Week 8: Coping With Grief and Loss

If you visit the National Archives, you can view the names of thousands of brave men and women who gave their lives for their country. Many names are forever engraved into monuments and in the hearts of families everywhere.

With military service comes the increased risk of experiencing grief and loss. It can come in all forms from traumatic to ambiguous loss. This week, you examine how military families cope with grief and loss.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Identify loss related to military families
  • Identify coping strategies related to grief and loss

Learning Resources

Required Readings

DeCarvalho, L. T., & Whealin, J. A. (2012). Healing stress in military families: Eight steps to wellness. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Step 6, “Process” (pp. 85–102)

Cohen, O., & Katz, M. (2015). Grief and growth of bereaved siblings as related to attachment style and flexibility. Death Studies, 39(1-5), 158-164. 

Kristensen, P., Weisaeth, L., & Heir, T. (2012). Bereavement and mental health after sudden and violent losses: A review. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 75(1), 76-97. 

Holmes, Allison K.; Rauch, Paula K.; Cozza, Stephen J.(2013). When a parent is injured or killed in combat. Future of Children, 23(2), 143-162.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014d). Coping with grief and loss [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 1 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload Transcript

Discussion 1: Coping With Grief and Loss

In film, there are many depictions of war, loss, and grief, but it in no way can it encapsulate every aspect of loss. Military families are susceptible to loss and multiple losses at that (e.g., loss of a limb, loved one, or a relationship). Therefore, helping professionals need to understand the types and depths of losses military families can experience. In addition, they need to understand how to approach military families who are grieving.

Grief is the response to loss and it can be very intense and very painful; the more significant the loss the greater the grief. Smaller losses also can lead to grief, such as moving or retiring. Military families also can experience ambiguous loss, such as a family member who is missing in action.

For this Discussion, think for a moment about all the changes, experiences, and losses a military family may experience in military life. As a helping professional, consider what you should know about losses for military families and how you can best support them through the lens of your specialization.

By Day 3

Post a description of a type of loss specific to military families. Explain what you might need to consider in dealing with a military spouse or family members dealing with this type of loss. Provide one coping strategy you might recommend to deal with this type of loss. Cite a scholarly resource to support your response.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.

By Day 5

Respond to two or more colleagues with your insights to any aspect of their posts.

Return to this Discussion to read the responses to your initial post. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

To complete your Discussion, click on Discussions on the course navigation menu, and select “Week 7 Forum” to begin.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 8 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 8 Discussion

Discussion 2: Children Coping With Grief and Loss

“Why isn’t daddy the same? He used to play with me before he left. Now he’s angry all the time and he ignores me. I miss him.”

“My mom has a blast injury. She doesn’t remember things as much anymore and she lost her arm. We all try and help her now. It scares me to look at her arm.”

“We were all watching television, me, my mom, and my brothers when the doorbell rang. It was two marines in uniform. I heard mom start to scream. I knew dad was never coming home. I was cold and scared. How come my hero isn’t coming home?”

How do you begin to help a child to cope with grief and loss related to military service?

Even though children may be aware that death is a possibility, what might a child think and feel and how might that child behave when dealing with the loss of a parent?

For this Discussion, review this week’s resources, and consider the answers to those questions.

By Day 4

Post two common reactions of children dealing with loss of a parent. Through the lens of your specialization, what considerations might you need to keep in mind as you provide support for children coping with grief and loss? Recommend one strategy for children coping with grief and loss of a military parent. Provide a scholarly resource to support your recommendation.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.

By Day 6

Respond to two or more colleagues with your insights to any aspect of their posts.

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