A 'normal' way to grieve?

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


A blog post written by Dr Georgia Rowley, Research Associate, ELDAC (End of Life Directions for Aged Care)

When I was seven, I experienced my first insights into death and the grieving process. It was our ‘pappou’ (grandpa). ‘Pappou’ died suddenly, in his 60’s, from a heart attack. I will always remember the seemingly unrelenting darkness that enveloped the household. ‘Yiayia’ (grandma) clad herself in black. She banished her colourful clothes from the home. For days, weeks, months, and years, the house and our family mourned the loss. The fog of bereavement held a tight grip for what felt like decades.

Initially, there were endless streams of visitors, a viewing conducted in the familial home, an open casket funeral. A multitude of religious mourning rituals were enacted on specified dates post-death (e.g. 40 days). Cemetery visits were ritualistic, and occurred daily during these early years. Music, TV, parties – myriad things which held connotations of enjoyment and pleasure - were shunned. Celebratory familial events like Easter and Christmas were clouded by mourning and lamentation. Unable to fully grasp the enormity of these events as a child, I did not until years later realise that this was perhaps not the way my non-Greek counterparts experienced death. Should bereavement follow a ‘normal’ course? What is appropriate after death? Did others feel compelled to ‘perform’ visible mourning rituals and engage in public displays of grief? Are all deaths bound by such heaviness and heartbreak? I pondered the impact of mourning on well-being, given the impact of cross-cultural differences...
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Number of pages2
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018


  • Grief
  • Death and dying
  • Bereavement
  • Cross-cultural differences
  • Coping


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