Stability and change: The role of keepsakes and family homes in the lives of parentally bereaved young adults in the Netherlands

Renske C. Visser, Fiona R. Parrott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines the loss of a parent in young adulthood, showing how this emergent and distinctive life stage shapes Dutch young people’s experience of bereavement. Youth material cultures have commonly been analysed in terms of the construction and expression of youth identities, for example, through style, music and leisure. In this research, we highlight three themes in young people’s relationship to material culture as part of their everyday lived experience of parental loss: first, the parental home as a space of departure, memory and return, and the potential for conflict, destabilisation and misunderstanding when the remaining parent transforms the home or embarks on a new relationship; second, the different strategies young adults use to commemorate their parent in their own temporary or shared accommodation and online space; and third, the role of small, portable but effective keepsakes and adornment, such as jewellery or tattoos, that meet their need for the emotional experience of closeness with the memory of their parent. A focus on the material trajectories of grief grants insights into how young adults cope with loss in their everyday life, generating understanding of the ways young people may support themselves and be supported by others in the context of parental bereavement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
JournalMortality
Volume20
Issue number1
Early online date18 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • grief
  • material culture
  • parental bereavement
  • parental home
  • The Netherlands
  • young adulthood

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