Surviving What?: Too Many Funerals

Attendance at too many funerals affects the physical, spiritual, social and cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

Sometimes ya going to two funerals in one day, if you’re lucky, the same cemetery. They hold one in the morning 10 o clock at the church and then 11 o clock at the cemetery. Ya go to the wake of that one at lunch time, have a feed. Then ya head off to the church, tryin to git there at half past 1 to the next funeral. I tell ya it sure knocks ya around, well it knocked the stuffin outta me anyway.”

rsz_1105842-3x2-940x627As mentioned earlier, colonisation has had a devastating impact on Aboriginal people, affecting them in a holistic way. Their attendance at too many funerals affects their physical, spiritual, social and cultural wellbeing. One participant gave the following reason for not keeping her appointment to be interviewed:

“I was just too tired and worn out to meet with ya the other day. Too many funerals. Just too many funerals and it all just sorta caught up with me. It’s a big strain on our emotions I think, which makes ya so tired and I dunno, just feel weak as.”

Another participant during January discussed the funerals he had attended the previous year, he was hoping to have a much better year:

“Happy New Year to you too. I just hope this year is better than the last. It was a bad year for me and my family last year. Too many funerals, we had too many funerals. I buried two of me younger brothers. One at the beginning of the year and one towards the end. They were both in their late 40s too. My brothers, they never made it to 50.

Towards the end of the year was worser than any other time. I went to seven funerals in a row startin with me brothers later on in the year.”

A funeral every Friday for a month. One week there was one on the Thursday and the Saturday of that same week. So we started on Thursday then travelled to one in the country on the Friday and come back home and went to another one on the Saturday.

Sometimes ya going to two funerals in one day, if you’re lucky, the same cemetery. They hold one in the morning 10 o clock at the church and then 11 o clock at the cemetery. Ya go to the wake of that one at lunch time, have a feed. Then ya head off to the church, tryin to git there at half past 1 to the next funeral. I tell ya it sure knocks ya around, well it knocked the stuffin outta me anyway.”

The impacts of colonialism are quite clear in the experiences above. However, all experiences demonstrate how many Aboriginal people have survived and continue to survive on a daily basis, showing that survival is clearly a major resilience factor for Aboriginal people.

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