Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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She, and Her Baby, Died Too Young : Understanding the Anthropology of Death and Mourning from a Religious and Cultural Perspective during Covid-19 Pandemic
Fuji Riang Prastowo

Last modified: 2022-06-07


My pregnant cousin, with her second prospective son, died at the age of 27 due to lack of oxygen during the peak of the Covid-19 Delta wave in Yogyakarta-Indonesia in July 2021. Previously, all ambulances and hospitals were paralyzed by the Delta waves, so that she was delayed in medical treatment. At the same time, more than 150 members of my extended family who live communally in Yogyakarta were exposed to Delta-Covid19, living in isolation, so they couldn't attend the funeral ceremony for my cousin with very strict protocols at night. This then caused me and my extended family to experience a very deep and prolonged process of grief due to the sudden loss. Reflecting on this experience, this article captures on how they do a mental coping-mechanism with grief and loss, and how the values ​​of Islam and Javanese culture influence their thoughts and actions in understanding the concept of death and grief during the plague disaster. Using a reflexive ethnography approach, this study tells  the dialogue of culture and faith by conducting in-depth interviews with nuclear family, extended family, and community close to the deceased. As this study has urgency in medical anthropology and religious studies, the findings show that the emotional closeness factor strongly drives the grieving process, with long traumatic symptoms that change the concept of the purpose of life and death afterward. The factor of not being present at the burial process as well as the presence of her first daughter  caused the whole family to still remember this grief. Meanwhile, the doctrine of life after death in Islam which promises heaven for pregnant women and those who died during the plague, as well as the concept of "Nrima" in Javanese culture are two values that help the psychological recovery of the deceased's family (299 words).


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Other literatures will be elaborated during writing process for a full article.

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