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.

We're inviting fellow Southerners to share your grief stories with Scalawag—whether it's just a few words, or a full essay.

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.

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.