loss

Dipping into the well.

A conversation with friends took me to a well the other day. We were walking in the Sydney sunshine along Bungaree’s Walkway at Middle Head, a natural pathway with extraordinary views around Sydney’s majestic harbour, when the conversation, idling unselfconsciously as they do, turned to grief. I was asked about my … Read more

Australia Day at Barangaroo today

At Barangaroo today

So what does Australia Day have to do with Good Grief, a page which is about grief and palliative care? A lot really. When the hurts of the past are denied, the past can’t be put to rest. Australians celebrate our national day today, January 26, when Captain Arthur Phillip … Read more

My Deer, Phoenix Park.

Phoenix Park, Ireland, pic courtesy National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Ireland.

That’s a full stop – a red stop sign with angled corners and a white line around it.  Resting here, my knees have buckled, in front of that sign you planted in my path. I have walked this space so confidently, happy to share what I know, to muck in. … Read more

Play School helps with stories about beginnings and endings.

Play School: Beginnings and Endings - courtesy Play School ABC

This morning Play School did something very special. It had an episode about new life and end of life. Emma, one of the presenters explained to an earlier television news audience that the team sought the guidance of experts on managing grief in children. Children deal with death in a … Read more

When the grief of a child is denied.

Why did Dad leave without saying goodbye?

Sadly, until recently children were often excluded from funerals, something we recognise today as harmful. Christine was only seven when her father died and she will never forget it.  But one emotion that loomed large for a long time after was anger – not because Fred had died but because … Read more

A Mexican Cross to remember Chris

A Mexican Cross to remember Chris by, made better for its imperfections, as he is buried today.

Today a Mexican Cross to remember Chris by, because later this morning, Sydney time, his family who are dear to my heart will bury him. They are a large Catholic family just like the one I grew up in and now he, one of the six siblings, is gone. If … Read more

Passing all Understanding

When I started interviewing people about their experiences of death, my selection process was a fairly random one. That was deliberate because I wanted the conversations to reflect life around me as it is in my country, in my time, in my culture – no pretence, no artifice, no filter. … Read more

Do you want to live for 1000 years?

Do you want to live for a thousand years?

It’s all about the radio today. Aubrey de Grey is a researcher who believes the first human being who will live for 1000 years has already been born. This morning I was reminded of de Grey when ABC radio interviewer Cassie McCullagh interviewed Professor John Rasko. Tonight, Professor Rasko will … Read more

Spiritual experiences around the time of death

Spiritual experiences around the time of death

  Spiritual experiences around the time of death can be very powerful. Sometimes these alert others that someone they love has died.  My friend Carolyn Parfitt shares a story that is a good example of this. “My husband and I were away camping in Kakadu National Park and we were … Read more

Stephen lives on

Stephen's Grandchildren

This week my friend Ellen’s deceased brother’s second grandchild was born. This little person was not just the physical expression of Stephen but there was something of his soul present as well. I felt the connection to Stephen even more strongly than the first time.

The Grieve Project

The Grieve Project

The Grieve Project is great because everyone who participates is a winner. When your reader connects with something you’ve said, something powerful is shared. But the best thing is, even if no-one else ever sees it, when we write about our grief, it’s easier to understand. When we write our … Read more

Birth is a beginning and death a destination…

My colleague and neighbour Andrew Casey was buried today, after a beautiful Jewish funeral service. His brother John observed that he still had his mop of rich brown hair – but lamented that he wished Andrew had lived long enough to go grey. Simple wisdoms flowed from the Old Testament, … Read more