Grieve, Even if it Looks Weird
By Imani Bryant

In August of 2018, my paternal grandmother, Mary Alice, passed away. She was my only living grandmother and lived with my parents, sister, and me for years. She used to have “special nights” with my sister and I, where we would watch old Western movies and eat all the junk food my mom forbade. She was a light in my life. Her passing didn’t exactly take me by surprise. She was sick for a few years, and in her final months she knew she would soon be transitioning.

That same summer, I spent time learning how to bake, and her favorite baked good was pound cake with a lemon glaze. She didn’t love sweets, but it was something she loved. She passed away the weekend before I began my sophomore year of college. It was my first school year with her to wish me well. That entire semester I was baking cookies, cakes, and brownies. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was my way of grieving the woman that gave me so much love, security, and comfort.

My friends enjoyed the sweets that I spent every weekend baking, but I was using it as my way of saying goodbye. And for Thanksgiving, I made my Granny’s famous sweet potato pie for the family. It was the final act of catharsis I needed to be able to let my grandmother go. And it wasn’t just through food that I remember my grandmother. Her love of music still lives in me. She introduced me to Earth, Wind, & Fire, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. There are these bright moments in my memory of her frying chicken and listening to Boogie Wonderland.

Grief takes many forms, and you must let the love you have breathe when you face a loss. This isn’t just about the death of a loved one, but also the loss of something you once held dear. This can include the end of a relationship, moving to a new city, or the loss of a beloved object. It is so beautifully human to grieve the loss of something, and we cannot be concerned with the optics of our grief. We must deal with our losses in whatever way is both healthy and natural. So even if it looks weird, grieve.

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