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Singing Mother Home

A Psychologist's Journey through Anticipatory Grief

Donna S. Davenport

Publication Year: 2002

What happens when an expert on grief is faced with the slow decline of her beloved mother? Like A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis, Singing Mother Home offers an inside look at the struggles of an “expert” in coping with loss. Donna S. Davenport was forced to rethink the traditional academic approach to the process, which implied that the goal of grief resolution was to end the attachment to the loved one. Instead, she embarked on a personal exploration of her own anticipatory grief. This intimate narrative forms the core of her book. It is emotionally wrenching, but it also provides hope for those going through similar experiences. Just as Davenport used her family's tradition of singing to comfort her mother, readers will be encouraged to find their own sources of comfort in family and legacy. The book concludes by describing psychological approaches to grief and recommending further reading. “This is a unique book by a professional who understands the field of loss and grief. . . . Poignantly heartbreaking.”--Melba Vasquez, President, American Psychology Association's Division on Counseling Psychology

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Singing Mother Home

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pp. v-viii

Contents

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p. ix-ix

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Foreword

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pp. 11-12

For most of the twenty-five years that I have known Donna Davenport, I’ve dreaded the day her mother died, for one couldn’t know Donna without realizing how important Dixie was in her daughter’s life. During these twenty-five years, Donna has been busy providing psychotherapy, teaching psychology at the doctoral ...

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Acknowledgments

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p. 13-13

Several people made the writing of this book much easier because of their ongoing supportive feedback. My son, Wes Simonds, deserves special thanks. A writer himself, he read each section as I wrote it, gave me his personal reactions and very gentle suggestions, and provided support throughout the publication process. Every writer should have a son like Wes. Betty Fry read, applauded, and gave suggestions ...

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Introduction

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pp. xiv-xv

In early March, 1999, Mom said that she needed my help getting her affairs in order so that she could die. I spent that week dreading the task, and by the time I got to Dallas the next weekend, I felt like I was underwater. Sounds were muffled, the colors and spaces seemed distorted, and I kept hearing my own heartbeat. All I could focus on was the sadness and disbelief that had newly invaded ...

Family Tree

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p. xvi-xvi

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Staying Connected through the Loss

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pp. 1-113

When I was in elementary school, we lived in a small Texas town without a Presbyterian church so we attended the Methodist. If I was exposed to any theology, I don’t remember it—except for recalling one Sunday School teacher who alluded to the dangers of backsliding. I must have expressed a lack of interest in the concept because my usually gentle teacher said with an edge to her voice, “Maybe you should think more about being saved, Donna Sue.” “No,” I answered. “I don’t need to. Mother ...

photo gallery

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pp. A1-A4

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Anticipatory Grief

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pp. 114-131

The precursor to grief is always connection. We do not grieve that which we have merely appreciated or admired. The gorgeous sunset fades, the charismatic speaker draws her talk to a close, the flute sonata on the CD gives way to a new piece. The moment passes through us—or we pass through the moment—and we experience the passing with little pain. ...

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Post-Bereavement Grief

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pp. 132-150

So what, after all, does death take away, and what do you get to keep? Clearly, when a loved one dies, we have to give up the physical presence, and all that entails, of the deceased. We have known this all along, of course, but the totality of the experience is still a shock when it happens—and it is not comprehended all at once, but is usually realized progressively over time. He or she will not be there for birthdays anymore, or to exchange thoughts and feelings ...

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Suggested Further Reading

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pp. 151-154

Coping with Loss—Nolen-Hoeksema, S. & Davis, C.G. (1999) Mahwah,How To Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies—Therese Rando(1991)I Can’t Stop Crying—John Martin & Frank Ferris (1992) CT: FireflyMaking Loss Matter—Rabbi David Wolpe (2000) NJ: Penguin Putnam.Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss—Robert Neimeyer,...

References

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pp. 155-157


E-ISBN-13: 9781574414271
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574411621

Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 10 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2002

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Subject Headings

  • Mothers and daughters.
  • Loss (Psychology).
  • Mothers -- Death -- Psychological aspects.
  • Bereavement -- Psychological aspects.
  • Anticipatory grief.
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