I Think of You Often, but Even More Now

An audio lamentation

Photo by Tess WB on Unsplash
I Think of You Often, but Even More Now

I think of you often, but even 
more now, and maybe it’s because
it’s Autumn — the season when I’m
at my loneliest.
I hate the term, “deceased.”
I am still trying on the best way
to tell people about you in the 
past tense.

How can I?
Why would I even want to?
It’s a necessary evil, though.
“My late cousin …”
“My cousin who died 
earlier this year.”

I hate all of these ways
of saying you’re no longer 
here with us, and none of them
will make me miss
you any less.
So, what’s the point?

October had already been
a struggle-month for me.
I am urging myself to see
it as a month of celebration — you
were born during this month;
a gift to this world full of
nonsense and hatred.

However, as it is, these feelings
King Kong me, often out of 
nowhere, and it takes everything
I have in me to get back to
some semblance of normal.

I tell people, “I am good.”
Because I will be, eventually.
I hate filling their ears with my
off-and-on depression and 
medically diagnosed “adjustment disorder.”
I am a bag lady, carrying these 
things with me, unable to unpack — not
right now. Not just yet.

But I am trying.

At every turn of every day,
I see your smiling face.
I hear the joyfulness of your laughter.
I remember your meaningful embrace.

I always felt loved.
I always knew love existed through you.

I never had to question it.

And as time continues on 
in the way it typically does,
I feel like I’m being Mister’d into
becoming Celie who lost Nettie,
and the pain of the loss
rears its ugly head when
I least expect it.

I tick off another month of
therapy, another week of working
overtime, and another day of
just getting by.

Oh, I think of you often, but
even more now. 
Happy Birthday, Chrissy.
I say it to the air around me.
I whisper it to the clouds.
I swirl it around my tongue, and
blow it away from me as 
quickly as I can.

Happy Birthday, Chrissy.


*Author’s Note: Chrissy’s birthday is on October 12, 2022. There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t think about her. She will forever be in my heart — often on my mind — and deeply rooted within my thoughts. I miss her. I truly miss her.

Thank you for reading — for listening. Peace.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium, on Sunday, October 09, 2022.

Saying Goodbye to The Grieving Room

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.

Peace and blessings.

LinkedIn or Medium.

The Grieving Room

Understanding what happens and why while grieving

On late Sunday night and into early Monday morning, a dream awakened me. In that dream, I could see a crew of siblings I’d grown up with in my neighborhood as clear as day; a sister and her two brothers.

We played kickball, dodgeball, and many other outside games, and raced to our respective homes before the streetlights came on.

We attended the same elementary, junior high, and high school. I have not seen them since I was in my late 20s, or early 30s, maybe? Why was I dreaming about them?

In the dream, the focus had been on the two brothers. Although the sister was present, she did not have a strong role — it’s like she made a cameo appearance only and moved along without a word.

I jumped up from my bed, not too sure why I had this reaction, and began searching for them online. What the search led me to was the death of one brother back in October 2011. He was 35 years old. I was 31.

He’d also been the sibling I communicated with the most. Although he was older, we had a lot in common. Not only that, we simply gelled well. We had our fair share of quips and subtle arguments from time to time, but we were always right back outside a few days later, enjoying what young life and innocence offered.

The obituary stated he’d died when his “health had failed.” 35 years old … I’d spent many of my childhood years dodging dodgeballs, kicking kickballs, running home before the glimmer of the streetlights with him, and having not seen him in over 15 years, I just sat with myself and this news.

I cannot describe how it made me feel. Initially, pain struck me as well as curiosity. It hurt to know he was no longer alive, even though the last time we saw each other was over a decade ago.

I had also been hit with the incessantly annoying want to know what happened. Why him? What started the path down to the reality of his health failing?

My therapist encourages me to study the why but not to overthink what could be simple

Naturally, I discussed this dream with my therapist this past Thursday, August 18, 2022. I love watching my therapist as she sits back in her chair, cups one of her hands on her chin, tilts her head, and says, “Okay. Where is the why in this? Why do you think you had this dream after not having seen them in so long?”

The question stumped me when she first asked it. I had trouble connecting the dots. My mind had been moving so fast, trying to wrap itself around it. I was dealing with the “how” so much more than I was dealing with the “why” of it all. I could pull nothing from within me.

She allowed me several moments to sit with the question and it finally hit me. “I thought I had gotten to a happier place with my grief — that I could say it does not hurt as much as it first did — I am doing better. But this … now this.”

And we talked through it. Her next question really drew the emotion out of me. “What do you feel in you right now, knowing that a childhood friend is gone?”

How does one even address this question? Especially if one has had multiple childhood friends die. Some before we’d even made it to our 30s.

I don’t want to say I am numb to it because surely I am not — I still feel each loss completely and wholly and the pain isn’t any different. My response … “I am saddened by it. I am hurt. I wish I would not have found out this way, or that it did not happen. Why did I have this dream? Am I supposed to reach out to his brother … his sister? He died so long ago.”

And the tears fell.

It all hit me like a Mack truck a few moments later. I didn’t give my therapist time to respond. My old friend died in October 2011. My cousin’s birthday is coming up in October. I had already not dealt with the month of October well because my maternal grandmother died In October when I was 23 years old.

Plainly put, October is a struggle month for me. There are days in that month when my focus is completely and utterly off, and I cannot move through them as I can months before it.

My maternal grandmother’s death had broken me in places I did not know breaking was possible. October brings darkness for me — so much darkness, and my cousin … she had been the light. Every single year — she was beautiful, unfathomable, undeniable, uplifting, and consistent light.

So, what will this October lend me this year? In all honesty, I am afraid to greet it but I also cannot worry about something over which I have no control. And I will try not to have any predestined wallowing moments piling up, either. I have to press forward. I have to move through it as best as I can when it approaches.

I will continue to give myself the grace and understanding I need.

I am aware that you worry about many things that you can’t control. There’s so much we would like to have but we cannot really hold. You have to be kind to yourself. You have to be kind to yourself. — Zooey Deschanel

How I got through the week embraced by some entertainment

I have made it a point to watch more television. For years, I had immersed myself in reading, writing, editing, and viewing a couple of hours of television per night and a few more during the weekends, but of late, this form of entertainment is keeping me above water.

Throughout the week, I allowed myself to be enchanted and excited by Gnome Alone (on Netflix), intrigued and motivated by Prey (on Hulu), angered and emotionally shaken by The United States vs. Billie Holiday (on Hulu), and finally, distracted, saddened, yet uplifted by Over the Moon (on Netflix).

And with the roller coaster week I have had, each of them has been a welcome reprieve.

I have learned to allow myself moments of joy regardless of how they are introduced to me.

I may not know the “why” but I will probably find out soon

Finding out about the loss of a childhood friend the way I did has definitely bruised something within me. I won’t lie — it was crushing waking up to learn of the death of someone I had been close to while growing up. I am still struggling with thoughts of, “why didn’t we keep in touch?” “What prevented us from spending more time together as we aged?” “What would it look like for me to make attempts at reconnecting with his surviving brother and sister?”

I do not have the answers. But I will tell you I am sitting with this loss. I am honoring it with the time I believe it needs. I am looking to the spirit of my cousin to cradle me as she has been doing over the last six months. And that is all I can do for now.

That is all I will do.

Grief changes shape, but it never ends. — Keanu Reeves


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 on LinkedIn.

The Grieving Room

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Learning to love the dead without forgetting them and experiencing life’s gifts in waves

If I have loved you and lost you, I will not forget you. It is impossible to do so. But I have a bad habit of letting loss stay with me more than I think it should. I cradle it — provide comfort for it — beg it to stay for more than just a little while. And therefore, it is hard for me to live life at its highest point because there is always an air of extreme sadness hanging over me whenever I lose someone I love or was deeply connected to.

What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us. — Helen Keller

When I am assessing a situation and I have my wits about me, I know how to maneuver through that situation. I can design plans to resolve issues and problem solve to the best of my ability for a considerably desirable outcome.

With the death of a loved one, though, there is no immediate resolution on how one should grieve/heal/cure the pain that pops up at all hours of the day without warning.

A favorite song can help with the aches. An animated movie can send me directly to my happiest place and distract me. Time well spent with Jernee, my dog, sometimes gives me the calming energy I need to push through the roughest parts. But I have not found the master plan to deal with death appropriately, and I doubt I ever will.

And my cousin’s death has settled in my spirit — becoming one with my entire identity, and there is no breaking away from it. Upon reading and researching timelines, expectancy dates, and most appropriate grieving process lessons, I came across something referred to as Complicated Grief.

The grieving person must travel through the grief process, and should be allowed to move through it at their own pace. For some people, the grieving process can go on for a long time. This happens more often when a person was very close to the deceased. Sometimes this leads to what is known as complicated grief.

If what’s considered to be “normal grieving” does not occur, or if the grieving goes on for a long time without any progress, it’s called “complicated grief” or “unresolved grief.” Symptoms of complicated grief might include:

Continued disbelief in the death of the loved one, or emotional numbness over the loss
Inability to accept the death
Feeling preoccupied with the loved one or how they died
Intense sorrow and emotional pain, sometimes including bitterness or anger
Unable to enjoy good memories about the loved one

And after going through the explanation and details of complicated grief, I know it does not relate to me. What I am experiencing is just good, old-fashioned grief, coming in waves. Or a continuation or replay of the stages or me getting past one stage and reverting to it unbeknownst to my doing so.

I am still learning to give myself some grace — to be gentle and patient — to feel every emotion as I should and not ridicule or belittle myself for remaining in one stage longer than I believe I should. I am getting through as best as I can, and this is the most important part.


I am protected in my happy place

Earlier this week, I watched Back to the Outback on Netflix and enjoyed every moment. It’s an animated film about several “dangerous” creatures determined to find their way back to lives they’ve never known before being placed in captivity for showcasing to draw crowds in Australia. Hence the title, Back to the Outback.

If I am watching cartoons or animated movies, I am centering myself in my happy place where I feel most safe. It is the place I never want to leave and only do so to continue with adulting.

If I could, I’d be a professional connoisseur of animated films or an animated film critic. I envy people who actually get to explore this type of lifestyle — to do what they love all day long and remain happy during the process.

It is hard to pursue life’s goals, be financially stable, and enjoy life to the fullest when most of your day is dictated by something you used to love, but only do now in order to make ends meet.

Here’s the trailer to the movie, just in case you might be interested:

Back to the Outback, Netflix, ©December 2021

My therapy sessions remind me that life is for the living

And if I am honest, this is one thing I have to link myself to.

I am alive. I should be living.
I am alive. I should be living.
I am alive. I should be living.

I have made it a point to say the above affirmation to myself occasionally. Sometimes, I need a reminder. Other times, I am far too busy doing things that require me to stay above water and in the right frame of mind. I drift into a removed place where I am dreaming more than I am living.

My mind is full of Do This and Do Thats and I rush to make sure I can fit everything I need to do on a common weekday. It is exhausting. This — what I have been doing for the last three years, is not living. I am merely surviving.

“You crossed my mind the other day, Tre, as I was listening to the radio and an advertisement played about a writing group retreat. I instantly thought, ‘This would be great for Tre’!” — My therapist.

And as we discussed the advertisement she heard, my heart became full of hope and determination. But my therapist can get a little carried away and excited and she does not remember the source or any contact information but stated she will have a pen and paper ready to jot it down when she hears it again.

She has been great in circling me back to key points that have been helpful over these last three years, and more importantly, these last five months. I am meant to live. I should be out there living.

Shouldn’t all of us who still have air in our lungs and desire in our hearts be doing the same thing?

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. — Friedrich Nietzsche


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.

I Wish You Were Still Here

A Lamentation for Chrissy

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

And I’m not lying.
I tell people, “I’m trying”
because really, I am.
But my heart breaks every
single day still, and it feels
like I’m watching the
world crumble before
my eyes.

People don’t want to be
around the grieving ones.

It puts them in a place
of discomfort — shifts them
from good times to
“Is this still happening?”
and since I can’t quite
answer their questions,
I bubble up in the safety
of my home and swat
at the hard times slowly
creeping up my stairs.

If you were to tell me
this would be my life
ten years ago, I
would’ve uttered some
common phrases like,
“The Devil is a lie” or
“You can’t predict the
future,” and I would’ve
swiped my tongue gingerly
across my two front teeth.

Nothing can bring hell
like the death of a loved
one — like the sound of
one heart breaking into
a million pieces and scattering
itself throughout your entire
body.

How does it feel to walk
around with your insides
regrouping while you
find your center?

I am told it’s okay
to struggle — to flounce about
with my head bowed, searching
for the writing in the dirt
under my feet.
Where there’s dust, there also
will I be …

I don’t want to dissolve
into the muddy waters
of this stomach-churning
world, so I pull myself
out of the quicksand of
despair and snail on
while I still can.

I wish you were still here.
I am second-guessing myself
again. It’s almost like
a default setting, and
every time I try to move
through it, I sink even
deeper.

I have trouble
seeing past my most
hated self — it’s hard to
shove that part of me
deep into a closet
and throw away the key.

I feel like I have to
soon, though.
Because if I don’t,
the sun will back away
from me and never
lay itself at my heels again.
And that, my beautiful cousin,
would be a life I
don’t want to live.

I love you.
I always will.


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.