A grandmother’s loss: a story by Teresa Donovan

Youpla Ambassador Jamal Idris seen standing with Teresa Donovan.

6 June 2019

A grandmother’s loss: a story by Teresa Donovan

Proud Aboriginal Grandmother, Teresa ‘Tess’ Donovan is urging community members and Aboriginal organisations to consider how financial support is provided when an unexpected death happens in the family.

Recently, Tess was grieving the loss of her grandson just hours after he was born via an emergency caesarean.

Tess took on the burden from her daughter to organise the funeral and spent day and night rallying for funds to give her grandson a proper burial.

“I was on my feet every day and every night, I was tired yet I couldn’t sleep worrying about easing my daughters’ mind. I wanted her to know everything would be done and to not stress as she had to recover from the caesarean.”

The community rallied together, with the Purfleet/Taree Local Aboriginal Land Council and a private donor contributing to the funeral costs. Leonie Morcome from the Biripi Aboriginal Medical Centre helped with the pamphlets and costs of the wake.

“I had to rush around for another week before I could bury my grandson.”

“Sometimes it’s really hard to get donations and to get all the money together before you can even bury your babies or anybody if they’re not in a funeral fund. You’ve got to do everything you can to make everything perfect for them.”

“Sometimes it was hard for me. I was just worried about the money for burying him. Aboriginal organisations could have something like that for when we do have to bury our babies. We don’t think of these things.”

Tess has been a member of Youpla (formally Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund) for the past 22 years, and her daughter and other grandchildren are members as well.

“I’d like to encourage people to join a funeral fund. You can see how hard I’ve struggled to get everything done, and to get this money together to bury my grandson.”

This article is from Youpla Yarns. To read more like it, as well as other stories from the community, download the full version here:

Youpla Yarns Issue NO.1

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