Just chill out, dude: a journey of loss, trauma and healing

Presenter: Jock Cheetham

In this session, Jock, an academic and widower, will tell his story of life after the loss of his partner, Neroli. He will explore grief, as a human experience, and the mental health challenges that he has faced. By sharing his journey, and reflecting on some insights he has gained, Jock hopes to reveal the highs and lows of his grieving process, to help normalise the conflicting emotions that are often felt in young widowhood. 

Drawing on thoughts he has developed through his research into grief, memoir and legacy, Jock will discuss physiological and lifestyle factors that affect those experiencing significant loss. 

After nearly five years, his grieving experience has included some twists and turns, and telling his story is part of a ongoing sense that men need to be open about discussing their pain and trauma.

About Jock

Jock Cheetham is a journalist and university lecturer whose storytelling currently focuses on grief and healing.

Jock lost his partner, Neroli Colvin, in late 2018, after an 18-month illness, when she was 53 and he was 52. They had met as journalists at The Sydney Morning Herald in 2004. He left Fairfax Media in 2015 and moved into academia, teaching journalism at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, NSW. 

Jock has published widely in newspapers, mainly features on social issues, over his 30+ year career. Initially, Jock worked on developing annual multicultural storytelling festivals to honour Neroli and her work, building on her legacy. Later he branched out into sharing his own story. 

These days he is focused on making a documentary about Neroli’s life, rare disease and work, and his own subsequent grief, trauma and mental health journey. This is part of his PhD being undertaken through the University of Sydney.

Jock has a new family now, and when he has time he also enjoys movies, audio books, exercise and chatting.

Hope, community, understanding

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