The Grieving Room

The inevitability of life ending should not end you

Photo by Ryan Gagnon on Unsplash

We moved through several tornado warnings yesterday in my area and all I could truly think about was seeing the sun once again when it peeked through the clouds. How odd, isn’t it? To wish for the sun in the middle of a torrential downpour with looming tornadoes lurking in the distance? I guess I can describe it as odd, but when I take a step back and look at the entire picture, perhaps not. I feel as though I have been escaping several tornadoes of my own — lifely tornadoes.

It is my belief that we, as human beings, have been programmed to wish for the light in the middle of darkness. We prefer happiness over sadness — a great outlook on life instead of a painful one — a successful career as opposed to a flighty one that leaves consistent income as a mere thought and not a reality. We want these things to be near the positive end of life’s spectrum, yet we often forget that in order for there to be balance, we need the downs and the ups. We have to brace ourselves for the lows in order to find ourselves on the high end once again. This is the way of life.

Death is inevitable — we can never stop it.

I recently lost my aunt, my mom’s older sister — on the tail-end of losing a writer friend — on the tail-end of losing my older, favorite cousin. There has been a death of a loved one each month so far this year except in January. When one pulls all this information and losses in order to register them properly, it’s hard to digest. On top of these not-so-happy experiences, the average workday still had to occur.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, I took a bereavement day. I had phone calls to make on behalf of my mother — people to “fill in” regarding the news. I checked on my grandmother and my uncle to see if I needed to take on any of the tasks to lighten their loads. I kept up with my mom, (who is dealing with this oddly) to be her sounding board and listening ear. Plainly put, I had things to do — death did not stop me.

Wikipedia defines death as:

Death is the irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain an organism.

“The irreversible cessation . . .” Although death has taken place so much it seems recently, life continues. There are things that have to be done — need to be done and without these things, I cannot live the life I agreed to ensure for myself.

Take a break when you know you need to.

I found it best to take a temporary leave away from social media and writing platforms. A clear head was what I needed. I wanted to be readily available for family and friends and of a sound mind if I were called upon. I was. And this meant more to me than something I am sure I can log in to check from this point forward. There was no emergency online — nothing that needed my immediate attention. Everything likened to some form of interest to me is still here — still thriving.

It had been of the utmost importance for me to pull away, listen to my heart and mind, and sustain myself at all costs. The weight from the heaviness of multiple losses has no description. There are no words. I am reminded of my father — an Episcopalian minister/elder who says about death: “Baby, death is a life coming to its end, and there’s nothing that can be done about it.” No truer words have been spoken. We can try our best to stave off death or stare it down in its face as long as we have the willingness to fight it, but if it is time — your time — my time, it will happen. On this, you can be certain.

You fell. Get back up.

The fall came before I could measure it. I used to call it “The Downing,” when I was prone to slipping into depressive states. But it came. This time, I am unsure if I should credit growth, overall satisfaction with my life, or the understanding of more things now that I am older, but I did not stay knocked down. I lunged my body upward, shook myself stable, and soldiered on with what feels like a higher purpose.

I refused to let the inevitability of life ending end me. Each of these people are lovely, and I have wonderful memories of them. I have photographs, stories, email exchanges, visits, and phone calls, and every single one of these memories is now filed in my mental log for future recollection. I am, however, taking baby steps. I am not running at this point, no . . . I am walking casually along this path while I allow myself to grieve wholeheartedly.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11, NLT


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 shared via LinkedIn.

I Am Claiming My Happiness

A Snapshot

Friday is most often my favorite day of the week, but today, this Friday feels special. I woke up long before the cock of the crow–body clock had its own plans. There was a light mist in the air before the impending rain. A short walk with the dog presented a sense of presence–a sense of #relief.

I could feel it deep down in my bones–today is truly going to be a great day. I say so. I’ll make it so.

May Friday grant you whatever you may need today. I am claiming my happiness–I wish the same for you, too.


Originally shared via LinkedIn.


*The last five days have been the break I needed. Sometimes it’s best to step away from everything and feel EVERYTHING while it’s fresh and painful. I allowed myself the chance to move through the weight of bad news and still grieve without shame–without harming myself or others. A breath of fresh air is often more than simply inhaling the gifts around us. Thank you everyone for your kind words, thoughts, prayers, emails, etc. This is such an awesome community, and I’m grateful for it.

A Snapshot

Jernee, The Little Monster, fast asleep.

The #dog sleeps soundly on a Saturday night, dreaming about God only knows what. My neighbor pulls up to our building–blasts his music for us to hear. I’m not opposed, it’s a tune I can bop my head to.

I spent a couple hours video-chatting with my younger cousin and watching her beautiful smile act as its own form of luminescence. There was no other place I wanted to be than in that moment, #connecting with her about the mundane acts of life–laughing about the calamities found in aging and ailments.

We discuss the inevitability of my little monster’s impending demise, and if I’ll get another dog immediately after or opt to get one soon so as to have another form of support on standby. Of course, I’ll get another dog. But I want her to enjoy her life being the spoiled, “only child” until she’s no more.

Oddly enough, I look at this adorable ball of fur, and all I feel is love. All I feel IS loved.

That is a beautiful thing.


Originally shared via LinkedIn.


**Since Chrissy’s passing, her children have reached out to me for deeper, closer relationships, and I needed this. I’d always been around for their growth–but their mom had my full and complete attention. They would get the occasional text or phone call. Now, it’s almost as if I’ve gained two more younger siblings, but it is Victoria with whom I sense a stronger bond will emerge. I see so much of Chrissy in her and she sees so much of her mom in me too. It is simply a joy to share these moments with them–with her. We are making beautiful memories. Beautiful memories, indeed.

The Grieving Room

Weathering the storm when it comes

Weathering the storm when it comes.

I will not claim to be incredibly emotionally sound, however, I give myself the time I need to move through emotions when the death grip of them appears. I can spend days with sadness, weeks with fear, minutes with anger, etc. I know when it is time to move away from these emotions and get myself back into the cool, crispness of my realm. I rarely settle in the depths of these emotions when they arise, but my momentary stay with them worries my loved ones.

When you are often the picture of positivity and “a light” shining on those who depend on you, your own heart can be weighed down with guilt and anything else that may come into your line of sight, and as soon as you acknowledge whatever the cause may be and spend some time with those feelings, people worry. They want to make sure you will be okay — that you will “bounce back” and be their shoulder to lean on once again. They often want to be sure they do not have to deal with the pain of watching you move through your pain for too long — it makes them uncomfortable.

But this is life and life has things that will shake us up when we least expect it. Grief looks different for everyone experiencing it. It is not some cookie-cutter emotion channeling its way through each of us exactly the same. How you move through grieving may be entirely different from how someone close to you moves through it.

The seven stages of grief.

According to HCF, the seven stages of grief include:

Shock and denial

Pain and guilt

Anger and bargaining

Depression (loneliness & reflection)

Upward turn

Reconstruction

Acceptance (and hope)

Allow me to be completely transparent. I am teetering between depression and an upward turn. However, I sometimes find myself tip-toeing into anger and bargaining as well.

This past week, I had more good days than I did bad ones. My younger cousin shared a painting she’s working on that includes her mother, her grandmother, herself, and her unborn child. To witness the strength, pain, happiness, and exactness of her painting shot through me, and before I could stop them, the tears flowed freely. I had been warned beforehand, and I wanted to see her work — wanted to connect with it. I am glad I did.

Sharing that moment with her, which reflected the beauty of her mother and the lives lost around her, caused me to smile through the pain. Here was my younger cousin honoring her late mother in such a way one could not fathom its fruition. I told her I wanted to see the finished product, and I am certain she will share it with me.

I had experienced a momentary storm, but I moved through it. There will be more and I will find the emotional wherewithal to move through those moments, just as I did the one above.

Honoring our loved ones when they are gone.

My cousin’s death pushed me to be more creative. It has been a reason for me to grant myself the power of “Yes” instead of standing flimsily behind fear and the audacity of “No.” I have written a compilation of poems as an e-book in her honor and have shared it with some friends and my family. I have also opened up the channels to have the e-book purchased by others I have asked personally, and I am overjoyed with the results of this.

I took the time to share my feelings in safe spaces, pulled the strongest poems from these experiences, and completed their outcome in October Star: Poems for Chrissy. It is not the only batch of work I have dedicated myself to. In the midst of it all, I have finally committed to a work of fiction — including some of my most popular fiction stories and serial fiction works as well. I am hopeful this book will be available in the next month or two.

I know none of this would be possible had I not suffered the pain and anguish of my dear cousin taking her final breath two months ago. She had been strong in her sense of self and often told me to simply “Go for it” whenever I had an idea about something. So, in my own way, without her around now, I am going for every damn thing I said I would in the past. It is time. It is past time.

I will leave you with a comment a fellow writer on Medium, DL Nemeril, shared with me about grief on the introduction to The Grieving Room, “There is no good way. There is no easy way. There is only your way.”

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 shared via LinkedIn.

NaPoWriMo #29

the hump is hard to get over

One of the many text message exchanges between me and Chrissy.

just when I thought I was
having a decent span of
days in a row without breaking
completely down, I swiped
through some photos in
my phone and came across
a screenshot of a text message
from one of my greatest loves,
and the tears piled on like
never before.

I wanted to lift myself up from
the chair and summon relief.
my heart is in a million pieces
and it’s going to take time
to put it back together again.
I am jigsawed, an abandoned
puzzle with no box for storage.

her daughter–my beautiful little
cousin, keeps up with me,
sends “I love you” messages
from time to time, and “How are
you” greetings and I am holding
on to her as hard as I can.
eleven years stand between us.
I have memories of her mom
she’ll never know, but I share
them–in pictures, with words.

I see her now through
WhatsApp message exchanges
and videos, and as soon as I
am done feeling every inch
of her presence, I cry.
she is so much like her
mother–such an incredible
radiance fills the room.
I get lost in
her ramblings–awed by her
talents.

my grandmother calls to thank
me for her copy of October Star
and the first thing that leaves her
mouth is, “Tre, you look so much
like Chrissy,” and I can’t find
the words to acknowledge the
fact. Moments later, I pull
“Everyone said that” from my
soul and I let it linger in the
air that filled our pauses.

it is a hard thing to look
in the mirror and see the
person you loved so much
staring back at you, but you
can’t call her, can’t write to her,
can’t send her a text message–
can’t do a damn thing but
let life continue being life.

the hump is hard to get over,
and I wish I wasn’t heavy
on the struggling end, but
I’m trying. God knows I am.
and when my overwhelming days
hit me, I have to slap on
my big girl pants and move
through the hell of it because
the one person who talked
me down from a high ass
cliff isn’t around anymore.

and never will be.
and that is the hardest
pill I have ever hard
to swallow.