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What is grief?

What is grief?

Grief comes when we lose someone or something that is very important to us. It is a natural response to a serious loss. This loss can be of a job, or any number of things that bring a big change to our lives.

We all grieve in different ways. Aboriginal people have experienced terrible losses over the past 250 years including of country, culture, identity, and way of life. Today one of the saddest losses is the loss of a loved one. Due to the compounded grief and the gap in life expectancy, many Aboriginal people are in constant grief.

If you are working with Aboriginal people going through grief, it is important to know some of the key facts about grief and loss for Indigenous Australians.

The Rising Spirits Project defines grief for Aboriginal people as:

“Grief is deep, intense, enduring suffering from the loss of life of a person of significance. People also experience grief over losing aspects of their life which they hold dear. Grieving is compounded by intergenerational trauma of collective loss, stemming from colonisation and structural inequality. This trauma has involved shame and the loss of cultural identity, as land and children have been stolen and connections with family, community and languages broken. The family structure and the passing on of culturally inherited roles have been damaged. People and communities grieve about having suffered physical and mental violence, having been denied loving relationships, and lost power, confidence, self-esteem and hope.“

Click on the links below for some more information on what grief is:

Grief and Loss: Help for Aboriginal People Going Through Grief Booklet

ADAC Sorry Business Grief and Loss

Lifeline – Loss & Grief