In work with groups of carers and people who use services, I have encountered several people who have experienced multiple bereavements. This has caused me to revisit my experiences of bereavements in my own family. One of the tensions which I have re-examined is between the negative and positive aspects of caring for an older relative who is dying. This applies before, during and after the death. One particular aspect is the extent to which this may be either disempowering or empowering. I tried to apply the concept of reflexivity to my reflections on my own circumstances and my understanding of what other people were going through, with some limited success, in view of the fact that my bereavement was recent and my feelings still were raw. I learnt much, especially that the process of applying learning from experience to one’s knowledge and skills is not straightforward. I confirmed from experience what I had read — that self-empowerment is a complex activity, with disempowering and empowering aspects, which cannot be reduced to a series of steps or techniques.
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