woman Who Encountered the Unexpected Death of her Spouse at Home
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2020 Volume 19 Pages 112-126


The purpose of this study is to clarify characteristics of the grief process, and the adjustment to a new life of an elderly woman who encountered the unexpected death of her spouse at home. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and data were analyzed using Steps for Coding and Theorization (SCAT).
The elderly woman experienced difficulties in thinking and acting in an ordered way. The response of the police and the autopsy imaging procedure had confused and irked her, and she had not been given much time to bid her husband farewell before his body was removed. Features related to the unexpected death scene were “unforgettably shocking” for her, but more that, the personality and memories of her husband became “unforgettably important and precious.” This was one of the facilitative factors of grief work. Her current life was constructed as a mixture of “a life that can be continued without being aware of the absence of the spouse,” “a life of recognizing the absence of the spouse,” and “a life of acquiring a new object of love or a new role.” She adjusted to a new life, by rendering various matters and the local community, such as traditional customs of death and cooperation of locals, useful as the facilitative factors of grief work.
As the size and role of the local community had diminished, it became evident that it was necessary to focus on other facilitative factors of grief work. This included resilience, prior relationship with the spouse, family’s functioning, and role acquisition.

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© 2020 Asian Society of Human Services
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