Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Dr. Helen Fielding


When a significant other dies, our lives can be shattered and our worlds upended. We may find that we no longer know how to make sense of our experiences or how to engage in our practical activities. Nothing can be as it was before because the world as we once knew it has ended, and we are no longer the same persons we once were. Nonetheless this ending opens up something new because the death of the other changes the possibilities of our lived world. A phenomenological analysis of the phenomena of grief and bereavement reveals that while bereavement undermines meaning as such, there is nonetheless something existentially meaningful about the experience in general. Insofar as bereavement is a disorienting, disruptive event, it opens us to our openness by asking us to respond differently, and responding differently can recuperate us from the event by transforming us and our worlds.