The general public's view of bereavement in Israel was studied by means of a series of vignettes describing various reactions of a man at mid-life alternately to the death of an adult son and then to the death of a spouse. Respondents believed that the bereaved were particularly affected when the deceased was an adult child; functioning was impaired; and the relationship to the deceased was conflictual. A continuing relationship to the deceased was considered normative five years after death. Implications for theory and clinical practice are offered.