Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Work

Abstract

"Déjalo descansar, no le llores" - "Let them rest, don't cry for them" is an expression Mexican mothers often hear after the death of a child. While accepted as a culturally polite means of expressing condolence, the phrase nonetheless can have a detrimental effect on the parental bereavement experience of these mothers. Through the use of focus groups, 22 Mexican migrant mothers were interviewed to better understand the role that imperatives such as "Déjalo descansar" and other prescribed beliefs, rituals, and customs play in their bereavement experience. From the five focus groups conducted in this qualitative study, participants reported that the expression, "Déjalo descansar, no le llores" and other such culturally normative expressions served to stifle the expression of their grief. In addition to cultural factors unique to this group, the issue of their residency status impacted their grief experience, as these mothers faced difficult decisions regarding the disposition of their children's remains and the absence of emotional support due to being separated from extended family members in Mexico. Other findings from this study include the importance of maintaining a connection with the deceased child through the use of personal, religious, and cultural activities, the significant role that religion played in serving as a source of support, and the benefit participants reported in talking with others about their bereavement experience. This research study contributes to the literature on grief and bereavement, in the context of parental bereavement and as specifically related to the intrapersonal bereavement experience of Mexican migrant mothers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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