Different cultural and religious groups have their ways of performing all the daily life functions. Every gathering is handled differently based on ethics, culture, and beliefs. I belong to Vietnam and knew only about the culture, customs, and beliefs about my culture only before. Recently, one of my friends who belong to the Indigenous group of Australians, his grandmother died.
My friend's grandmother died last week and he used to love her a lot. She was an old lady so my friend used to give her medications as required and food to eat. He used to take care of her in all respects that a grandson should. I went to her funeral when I came to know that she has died because I know my friend was not able to handle himself. There, I observed that different communities have different cultures and traditions (Panich, 2015). Especially, the Aboriginal community shares different beliefs and traditions of handling any kind of event. They had a different culture for the funeral, but their idea after the funeral was to ensure the safe passage of spirit into the next life and prevent the spirit from causing and returning mischief (Van, 2016). They used the phrase ‘sorry business’ to mourning and funeral rituals around the death of her. Funerals are the communal events that Aboriginal people conduct of their dead ones. The ceremony lasted for weeks and several days but was completely different from my culture (Van, 2016).
He was having a good relationship with her grandmother like any other. It was a very difficult situation for him to experience the death of a special person. For the first time, he experienced grief and was thus an overwhelming and confusing time for him. I supported him while he was grieving for loss (Davis, 2018). He was bereaved with many painful and intense emotions that made him feel uncomfortable. I was worried before I grieved my friend about the way and what to say, it is very important to listen. I didn’t talk to him about death and changed the subject when a deceased person was mentioned. But the bereaved need to feel that their loss was acknowledged, it was not terrible to talk about, and their loved one can is not forgotten. He cried on my shoulder by I said everything calmly and passionately (Ting, 2016). I was simply sitting there and become a huge source of healing and comfort. I did not force to open everything and let my friend grieve to openly express their feelings. My starting was with the sentence that “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you”. I was patient because I felt that was the same story that my friend has to tell everyone. Everyone must also understand that grief is an intensely individual experience and one cannot claim that he/ she knows what the other person is feeling (Balmer, Frey & Gott et al., 2020). The whole time, I concentrated on listening to him instead of asking my friend to tell how he was feeling at the right moment. I helped him doing specific tasks such as funeral arrangements and by being there to hang out with or as a shoulder to cry on.
I realized that this is the way to have a connection between religious and cultural believes and provide emotional support to him as well as his family (Snodgrass, Most & Upadhyay, 2017). I helped him because I was afraid of him being disconnected, depressed, and confused. It was a concerning situation, I followed all these steps so that open communication can be done, and he should express distressing feelings. This was done because it encourages self-expression and gives cues to deal with the situation (Seiuli, 2015).
Hence, this was the story about my friend’s grandmother’s death and the way I consoled my friend on her death. It is a tough situation to handle your friend and family member at the time of death of their loved ones. The only thing that could be done is to sit calmly and quietly in the situation and provide emotional support to others.
Balmer, D. G., Frey, R., Gott, M., Collier, A., & Boyd, M. (2020). A place to live and to die: A qualitative exploration of the social practices and rituals of death in residential aged care. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 0030222820935217. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0030222820935217
Davis, J. A. (2018). Durithunga: Growing, nurturing, challenging, and supporting urban Indigenous leadership in education (Doctoral dissertation, Queensland University of Technology). https://eprints.qut.edu.au/115810/
Panich, L. M. (2015). "Sometimes They Bury the Deceased's Clothes and Trinkets": Indigenous mortuary practices at mission Santa Clara de Asís. Historical Archaeology, 49(4), 110-129. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03376983
Seiuli, B. M. S. (2015). Ua taffeta le tau'ofe: Samoan cultural rituals through death and bereavement experiences (Doctoral dissertation, University of Waikato). https://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/9233
Snodgrass, J. G., Most, D. E., & Upadhyay, C. (2017). Religious ritual is good medicine for Indigenous Indian conservation refugees. Current Anthropology, 58(2), 000. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeffrey_Snodgrass/publication/314275704_Religious_Ritual_Is_Good_Medicine_for_Indigenous_Indian_Conservation_Refugees_Implications_for_Global_Mental_Health/links/5a09ae71458515afc7b0e2ff/Religious-Ritual-Is-Good-Medicine-for-Indigenous-Indian-Conservation-Refugees-Implications-for-Global-Mental-Health.pdf
Ting, R. S. K. (2016). Celebrating life and death: Resiliency among post-earthquake Tibetans’ religious community. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 44(2), 124-132. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F009164711604400203
Van der Pijl, Y. (2016). Death in the family revisited: Ritual expression and controversy in a Creole transnational mortuary sphere. Ethnography, 17(2), 147-167. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1466138116647226
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