Children who are orphaned and vulnerable due to poverty, war, or disease (HIV/AIDS) may experience childhood traumatic grief. A qualitative phenomenological approach was implemented to explore and compare the lived experiences of orphaned children, adolescents, and caregivers who had used the Memory Book intervention at six children's homes in India, Kenya, and South Africa. Study findings revealed similar themes between the countries, with primary themes of identity and relationships, and secondary themes of coping, hope, and emotion. Findings suggest the value of Memory Book resources to encourage the preservation of a child's story and grief recovery that can be used for any child facing recovery from difficult life events.
Barbara J. Braband, EdD, RN, is an associate professor in nursing and RN-to-BSN program director at the University of Portland, Oregon. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in addition to an interdisciplinary theology course on suffering and an interdisciplinary course on social determinants of health.
Tamara Faris, MSN, RN, has spent the 12 years training caregivers of thousands of children experiencing loss and grief, and initiating the use of a simple scrapbook to preserve and tell children's stories in the U.S., Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America.
Kaye Wilson-Anderson, DNS, RN, is an associate professor of Nursing at the University of Portland and has been teaching nursing for 32 years. Currently, she is engaged in international teaching and research related to postabortion care and recovery.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Accepted by peer-review 10/24/2017.
Acknowledgment: The authors would like to express their gratitude to the University of Portland for internal institutional funding support. They also thank each of the children and caregiver participants at the children's homes in India, Kenya, and South Africa who shared their stories of grief and recovery. The authors wish them continued healing in their life journeys! Finally, they acknowledge the work of volunteers who have participated in the development, preparation, implementation, and distribution of Memory Books since 2005.
This research was originally presented at the Sigma Theta Tau 27th International Nursing Research Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, July 2016.