This important book gives voice to an emerging consensus among
bereavement scholars that our understanding of the grief process
needs to be expanded. The dominant twentieth-century model holds
that the function of grief and mourning is to cut bonds with the
deceased, thereby freeing the survivor to reinvest in new relationships
in the present. Pathological grief has been defined in terms of
holding on to the deceased.
Close examination reveals that this model is based more on the
cultural values of modernity than on any substantial data of what
people actually do.
Presenting data from several populations, twenty-two authors
- among the most respected in their fields - demonstrate that
the healthy resolution of grief enables one to maintain a continuing
bond with the deceased. Despite cultural disapproval and lack
of validation by professionals, survivors find places for the
dead in their ongoing lives and even in their communities. Such
bonds are not denial; the deceased can provide resources for enriched
functioning in the present.