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  • Debi Lewinson Roberts


What is the one thing that we all have in common but typically don't talk about? Everyone will go through this thing at some point in their lives and it will affect each person in a different way. And if there are mitigating factors, it can almost be unbearable. So, what is this thing that we all go through? This thing is our grief. When it comes to bereavement, we tend not to talk about our grief because we think no-one will understand what we're going through and that publicly expressing how we feel 'is not the done thing' as we're meant to show emotional resilience. So imagine a chilly evening in early February, in a packed room of up to 20 individuals from the local community in Wolverhampton's ACCI Centre. Why the gathering? Everyone came to watch a film aptly entitled 'Our Grief'. After sampling the delicious food available which was cooked with an ‘extra special sprinkling of love’ by one of the women featured in the film, those in attendance sat together in unison. No-one knew how the film would land or what would be brought to the surface, but together the film was viewed in silence, in darkness and in anticipation. Our Grief is a powerful short film, by acclaimed filmmaker Nicola Cross, Director and Editor that spotlights the experiences of middle-aged black women who have experienced grief and loss. It empowered the participants to feel connected to others, to be able to express their hidden emotions, and to give themselves moments of self-care and self-comfort. The film has a way of being a platform that allows those who view it to not only acknowledge their own grief, but to talk about it in a way that allows them to feel comforted in the space. We went round the circle giving everyone the time to share how the film had impacted them, many shared personal stories about who they had lost, what they had been through in the past, current woes and future concerns and it was agreed that Black grief is an area that needs more enlightenment. The topics around lived experiences ranged from the lack of cultural understanding from the medical profession, from therapists and from funeral directors to documenting our wishes for when we pass on and ensuring that our next generation is fully immersed in the traditions that have gone before them. As was done with those participating in the film, those in the room were empowered to feel connected to others, to be able to express their hidden emotions, and to give themselves moments of self-care and self-comfort. The evening was one that was emotionally charged, brought both tears and laughter, new found supportive networks and a wish to come together again soon. Debi Lewinson Roberts

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