Feeling the lows and the highs and learning from them
I have had an okay week — some lows and some highs — some things I am learning from and enjoying the journey through them, but life is still life. Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of embracing a friend/old co-worker of mine in an actual hug for what felt timeless. We both needed it. I hadn’t seen her in six months, and her visit was one that had been planned, but we switched up what we wanted to do because of the high temperatures. I had been in the process of finishing an early Memorial Day dinner when she arrived, so in my heart — in my mind, I knew I’d either feed her or send her home with a plate of food.
Weekends have always been the days I’d spend trying to attain some downtime, but they usually become days for running errands, getting stuff done for Jernee (my 14-year-old Chorkie), visiting a few family members, and anything else that needs my attention. But to host someone I care about, someone I love, in my home for a few hours reminded me of the Before Times. Pre-COVID, I made it a point to feed a friend or loved one occasionally, to allot space and a place for them to rest when they visited, and to experience all I could with them while they had been around.
The visit had been what I longed for — a few hours in the presence of a kind-hearted person who is a brilliant conversationalist and has worked in the medical field for a few years more than I have. We talked about life, how we’re managing this on-again/off-again global pandemic, and what we’re doing to take care of ourselves.
The week also brought about time for me to work on some writing. And during this time, two pieces of poetry, one work of flash fiction, and an essay had been produced. My younger cousin (Chrissy’s daughter) visited as well. Connecting with her — being around her — simply listening to her did my heart good.
Through every moment of this week that sent me spinning out of bounds a bit, I circled back to where I needed to be — in the center. I am here now.
Feeding the heart and not only the mind.
It is a blessing when you can provide a home-cooked meal for someone. Cooking is an essential part of life. If we can, we do it. And if we are good at it, we probably do it more often than others. The process — the creating and preparing and pairing of ingredients is an art form. One could get lost in the dance — in the rhythm of maintaining the flow if one is not careful. It is my aim whenever I cook for someone to cater to not only their stomachs, but to their hearts, too.
Above is the meal I gingerly packed and handed to my friend before she left my home; barbecued beef ribs, potato salad, and collard greens. We began our afternoon releasing — sharing what we needed to share with one another, and by the end of her visit; I had an overwhelming calmness stirring within me. She gave me more than just her time — she gave her heart too by coming directly over right after work to sit awhile with me.
I think we are at the stage in our friendship where moments such as the one we shared are a welcome occurrence. We search for these moments with others, and some can provide them — some cannot. I am grateful to have allowed food, faith, a pleasant conversation, and some tears to restore me.
The writing comes, it always comes.
And I sit with it when it does. Something moves me. Something shakes me. Something pushes me to create and use this incredible thing we produce by taking vocabulary and painting it firmly on the canvas of our lives. The tragedies of the last few weeks have had my stomach in knots — my spirit is completely defeated. I felt anger. I felt pain. I felt an undeniable sense of wanting to run away from my country to be somewhere else, anywhere else, but here. I wrote about it.
I find it disturbing that as human beings; we are moving from what can connect us to what almost always causes a further disconnect, and we settle there until the next best thing comes along to do more of the same. Words still move me. They have a space in my heart, and that will never change. I can use any genre of writing to express what I feel. And the beauty of this alone should be cherished — should be pedestal’d. I wrote about that, too.
When prompted, I spill over from the fullness of fiction and I birth characters who are fully formed and come complete with their own cores with whom my readers can and often connect. A prompt word, “shadow” landed me in the lane to create the third part of a mystery/thriller flash fiction series I have been nursing. It came to life.
I also wrote about the power of a home-cooked meal and how it is not just food we are transforming from its raw form to a cooked form for consumption, we are transforming the lives of our friends, family members, and acquaintances when we can give them our hearts in a meal. If I cook for you, you are in my heart. I want you to be well. It helps me to be well.
Building bonds and strengthening hearts.
I had not seen my late cousin Chrissy’s daughter since she was twelve years old. Nearly twenty years later, we hugged as though our lives depended on it. Her life abroad, distance, and everything else that comes into play to throw a kink in plans occurred. But now, there are no excuses for us. With her in her 30s and me in my 40s, we are forming a bond I know her mom dreamt up and sent to us cosmically.
To hold her tightly and say, “I love you” repeatedly as she said it too, almost drew more tears from me. Happy tears, though. At one point, I said, “When I let you go, I am going to miss this — miss you.” Taking a brief road trip with her to take her where she intended to go for her visit to North Carolina had been the link I needed.
I did not know my Saturday — this Saturday would catapult me back to a high point — one that I won’t soon forget. I no longer have Chrissy, but I see her living on in her daughter, and that — that is an amazing thing to witness. Through her child, I will respect her existence. It has been a gift showering down on me over the past few months.
Love is a wondrous thing. If you have it, whenever you have it, keep it close.
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. — Richard Bach
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 in The Grieving Room newsletters via LinkedIn.