Having meaningful conversations about systemic racism and social immobility can connect people as much as the act of absorbing someone else’s microcosm of grief and relating to it. Ideally, I think, the conversations should encompass both the macro issues and the micro everyday scenes: acknowledging the social values that might hinder social change and communicating the process of witnessing everyday pain that reminds us of our shared humanity.
Returning again to the ethnography by Conklin that started my thinking on this issue, the experience of compassionate cannibalism of the Wari spoke to the collective experiences of saying goodbye in a way that is supported culturally and emotionally. This exemplified a place of grief where both individual and collective experience were privileged equally.
Comparing my own experiences of death to those of the Tiwi culture that I learned of in my anthropology studies, the void that I felt in the months since the passing of my father has manifested as feelings of disbelief, isolation and under-preparedness -- prompting me to write this blog.