Chronic sorrow: analysis of the concept


  • Cynthia S. Teel MSN RN

    Doctoral Candidate, Corresponding author
    1. Research Associate, College of Nursing, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Cynthia S Teel 1601 W Canyon Shadows Lane, Tucson Arizona 85737 USA


Emotionally close relationships can be disrupted at any time in the life cycle When a relationship of attachment is disrupted following an event that renders a loved one forever changed from the hoped-for child or from the known person, recurrent sadness, or chronic sorrow, is a frequently encountered response The genesis of sadness is one's recognition of a negative disparity between the person who was known prior to the onset of disability (or the imagined, hoped-for child) and the now-disabled person Though each episode of sadness resolves somewhat over time, renewed recognition of a negative disparity in the disabled loved one triggers sadness again Besides being recurrent, the sadness of chronic sorrow is also permanent, variable in intensity between situations and persons, and interwoven with periods of neutrality, satisfaction and happiness The concept is analysed and contrasted with the prevalent model of linear, time-bound grief