The death of a loved one disrupts family-members’ occupational lives. This paper explores the role and course of occupation during a time when my nephew died. A qualitative research methodology, autoethnography, is used to develop the narrative. I found that familiar occupations lost meaning during this time and even seemed absurd. Paradoxically, occupation helped forge a vital pathway back to health and reconstruction of meaning. Four stages of occupation during a family crisis are proposed: maintenance, dissolution, ambivalence, and restoration and adaptation. Reflections on occupational therapists’ role during family crises are discussed, as are implications for further research.
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Copyright © 2005 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.