Navigating grief

Dear Readers, 

Scalawag magazine has always been a significant source of inspiration for BBG, especially with their “Grief & Other Loves” series. When they started this series, it resonated deeply with us and prompted us to call for stories, poems and contributions in the same vein for BBG.

See story below

They say death often comes in threes. Recently, I’ve had to deal with the passing of my dad, my step-mom and a cousin. I’m grateful I had the chance to delve into Scalawag’s content on grief. As much as anything can, it’s helped me feel slightly more equipped to navigate the enormity of my grief in all its forms.

Death’s impact vibrates across so many. 

I’m not alone in these losses. I share them with many family, friends and colleagues, including my cousin, Gladine Pannell Bruer, a poet from South Charleston, West Virginia. 

“Gla” resides in Houston, Texas. She has been married to Carl Bruer Sr. for 56 years and is a  proud mother of three children — Mike, Carl Jr. and Denitra (Dee) — and a grandmother of seven. Gladine is also the author of “Reflections From The Heart.” She retired after fulfilling careers at Dow & Shaffer Law LLC. She’s now enjoying retirement and devoting her time to writing. 

Please have a read and be encouraged. 

~ Crystal Good, Publisher, Black by God

Dear Cousin Crystal, 

I am sending you this poem / not out of grief nor sorrow because my thoughts of my Aunt Shirley, Uncle Wes (aka Red), and sister-in-law Rena Lee Pannell are of such pleasant memories. 

Such Memories

How fond the thoughts of yesterday 

Reminiscence that do not stay 

Sentimental of great times

Hearts, flowers, and bell chimes

Smiling and laughing, we always yearned

From Granny’s advice, we could always learn 

That memories are yours to keep and store 

To love, cherish, and adore

But such memories, feel free to keep

Because sometimes you will ponder and weep 

Oh, such memories!


Gladine Pannell Bruer 
(aka Beaner per my Uncle Red) 

Southern mourning rituals are community work. 

From grief & other loves, Scalaway Magazine

Feed you. 

Hold you. 

Shepherd you.

Remind 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.

Please read these stories of grief. Then, 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.

Read grief & other loves online

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