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The Last Chapter: The Different Ways We Say Goodbye

Thursday, March 24, 2016

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Grief is a very personal experience for each individual. It has no set pattern and will depend on a number of factors including cultural approaches and beliefs.

There are different ways to say goodbye to family members and loved ones who have passed away. Some people have customs within their community that may not be familiar to you, and so it’s important to try to support them in a way that is sensitive to their religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds.

Individuals grieve the loss of someone close to them inwardly but also mourn outwardly in a more public way in accordance with the customs and rituals of their culture and religion.

Understand Grief in its Various Forms

According to Grieflink, you can begin to understand the grief of a person from a different cultural background to yours if you learn from them, their friends and family about the customary ways to express grief within their culture.  

Gaining an insight into the accepted forms of grief within another individual’s culture enhances your own understanding of the emotions they may be experiencing. It can also shield against your own judgments of what to expect from them throughout their grieving process.

Some cultures and religions may require a set period of mourning. Others may have particular guidelines on how a deceased individual’s body must be prepared before their funeral. There are some religions that forbid cremation while others require it.

Supporting Those Grieving

How can you help a person who is grieving? Beyond Blue suggests that the simple offer of kindness and support to someone who is grieving may be the most important way to help them. Ask how they are feeling, not just in the first few days and weeks of their loss, but in the months and even years that follow, should they still be experiencing feelings of grief.

Listen to them talk about their feelings without judgment. This provides them a safe space to share their experience in the way they feel comfortable doing so, with no expectations.

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