new neighbors

new neighbors moved in
next door.
I worry about how
they’ll be–who they are
when the day turns
to night and the need
for fake(ness) fades.

cute couple–extra smiley
with matching names.
the dog scrutinizes the
young man–low growls as
he passes by.

I think to myself,
“If she doesn’t like him,
we’re in a world of
trouble.”

I also think,
“You shouldn’t overanalyze
this–it could be okay.”
we’ll see.

Motivational Affirmations to Self

Below, you will find a few affirmations I’ve been saying to myself daily, and sharing them to LinkedIn. I hope you find them helpful, just as much as I have, and others too.

Each day, I try to find something positive to remind me that life is still worth living. These affirmations come to me because I think about my cousin’s incredible spirit and her undeniable knack for making others feel good, and because I have also been reading/listening to a few “Grief” devotionals via my Bible app.

I’ve another appointment with my therapist next Tuesday, at 7 p.m. Lord knows I love our sessions. I think I am going to need this one so much more than any other because this week has TRIED my patience. Seriously. I am glad I have my memories, these thoughts, some tools, and a loving and supportive tribe.

Healing is a journey. I think I am on the right path.

They Buried Him Under the Old Jane Magnolia Tree

Springtime. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Flash Fiction (Challenge Response)

Rufus was the town postman—employed for thirty-six years before he had a heart attack on his route during a blazing hot summer.

Died on the spot.

His manager, Paul Scheltz, had to identify the body, call his wife, and drive the mail truck back to the distribution center. EMS wasted no time hauling his bloated body to the local hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead.

All their potential life-saving efforts stood before them laughing—making fun of the ten minutes they had pumped the man’s chest. He was deader than dead, and there was nothing they could do about it.

Sylvia arrived at the hospital. Her heart weighed a ton. They’d just taken out a second mortgage, and their youngest was about to enter college. All these thoughts raced through her head as she stared at her dead husband—body as stiff as a board.

They buried him underneath the Jane Magnolia tree in their backyard four days later. No other family was there other than her and their three children. No friends except for Paul and his wife. Sylvia sang, “The Old Rugged Cross” while tears waterfall’d upon her face.

“May he rest in peace,” she said afterward.

May he rest in peace.


This is in response to a challenge request from fellow Simily contributor Rod Gilley where he challenged me by stating the following on my previous post: “I challenge you to write a Flash Fiction (1,000 words or less) on the subject of that tree (any genre). That is a beautiful tree – eager to see what your imagination can come up with for a story about it.” 

Originally published via Simily.

The Grieving Room

What is my body trying to say?

It would be an understatement if I said this past week has been a pleasant week. Overall, it has been. It would not be an untruth — I’ve had more “on” days than “off”, and for this, I am grateful. However, grief is hitting me differently, and I have dealt with a few aches, pains, and discomforts as I try to move through each day as they come. At the closing of each night, just before I get into bed, I have noted how I feel — what my heart senses — how my body is trying to communicate with me. I am healing. There is no denying this, but something is pulling at me — something still has a major hold.

I mentioned in the previous installment about having to take a week away from social media and much of the online world, and I also took a day of bereavement from work early last week. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these things needed to take place. I had been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and sunken by the pull of sadness and an overall sense of exhaustion that cannot be described.

I catered to myself. I made myself a priority. The usual adulting things had to take place, but I set a goal for myself to “do nothing” in the evenings during my break away from the online world. And do nothing is exactly what I did. The following Monday, though, I hit the ground running once again, even pursued some more overtime at work, and this past Thursday, May 12, 2022, I started experiencing some nausea. By Friday, it was several trips to the bathroom that also ran into this morning.

Could this be my body’s way of telling me I bolted out of my period of rest too soon, or could I be experiencing the first few phases of burnout?

What is burnout and how do I resolve to not welcome it?

The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as:

Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.

“Burnout” isn’t a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Researchers point out that individual factors, such as personality traits and family life, influence who experiences job burnout.

Whatever the cause, job burnout can affect your physical and mental health.

I won’t delve into all the symptoms of burnout here — for those, you can read the list. I will mention the ones I am currently experiencing.

  1. I lack the energy to be consistently productive.
  2. I have found it hard lately to concentrate.
  3. My sleeping habits have changed.
  4. I have begun (again) to use food to feel better or change my mood.
  5. I have had several headaches, changes in bowel habits, and an overwhelming sense of fatigue for the past few months.

It is important for me to assess these things and understand why I am the current host of choice. Could they all just be lingering things occurring because of grief? Or, am I truly overdoing it and my body is on the verge of telling me, “SIT DOWN SOMEWHERE, NOW!”

I want to be wiser than the things currently happening, which is why I’ve reserved several days off from work in the coming months. We will have Memorial Day off, which is coming up shortly. I have requested Friday, July 08, 2022, and Monday, July 11, 2022, as well as two more days in August and a day in October. I rarely request this much time off from work, but I have well over 130 hours of PTO, and it is time I use it.

Maybe by doing this, I can curb any other symptoms from introducing themselves to me. *Fingers crossed*

Cooking as a gift to myself.

Recently, I have found it best to drain my sorrows in junk food, fast food, and all things unhealthy and this is something I must will myself to end. For a little over three years, I’d been on a path to eating more healthy foods, exercising, donating hours of self-care/self-love to myself, and cooking as relaxation. After my bout with my digestive system over the last few days, I have had enough.

I am resetting myself so my body will be kind to me again. I’ve purchased fresh ingredients and items necessary to make lasagna for dinner tomorrow. I will have steamed zucchini and squash as the vegetables. I will put forth conscious efforts to continue exercising and enjoying the sunny days “predicted” in the forecast.

Cooking is a gift I can give myself. I will know what I am putting into my system and what I plan to remove. It is relaxation I cannot describe adequately. When I am in my kitchen, listening to music, or to the pleasant birdsong I seem to get in my area, the meal I have in mind takes on a fantastical presence. I am shifted into a mini world of The Food Network, where I am an amazing chef and my viewers await my next recipe.

It lends me a sense of peace, and I know I need so much more now — it’s time I lean back into this talent I neglected.

Hello, body. I hear you.

The last few months have been hard. I am learning to face the things damaging to my mind, body, and heart head-on, and issue grace on a more frequent basis to myself. If my body is trying to say I am going in the wrong direction, it is time I shift it and get us back on the right path. I know my cousin would agree with me — my aunt, too. Realizing that their physical forms are no longer here with me for me to hug, hold on to, embrace, and welcome has given me a new sense of love for all living things.

I love my body. I want to give it what it needs, even if I am still carrying the weight of grief neatly on my shoulders. None of what I gift myself will be in vain. I know what I need to do now. Body, I hear you.

I will leave you with a quote I find applicable to today’s installment:

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. — Oprah Winfrey


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 Newsletter via LinkedIn

Checking In After Hours (Part II)

Flash Fiction: The mysterious fire extinguisher

She stared at the man, fumbling for the words to tell him what they’d just found, and before she could get the first word out, he said, “Lemme guess, you found Magda? We’ve been looking for her for hours.”

Hearing this, Tamara fainted. Her feathered-like body splayed itself on the floor. There she lay until the cops arrived.


The strange Oompa Loompa’d man waddled over to Tamara and waved his hands frantically in front of her face. He leaned in far too close to her and then stared intently until she blinked and opened her eyes. Tamara shot up from her fainted state — disoriented — but regained her sense of self quickly. He led one police officer to the area where she was and directed the other to the room the couple reserved.

“Hey! Hey! Name’s Beau. Officer Beau Dibbs. We got ourselves a bit of a situation here. You the one who found the motel’s cleanin’ lady, Magda?”

The strange man stood behind the front desk with a defiant look plastered on his face. He scrutinized Tamara silently while Officer Dibbs attempted to get whatever information he could out of Tamara. She averted her eyes from him and paid attention to Officer Dibbs.

“Ye — Yes, me and my husband found the woman. He — her head. God! Her head was in the bed and her body was in the tub. IN THE TUB!”

Officer Dibbs made note of the delirium spouting from Tamara’s mouth. He perused the perimeter, took photos of the motel lobby, and asked the strange man to escort him to the scene of the crime. Tamara walked along behind them — afraid to touch anything. There was a fire extinguisher on the wall next to their room. Had it been there before? The glass was broken, yet the extinguisher looked to be intact.

“Was that fire extinguisher there when we checked in? I just . . . I don’t remember it being there before.”

“Yup. Gotta have one every hundred feet. City code. There’s one here, then about five rooms down, there’s another. And so on, and you know. City code.”


Officer Dibbs entered the room. His partner, Officer Clive Bends had questioned Tamara’s husband Dale, took photos of the mangled body, the room, and blocked off the area in a 50-foot radius with crime scene tape. Dale was standing in the middle of the room, hovering over their children, and muttering a lullaby. It seemed as though the song was for him more than it was for their children.

“Dibbs. It’s a damn mess. Couple came in expecting a night of rest from a long drive up. They’re headed farther North. From what I got from the husband over there, they hadn’t been in the room five minutes before locating the body. According to him, they don’t know the lady, and don’t have anything to do with this here, um . . . situation.”

The strange man stared at Dale, then at Tamara, then at both officers before speaking up.

“The deceased is Magda. Magda Kowalski. No children. She lives here on site. Works every day along with our other two maids; Daphne and Tess. Last I heard from her was three days ago — hadn’t called in — nothing. This was odd for Magda. She’d be here at 07:00 on the dot every morning. As I said, she lives on site.”

Noting the information given by the motel clerk, the officers gathered their things and headed for Magda’s room. Tamara insisted on following along — she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not tonight, and definitely not at this motel. On her way out, she noticed the fire extinguisher was on the opposite side of the door.

“Wasn’t that fire extinguisher on the other side when we came in?”

“No, ma’am. Been there the whole time.”

But had it?


Originally published in Hinged.press via Medium.

Part I