Dead Calm: Grief
People die. When it’s those dear to us, we each carry the task of reconciling life and death – theirs and ours. Grief is the name we give to that often sad, overwhelming process.
So, how well-equipped are we to deal with grief – and what more could we learn about it? Do we have the right emotional skills and social contexts to express our own sadness, and to recognise that of others? Can loss help us grow, or should we simply try to ‘move on’? And when factors like high Indigenous mortality rates are involved, how do death and grief affect different groups in different ways?
For the second instalment of our Dead Calm series, Hilary Harper hosts an honest conversation about death and bereavement. Grief counsellor and author Eliza Henry-Jones, community health worker and ‘death talker’ Molly Carlile and medical anthropologist Gregory Phillips enquire after more supportive and compassionate ways for people, communities, workplaces and governments to deal with lives ending.
Hilary Harper has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and 30 years’ experience in radio. She’s been at the ABC since 2005. She’s covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food.
Molly Carlile AM has worked in the palliative care sector as a specialist clinician, leader and senior manager for over thirty years. She has received multiple national and international awards, is a published author, international speaker and advocate for improving community death literacy in order to build compassionate and supportive communities for people living with a terminal illness or grieving the loss of someone they love. Her latest book The Death Talker has been used widely as a source of information and inspiration. Molly is Chief Executive Officer of Palliative Care South East Ltd. and sits on a number of DHHS advisory and policy committees.
Gregory Phillips is from the Waanyi and Jaru peoples, and comes from Cloncurry and Mount Isa. He is a medical anthropologist, with thirty years’ experience in leading change in cultural safety, healing and decolonisation.
Gregory is Chief Executive Officer of ABSTARR Consulting, is a Professor of First People’s Health, and serves on several boards and committees, including chairing the Ebony Institute, the Cathy Freeman Foundation and AHPRA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health strategy group.
Eliza Henry-Jones is the author of In the Quiet and Ache. Her latest novel, P is for Pearl, is her first for young adults.
Eliza worked for years with high-risk children and families in the drug and alcohol sector and has qualifications in English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling. Her non-fiction has appeared in the Guardian, the Age, Daily Life and the Big Issue, among other places. She lives on a small farm in the Yarra Valley.