Communication Arts Professor Pens Essay on Complicated Grief


 Lynne M. Webb, Professor in Communication Arts, is lead author of the chapter “Communicative Coping with Ambiguous Death: The Search for Answers, Consolation, Acceptance,” recently published in Stories of Complicated Grief: A Critical Anthology. Her essay is an auto-ethnography appearing in the section “Death or Physical Loss of One’s Child.” Professor Webb, trained as a social scientist, describes communication with friends who helped her cope with the unexpected and unexplained death of her son Reed at age 13. Her co-author Paige W. Toller is a Communication professor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and is widely considered the leading national expert in communication surrounding the death of a child.

Stories of Complicated Grief is an interdisciplinary volume published by the National Association of Social Workers Press. The Press promotes the book as “an invaluable, unprecedented resource for clinicians, academics, and anyone grappling with the effects of complicated grief in their own life.” They describe the chapters as “powerful and moving in their own right, but notable in that they all highlight academic issues regarding the nature of loss and grief, shedding light on what it means to experience complicated grief while weaving in related topics such as cultural differences, stigma, shame, losses, and traumas other than death.”

The collection is edited by Eric D. Miller, a Psychology professor at Kent State University in Ohio specializing in adult coping with loss and trauma. Stories of Complicated Grief contains 21 chapters across 384 pages and is available on

Professor Webb (PhD, University of Oregon) conducts research on family communication, specifically in parent-child relationships. In August 2013, she joined the FIU Communication Arts faculty. Professor Webb teaches multiple courses at FIU including Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Management, and Communication in Social Media.

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