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A Space for Mothers: Grief as Identity Construction on Memorial Websites Created by SIDS Parents
Omega: Journal of Death and Dying (2011)
  • Christopher J Finlay
  • Guenther Krueger
In this article we conduct a textual analysis of memorial websites created by mothers who have experienced a loss due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Using an online Internet ethnographic approach, we reviewed a series of 20 sites in an attempt to analyze the motivations of the site creators as manifested in their online projects. We spent time on the sites, moving through all facets of them, following links, and experiencing them the way a visitor would encounter them. In this virtual exploration we uncovered personal narratives, community building, religious imagery, and numerous examples of social networking. We also analyzed guest books in order to understand who visits these sites and their reasons for doing so. We conclude that development of these sites are a process that helps some mothers in their grief and gives them a focus and activity that is helpful and perhaps healing. More importantly perhaps is the potential for community building and networking that this type of activity allows. As an extension of a real-world memorial such as a gravesite, a virtual mourning space provides more in the way of these types of communications. Our work suggests that memorial websites constructed by SIDS parents help in meaning and identity reconstruction after loss.
  • online expressions of grief; virtual ethnography; social media; computer mediated communication; SIDS; online communities
Publication Date
Citation Information
Christopher J Finlay and Guenther Krueger. "A Space for Mothers: Grief as Identity Construction on Memorial Websites Created by SIDS Parents" Omega: Journal of Death and Dying Vol. 63 Iss. 1 (2011)
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