This important book gives voice to an emerging consensus among bereavement scholars that our understanding of the grief process needs to be expanded. The dominant twentieth-century model holds that the function of grief and mourning is to cut bonds with the deceased, thereby freeing the survivor to reinvest in new relationships in the present. Pathological grief has been defined in terms of holding on to the deceased.
Close examination reveals that this model is based more on the cultural values of modernity than on any substantial data of what people actually do.
Presenting data from several populations, twenty-two authors - among the most respected in their fields - demonstrate that the healthy resolution of grief enables one to maintain a continuing bond with the deceased. Despite cultural disapproval and lack of validation by professionals, survivors find places for the dead in their ongoing lives and even in their communities. Such bonds are not denial; the deceased can provide resources for enriched functioning in the present.