The Lingering Effects of Parental Divorce

It Changes Everything

Big sky. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

He used to call me baby, that was his way, until . . . Until he had to leave. I was twelve. Twelve years old, wondering what I did wrong. No one could tell me. I wasn’t old enough to be in the middle of the conversations birthed between adults. And as a Southerner, you listen to your elders. You heed their advice.

So, I thought my light had faded — if Daddy wasn’t calling me baby anymore . . . Who else would? Who else should? Was I even still deserving of that term of endearment?

My mom had been piecing together our puzzled lives. We had become the church feature — the company billboard for broken homes. They wanted me to tell the boys. To let my brothers know our family had collapsed. But how could I? I was still trying to figure out who was going to call me baby — still trying to find the reason why he had to leave.

I had an inquisitive mind so naturally, I wanted to know what went wrong and if I was it—the wrong that suddenly swarmed our home . . . was I it?!

I turned to my mom as I so often did during times of distress to perhaps pull the truth out of her . . . “Mom, what did I do?”

In the funk of a lead-ridden home, my words were useless. They did not exist.

I did . . . I did.

I still lived amongst the shadows of decrees and halves—“You’ll get them on this weekend, I’ll get them on that weekend . . .” And so on and furthermore. We were split in two. Halves of a whole. Soon to be halves of a half. Quartered. We had been made into pieces — cracked instantly on direct impact. No one would put us back together again.

I wasn’t old enough to be in the middle of the conversations birthed between adults.


Time shifted — we all grew up and out of our old selves. When I was nineteen years old, another girl was born. This one, you know very well. When she was sixteen, I realized, you had more years with her. You don’t forget her age. She doesn’t have to remind you. You’ve been to every recital, every honors night school function, and every church-affiliated soirée. I’ve often thought, it is better this way. She gives you purpose. She doesn’t question why you left — she doesn’t have to.

She could turn a corner and find you right there — waiting . . . waiting to hug her. Waiting to hold her. You had been the pillar in her dreams — strong enough for her to lean on — safe enough for her to discard her fears. I wish I had that. That . . . security and assurance. I dream of it to this day but it is not within my reach. That ship has long since sailed — I stand at the dock battered by the untimely waves.

I wandered far away, lost myself in the clouds above my head, searching for the years before the when that stultified my efforts in loving you and scattered all of us away from what was concrete. Nothing has been what I hoped it would be. Growing up without you—salty taste lingers in my mouth, a hint of envy . . . A bit of jealousy.

She had the traditional family unit— nuclear . . . Functional.

I’ve often thought, it is better this way. She gives you purpose. She doesn’t question why you left — she doesn’t have to.


The funny thing is, I say I am grown — I am mature. But truth be known, I still can’t talk about this without breaking down into a tear-consumed toddler who isn’t getting what she wants. And this, I am told, is normal or expected. Divorce. Divorce. Divorce squirms all up in my bones. I twirl the words on my tongue and the tears fall. They fall . . . I wonder if it does the same thing to you—it does not. It cannot.

And maybe, that’s why we’re estranged. That’s why we’re still holding on. No . . . That’s why I’m still holding on to pain and the moment you’ll once again call me baby.


©2016 & 2021 Tremaine L. Loadholt

This essay originally began as a narrative poem that had been published in In Two Minds on April 24, 2016. Its revision is now hosted at Age of Empathy via Medium. Thank you for reading.

Going Nowhere

Silver and Black Digital Alarm Clock on Table
Photo by Burst via Pexels

Time doesn’t stand still for me. I beg it sometimes. My plea goes unheard. A faint whisper greets my ear, “What are you so afraid of”? I respond, “Now? Everything.”

Time cocks its head back & laughs. It gathers data on me and maintains its surveillance.

I’m free to go nowhere.


Originally shared via Twitter.

Home Is Where Everything Is


Pandemic Reflections

I have become glutinous; sticking to my home — fearful of going too far away from it. I question every errand that needs attention. How important is it? How much longer can I go without it? Is the purchase cost-effective enough to simply have Instacart drop it off after I fill up my cart via my favorite stores instead? Do I really need to go to the store myself?! Do I?!

I am growing indecisive during this pandemic season and I know it has a lot to do with how scary this virus is and how massive it has become.

I went from a woman working in an imaging facility, screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms to yearning for a workspace from home and actually attaining that and now . . . Now, home is more than just where I work — home is everything. Everything is here at home.

I still get anxious but not nearly as bad as I did on days I knew I had to be in the public eye — around other people. It’s easier to curb my anxiety . . . I have a bit more control over it. I can subdue it and move forward and do what needs to be done on a daily basis.

At home, I am not running away nor do I have the urge to run away from my fears. But I do recognize the magnitude of what has taken place. I am cognizant of the fact that it could be me, my family, or a close loved one (again) pushed toward their demise from this virus.

Home is where I sit with the neverending debate going on in my head; “do I get vaccinated or not?” Currently, there is no winner. I think there will be one soon.


Two of my succulents; re-potted and were temporarily placed directly in front of my balcony door. I’ve since moved them to be alongside two more of my plants. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

After one year of dealing with the pandemic, I am learning how to be easier on myself. I have new ways to bring joy into my life. I find peace in the simplest things and I hold on to it. I have taken a liking to plants, succulents in particular, as they were a gift to me from my team at my previous job.

I talk to my plants. I name them. I open the blinds in the living room and kitchen and let the love from the sun’s rays wash over them. I water them. I check their soil and preen and primp them. I am ensuring the health and wellness of living things other than myself and my dog, Jernee.

It feels good.

It feels like an accomplishment I did not know I needed to accomplish. It feels essential.

I have what I need . . . Food. Water. Shelter. Books. Laptops. Music. A bossy Chorkie who cuddles with me on cold nights and gives me wet-nosed kisses that turn into paw pats on my face — everything is here at home.

After one rigorous year of quarantine, various mandatory restrictions, and only visiting my closest loved ones every few months, I have a hard time envisioning what the next year and the year after that will have up their sleeves.

And will I be able to remove myself from home? Will I lose the adhesive I’ve grown fond of relying on when I can stray far away once again?

Will I even want to?


This story was written in response to Medium’s Writing Prompt: Pandemic Reflections:What Comes to Mind When You Think About the Pandemic Anniversary?


Originally published on Medium.

They Have a Dream

Young, Black students share their oratory strengths in a powerful message

Photo by Clay Banks via Unsplash

What do you think about when you reflect upon the message delivered in the famed “I Have a Dream” speech by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Does it cross your mind that we would be fighting for the same wishes, wants, and necessities shared within its lines? Do you sit and wonder about “how far we have come” and “how far we still have to go”? Where do you go? Where does your mind take you when you hear the depth and breadth of his voice as those words were uttered on August 28, 1963?

I can tell you what it does to me — how it shifts the very essence of who I am. How it enforces the fears I hold within me regarding the America of today. I feel no safer today than I did ten years ago. In fact, I am more on edge in the year of our Lord, 2021, than I have ever been. If I had to guess, I would venture in saying I am sure the late Dr. King would have never envisioned this America fifty-eight years later. In essence, it is the same America he was brutally killed in while trying to bring about a massive change in a peaceful way.

It is the same America that burned crosses in the front yards of African American families fighting their way up the rungs of ladders that never seemed to end. It is the same America that sprayed human beings with high-pressure water hoses or fire hydrants and sicced dogs on fleeing bodies with flailing limbs, seeking safety. It is the same America where the very mention of “reparations” makes those in favor of white supremacy flinch and toot up their noses.

We have come a mighty long way. We have a mighty long way to go.

The things that make America beautiful to me can be easily overshadowed by the bloodstained countrysides, history of enslavement, police brutality, lack of financial support and assistance for those below and slightly above the poverty line, anyone voicing All Lives Matter, constant display of inequality, and now, the alarming rates at which Black people and People of Color are becoming infected and dying from the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

It is the same America where the very mention of “reparations” makes those in favor of white supremacy flinch and toot up their noses.

Is this the America someone thinks about when they dream of a better place?

I highly doubt it.


My sister Bless and a group of her colleagues at Clayton State University, located in Morrow, Georgia, created a video based on the “I Have a Dream” speech, and in it they share what they dream about for the America they want. They express themselves with vigor, intelligence, worthiness, and poise. They display exactly what it means to voice your opinion without being offensive but with a stern delivery.

These are the faces of the future. These are the hearts that are breaking as they watch the same America Dr. King watched, the same America I have watched, and the same America many others before me died fighting for but did not gain anything from it.

“In a sense, we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.” A check we know may be counted void or stopped upon seeking its payment. A check that would never ever be enough for the pain endured, the lives lost, and the depletion of energy as the fight continues. A check that would be a constant reminder of something given to us in order to shut us up. We are coming for what is due and the youth are on the front lines.

“We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.” There is hope within these lines. Hope for significant change. Hope for an America, that when we think of her, we will not feel shame. Hope for allies who will speak up and fan the flames instead of finding comfort in their silence and safety behind their locked doors. Hope for the day that such speeches will not have to exist.

I am honored to share with each of you the voices of several Black students who know the value of their lives and those lives of Black people and People of Color who struggle to be seen, heard, loved, respected, cared for, and celebrated in an America who has yet to open, really open her eyes.

Their message is one of strength, determination, will, and the understanding of a man’s dream that never came true and how one day, we hope that it will.

How one day, we hope there is more love thrown upon us than accusations, distrust, neglectful behavior, and racist acts. We deserve it. We have fought for it.

And now, we demand it.


Students of Clayton State University. Keep an eye out for these young ones. Their voices will not be silenced. My sister, Bless Loadholt, is the second speaker in the black polka-dotted top and the gold necklace

Originally published in Our Human Family via Medium.

2020, I’m Not Sad to See You Go

But I appreciate what you taught me

Dear 2020:

I could start this letter by saying “I’m glad you’re leaving,” “I’ll hold the door open for you,” or “I’ll even grab your bags, walk you to your car, and make sure you get home safely” happily but I’m choosing to let you know even though you have nearly taken me out, I am still here. And many of us can say this.

You tried, you almost succeeded, but we’re powerful enough to deal with you.

Coronavirus COVID-19 is raging with a significant increase every day of those who have contracted the virus. Pharmaceutical companies have introduced rushed vaccines for a thing that constantly mutates and brings about different strains periodically to shoot into faithful believers of being protected against it. Government officials delayed help, knowing human beings were suffering, had been suffering, and were going to continue to suffer, then threw loose dollars for us to catch.

Racism, divisiveness, bigotry, and an overwhelming number of things that paint hatred and insensitivity corrupted you and you allowed them to fester; to dig in deep into the hearts of man, burn their spirits, and press upon their minds. We learned that you harbored endangerment and only waited until now to show us your true colors.

I remained steadfast. I knew my place. I had support. I was not alone. You did not defeat me.

We learned that you harbored endangerment and only waited until now to show us your true colors.

2020, were you lingering in the air waiting for the perfect moment to swoop down on us and attack at will? If I were to question you professionally, would you answer truthfully about your hand in what has been the demise of thousands upon thousands? I would bet you will not confess openly and if you did — you’d lie through your teeth like a certain someone still trying to hold on to a presidency that is quickly flashing by before his eyes and continues to throw temper tantrums because his way is not the way.

You came with everything you had. You thundered into our lives in the beginning with hopeful appearances and a grandeur we had not seen before, and lo and behold — you rocked us by stabbing us in the back. There are many of us who are fighting. There are many of us who are conquerors. There are many of us who will ready a proper shoe and place a swift kick upon your ass sooner than later to get you out of the door.

We want you gone.

I remained steadfast. I knew my place. I had support. I was not alone. You did not defeat me.

Although you came for us with fire in your clutch, we are persevering. We are standing strong. You have taught me I have far more fight in me than I believed I did. You opened my eyes to a vast number of people who will take care of others and give their last to a fellow human being in need. You showed me that even when the depth of the belly of the beast is staring us straight into our eyes, we can overcome, we can stand firm, we can press forward.

You aimed to kill at will and you have succeeded — we have lost so many all around the world with thousands dying each day by your hand, however; you have not bested us. I have learned, am learning your weakness lies in the beauty togetherness can bring — the strength of a people immovable even as they fear what will be next.

2020, you came . . . You rattled us. You shook us from within ourselves. But you have not won.

We won’t let you.


Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.