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

Dressed in Red. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Finding peace at every turn and growing at my own pace

If I can be honest, this past week has been a great week for me — overall, one of the best I have had in several months. I am overjoyed to see these words typed on-screen. There were some stressful points at work, but the fantastic team I am a part of makes things much better. We all jump right in and ride the waves of the slew of calls we get, and everyone is so supportive.

It beats swimming alone when you know the tide will be at its highest. It beats chipping away at a mountain when you know you still haven’t reached its peak. It beats running away from something when all it takes is patience, prayer, and perseverance.

I am enjoying the drop in temperatures over the past few days. There is a cool breeze in the morning and at night, and the sun is not trying to body slam me into submission during the day.

This tells me — autumn is in the air, and I am here for it! It is one of my favorite seasons. I look forward to dressing in layers, drinking hot cocoa, making stews and crockpot soups, and cuddling under my favorite blanket with Jernee.

Peace is moving in steadily, and I invite it with open arms.


A moment to relax and enjoy a favorite pastime

Last night, Friday, August 12, 2022, I watched Dog Gone Trouble via Netflix. After I’d rid myself of the workday, walked Jernee, ate dinner, and snuggled up with the Little Monster in my favorite chair, I switched on Netflix for what has become a favorite pastime of mine — ending my workdays with laughter and animated goodness or enjoying a weekend bonanza of all things kid-friendly.

My happy place is a space for all ages, yet I am content experiencing it alone.

This movie had so many high points for me and, of course, a lesson I believe most adults could benefit from, especially nowadays. Just in case you’re interested, the trailer is below.

Dog Gone Trouble. Netflix ©2021.

I will give you a bit of a spoiler — the dancing tree squirrels will have you laughing your head off with the leader’s crazy amount of phrasings, including the word “nuts.” Trouble (the dog) actually says on more than one occasion — and I am paraphrasing — “This just sounds so inappropriate.”

If you love to laugh, enjoy cartoons or animated movies, and have about one hour and 30 minutes to spare, then give yourself the gift of Dog Gone Trouble. It’s worth it.


Comfort foods and their impact

Sunday, August 06, 2022, I made one of my favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing truly special about it — it’s made with delicious and basic ingredients and will also allow you to have leftovers for at least two to three days after you have prepared it.

What is it, Tre? you ask. I call it “hearty beef dip.” You can substitute the meat for any other meat you’d like: ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork. After adding cheese sauce and shredded cheese, light red kidney beans, onions, and chopped spinach, what you get is a feast in your mouth as you dip corn chips into this hearty goodness.

An animated image of hearty beef deep and corn chips.
Hearty beef dip & Chips. Gif created by Tremaine L. Loadholt

I learned about this basic yet filling meal from my best friend almost twenty years ago. It has been a staple in my home since then. I do not have the meal often — perhaps once every other month. But I always look forward to making it. My stomach does too.


Growing at my pace and it feels good

Soon, I will partake in something completely out of my comfort zone and new to me. I am shaking as I type this very paragraph for this newsletter, but something has moved me recently to continue to step out of my comfort zone. And doing so has gotten me to a calmer place.

This cannot be a coincidence.

If I attack or stare down fear and take it head-on, the things I avoided doing seem less scary.

I have more research to do, some basic contact emails to send, and becoming one with this new venture as I learn more about it.

*Fingers crossed I will have good news in the coming weeks*

Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential. — Bruce Lee


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.

The Grieving Room

Summer Trees Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Pictures tell the stories we can’t seem to share

I had one rollercoaster of a week. Work was hectic until Thursday afternoon. We had major issues with our phones and there had also been some connectivity issues which made our jobs extremely difficult. When your main priority is to answer phones and schedule patients for radiology scans and invasive procedures, not being able to effectively and efficiently do this for nearly a week had been mind-altering … and not in a good way.

I don’t know what had me on the verge of breaking down on Wednesday afternoon— it could have been the frustration of dealing with the issues with the phones and software or the weather (it has been raining off and on here for nearly two straight weeks), but I felt a weight overcome me that I just couldn’t shake.

Thankfully, I was keying in contact letters for unresponsive patients and had a moment to allow the tears to flow. 

When this form of emotion hits me out of nowhere, the first thing I want to do is … text or call my cousin. It is still hard for me to force myself into the action of not thinking about her to call or text — I am trying but it is far too hard to remove from my mind.

I often wish there was a switch — one I could flick off — one I could use to remove the thought from my mind so that it never occurs again because when it happens, the sea of sadness becomes my wading pool.

I am moving through it all as best as I can. One thing is for certain, I am glad the workweek is behind me.


A few photographs and a visit with one’s mom can renew the spirit

One thing that did help me through this week had been taking pictures of various things that make me happy or cause me to pause and reflect on life’s happenings for just a moment. The following photos are the results from this past week.

Summer Trees 2 Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt. 1 of two (the cover photo is also one) photos taken during a morning walk with Jernee from this past week.
Summer Trees 2 Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt. 1 of two (the cover photo is also one) photos taken during a morning walk with Jernee from this past week.
Jernee Timid, relaxing on the floor at my mom’s house. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Jernee Timid, relaxing on the floor at my mom’s house. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Jernee Timid in her car seat on the ride home from visiting my mom. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Jernee Timid in her car seat on the ride home from visiting my mom. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Cloudy Pool. I snapped this shot coming up the stairs of my building. Another cloudy day — just before the rain. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Cloudy Pool. I snapped this shot coming up the stairs of my building. Another cloudy day — just before the rain. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
My mom’s plant — in the hallway of her building. I have no clue what type of plant this is. I just love it. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
My mom’s plant — in the hallway of her building. I have no clue what type of plant this is. I just love it. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

To shake some of the “stank” off me from this past workweek, I took a trip to Greensboro, North Carolina, to spend some time with my mom. Visiting my mom allowed both me and Jernee to truly kick back and relax at her place while we gave her our utmost attention. 

After dealing with everything that took place this past week, seeing her face and listening to her talk 100 mph did my entire being some good. 

I think Jernee agrees too.


Appreciating the beauty all around me

Now that the past week is behind me and a few emotional moments have been curbed, I am bracing myself for whatever is to come for the rest of this weekend. 

I don’t plan on doing too much for the rest of the day, and the only things I intend to do for tomorrow are to wash my hair and cook dinner (I am still thinking about what I will make). Aside from the normal little things I do on Sunday, these will be the only two add-ons.

I have enjoyed looking up, around, and within my line of sight to capture God’s creations, however major or simple. Sometimes we need pictures to tell the stories we cannot seem to share. I think the photos above have epic tales to tell. Don’t you?

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” ― Eudora Welty


Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in The Grieving Room newsletter via LinkedIn.

The Grieving Room

Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

Stepping out of my comfort zone and finally feeling free

I have done three different things this week, all of which have taken me out of my comfort zone a bit, and placed me in a space I had not met before. I will start with the why of it all. Why have I done these things? What am I looking to gain from having done them? How will I move forward now with each of them started and a part of who I am?

When you are a fearful person, everything that falls outside of your line of comfort scares you. The dreams you have festering in your mind continue to fester because you fear every move you need to make in order to make those dreams your reality.

I have lived at least twenty years of my life stuck in constant fear of the unknown, yet the unknown is what I am drawn/connected to. It is where I want to be — where I see myself at my happiest. So, how do I get there if I stay stuck in the same spot — afraid to move? I won’t. And that had to change. It is changing.

So, what did I do — which three things?


Others recognize my strength as a writer — this gives me joy

Late last year, I submitted to a publication called The Short of It, which is hosted by editor Susi Bocks. The premise of the online publication is to publish “exquisite expressions in tiny explosions.” I submitted five micro-poems all the while, thinking, as I am often wont to do, they would not be chosen, and they were.

The editor published the feature for the five poems in the wee hours of Friday, July 29, 2022, and you can find each poem here. I want to share one poem with you, though — one that encompasses all that I have been feeling of late about myself and the world at large.

Pressure

she sits on the sea’s floor
shaped by the world
above it–changed forever.
the workers of ancient
tongues sift through
her words, chanting
their dismissals.
the pressure from centuries
ago labels her again
and again.
is this the chosen path
home or not?

To see these poems of mine hosted via The Short of It amongst many other writers whom I read daily and find comfort in doing so gives me an incredible amount of joy. For a couple of years, I’d ceased submitting to both online and print publications because the number of rejections was mounting, and I did not have the strength to scale that mountain any longer.

Braving it once again allowed me not only to submit to The Short of It, but also to write an essay catered to and about Black Joy regarding country music. I had in mind the publication (via Medium) I want this work to be connected to, so I wrote the essay with the publication’s theme sounding off as I typed each word.

I edited, fine-tuned, and combed through every word at different intervals. The time came to apply to be a writer. I did — again, fearful that I would not be their choice. I received the acceptance email also on Friday, July 29, 2022, and had been advised to submit the draft to the publication for continued review.

If you are a writer on/from Medium reading this, or if you have submitted your work to any viable or indomitable publication, whether online or in print, you know this does not mean the work will be published. This means you are IN. The publication will now work with you to bring your best work to their audience or they could decline every new submission if not tailored to their liking/theme accordingly.

I am hopeful the essay will be published, though, and I am optimistic about its chances. Again, there is joy racing through my bones solely about being accepted as a writer for this publication because I had been so afraid to even apply just two years ago.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and walked to exactly where I needed to be. And now, the journey is such a freeing one.


When people connect with your writing — they want to build with you

On Friday — yes, there’s a theme here. Do you see it? A fellow writer who is also an entrepreneur, artist, and creative powerhouse, left a comment on a previous TGR newsletter pertinent to my “dream” job and future goals. I read the comment — reached out to her. This morning, we had an hour-plus-long call that can only breed good things from this moment forward.

I am confident in her vision and in what we discussed as a game plan. It is intentional. It is laser-focused on a certain topic. It is exactly what I believe most of us need right now and in the immediate future — especially me. Prayerfully, early next year will produce more great things because of this interaction.

If I had not been writing my heart out — not sharing my difficulties and breakthroughs with grief — I never would have made this connection. If I had not taken a moment to break away from that pesky comfort zone of mine, I would not have sent the email or hopped on the call.

She saw — has seen something in my writing for years that made her want to build with me. There is no phrase — no way of actually describing this feeling that can do it justice.

When you are doing what your heart pushes you to do, the right people see it.


I whisper these accomplishments to the wind, and she hears them

The one thing that shatters my heart, though, about my newfound freedom is the fact that I cannot verbally share this with my cousin and hear her response. But I whisper it into the open air. I bend the ear of the flirting trees. I allow myself to bounce ideas out loud and nod when I feel like she approves — supports them.

I have learned that freedom from fear comes when the comfort zone is squashed. I am learning to guide myself down paths that speak to me and feel safe with more of an open mind. I am learning that although my cousin is no longer here to experience everything with me as I experience these things in real time — she is in my heart tapping at the center of me, at just the right moment.

And every tear that falls doesn’t come from me being sad anymore — they sometimes come with an undeniable air of joy surrounding me at every turn.

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. — Joseph Campbell

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.

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.