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kristina oak

Why this project is important to me​:

The topic of death and grief has been significant to me for most of my life and has continued to evolve deeper and deeper over time. I came to know death at the age of eight when my mother died. Grief has been a companion to me for over 20 years now. I was privileged to have access to counseling through Hospice of Napa Valley (now called Collabria Care) where a Licensed Social Worker would come to my public elementary school once per week and hold a “Death and Dying” group for children experiencing loss. Attending that group with those few other kids was pivotal and the sole container for my experienced grief at a young age. My other parent was unable to hold space for our shared grief and so, for the most part, I had to find my own way within the waves of loss throughout most of my life. I strongly believe that Western society has a foundational gap when it comes to death, dying, and grief which I have experienced first-hand. It is not until now in my life when more of my peers are experiencing death for the first time that I am beginning to understand some of the bigger gifts my experience has given to me. And it is with those gifts that I wish to create this project from; to open more conversation, exploration, and acknowledgment of the disconnect Western society has from death and begin to heal that relationship to death, dying, and grief as a collective and a community. 

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