‘Unmasking Grief’ – a new video series
Unmasking Grief is a new PCA-commissioned video series that sensitively illuminates the grief stories of four bereaved mothers. Hoping to make a difference for other families dealing with grief, Rachel, Yvonne, Bec and Angela bravely confront topics with dignity, grace, vulnerability, and humour.
This six-chapter video series not only highlights each woman’s unique experience of grief, but also the common bond of understanding and acknowledgement that grows when others living with grief share their story.
As one grieving parent told us, “Connection with other bereaved families can be more beneficial than what health professionals can sometimes provide. This is the most confusing, heart breaking, emotional roller coaster you can ride.”
Project lead, Dr Leigh Donovan, is highly regarded in Australia for her contribution to the field of bereavement in the context of paediatric palliative care and bereavement care.
“The Unmasking Grief video series not only remains true to the experience of each woman, it is an informative set of resources which will enrich the understanding of grief for those living this experience, and those that walk alongside the bereaved, including family and friends, health and social care professionals,” said Dr Donovan.
Having spent many years advocating for attention to the bereaved in our community, Dr Donovan says the video series will play an important role in enabling access to valuable resources that speak of the lived experience of what it means to confront the death of your child and make the devastating transition into life as a bereaved parent.
“This can be a time of immense confusion and many bereaved parents I’ve met feel like they are ‘going crazy’,” said Dr Donovan. “The more we speak about grief, the more comfort newly bereaved parents will find in knowing their experience is simply their unique response to the devastation of the death of their child.”
“These four bereaved mothers are living with grief, and always will, and have recorded their own experiences and insights as another step toward unmasking grief in our community,” said Dr Donovan.
“Through their stories, we witness the capacity of the human spirit to balance life and loss, sorrow and joy.”
The women involved in the production of Unmasking Grief see this work as a ‘call to action’.
“There is great fear and reluctance around confronting grief which leaves many so isolated in bereavement,” said Dr Donovan.
“However, when we begin to unmask this experience, as a community we become more confident in seeing grief as a natural, human experience and one that requires solidarity rather than disconnection.”
As a group living with the unimaginable and unbearable, the death of their child, the women talk about immense pain and confusion as they experienced first their child’s life limiting diagnosis; the anticipation of their child’s death; their child’s end of life and planning for their child’s funeral; the days, weeks, months following the death of their child; and the love and joy that began to emerge amongst the brokenness.
Join our call to action to Unmask Grief. View and share Unmasking Grief HERE.
Viewing these stories and confronting suffering may not be easy. When feeling vulnerable, some people find it helpful to lean into the comfort of trusted family and friends, a family doctor or counsellor.
If you are seeking urgent support, we encourage you to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.