Musical Selection: Doja Cat|Woman
Part III: She’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter
Today, I will give her the space she needs to talk about Bree’s graduation invitation, her current need to want to get clean, and perhaps a future for us. Today, I will learn about this woman a bit more — the one who ripped my heart out almost a year ago but hasn’t left me alone since. There is a reason for all of this. There is always a reason for everything, yes? Today, I will be the listener she needs — the shoulder with everlasting comfort.
Tomorrow will bring whatever it will bring, and I will be ready for it, too
Cari devours her breakfast. She is adamant about consuming delicious, home-cooked meals. We almost never ate out. In the past, she would say, “Rena, whatever you make, I will eat it.” And she did. There had never been a meal of mine I cooked, she did not eat. She had been more than pleased to inflate my culinary ego, and I fell into every compliment as quickly as I could. This woman — the woman I loved and still love, the woman whose body I pressed my palms onto, massaging every ache away … she has returned. What will I do? What can I do?
“I still can’t believe Bree sent me an invitation to her graduation. I haven’t seen her in so long, Rena. God, how will I react when I see her?”
“I don’t know, Cari. The graduation is in, what? A little more than a week? How about you take it day by day, and when we get there, you react however your heart implores you to act.”
I look at her searching my eyes for more answers. The sunlight from one of my windows in the kitchen kisses her right cheek gently. She glows. Even though her beauty shines through undeniably, I recognize the pain in her eyes. The pain of a mother who will go above and beyond for her daughter. An addict reaching out to the heavens to get clean for the possibility of new love in the future. It has only been three days, and she’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter.
“You’re right, Rena. I mean … You’ve always been right about most shit.”
“I’m not trying to be right, love. I’m just saying what I’m saying. There’s no need to agonize over what you will do when the day isn’t even here yet.”
I slide another cup of coffee in front of her. She grips the mug with a mighty force. I watch her as the hot liquid slips down her throat. We’re going to be okay with this. We are.
Her accent meets my ears in a way I am accustomed to it doing, but this morning, it’s different. I can sense the pain in her voice — the unknowingness that comes with reuniting with one’s daughter — especially for someone who is an addict yearning to become sober. Cari had already contacted one of the addiction and drug rehab centers in our area prior to mentioning it to me. She had an appointment with a licensed professional who would assess her upon their first meeting and go from there.
That she had taken these steps informs me she is serious — truly serious about reconnecting with Sabrina and getting sober. The old Cari would mention getting clean and then five days later, I’d find her strung out in an alley near Shoaf Blvd passed out at 3 in the morning. Cari’s phone rings just as soon as we’re done eating, and it’s Bree. My entire body tenses up because I recall the last real conversation they had and how much it tortured Cari. I listen intently.
The room is silent and each word she utters bounces off the walls and echoes back to us. She ends the call with tears in her eyes and says not to me, but to the air in front of us or around us — she was not looking at me.
“Ze maakt me zo van streek!”
I pause. I walk over to her slowly and gently pull her into my arms. I don’t have a clue what had been said — I don’t speak Dutch, but the tone … the tone showed anger? Sadness? Both?
“She makes me so angry, Rena. So angry. But how? How can she make me so angry and I still love her so much?”
Not being a mother myself, I am perplexed. I do not feel qualified to answer this question. I continue to hold her. I continue to let her vent and cry. I say what I am thinking.
“Please tell me you have not been uninvited to the graduation.”
“No … Worse. She doesn’t want you there.”
We stood in silence. Teardrops from her big, bold, and dark eyes fell onto my hands. I danced in a circle as I held her close to me. Our breaths pushed from our chests and forced us to stay in sync with one another. How will we deal with this? I don’t yet know, but what I know is this … we have a chance at a new beginning, and daughter or not, I will stand guard against Sabrina if I have to. I won’t watch her break her mother’s heart for a second time.
Once was enough.
Part I and Part II
©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.
I just realized I had not shared the first two parts with you all. I hope this will help you get caught up here. Part I and Part II are above. Peace and blessings.
I follow her on Medium as well as LinkedIn. I do so because her voice is a powerful one, and she advocates for self-love, self-care, anti-racism, and anti-ableism, among some other important causes near and dear to me.
I am not big on listening to podcasts or watching a large number of TED Talk videos, but I do enjoy her videos and her memoirist-like essays that have been featured all over the internet.
She is a FORCE, y’all. And I am here for it!
How many more crosses must we bear?
I don’t have the energy to put into words the sheer destruction taking place before my eyes within the United States of America. SCOTUS, to put it rather frankly, just tap-danced on our hearts. It is undoubtedly clear that women and human beings with reproductive parts do not matter. It is even more clear that People of Color with reproductive parts do not matter. Many have marched decades ago for simple human rights; others have marched more recently and protested and made themselves seen in the face of democracy, however, Roe v. Wade was still overturned.
How did we even get here and how many more crosses must we bear? A co-worker and friend reached out to me yesterday, shortly after I ended a call with one of my patients, to inform me of the news. She said, “I am low in my spirits, Tre. They just overturned Roe v. Wade.” I am unsure where you were when you received the news — how you handled it, but I am an all-feeling person, and I can’t (un)feel something like this. My immediate response to her was, “I could have gone all day without reading this! What next? Soon, we won’t be able to vote or work or make impactful decisions.”
Make no mistake, there will be more. They will come for everything they can get from us until we are dry bones withering in the wind. The patriarchy is out for blood and their incisors are sharp and waiting for their next victims.
Ansley Cole, a college student from Atlanta, said she was “scared because what are they going to come after next? … The next election cycle is going to be brutal, like it’s terrifying. And if they’re going to do this, again, what’s next?” — AP News, June 24, 2022
Reread that quote above. A college student from Atlanta. A college student. A college … Autonomy is being stripped away from generations of women and people with reproductive parts and enforced abortion bans are sliding into several states — as if they were on the back burner just waiting to be moved to the front. Everything is on fire. Everything is burning. No amount of water can extinguish it. You already have our uteruses. What will you come for next, America?!
My heart is aching. My mind is all over the place — unsettled. I have tried to focus on something else this morning, but I just cannot. My brothers do not have to worry about senseless decisions made by vindictive men, but my younger sister does. I am being tasked with the question in my head repeatedly, “Will my brothers fight for me and my sister in the face of tyranny and inequality and our actual rights to own the decisions we make regarding our bodies?” Will they? I hope to God they would.
Whatever your stance, you have the right to your opinion and your beliefs, but once you take away a person’s choice to do what they believe is best for their own bodies and their personal situations, there is no trust. There can be no trust.
A day off to keep an emotional breakdown at bay.
This past Monday, June 20, 2022, I had to call out of work. The night before, I swam in a sea of emotions and battled with myself about my current position and how much the medical field is changing. I dislike calling out from work. It is not something I do often and whenever it has to be done, a huge part of me feels guilty and ashamed that I needed time away.
With therapy, I am working on understanding why I must be a priority. I am learning that a mental health day should be high on my list of things to gift myself, and I should not be penalized for knowing I need one — for acting on it. In the medical field though, and I hate to say this, the patients come first. You are a servant to them and your feelings/mental health status/emotional presence truly does not matter. These things are to be tucked away and presented only when the patient (s) has been taken care of and attended to.
Aside from a few tears shed because I had been overwhelmed the entire weekend, I enjoyed having the day free to gather myself. Out of nowhere, my emotions just took over, and I had to struggle to set my mind, heart, and body right. There were moments throughout the day on Monday when I thought I would sink completely low and not be able to pull myself up again. I made it through, though.
I spent the day cuddling with my dog, reading, writing, and watching the entire first season of God’s Favorite Idiot on Netflix. If you’re looking for a series to bring a bit of light-heartedness and humor into your world right now, I recommend that one. Melissa McCarthy is a comedic genius, and I love her. I needed all the laughs that came from watching the series. I truly did.
“Everything’s going to work out just fine. Don’t worry about it.”
This past Wednesday, my younger cousin sent an audio file (including a picture of me, our cousin Akua (Caison’s mom), and her beautiful mother) to me of Chrissy stating the above quote, along with another. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve played this recording. The number of times I have cried from hearing her voice — from smiling because I could visually place her facial expression as she said the above, “Everything’s going to work out just fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Truth be known, I am crying my way through this newsletter, but it’s getting done. With all the events taking place in the world — the deaths, decisions that affect millions of people, the gun-slingers who will outright kill you for merely existing, etc., and whatever else is to come, I can only think about this moment and perhaps the next fifteen minutes ahead. Thanks to another cousin of mine, who slipped this quote into my brain, “Take life fifteen minutes at a time,” I am doing just that.
“Everything’s going to work out just fine.” I believe that. “Don’t worry about it.” I’ll try not to.
Grief is a heavy load to lug around.
My therapist said to me this past Thursday, June 23, 2022, “You are on nobody’s timeline. Grief isn’t on a timer that automatically shuts off when it’s done with you. Remember to allow yourself the time you need to feel everything, Tre.”
Grief is heavy. It comes with every ounce it wants to carry along with it, and it drops on you when you least expect it. It is in the air — in the words of someone close to you — spills out of a patient’s mouth when all you wanted to do was schedule them for their procedures. It is everywhere and in everything.
I am learning to adjust to a life that is missing someone who meant more to me than mere words can state. I am learning to endure a life without a gem who could make me smile instantly. I am moving forward with a life that still needs me in it to live it. I want to be known for more than simply surviving. I aim to be known for more than simply surviving.
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. — Haile Selassie
Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.
See you next Saturday.
©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published via The Grieving Room newsletter via LinkedIn.
Land of the Free (laughable). Home of the Brave (how sure are we about that?). This … a country that would rather make it illegal for a woman or a person with a uterus to make their OWN decision about what to do with THEIR body because well, it can versus implementing gun laws that could save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Let that marinate.
*Comments are closed because I don’t feel like arguing with anyone who does NOT have a uterus or arguing with someone who DOES have a uterus but does not realize the impact this decision will have on everyone.