Grief is forever. It is not temporary, something to be ‘fixed’ or ignored. How can the loss you feel for a loved one be forgotten after a year? a decade? more? Grief is an expression of the love you hold for another. It demonstrates the depth of emotion you have. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s human.
The institutionalisation of death has resulted in a collective misconstruction of grief within our society.
People are unprepared to let the grieving take place and instead, there is an expectation that those grieving hide their emotional depth and avoid showing their vulnerability. This is particularly true for grieving teenagers who are too often treated as either children or adults, when they are not. It alienates them and may discourage them from talking and dealing with their grief in the way that they choose, or need, to do. At a time of enormous physical and mental changes, when they are reevaluating their self-identity and relationship with their parents or carers, the death of someone they are close to is devastating.
This project explores ways in which adolescents are able to experience grief at different times after a close death by proposing the use of storytelling and rituals. In literature, both storytelling and rituals have been identified as a powerful resource for the personalisation of the grieving process. This is further augmented with the exploration of three different grieving rituals; honouring the death, letting go and self-transformation.
These would allow teenagers to experience and deal with feelings of sorrow and grief which can come crashing down with a frightening intensity. Using a human-centred design approach, the project allows the uncovering of the emotional and complex within grief. It allows adolescents the creation of their own journey with the awareness and skills to survive. I believe that design adds value to this area through the use of tools and methods in order to humanise the grieving experience.
View the full project here