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Searching for a Good Grief? Meaning Making Through an ESRD Illness Narrative


Searching for a Good Grief? Meaning Making Through an ESRD Illness Narrative

Lewis, Leah B. (2013) Searching for a Good Grief? Meaning Making Through an ESRD Illness Narrative. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
Lewis_PhD_F2013.pdf - Accepted Version


This study is an autoethnograhic, Arts Based exploration of the grief of illness. Making
use of 'I' perspective, subjective methodologies, I have explored my experiences of End Stage
Renal Disease (ESRD), kidney transplant loss and the self-administering of my hemodialysis
treatments in my home. I present the psychological ESRD-dialysis experience as akin one of
grief. I have made use of Neimeyer's Meaning Reconstruction Model, a narrative meaning-
centered model typically used in bereavement circles. At the heart of this model is the concept
that it is necessary to apply a coherent perceived meaning to loss experience in order to process
grief well. This study applies the MRM to the psychology of transplant loss and dialysis, stating
that the psychology of transplant loss and dialysis is, for me, akin to complex grief. Therefore, it
will not likely be fully assimilated as is the case with anticipated loss. Rather, illness like ESRD,
for me, is likelier to be accommodated, where complex loss requires locating coherence, points
of change and new plots within lived experience in order to provide new and helpful perceptions
of meaning. I have disseminated outcomes from my own narratives, interviews with family,
friends and other patients who’ve experienced this illness, into two forms; the first, a written
dissertation that presents theory and arts based narratives commenting on that theory. The
second, Arts Based outcome, is in the form of a short film, entitled Good Grief.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Lewis, Leah B.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Special Individualized Program
Date:15 September 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Linds, Warren and Snow, Stephen
ID Code:977969
Deposited On:13 Jan 2014 16:17
Last Modified:27 Mar 2018 16:02
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