Southern mourning rituals are community work. Feed you. Hold you. Shepherd you. Remind you. Love you. 

But when the pies and casseroles and bouquets and check-in messages stop—and they always do (or perhaps they never manifested in the first place)—grief finds its way in. A creeping heaviness, or a rush all at once. Many of us know how we're supposed to mourn: We wear the right things, call our folks, and tend to the affairs of transitioning. We flow through mourning's visibilized process. But so many of us also struggle to turn inward and grieve: We begin and get stuck. In denial. In anger. In depression. We try to bargain our way out. We struggle down grief's long, winding, seemingly-forever road, a silent solo trip into the unknown. 

Scalawag's "grief & other loves" is a reckoning and an invitation. As the late bell hooks wrote in All About Love: Other Visions, "To be loving is to be open to grief, to be touched by sorrow, even sorrow that is unending." 

"grief & other loves" is also a reminder: Even though your journey is your own, you're not alone. Sharing stories about how we sludge through the muck of grief and its dovetail, love, allows us to bear witness to our individual processes as we move toward acceptance, together. 

If our future is to be the loving, caring, and just world we're fighting for, our healing must be as interconnected as our freedom.

Come and till these soils, where the muck lies, so that we may create bounty together—healing as we reap, as Southerners do. 

Let our harvest usher out the legacy of enduring, often devastating loss that marks our beloved South.

The Color of Grief

Photographer Justin Hardiman, a collaborator with Jasmine Williams and Sarah Jené's 'How We Get Over: We Grow On' project at the Mississippi Museum of Art, shares stunning portraits and excerpts from his audio-visual project, 'The Color of Grief.'

A Grief of Our Own

Nnenna Freelon talks with Arts & Soul Editor-at-Large Alysia Harris about Great Grief and creating a podcast for Black women to engage grief here at Scalawag.

In her podcast Great Grief, award-winning jazz singer Nnenna Freelon uses music and improvisation to express, process, and transform her sorrow into a multidimensional experience, inviting listeners to join her quest of making beauty and meaning from loss.

"Dark Matter": A poem for grief & other loves

The other love of grief: loving something you never were, but somehow used to be. Using the formal constraints of the sestina, this complicating and uncompromising ode to Black womxn explores the reflexes, annulments, and returns of gender.

Mausoleums: The Art of Necromancy

Perpetual death and resurrection in the inter-nether.

A Black Trans Haint on living and dying in a society that denies them authentic grief, trauma, and existence. 'The Living will have nothing to do with the Dead if it does not make itself more palatable—in made-up, morticianed, and mortified silence.'

Against Regulations: Grieving inside a total institution

Tears, swollen eyes, shaking hands, unkempt hair, and wrinkled clothing are considered violations of the GDOC Inmate Handbook.

After losing a grandmother, sister, and friend while incarcerated, one woman's account of how the prison system's total authority denies her and countless others the right to heal. 'Imagine what grief does to this culture of social control.'

Art Under Aggression

An artist's tribute to painter Duniyana Al-Amoor, killed in her room in Gaza at age 22.

Through a diverse array of mediums, Al-Amoor's artwork depicts reflections of time and place through a range of emotions: sadness, fear, and loss. Her key subject matter is her family.

Who said we all survived?

How survivorship language eclipses victims' pain—and our responsibility.

Assigning "more digestible" language to those who have experienced gender violence is dehumanizing—not empowering. It ignores the fact that under the existing conditions, harm for Black folks and gender-oppressed people is inescapable and recurrent.

Grief and Love, Outside the Changes

Jazz Vocalist Nnenna Freelon on Black love, grief, and her album 'Time Traveler'

Six-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist and host of the podcast "Great Grief" Nnenna Freelon discusses love, death, and growing through the changes on her first album in about a decade.

Haunting the archive

The media's obsession with my mother changed my relationship to grief.

What happens when the child of a slave writes over the texts that conspired to kill their mother? Haunted by the headlines that dehumanized their mother even after her death, poet Victoria Newton Ford scrapes the media record in order to answer the question.

Remembering Tyrik

'My grief is circular, never-ending, omnipresent. I feel like I'd been grieving before you passed.'

My little brother was murdered on his birthday last year. Now I mourn the way violence and trauma disrupted our childhood.

Grief, a (grand)mother tongue

Love, loss, and the limits of language.

How do you communicate love—much less grief—when you don't speak the same language? First-generation writer Mele Girma offers a makeshift grammar.