Sorry Business

Sorry Business is very important to us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Sorry Business is our way to continue our values of honor and respect during times of sickness, grief, and loss.

A cancer diagnosis will often cause our mob to think about Sorry Business and the possibility of passing into The Dreaming. This is a very normal response to learning you have cancer, and it is important to acknowledge feelings and thoughts related to Sorry Business as part of your cancer journey. Yarn with someone you trust like a family member, friend, Elder, your doctor and/or your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker. 

In this section, Sorry Business refers to any process relating to palliative care, passing into The Dreaming, preparing for such circumstances and the ceremonies that follow when some enters The Dreaming.

Palliative care helps people with metastatic cancer (incurable cancer) live more comfortably and live the best life they can. Palliative care can help manage with pain, symptoms of being sick and side effects of treatment. 
We care deeply about our families and what may happen to them when we are gone. Planning ahead and yarning about your wishes with your family and loved ones is a helpful step in preparing for Sorry Business. Remember, this is not something you need to do alone.

If the time comes that you are not able to care for yourself, sharing with family and people you care about helps them with making decisions about your treatment and taking care of your business such as:

  • your money and finances
  • your home and belongings
  • people who are in your care
  • responsibilities within family and community
  • work and career responsibilities, and
  • your spiritual, emotional, and physical healthcare.

Planning ahead gives you an opportunity to honour who and what is important to you.

If you are unsure of how to conduct Sorry Business, reach out to your Elders, family, and mob. Each family and community conduct Sorry Business differently. They can help guide you through protocol and traditions around bereavement and funerals. 

Some things that might be important include:

  • there may be specific people you want to care for you
  • deciding who will take care of any dependents or people you care about
  • wearing traditional clothes during your cancer journey
  • listening to music that is special to you
  • conducting ceremony as part of your cancer journey and treatment plan
  • returning to Country or visiting sacred sites
  • spending time with family and loved ones you have not seen for a long time
  • recording memories and stories for future generations
  • working out who will be responsible for your business
  • preparing a Will (A legal document that outlines your wishes when you pass into The Dreaming.)