Women’s experience of loneliness after the loss of a spouse: A description of a narrative pastoral engagement.
In this contribution the phenomenon of loneliness experienced by women after the loss of a spouse is explored. The purpose of this research is to clarify and interpret the experience of loneliness as well as its occurrence and meaning. Implications are examined according to the way in which it is experienced. The research is founded in practical theology and researched from within a postmodernity paradigm, with a social constructionist discourse as epistemological point of departure. By employing the qualitative research approach, different courses of action are used for collecting data for the research. Principles underpinning participatory action research are employed as part of a qualitative research method. The research is further informed by using mechanisms of the narrative approach which correlate well with the principles of participatory action research. This conversational approach is used to explore and describe meaningful alternatives to cope with loneliness. The main findings of the research are that women do experience loneliness after the loss of a spouse and that they have a need for an attachment figure to help them to cope with the loneliness.