Community Grief Gatherings are based on the recognition that over the ages and across cultures, traditions around the world have always seen and experienced grief as a communal event. In western society, the pain of loss lingers for many people largely due to there being no space for it to be honoured beyond the context of a funeral and wake. Access to simple, non-sectarian gatherings, that are held in a safe and welcoming place, offers a powerful way to lift the heartache of grief while building community connection.
In 2021, the GCWA partnered with Women Within WA Inc. to design and prototype a Community Grief Gathering. The event was held internally and received excellent feedback from invited participants. The Centre now hosts Gatherings for the benefit of the broad community.
As a community-based, specialist grief support service, the GCWA is acutely aware of the increasing level of grief and loss being experienced in our community, much of it due COVID. These losses range from isolation from loved ones, restricted travel, absence from funerals and other key family events, relationship breakdown, and loss of finances and employment. Members of our community have also expressed the need to come together to share other non-death losses including environmental and species loss, the impacts of global warming, and a deep concern for the future and generations to come.
Collectively the circumstances above have identified the need to increase community access to care options that can support the mental health and wellbeing of people living with the heartache of grief.
The Grief Centre offers thanks to the City of Stirling for funding two Community Grief Gatherings; May 15 and June 12, both on a Sunday from 2-4pm.
Over the past 3 years I have experienced some significant losses in life, and the most recent was the death of my brother in South Australia in 2021. I was unable to travel to be with him due to flight restrictions brought about by the COVID pandemic. Being in another state and not seeing him or attending his funeral left me with a feeling of unreality and unresolved grief. I continued day to day with a heavy heart and sadness. I have always been a person to work things out on my own, but I felt like going along to this group and giving it a try.
Attending the Community Grief Gathering was an enormously positive experience for me. Since attending the Grief Gathering, I have felt a very real shift in my thinking regarding my brother's passing. I feel a peace about it and less sadness.
I was very impressed at the professionalism and knowledge of The Grief Guides who offered this event. At every point, The Grief Guides were quietly looking out for people’s wellbeing and by the end of the time, we all knew it was a safe place of compassion that we could return to or offer to our loved ones and friends. I commend the staff on their dedication and knowledge as we all need this support at some time in our lives. Ali R
To know more about our forthcoming Gatherings, or to be involved as a Grief Guide, please contact Erin our Coordinator via emailhereor you can give her a call on 0400265071.
The photos below are a snapshot of the Gathering held on May 15 at the Open Space in Carine. The Grief Guides for this event (pictured) welcomed the grieving community and guided the gathering process on an overcast but wonderfully dry afternoon. A scrumptious vegan grazing platter by Plandai was afterwards enjoyed by all to celebrate the collective honouring of grief.