Lost But Never Forgotten: The Voices of Bereaved Parents of Vulnerable Road User Fatalities.
Children, pedestrians and pedacyclists are considered vulnerable road users, and are more likely to die in an auto crash. In 2009 244 child pedestrians and 74 child pedacyclists were killed in the United States (NHTSA, 2010). My study describes through the narratives of bereaved parents how they navigate grief and loss with an emphasis on how they make meaning of the ongoing nature of their loss. Eight parents who lost a child between 1992 and 2009 were interviewed in 2013. The interview data (along with data from social media and memorial websites) was analyzed from a symbolic interactionist perspective to gain insights into the subjective experiences of grief and meaning restructuring among this population of the bereaved. It may be concluded that such grief is prolonged, is complicated and consistent with extant grief literature and life-long in its effect on surviving parents. The death represents an event horizon from which parent grievers live out the rest of their lives. This study gives voice to a marginalized group of grievers and indicates a need for further research among populations of those affected by vulnerable road user fatalities.