The imagery alone for this piece made me want to read it again and again.
For bite-sized morsels of creative excellence about nature, life, struggles, growth, and everything in between, Elancharan’s blog is the space for it all.
For those of you who subscribed to The Grieving Room newsletter and have followed me throughout this journey for the past four months, thank you.
Grief is a lifelong process with many obstacles and various structures and forms and I doubt there will ever be an endpoint, but I feel as though the newsletter itself deserves an endpoint.
There will always be something creative flowing within me to work through grieving, whether it be poetry, creative non-fiction, or a memoir-like essay, but at this time, I have shared what I can and I will continue to learn what I can about grief and grieving and grow with every experience.
If you recently subscribed, you can find all entries in the links below via LinkedIn or Medium.
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. It will not stop, but I am headed down a new path and this is my place to get off and possibly transfer.
I will be preparing myself for the arrival of my kid sister this coming Friday. She’ll be here to celebrate her 23rd birthday with me, and I haven’t seen her in a little over three years.
I have work today through Thursday, and then I will have Friday and next Monday off.
I will return back to my regularly scheduled WordPress interactions and creative writing on Saturday, July 09, 2022, in the morning.
Here’s hoping Tuesday and the rest of this week will be a safe, enjoyable, loving, and blessed one for each of you.
Peace and blessings.
Getting out of my city for a small adventure
If you’ve ever felt trapped in your own home (Hello! … to probably all of you reading this newsletter) and got out to take a quick road trip by yourself during this pandemic, you’ve probably benefited more from it than you know. This past week has been a topsy-turvy one. However, it has not been one I couldn’t get through without a few short breaths and prayers to God to remind me I am still alive — still “movin’ and groovin’” and making this thing called life work for me.
After only visiting my mom, cousins, and a few friends and teammates here and there throughout this pandemic, I ventured out to a small town about 45 minutes away from where I live. Perhaps you’ve heard of Mount Airy, North Carolina, the birthplace of Andy Griffith? Many have stated the town is the blueprint for Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show. And let me just tell you — you know you’re in the country when a tractor pulls out in front of you to take over the road — never mind the fact you were there first.
Excuse me, Mr. Man on the tractor, please have at the entire highway strip — my pleasure — I do like my life.
During the trip there, I also saw a man riding an ATV 4-wheeler on the highway. No harm, no foul, homie. Please do you on this highway — on your 4-wheeler. I was in a zone, listening to Wale via Pandora, and neither one of these people was going to kill my vibe. I had one thought in mind — make it to my friend/co-worker’s home in one piece, and make it there in one piece, I did.
Friendship — what a beautiful thing.
I pulled up the rock-covered road to my friend Sarah’s place, put my car in park, got out, and embraced her for what felt like at least two minutes. I had not seen her in a year and eight months. I then hugged her mom, whom I probably haven’t seen in just over two years — then her dad, and then I gave my full attention to her sweet Golden Retriever puppy, Lily.
Dogs are amazing beings. If they instantly take to you, this says more about you than it does the dog. And I was truly happy to make Lily’s acquaintance. The excitement she had for me during our first meeting matched how Jernee reacts when I come back home to her. I was putty in her paws, and I believe she knew this.
After I settled into loving Lily a bit, we ordered food, went to pick it up, and came back to my friend’s place to eat, chat, and enjoy each other’s company. I love being able to communicate with people freely — love it when there’s no filter and everyone can be expressive. Sarah and I have always been this way — at work — and outside of work. Her mom is just the same — salt of the earth people who do not bite their tongues, but have enormous hearts, too. It is in the hospitality offered. It is in the words spoken. It is in the love that is felt.
We then toured the city, which did not take long. We drove “Downtown” so I could see some of the major sites, the Andy Griffith mural, an old theatre, and plenty of people outside taking advantage of the beautiful weather today lent us. I am truly wary of crowds even more than I was before the pandemic, so this tour was in my friend’s car as we cruised her city without the hustle and bustle of the craziness a Saturday around hundreds of people can bring. I still like my space and I don’t want many people around me.
Time flew by so quickly, I headed back home to be with my own little monster. The trip was well-deserved and definitely long overdue. I needed it.
It comes and goes. I understand now.
I had a moment of wanting to text Chrissy some photos or send her a brief note that said, “Look, cousin! Look at what I’m finally doing,” and it’s almost as if I have to reset my brain every time this happens to me. I know I cannot talk to her anymore. I know I cannot send text messages to her phone number that I simply cannot bring myself to delete from my phone. I know there will never be another hug, kiss, or trip to Florida to bask in her presence. My mind knows this. It does.
My heart cannot catch up. It can’t. But I am still giving myself grace. I am still being gentle with myself. There are better days ahead and getting to them consistently again will take time. It will. I am patient with myself. I owe it to myself to be as patient as I am being — it is necessary.
But I understand now how grief can come tapping at your shoulder when you least expect it. I wave hello to it — offer it some coffee, break out the good china, and allow it to sit for a moment with me. I will play some music for it, cook it a good meal, take it for a walk, but I refuse … at this point now to allow it to drag me down. Could it be Chrissy speaking through me? I know it is. And I am listening.
You must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong. — Sue Fitzmaurice
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.
Getting through a tragic week without breaking down
I don’t need to say it. You don’t need me to say it. Getting through this past week has been hard. Our nation had already experienced one mass shooting that took place in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, May 14, 2022, only to have yet another stop us dead in our tracks on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Just 10 days later. I have no clue how you have handled dealing with or processing these two events, but for me, they have been racing rapidly through my mind and the ache from each is still strong.
I floated through most of the week, trying to find my footing — trying to make sure I could perform at my highest during work hours. I maintained a calm demeanor. I handled each call I took effectively and efficiently, according to the requests that had been made. There were moments when I had to say several silent prayers to push me through, but I made it through my workweek unscathed and alive to share this newsletter.
I saw this moment without completely breaking down. How did I do that? How was I able to stay afloat above the raging waters and vicious seas? Who was my life raft? I am so thankful for a supportive and loving group of people in my life who make their presence known — who sense my sadness. Without them, I am almost certain I could not press forward on the extremely hard days life hands out occasionally.
It’s been one hell of a week, but I’m still here.
My therapist knows I am emotionally free, and she doesn’t suppress it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the same day as the most recent tragic incident, I kept my therapy session. Knowing it would be at a later hour that night (7:00 p.m.) after work and settling into the evening, I had to build up the energy to log on virtually to meet with her. I am still not comfortable venturing out to her office. Call me crazy, senseless, whatever label you deem necessary to choose, but my comfort level is best at home, and at home is where most of my therapy sessions take place now.
I need to be comfortable these days — I crave it, more so than I have in the past.
We began the session with me discussing what had taken place in the last few months as I had seen her on an “as-needed basis,” but it has become clear I need to pursue my once or twice per month sessions. Speaking about my cousin’s death, then my aunt’s, followed by this nation’s tragic events, sent shivers up my spine. I waded through intense moments of crying and finally got to a point where I could talk about my growth during all of this — how I feel my cousin with me — how I know she is still here.
I talked about my cousin’s ways of loving — how she’d loved me and helped me so much during her short time on earth. I talked about the guidance I received, the advice, the strong opinions she had, and how we bounced ideas off of each other. I talked about her powerful presence, her love of children, and how anyone she came in contact with was left smiling — forever changed by her.
It is still hard to speak about my aunt. There had been so many years that had passed since I last saw her and every year between us was, “I’ve got to come and see you” or “I need to visit you where you are now,” and it never occurred. We allowed the miles between us to stay exactly that — miles between us. We did not move to close the distance, if only momentarily. And this is what I grapple with mostly — losing her without seeing her one more time.
As I cried and wiped my eyes, my therapist — although usually stoic — was shedding pieces of herself I hadn’t seen before. I apologized at one point because I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and she said in a gentle tone to me, “Don’t you dare apologize — feel what you are feeling.” And I did. It was wholly and completely rejuvenating. Not to say that I still don’t cry in my aloneness here at home, no … I do from time to time, but to shed some of this weight in the presence of a professional listening ear was pertinent. It was what I needed, and I didn’t know it.
Another holiday is before us and I miss my people more.
With Memorial Day fast approaching, I feel the pain of these losses so much more. Each holiday that has passed since my cousin’s death (St. Patrick’s Day, Easter/My birthday, and her wedding anniversary) heightens my awareness of the finality of death, and it is a hard pill to swallow. No one could have prepared me for the extremely hard days. No one could have told me just how badly I would feel experiencing these significant days without her.
Death dates are now a part of my vocabulary. I speak in dates — when someone was living — when they died; what happened in between. Holidays are reminders of a loved one’s physical presence and form wiped away from my life. They all are merging into one — a day everyone knows about and celebrates, but I will mourn from this moment forward.
Knowing this truth, I believe it will be much more important to continue to be surrounded by family and close friends, which is why I visited my mom today. A few hours with her keeps me on my toes. The woman is a strong tower — being a holder of her past; I am aware of what my mom had to endure, and how she has conquered so much. We can be in the same room now and truly enjoy one another’s company. This only arrived with time and understanding and going through some heartache, pain, struggles, and rough periods myself.
We may have some differences, as I am sure most mother-daughter pairs do, but I am grateful for where we are now. I look forward to the upcoming holiday knowing that I will have her to call, at least, to share a significant date in time with — if only for a few moments.
I am a resilient person.
I have been through many things and I will go through many more, and if it is the Lord’s will, I will survive those things too, and come out on top. I believe this. What do you believe about yourself?
I will leave you with a quote that gave me pause — made me dwell on what I have, what I had, and what I might gain in life.
This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel. — Horace Walpole
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.