'Ambiguous loss' a distinct form of grief in case of missing Florida firefighters

  • Source: First Coast News
  • Published: 08/27/2019 12:00 AM

The family of missing Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighter Brian McCluney remains unflinching in their faith. “I believe in a God of miracles,” said Stephanie McCluney, Brian McCluney wife, at a press conference on Friday. But McCluney’s family is also showing signs that their faith is tempered by resignation that their loved one and his close friend, Justin Walker of Virginia, might not have survived. Both firefighters have been missing since a fishing trip on Friday, Aug. 16. “Brian was a generous and kind man," his mother told the media, speaking conspicuously in the past tense. "He had charisma and he drew people in.” That conflict of uncertainty, says grief expert Rachel Weinstein of Jacksonville, places the firefighters’ families in a situation called “ambiguous loss”. "That happens when you have lost something and yet there’s an inconclusive nature to it, like, for example, our missing firefighters,” Weinstein explained to First Coast News on Monday, just hours after the family’s media conference.


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