In Australia, palliative care is an accepted and expected part of contemporary health care service provision. Efficacious palliative care focusses on managing pain and symptoms and making the patient as comfortable as possible (World Health Organization Definition of Palliative Care (WHO, 2010). As well, palliative care focusses on the spiritual and psycho-social dimensions of life (Martina, 2017), providing the opportunity for the patient and their family to continue to be engaged with life and self-determined decision making throughout palliation. In this account, utilizing the qualitative research method of autoethnography the Australian author describes her experience of caring for her Indonesian father-in-law in the last week of his life. She explores emerging tensions associated with local end-of-life care and Western care which trigger deeper feelings associated with losing a loved one, complicated by the recent and sudden loss of her own parents. Narration is a powerful tool for capturing the verisimilitude of everyday experiences, evoking in the reader a powerful resonance into a very personal inner life which is often not spoken about in academic texts. This account, a cultural story of dying in East Java, Indonesia, also provides insight into the author’s expectations, as an Australian and concludes with some reflections about the emerging position of palliative care services in Indonesia.


Palliative Care, Death, Dying, Indonesia, Autoethnography, Narrative

Author Bio(s)

Petra is currently completing a PhD exploring cultural identity in cross cultural marriages using traditional ethnographic techniques though she did complete her master’s dissertation using autoethnography. Unfortunately, her university does not permit her using AE in writing about her experiences of life in Indonesia, therefore she must use a pseudonym to convey these important stories of lived experience. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: petrabwessner@gmail.com.


I thank with all my heart all those individuals who have failed to extend their minds to understand the power of autoethnography and for the structural processes which have worked to hamper my efforts. I am forever grateful to you for helping me to harness my passion and channel my courage to express my creativity regardless. It has made me a better writer. Thank you.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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