Re-Storying My Experiences of Grief: An Autoethnography
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Grief is often misunderstood and feared in Western society, leading to the disenfranchisement, isolation, and marginalisation of the bereaved, their families, and communities. In this thesis, I use the autoethnographic method to explore how my own grieving process after the death of my sister by suicide has been shaped by dominant discourse. I explore how connecting with Nature and Her metaphors can create a sense of belonging, interdependence, and healing. Moreover, I engage with contemporary grief theories and models to explore how our society’s focus on the individual and the need to “move on” after a loved one’s death can create a sense of alienation and disempowerment, and how we can resist such oppression. I turn to other cultures and nations to find lessons in how to grieve in a more relational, communal manner through ritual and ceremony. I then share my interactions with such narrative practices as “remembering conversations” and “definitional ceremony” to propose a structure and method of inquiry to facilitate a re-storying of a griever’s relationship with their deceased loved one. This privileging of the deceased’s voice in the bereaved’s life and introducing them to members of their “club of life” can lead to a renewed sense of agency, relational identity, and transformation for both the teller and the listener.