PC: Michael Raymond Smith (www.michaelraymondsmith.com)
From the conclusion of “Hope and mourning in the Anthropocene: Understanding ecological grief” by Neville Ellis and Ashlee Cunsulo in The Conversation. Ellis and Cunsulo define ecological grief as “The grief felt in relation to experienced or anticipated ecological losses, including the loss of species, ecosystems, and meaningful landscapes due to acute or chronic environmental change.”
Ecological grief reminds us that climate change is not just some abstract scientific concept or a distant environmental problem. Rather, it draws our attention to the personally experienced emotional and psychological losses suffered when there are changes or deaths in the natural world. In doing so, ecological grief also illuminates the ways in which more-than-humans are integral to our mental wellness, our communities, our cultures, and for our ability to thrive in a human-dominated world. Continue reading
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
My mom died New Year’s Eve when I was 19. We knew it was coming so that Advent as we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” each night before dinner, I paid attention to the voices. I knew them so intimately- the tones and harmonies that our four voices made together. It was the sound of home and I ached to imagine how our singing would change with just three voices. So each night I zeroed in on the sound of my mom’s voice- desperate to not let it be forgotten. Memorizing deep within, in hopes that whenever I sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” that I would always hear her voice within it.
Grandpa, Cedar, and Isaac digging the hole for Scatters under the apple tree.
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
The rain is pouring down with periodic rumbles of thunder. It is cold and the sun has set, but we can tell that there is a need in Isaac’s heart to make this trek. We put on hats and shoes and give into the rain as we walk down the street and into the backyard of my dad’s house.
It’s too dark to see the loosened soil, but we bend down low and Isaac says, “This is where we buried Scatters.” Cedar, who is almost two, bends down too and after a minute looks up at Erinn and says “Meow” and points to the dirt. Erinn says, “Is this where Scatters is? Did he die?” Cedar responds, “Meow die.” Continue reading
From Elizabeth Alexander’s grief memoir The Light of the World (2015). This is the conclusion of the final lecture she gave to her “African American Art Today” class, just one week after the sudden death of her husband:
“Don’t forget to feed the loas” serves as an entreaty or opening salvo and refrain in Ishmael Reed’s great novel Mumbo Jumbo. The phrase articulates the imperative to remember to honor the deity-like ancestral forces that guide us through our contemporary lives. The offerings on their altars may be fruit or flowers, chicken or wine; when taken metaphorically, offerings may also be found in the form of art and the calling of names that honors our dead and keeps them near… Continue reading
By Bill Ramsey. May 1, 2016.
Dad and Dan, an unlikely pair
to walk across heaven’s threshold
a week apart, a world apart.
Way back when Dan’s burning action
kindled my conflicted conscience,
radically realigning my course,
Dad foresaw impending danger,
a tableau of “G-men” ascending
his steep suburban driveway
in pursuit of his willful son. Continue reading
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann as part of her series on parenting- Learning from Laughter.
With the table covered in newspaper, the three of us began carving pumpkins. Isaac embraced the gunk helping to pull it out while the Halloween music played and the moon shown out the window. When it came time to cut the faces, I sat beside him and asked what he wanted. We drew it out together in marker. He told me he wanted square eyes and a triangle nose. Out of the blue he insisted that the pumpkin have a mustache. Then I asked about the mouth. Do you want a smile? “No. It’s a sad pumpkin.” I tried to draw a sad mouth. Then he said “Pumpkin crying.” He was asking for tears. I carved out some tears falling from the square eyes. He smiled in total delight and pride at his sad pumpkin. Continue reading