Pam Reflects on Mourning in an Extended Greek Family

I share this insight about the weaknesses of my mourning capacities, culture and networks with a new friend, Pam, an Adelaide academic.

Dr Pam Papadelos, like Dr Alda Ngo, has a “hyphenated identity”. She is an Australian-born, second-generation Greek-Australian woman with links to a vast, extended Greek family. 

Pam explains that, like the culturally aware Vietnamese in Canada, culturally adept Australian Greeks (though not necessarily all members of the second generation) are knowledgeable about Greek customs and traditions around death. They know precisely how to memorialize the person in the months and years after their death. Pam experienced the exhumation of her paternal grandmother and the rituals related to collecting, washing, blessing, and sorting her bones.

She describes the “unspoken assumptions of shared values and beliefs and assumed knowledge of religious and cultural practices (mourning practices).”

While Greek-Australians face some complexities surrounding death and mourning, for those who seek it, a mourning support system exists in that community that can support a grieving person for years.

For Pam’s research on Greek mourning practices, see: Papadelos, P. (2019). Living between two cultures: reflecting on Greek orthodox mourning practices. Social Identities, 25(2), 254-268.


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About Dr Wendy Sarkissian