ABSTRACT: This exploratory study gathered narratives from 10 female suicide survivors, exploring 3 dimensions of their religious life during bereavement: (a) the function of the survivor's personal religion; (b) the function of religious support from family and friends; and (c) the function of established religious communities. Ten themes emerged from the narratives: afterlife destiny of the loved one, a more spiritual perspective, the impact on religious beliefs, support from family and friends, survivors' contribution to emotionally distant relationships, long-term and in-depth spiritual support, religious support from congregants, the ministry of clergy, the funeral service, and the return to public worship services. The participants believed that religion played an important role in their bereavement process. The results suggest future research questions, including: (a) what is the perceived role of God in the suicide and the bereavement; (b) what is the relationship between the survivor's participation in a religious community and the care received from that community; and (c) what postvention do survivors wish from clergy?
Death Studies 10/2009; 33(8):741-61. · 0.92 Impact Factor