Toward a greater understanding
Coming soon and periodically appearing on this blog, we will explore grief traditions from around the world. These will be provided by Cynthia Daniel who recently joined Kate’s Club as Program Director. Daniel brings more than a decade’s worth of hands-on experience dealing with childhood bereavement. She is also a renowned speaker and presenter on grief who has studied world religions and specialized in pediatric oncology as a clinical chaplain.
As we begin with this initial post, courtesy of Cynthia, we invite you to share grief traditions from your culture, religion, and/or family. By hearing from others, we may all seek a greater level of understanding as grief is a truly unique and deeply personal process.
Birth and death are experienced by all life. Loving another human being is common to all cultures. Death, dying, grief and bereavement are each distinct aspects of one common human experience. Culture can be defined as broadly as a geographic region or religious tradition, and culture can be defined as finely as an individual within a family. One’s culture encompasses basic beliefs, habits, food, language, self-expression. Culture informs how an individual reacts and responds to death, dying, loss, grief and bereavement.
Tolerance is one step toward becoming culturally aware, and there are further steps that are imperative: sensitivity, understanding, curiosity, openness, respect, harmony.
The most important consideration in cultural and religious sensitivity is openness to understanding. Learning about others’ traditions does not require academic study of world religions or cultural practices— it simply requires the willingness to inquire:
– What are your beliefs about what happens after death?
– Does your tradition believe in…?
– How does your family respond to death? What about that helps you or confuses you?
– Do you feel that people make assumptions or judgments about your tradition/culture?
– If so, what is that like?
– What do you wish you could say to the world about your experience of grief?
Again, we invite you to join the conversation as we explore grief traditions from around the world.