Following a pregnancy, most parents will make plans to enjoy the pregnancy, birth, and care of their child. The baby’s untimely death shatters these dreams. Overwhelmed and traumatized, the father will experience the tragic loss deeply and profoundly and will always remember his daughter even while he is pushed into the shadow of death and is forgotten by others. The proposed project for the Project Grant for Researchers is the theological responses to the loss of a child born early and/or stillborn, specifically from a male perspective.
Although scholars examine the general grieving and mourning process in the practice of ministry, there is little emphasis on the grieving processes of the father who has experienced the loss of a child. This is especially true when one considers the available theological resources. This project seeks to explore biblical, ethical, and theological responses and reflections on the loss of a child, specifically from a male perspective. The question that drives this project is, “How can the academy and the church address a man’s profound experience when he loses a child?”
Only rarely will couples talk meaningfully about such a loss, thus exacerbating loss. If such conversations do take place, they are usually started and continued by women. Men will rarely begin this conversation, and will often give the impression that they are unaffected by the loss of a child. Nothing could be further from the truth. With these conversations taking place neither in the church nor in the Academy, where then does the man turn to deal with the pain, loss, and sorrow?
Continuing this disregard contributes to the breakdown of the family, continuing emotional, and a psychological despondency that will continue as they live in the shadow of death. This project addresses the lack of attention given to bereaved men who can be found both in the academy and in churches.