Cultural Bereavement: An Explanation
The New York Times explores another tragic dimension of the immigrant and refugee experience in this story, Missing the Home You Needed to Leave: There is a name for the specific type of grief that both refugees and migrants experience. It’s called “cultural bereavement.”
Defined as more complex and disorienting than culture shock, the Times explains it this way: “Feeling uprooted is something many immigrants are familiar with, split between the here and the back there, between the push to assimilate and the pull to preserve parts of themselves and their culture. And it is often the intangibles from home — the smells and sounds, the metaphors and jokes in a native tongue that can’t be translated, and cherished rituals — that they long for.”
It’s a thought-provoking read, and useful insight for anyone dealing routinely with the disrupted lives of people from so many corners of the world.