• Unpacking my mother : an autoethnography

      Clayton-Schnitker, Cindi S.
      This thesis is an autoethnography that focuses on the communicative consequences of the early loss of one woman's mother and the ways in which the loss of one's mother is disclosed to others. Early mother loss becomes part of a woman's identity, shaping the woman and mother she becomes. I provide a review of the current grief studies literature, primarily within the context of gender dynamics and throughout the lifespan. Additionally, I provide the theoretical framework of Communication Privacy Management (CPM) and look at various studies that engage in CPM, particularly in the ways we manage issues of grief. Then, I clarify my methodological approach of autoethnography and look at how autoethnographic research can be beneficial to exploring mother loss. I share my narrative accounts and memories about my mother and the loss of her. Particularly, I recount storied episodes with family and friends, providing moments of insight into how I disclose information about my mother, our relationship, and my loss. Finally, I conclude with a discussion of how my autoethnographic reflections can contribute to larger discussions about mother-daughter relationships and bereavement.