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
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
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.
My little brother was murdered on his birthday last year. Now I mourn the way violence and trauma disrupted our childhood.
'beyond a better hell' / talking to ghosts: a mixtap/e/ssay
History is a groove according to hip-hop scholar A.D. Carson. But when the soundtrack of Black grief continues to be remixed and sampled without meaningful change, Black folks are forced to compare this current hell to the last one.
Silent Night: When grief doesn't take a holiday
Holiday cheer doesn't cancel out sorrow—sometimes, it augments it. This condolence guide is a gentle reminder: Even though your journey is your own, you're not alone.
Grief, a (grand)mother tongue
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.
'Impact of an Icon': Grieving Young Dolph in South Memphis
Up and coming rapper South Memphis Babyface reflects on losing Young Dolph, "somebody I looked up to, somebody that inspired the world."
I was on The First 48. Your true-crime obsession is based on lies.
After 12 years of seeing false narratives play out about him on The First 48, Demetrius Buckley calls out true crime for what it really is: exploitation that reruns peoples' worst moments for profit.
There is no healing in an antiblack world
'We know what it means to be profiled, criminalized, incarcerated, and murdered by police. That trauma doesn't die with us.'
'Left to hold my grief alone.' Grieving platonic love in a culture of romantic domination.
When society places undue importance on romantic relationships, unpartnered people—and other kinds of love—are shunned to the margins.
Successors and failures: Adulting after death
A Black Millennial homeowner navigates complex feelings after inheriting the family home, grieving the mighty loss of the woman who left it to her.
Life and Death in Strawberry Land
My father, my people, and the "truth." A grievous ghost story from Stilwell, Oklahoma.