Welcome to the griefKit

An introduction to this crowdsourced griefKit: Tools and considerations for raggedy times

griefKit: An Introduction

Grief is a low-down, raggedy, foot-faced scoundrel that shows up before and after loss to break your heart, eat up all your snacks, and transform your life in ways you never imagined or wanted. It is a musty, intrusive busybody sent to harass your spirit—it affects everyone.

The American Psychological Association describes grief as “the anguish experienced after significant loss, usually the death of a beloved person.” It strikes for many reasons: deceased or missing pets; lost jobs or opportunities; the end of a friendship, situationship, relationship, or marriage; anticipatory grief around a loved one’s failing health; changes to our body or level of ability following an injury, amputation, new health diagnosis, etc.

As Chef Jaya of The Whisk Appeal Bake Shop reminds us, “You can even grieve you.”

Experiencing grief is both isolating and universal, and grief's mental, emotional, physical, financial, sexual, and social manifestations look and feel different for each of us, because loss leaves a unique print on each of us.

If you're reading this, you have managed to survive a global pandemic, a traumatizing mass death and disabling event that has not ended, even though its daily deathly impact no longer dominates the news. I can't speak to the condition of your soul or your body, but I'm sure your spirit has a few new bruises since 2020, whether or not you've lost someone you know personally. You and people you work, learn, live, and interact with have lost routines, community, family, bodily functions, homes, children, coworkers, investments, futures you envisioned and worked toward. And the automobills keep billing. It's heavy.

Grief can feel compounded or more complicated when society or family doesn't acknowledge or honor the weight of your loss. In the Age of The Rona, many of us have been cut off from affirming mourning practices and spaces that would otherwise support our healing. We’re all experiencing this raggedy moment in history together, in different ways. And there is no correct way to make it through.

Since my brilliant mother, Edilma Hardy, passed away in July 2022 (four months ago), there has been a cloud over even the brightest moments. I still have moments of disbelief and each day I remember something I wish I could tell her or had said to her, questions I wanted to ask her. I hear her voice guiding me from wackness when I'm cooking and see her face in my dreams. Each day brings a new emotional adventure. I suppose these words are part of my mourning, the outward expression of my grief.

“As living, connected beings, we cannot avoid grief's ashy-knuckled grasp. We can't control or plan grief or how it washes over our life. It can be an inconvenience or an infestation. Or both.”

Alexander Hardy, getsomejoy’s griefKit

Edilma Hardy (September 24, 1959 to July 12, 2022)

My grief is...fresh? I'm still getting used to its bitter, hate-filled taste. I'm still figuring out how to live, laugh, dream, and thrive without my favorite woman, learning how to live with my own intrusive busybody, learning how to contend with its whims and whips. I remind myself that the feeling is as important as the doing and the analyzing and I give myself every scrap of grace I can find. You should, too.

As living, connected beings, we cannot avoid grief's ashy-knuckled grasp. We can't control or plan grief or how it washes over our life. It can be an inconvenience or an infestation. Or both. Your journal or job can't save you from it. You can't achieve, earn, Alpha So-and-So your way around despair or crushing sadness, but you don't have to cross the canyon that grief can create by yourself. You can figure things out on your own terms and time. You can find tiny bites and big chunks of joy throughout your day. And you can cultivate affirming, love-filled practices and bust your emotions open with trusted community members. Or alone.

You can find creative ways to channel your grief and all that love into things that honor or elevate the person or thing you're grieving and make the world less raggedy for yourself and others. Or you can just live your life. And you can be messy and imperfect while doing so.

This griefKit sprang from a tweet (right here) I made requesting tools for navigating all kinds of grief and loss.

Curating, crowdsourcing, and sharing recipes and resources for coping, thriving, and finding joy is one way I try to make the world less terrible. That, and not purchasing or preparing coleslaw. After that tweet and posts elsewhere, people from across Janet Jackson’s Internet told me about books that changed their lives, bereavement-flavored playlists they curated, gut-wrenching and freeing essays they had written or read, podcasts that helped them make sense of the noise. I have learned (and cried) so much, absorbing hundreds of expressions of love, loss, celebration.

Compiling these offerings has helped me find joy and clarity as I dance with countless new questions about my mother, about dying, about my family. It gave me something to focus on, a distraction from eating my emotions—not that there's anything wrong with that. It has helped me feel less raggedy.

My mother is inside every page of this book, which is why I had to go back and add recipes. Sharing food is one of my family's love languages. She'd want me to make sure you eat something that makes your spirit dutty wine with delight.

In GetSomeJoy’s meetings, online check-ins, and Literary Therapy Writing Workshops, we ask folks, “What is a meal or dish that represents joy to you?” Or we ask about delicious meals people have eaten recently or are looking forward to. With these questions, my co-founder Enesha and I get people thinking and talking about feelings and sweet memories, which is music for two joy pushers. Know that's coming, okay?

There is also lots of joy in this griefKit because it makes grief feel survivable. And it is GetSomeJoy's biggest weapon against spiritual ashiness. This griefKit won't cure your grief, but I hope it helps you feel a little less raggedy.

Since I can’t send you home with a container of empanadas or greens, use the recipes here to share joy and love with those important to you.

Listen to stories of mourning and healing and love with the podcast playlist I made for you. Read how other loving souls make sense of and find joy after loss. Let your emotions flourish and wash over you. It's okay. You will not die from emotional vulnerability. Sit the hell down and breathe with one of the toolkits or cry it out with a song. Connect with other loving souls in one of the communities or healing spaces. Or submit a resource that has helped you right here.

Know there is no one way to mourn. Don’t listen to player haters that don’t honor your pain or attempt to rush your grieving process. Wipe your nose. Moisturize your knuckles. And chile, don’t count calories while you’re grieving. Love you.

With extra gravy,


Inside the digital griefKit

57 pages of crowdsourced joy and tools for navigating grief

griefKit resources by GetSomeJoy

A few ways to fight spiritual ashiness

Get moving with the Mindful Movement playlist on YouTube.

Listen to griefTunes on Spotify.

Listen to griefTunes on YouTube.

Listen to griefPodcasts on Spotify.

Eat something from the MourningMeals Pinterest Situation.

Submit a resource right here.

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