On masculinity, grief, and learning from suffering.
In isolation, Stephanie Land finds surprising relief from PTSD — and discovers she is able to write again.
Paraic O’Donnell chronicles the progression of his MS with clarity, beauty, wit, and no small amount of sadness. Picking the most striking paragraph in this essay full of them is a fool’s errand.
Jillian Dunham traveled thousands of miles from home to get away from her grief. It found her anyway, in a stranger’s Bangkok apartment.
“I’m writing my half of a dialogue that I know he would share with me if he could.”
“Though the embryo was only seven weeks old, I loved it. I loved it and wanted it, and its life ended.”
Five years after her mother’s death, while still grieving and suddenly middle-aged, Abby Mims turns to beauty products to cure what ails her.
“Cree First Nations believe ‘the northern lights are dancing spirits of loved ones who have passed on.’”
Wendy McClure recounts how an old audio tape of holiday music becomes a record of family history, unspoken rituals, and grief.
Carolita Johnson considers what it takes to recover from grief, build strength for the future, and become one’s own center of gravity again.
“The word he came up with was solastalgia, a portmanteau word of the Latin solus, which means ‘abandonment and loneliness,’ and nostalgia.”
Karen Brown recalls the pain and joy of fulfilling a deathbed promise.
A year after the Camp Fire, Tessa Love contemplates home, California’s undoing, and what it means to belong.
Carolita Johnson considers the emotional and physical labor required of women as their loved ones die.
One day, Ge Gao’s right hand stopped working. Then the pain started, and it’s never stopped.
The death of his life-long skateboarding friend prompts Aaron Gilbreath to get back on his board — at 44, with his toddler daughter in tow.
Vanessa Mártir introduces Writing the Mother Wound, a series of essays on mothering presented in collaboration with Writing our Lives and Longreads.
Alison Fishburn shares seven longreads on how humans experience the death of their pets.
After the death of her dog, Katie Gutierrez grapples with the ripple effects of her decisions — and how to live with uncertainty as a mother.
Years after her cousin was killed, Lilly Dancyger is haunted by images of murdered women in the news.
Melissa Berman recalls what was said, and not said, between her and her beloved aunt as they approached her final year.
Kate Walter went to Woodstock in 1969 with her boyfriend. She went back in 1994 with her girlfriend. She’s not going back again.
“That’s what Dad’s AAirpass and ultra-elite flying status yielded for him: lifelong bonds.”
Amy Scheiner reflects on her mother’s sudden death and what it means to be a woman in a world that is set up to bury them.
In “Time Is a Thing the Body Moves Through,” T Fleischmann resists metaphor, even as they reflect on the metaphor-saturated work of Félix González-Torres.
While under the influence of Valium, Scott Korb reflects on all the fathers he could have been and the father he has become.
Nowadays, we live online, and so we grieve here too. But there are limits to the comfort digital mourning can provide.
“There was no chance I was going to ask him to make another winter, but as long as he was hobbling to his golf course and chortling to me each morning, it seemed too early to end his life.”
When her grandfather died, Abigail Rasminsky learned about a part of his life she’d known nothing about.
Matthew Salesses considers the impact of his wife’s passing, and other factors, on his experience as a human passing through the fourth dimension.