This study describes what Japanese mothers experience after losing a child to cancer. Twenty-four Japanese women who had lost a child to cancer were interviewed periodically, and qualitative methods were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that the mothers experienced a numbing of emotions that was followed by a grieving period that included depression and difficulties dealing with the outside world. As they moved out of depression, however, the mothers started changing their emotional state, recognizing the positive aspects of their experience, and feeling that they were able to control their situations and that their deceased children were "all right." As a result, they constructed a story of their children's lives and deaths in relation to their own lives. The waves of sadness that they experienced continued but gradually stabilized.
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