Re-membering Conversations

Introducing re-membering conversations

by Tileah Drahm-Butler

Re-membering reciprocal relationships

by Chris Dolman

A reflection from Aunty Barbara Wimgard

Now please read a reflection from Aunty Barbara about Chris’ video:

Bringing lost loved ones into our conversations: Talking about loss in honouring ways.

Who’s your mob? Aboriginal mapping: Beginning with the strong story

This article by Justin Butler describes ways in which his conversations are guided by Aboriginal worldviews and narrative therapy:

Who’s your mob? Aboriginal mapping: Beginning with the strong story‘ by Justin Butler


Saying hullo again when we have lost someone we love

This chapter, by David Denborough, explores ways of ‘Saying hullo again when we have lost someone we love

It’s from a book called ‘Retelling the stories of our lives: Everyday narrative therapy to draw inspiration and transform experience’

Carolynanha Johnson

Having a yarn with those who’ve passed on.

This short piece of writing by Carolynanha Johnson is about having a yarn with those who have passed on.

Creative Letters to Elders of my Past and Present

In this video Annette Dudley describes a project about writing letters to significant Elders who have influenced her on my life journey.

Re-membering Practices

Now please read this article from Paul Martin about Re-membering Practices.

Reflecting on re-membering conversations

by Tileah Drahm-Butler

This Post Has 68 Comments

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    This section made me think about the value of re-membering as part of the counselling process. I was think about a boy I see who has been removed from his parents and now other family members, and was thinking about the importance of documenting his strength, resilience and other positive attributes as part of his story, as well as giving him the chance to re-member strengths of people in his past.

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    Nathel Fishlock

    Re-membering has inspired myself to write about my elders of my mob . Grief is much more explanatory if we put down our words and feelings in a letter to the one we have lost. Thank you you have inspired me to continue my studies here .

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    Michael Mcneill

    I really enjoy the letters of Annette Dudley, when we remember our past and create our story of how it impacts our lives we honour our elders and create positive futures

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    This section has made me reflect on the stories of my grandfather who passed away before I was born. I wonder whether I should rely on his strength life story to nourish my own life and story. He was persecuted for his beliefs as a minority but didn’t recant his Faith. I think his story makes me a stronger person with a sense of pride. Re-membering has brought this to the surface for me.

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    Very much enjoyed learning about re-membering and how to approach grief and loss as David Denborough outlined in saying hello again. I wish I had learnt some of this sooner for practice in grief and loss, where I have felt that I have floundered and where ACT has not always been appropriate. To be able to rephrase grief to be a place of comfort of re-membering (and allowed to sit with this, as opposed to ‘get over it’) versus the ‘tidal wave’ and ‘sludge’ that some people have told me that it is for them. I am looking forward to trying to incorporate this into practice and value this knowledge that you have shared with me.

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    debbie webster

    Re-membering is an inspiring and thought-provoking unit in this course. The impact of Grief varies greatly with individuals with all of us having different ways of dealing with it and is it something that many people in this world have been touched by. It is very apparent that telling stories of lost loved ones helps to heal.

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    I have been really inspired by this section, particularly Chapter 8 – Saying Hello Again When We Have Lost Someone We Love. Both Mary and John’s stories and the questions that Michael put forward will certainly help me in my own practice when working and having conversations with people around grief and loss. Most powerful for me in this section though was when Mary was asked “Was saying goodbye helpful?” (After five years of trying to work through her grief in therapy to move on) followed by “Maybe saying hello was a better idea?” Saying goodbye and then saying hello again is something I will now consider. As well, the story of Almas and her responses to the series of questions continued to allow me to reflect again on my own practice, my own experiences, beliefs and values. Behaviors associated with expressing grief can be very much culturally bound and Alma’s experience highlighted this. For her, she followed her heart and what felt right to her as she moved through the months following her husband’s death.

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    Sandra Owen

    Re-membering is a powerful section of your course. Grief is tricky as it impacts us all. I can see by telling these stories of loved ones lost can empower healing through powerful memory journeys. I like the idea and the insights people achieve should be valuable.

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    I really like the concept of re-membering our learning from those who have passed or those who perhaps we are now less connected to because of time and space and distance. The cultural practice of stories from elders is such a rich and treasured one as described in this module. I particularly loved the emphasis on hearing stories of overcoming hardship and those of resilience as having particular currency in modern life. I wonder how often young people become disconnected from their elders because they lose the understanding of the relevance of these stories to them in modern life.
    The use of creative letters as a therapeutic practice intrigues me also.

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    I love the focus of re-membering; re – to do something again, go back; and member- the pieces, the parts, different elements; so to re-member is to put the pieces back together, not in the same way but bringing the memories, the love, the feelings even the regrets together so we can move ahead into a new way of being.

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    Chantelle M

    This section has been incredibly self-reflective and inspiring. To read about how we can bring those we have loved and lost, back into our lives, to remember them, the impact they have had on our life and the impact we have had on their life and how our identity and stories are influenced by them has been amazing. I hope I can bring these skills into my practice, and even in my own life, to help me reconnect and “Say hullo again”.
    I really enjoyed listening to Annette’s letters and the ideas she shared about letter writing.

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    Almost a year ago I lost a close friend to suicide. Lately, I have found myself recalling things we did together, remembering conversations we had and having alternate conversations in my head of things I wish I had the opportunity to say.
    This session has been so helpful in prompting me to stop and record these things in a journal – something I am usually terrible at doing. It is amazing how simple acts like writing to a particular feeling or thought can help me externalise and release it. I am so glad to be learning about this approach, as I can already see so many ways it is helpful to my self-care practices and to my ability to support children and young people in school settings where I work.

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    What an amazing way to explore and heal, sharing these stories and being able to relate a little to each of them individually is a fantastic way I can support students through grief and loss.

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    I think this was a brilliant component. We are all made up of the people around us and narrative therapy allows us to connect through the stories of the people who make us who we are. Finding the parts of us in other people to help understand the way we view the world and furthermore how we respond to issues and using them to find strength.

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    Bringing lost loved ones into conversations was a powerful concept as it reframes experiences of bereavement and grieving. I straight away applied this to my own experience of grieving a loved one and will definitely use this in my practice. The fact that this project is ongoing and we were invited to share our stories was very inspiring and I have a mind to offer my story to the collection. Thankyou.

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      forgot my details

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    Jessica Rodaughan

    Another incredibly inspiring module. It reminds me of the loss of both my grandfathers, where I chose to write a poem to honour them and all that I cherished about them. The concepts shared by Annette and Chris will definitely be useful in practice when working with grief and loss. Thank you so much.

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    Eugene Ford

    I really really enjoyed this unit, particularly Barbara Wingard’s piece on the importance of naming the political elements of peoples lives then, in turn contextualizing those elements so the individual does not feel defined by these elements. I also loved Chris Dolman’s discussions about naming and contextualizing the power imbalances that exist in Aboriginal people’s lives, before highlighting how these power imbalances can influence their understanding of how grief, loss and trauma should be processed and understood (thereby alleviating even more shame).
    I’m still mulling over the same question of how I can ask these questions (“what does grief look like?”, “how long have you had depression?”) without sounding condescending or dismissive. Practice makes perfect I suppose!

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    Cynthy Reese

    There is so much content in this module – all of it is valuable, the narratives rich and the re-membering precious. So glad I persisted in working my way through the content. Right at the end I was drawn into such a strong moment of stillness as I realised just how re-membering can be such a personal and powerful practice for us as practitioners. Thankyou Annette and Paul.

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    Shayla Dube

    The Hullo metaphor resonated with me the most because the saying goodbye often adds suffering as it emphasizes termination, ending, hopelessness and helplessness and remembering beacons more doors of hope and light, which are infinite. Being raised in a culture when children were not included in the grief conversations but somehow expected to be ok, I found this chapter so powerful. I also enjoyed Justin Butler’s paper on mapping and found the questions asked so empowering.

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    Kate Coomber

    I really enjoyed the writings and observations for Re-membering Conversations. They have reminded me of the time a few years ago when I was working as a funeral arranger and a family wanted to dress their elder. They were Wurundjeri women and their elder had requested to be dressed in head to toe Nike. As the women dressed her, combed her hair and did her make-up there was a lot of talking about and remembering this lady for how great her influence was, how important her presence and how unifying a figure in their lives. It was a beautiful and happy conversation. And the influence and presence of this elder was felt very clearly in the room. Re-membering Conversations and Saying Hello Again are so important in keeping a persons’ presence in the lives of those still living.

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    I think the most important theme in these reflections is the importance of spending time with people, to allow the space and time for stories to be told. I love a quote from one of the Port Lincoln Support Group, that describes grief as ‘A place to fall over and sit down’. While written stories are useful, most of my clients prefer oral stories. I valued the information about ‘Just Therapy’ – thanks Chris, I will follow up to learn more about this. Intergenerational trauma is a fundamental element of the stories of so many people, especially our First Nations. It is so important to acknowledge and understand these stories.

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    Thank you for sharing your stories Annette, it truly is a beautiful way to remember & honour those that have passed. Writing is also a very therapeutic way to heal, your reflective stories were inspiring & full of hope.

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    Shamini Abeykoon

    The concept of reciprocity and gratitude and remembrance isn’t a novice to me. Being brought up in a South Asian culture at an extremely young age remembering and honoring our elders and their sacrifices was taught to us. Writing letters to our elders, as an initiation to grieve, and furthermore referring to Barbara Wimgard reflection I agree that in some cultures grieving is discouraged. “move on” “get over” there is discomfort in talking about pain and grievance hence promoting unhealthy silence. This method of writing letters takes the discomfort of talking to someone else but still finds a method to address pain and grief.

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    Anna Ueda

    In my culture, which is heavily influenced by Buddhism, respecting, praying for, and thanking ancestors are ingrained. However, writing letters to remember and honor departed ancestors was a very new and inspiring idea. In tracing back my family history, there were several departed family members that have influenced me greatly. I am very excited to try this practice out myself. Considering the Aboriginal families and Indigenous Peoples in the world who were deprived of their lands, identity, dignity, pride, and all the tangible and intangible losses that they have experienced forced me to reflect on my own privileges.

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    Bailey Maly

    Discussing grief has always been an area of difficulty for me. I will definitely be adding remembering reciprocal relationships to conversations about grief and introducing the exercise of letter writing to our loved ones who have passed. Both in my work with clients and in my personal life.

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    Rachel Trout

    In this section I particularly enjoyed reading Barbara Wingard’s reflection Chris Dolman’s paper, specifically her emphasis on naming injustices as a way to acknowledge the impact of these injustices on current lives. Including this in discussion about loss seems to be a way to honor the struggles of those who have passed on, and as a future counselor I hope to hold space for these memories as part of helping my future clients move through their losses. Thank you for sharing these valuable insights through this training.

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