Configurations of Time in Bereaved Parents' Narratives

Qual Health Res. 2014 Aug;24(8):1090-1101. doi: 10.1177/1049732314541173. Epub 2014 Jun 25.


In this study, we examined the configurations of time within narratives of bereaved Israeli parents, employing Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy as the research methodology. Our results reveal that following a sudden violent loss, parents experienced a change in their sense of time. Three nonexclusive time possibilities were evident in the participants' narratives: time stopped, time moved forward, and time moved backward. Although most of the social science literature highlights the importance of linear temporal configuration to enhance the coherence of text, based on our study we call for other forms of temporal ordering, as varied time configurations were used by the bereaved and were perceived to have beneficial outcomes. Finally, we outline implications for mental health professionals.

Keywords: Gadamer; art; bereavement / grief; narrative inquiry; trauma.