• Coping with Death and Grief: Mount Zion Baptist Church Widows' Stories

      Bright, Eddie Lee; McAfee School of Theology
      ABSTRACT EDDIE LEE BRIGHT COPING WITH DEATH AND GRIEF: MOUNT ZION BAPTIST CHURCH WIDOWS’ STORIES Under the direction of DENISE M. MASSEY, PH.D. Three widows were selected from Mount Zion Baptist Church to participate in my thesis project on Death and Grief. Their stories are individually told respectively as shared by them during the interview sessions. Although a semi-structured format was used and open-ended questions were asked, their stories are conveyed in this writing through a narrative as opposed to a verbatim style. Three widows were chosen and deemed sufficient to satisfy this project and to attain the data necessary to organize the Death and Grief Ministry. Two distinctive criteria existed among the chosen participants: (1) Widows had to have been married more than half their years of age when their husbands died. This criterion enabled the project to specifically examine the effect a loss of a husband has on a widow in a relationship that lasted more than half of the existence of her life. (2) Widows must have had the same husband the entire length of their marriage, without separation and/or divorce, regardless of whether the remarriage was to the former husband. This project empowers widows to share their stories, including their thoughts and feelings concerning how their spouses’ death has affected them. Because the narration comes directly from the widows, the uniqueness of each woman’s plight has been demonstrated. These widows’ stories will also be used to educate the congregation and community on how to cope with death and grief based on their shared experiences and stories. The long-term intention of this project is to institute a Death and Grief Ministry at Mt. Zion.