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Cultural considerations around death and grief

Culture impacts the internal experience-- and external expression-- of grief. Just because someone is of a certain culture, we cannot assume precisely how they will grieve. However, individuals do tend to adopt the beliefs and values of their cultural context. As a result, following a death, grief responses will vary from person to person. This is particularly relevant in communities in which there are individuals from various cultural backgrounds. Often, families develop their own practices and rituals when a loss has occurred. It is important to keep in mind that in some instances, an individual or a family may express their grief in ways that appear to be in conflict with contextual norms or with your own beliefs or values. Nevertheless, each individual and each family deserves to grieve in ways that feel right to them. Here are some points to keep in mind around how culture can impact the experience and expression of grief within the families you care for.