Looking For Gloria … Let the Sun Shine!

Looking For Gloria …  Let the Sun Shine!

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter


Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee … with Gloria’s Garraway (my Basset Hound) … on my birthday.


I go from mirror to mirror looking for ‘Me’ … I’m on a mission to find Gloria. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.


Skip and I went to look around at the local flea market this past weekend.  Lately, we’ve been rounding up things we don’t need anymore … to sell to pick up some extra money.  Skip isn’t able to go back to work just yet.

As we were leaving … we met a couple coming in the door just as we opened it to go out.  I saw the woman’s mouth open, a smile come on her face as her eyes looked me over.  It was someone we hadn’t seen in several years.  She never said anything about how I looked … but, I knew she saw the dramatic change in my weight.  I didn’t mind … her expression told it all.

Today, we stopped to get gas.  I went inside to pay for it.  I heard someone say my name.  It was a lady I used to work with in the business office at the hospital, years ago.  I could see she was noticing the difference in me … she never mentioned it at all.  I smiled, spoke a few conversational words … paid for the gas, left.

This lady was one of the ones whose mouth fell open … when she saw how bad I looked after my son’s death.  She never asked me what was wrong.  I never told her.  Now, that I’m looking like a real person again … she never mentioned it.  I did see it on her face.

Not long ago, we were picking up meds at the Walmart Pharmacy.  We met up with one of our friends.  We all hugged, talked.  Skip mentioned to her about how I was losing weight.  She looked at me, said she really couldn’t tell it … ‘maybe’ I had lost a little bit.  I’ve lost 50 lbs. or more … my clothes were ‘hanging off’ me.  I smiled at her.

Just two days after that, we went back for something at Walmart … the woman who greets customers called to me.  She told me how nice I looked, and that I was really losing weight.  It made me so happy.  She was the very first woman to compliment me.  She asked me would I recommend the surgery for her son.  I told her that for me … the surgery was the best decision I ever made.  As time goes by, my health only gets better.  No more diabetes.

On that same visit, we were in the store, walking.  I heard someone call my name … it was someone I thought a lot of.  She didn’t mind telling me that I looked nice, really good.  I was so happy … two women told me they could see such a difference.  I felt validated … I am the kind of person who needs that.  I need to ‘see myself’ in others’ eyes … I can see how I look … but, if someone else sees it … then, I feel I’ve done good.  It means the world when someone is truthful in a good way … I don’t need lies.

Skip says I’m always complimenting people.  He is right.  I told him that I feel when people look nice, do something nice, or something about them stands out to me … I’m going to tell them.  We all want to know when we look nice, I feel they should know.  Don’t you agree we all hope, want others to think we look good when we strive to?  or if a particular color we have on … stands out in a fun way?  How would we know … if no one ever told us?

I’m no exception … I’ve been an awful-looking person for the majority of 6 years. Grief destroys one while they are in the darkness.  So, now … I’m beginning to look ‘like myself’ once again … it tickles me to no end … when people see ‘me’ once again!  You wouldn’t believe the happiness I feel … it helps me to know … I’m on the right path to … looking for Gloria!  Let the sun shine!



Author’s Note:


True story/photo owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

I’m on a weight loss journey … I’m sharing real feelings, thoughts … as I travel on my new path in life … looking for ‘Me’ … Gloria.

Six Years Later, I Am Finally … Finding ‘Me’

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter




I’ve seen a stranger in my mirror for so long … it’s good to finally recognize someone I know, like … ‘Me’. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee




Six years ago, my only child died.  For the first 3 1/2 years I wasn’t aware of anything but, my grief.  My son had died, I didn’t care about anything at all, excepting our Pups, and Skip (my husband).

I have to say that today … looking back … everything is dark.  I don’t want to see through that darkness right now.  It takes so much out of me when I force myself to go back.  It’s like being trapped in a dark, foggy, scary place … There are times I will go back to describe to you very real grief … not tonight.

I am writing tonight about trying to find myself in the mirror.  When I became aware of myself after the first several years of grieving … I would notice myself standing in front of the mirror, staring.  I didn’t know the person I was looking at.  I would peer closely, ask myself … ‘is that me?’  I couldn’t recognize the person in the mirror.  I had never looked like … that.

I was very overweight … my face had no happiness, sunshine in it … whereas before … I always smiled.  My eyes had no light in them … no life.  I couldn’t see myself anymore … I really was gone.  I was on a journey no mother should ever have to travel … the one traveled after her child has died.

Where I used to be very pretty … I looked so awful.  I couldn’t bear to see … me.  I didn’t have the motivation, nor desire to look better, then.  I didn’t care how I looked … I had died inside … my child was gone.  How could I live … even smile … feel any happiness at all … my child was dead?  Tommy died … Tommy was dead.

I began to tell myself I would grieve in a good way … a positive way.  I was beginning to think thoughts about the future.  I wanted to grow older in a good way … no bitterness, anger, hate.  I began to work on myself, how I thought about things.

Sometimes, I would catch a glimpse of ‘me’ in the mirror … sometimes, ‘me’ … smiled.  I would try to capture ‘me’ in a photo with my cellphone.  Photos of ‘me’ were just damn awful … I looked so horrible.  The truth is the truth … I never thought I would be, or find ‘me’ again.

I did try harder to look better … I just didn’t care.  This is someone who used to have to dress ‘perfect’ before going out the door even to a store.  My hair, makeup, clothes had to look very nice.  I always was known to look nice … people would say I was … beautiful.  Well … when I became aware of those people who used to say that … when they saw me … I saw mouths drop open like … what the hell?

Not one person ever came to me to ask me what was wrong.  No one ever knew my son died … I never bothered to tell them.  I could only write about it … not talk about it.  Writing helped to save my life … my grief was bigger than I.  Six years later … people are just finding out that Tommy died … they are shocked.  I don’t elaborate on his death … I can’t bear to talk about it.  When asked how he died, I just tell them he had 4 blockages to his heart, collapsed at the beach playing with his son.  I walk off … leave Skip to talk … I don’t want to.

I’ve never carried anything so heavy in my life.  If you saw me then … you saw a wreck of a woman … who moved automatically in life … who only existed because … she couldn’t just lay down, die.  I almost did … I never cared.  So … you can see, maybe understand the ‘whys?’ … it means so much for me to ‘see myself’ again.

Six years later, I’m ready to be myself, enjoy looking nice again.  I almost gave up … almost.  A year ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes … that was something I couldn’t accept even for a moment … it made me angry.

I already had several medical conditions … brought on during the three years I fought to survive cancer … Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  I’m a 16 year survivor … and am fortunate to be here … not many people who had it when I did … made it.  My oncologist told me last summer I shouldn’t be here.  Can you imagine being told that?  It brought home to me how fortunate I was … I felt cold chills when he told me.

I decided on studying, joining support groups on weight lost surgery.  I did this for over a year … I began to ask questions.  I found out that Medicare would pay for my surgery.  This was back when Skip was working, driving a truck.  My part to pay was $457 … Skip paid that months before he, himself became sick, had to stop driving.  Even after that … the tests I had to go for … over a 6 month period … I was still undecided.

Skip became very ill in January … and until a month ago … he went through so much.  I wasn’t going to have my surgery … until Skip was on even keel.  He stayed very sick for 5 1/2 months, almost dying 3 times.  He wanted me to have my surgery … he knew how much it meant to me.  For a short period of time … he stayed on even keel … just long enough for me to have surgery.

Just after my surgery, he became bad off again.  I didn’t have time to recuperate from my surgery … I was traveling 80 miles daily, to and from the hospital every day … no sooner than he come home from the hospital … he was back into the hospital.  I never let my pain stop me … I just kept going.  I had to be strong for Skip, and I was.

April 20, 2016 … I had my surgery.  July 20th will be 3 months since surgery.  I have finally begun to feel good each day … and I am seeing in the mirror … ‘Me!’ again.  I am just beginning to feel joy in seeing the weight come back off … feeling how good it feels just to feel good, again.  It’s wonderful.  I’m finding … myself … at last!

I couldn’t open my eyes to see ‘me’ …  until Skip got on an even keel, getting stronger and stronger.  For 5 weeks now … he is doing well.  I pray he never gets sick again.

Since January, I have lived in fear … Skip had a stroke, went into congestive heart failure 3 times, kidney failure/surgery, hemorrhaging nosebleeds that required him to be given blood, he had a pacemaker put in, 2 stents put in … he almost hemorrhaged to death just after the heart catherization when the shaft/sheath (I forgot the name) was taken out of his thigh.  This wasn’t all that happened to him during that time.  It was one nightmare after the other.  I was on a roller coaster I couldn’t get off from … I held on for dear life.  I had to be strong for Skip, our Pups.

Today … Skip is stronger.  He is driving … moving around like ‘Skip’.  I am so grateful, thankful.  He and The Pups are my whole life … they are my whole world.  Not only that … I am so grateful to all my friends who helped me make it through that awful time.  Do you know the song … Wind Beneath My Wings?  I think of that song when I think of the ones who helped me with tires, oil change, and gas to be able to make it through.  I have no family … I didn’t have one person I could go to … to ask for help.  I will be always grateful to everyone who cared for me … they never had to, but … they did.  I’m so thankful.

Now … today … I am finally beginning to see, find … me.  When I look in the mirror at times ‘now’ … I don’t cringe every time when I see me.  I’m beginning to recognize myself, again.  I’m so happy with my decision to go through with my surgery.  I wouldn’t trade doing it at all.  I no longer have diabetes, something I just couldn’t cope with.  I am feeling better, and better as Skip becomes stronger, himself.  The Pups are doing well … I took the best care of them during the months Skip was so ill.  They are happy Pups, know they are loved.

Today … I saw ‘me’ in the mirror … I am seeing ‘me’ in the mirror more often, now.  I’m finding myself after being on the longest, hardest journey in my life … as a grieving mother.  I’m finding myself after almost losing the one person I have left in this world, who is my world … my husband.  I have so, so much to be thankful for … I am.

I’ve shared my journey as a grieving mother … I will still share those times that happen when grief hits.  Now, I’m on another road in life … never forgetting my son … but, going forward.  I am on a weight loss journey … and in the process of … finding ‘Me’.



Note by this author:

As long as Skip and The Pups are doing well … I am happy.  Each morning I get up … I thank God for everything.  I can smile at myself in the mirror … because I am finally recognizing myself again.  This means the world to me.

A Sign From the Other Side

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter


(Dragonfly tattoo done by Jason Wilkins … in memory of Tommy)



The dragonfly came from nowhere to hover, fly

In front of my face, close to my eyes

I stood waiting for the sign I knew would come

From the other side … from a young man I loved

Sure enough, when I blinked … the dragonfly

Landed on my nose … his little wings became still

It sat there … looked at me … I looked at it

Tears began to roll from my eyes

The dragonfly touched a teardrop with it dainty foot

He rose from my nose … flicking the teardrop into the air

Drops from the teardrop rained on the little dragonfly

Making him shimmer, shine in the golden sunlight

My eyes saw such special beauty

I knew this dragonfly was giving me a sign from the other side

Love reflected in the sunlight as the tiny drops flew off its wings

Touching my cheeks like a child’s kiss

I knew my son had sent me a sign through a dragonfly

A special sign from the other side … I love you, mom




Dragonflies do strange, wonderful things whenever I see them … I know it’s Tommy sending love from the other side. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



Note by this Author:


My son died 6 years ago … for 6 years I’ve noticed dragonflies do unusual things.  I know the dragonfly would be the way Tommy would communicate from the other side so, I wouldn’t be afraid.

Photo/poem owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

My World in Photos … I’m Finally in a Happier Place


By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter



Sometimes … my photos can express more than my words can. My world is a happier place after almost 6 months of pure Hell. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

















After 5 1/2 months of medical emergencies … this is my world, today.  Skip is doing very well after being in the hospital … going through medical emergencies that threatened his life … since January of 2016.



I’m so happy to say that for the past 4 weeks … he has been on even keel.  He did have 2 nosebleeds that required trips to the emergency room.  Thankfully he didn’t need to get blood those times.  The first nosebleed … he had to have 2 pints of blood.  I had to go to the emergency room, once.  That has happened in the past 4 weeks … I still call this even keel … because no one was admitted.  Skip has been admitted 6 times since January with life-threatening emergencies, several surgeries.  I had surgery in April.



We are walking more, and feeling better physically … mentally.  As Skip becomes stronger … so, do I … mentally.  I become happier.



So, for today … this is my world in photos.  Doesn’t it look like a happier world?




Note by this Author:


I feel the stirrings of wanting to write again.  I was afraid that all that was happening in my life would crush my writing spirit … I’m back.  I have also, been interested in my second book book I’m writing about Victoria Fairchild … I have begun working on it once again.  I am re-writing it as I go … to become familiar with all I’ve written … to get into my story, my special world once again.


So much has happened in our lives for the first 6 months of June.  You can read back to see all … I won’t bore anyone trying to name everything, now.  It’s hard to believe all that has happened … even the doctors have been shaking their heads.  We are recognized in the emergency room and on the floors at the hospital … gracious.


Photos/true story owned/written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Some of The Heaviest Things in My Life Are Things I Can’t See …

Some of The Heaviest Things in My Life Are Things I Can’t See …

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/aka @GeeGranny on Twitter




You never saw all I carried on my shoulders when my son died … grief is the heaviest weight a grieving mother can carry. By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny



Walking with shoulders stooped … hard to take a step forward in life.  Walking with all the weight in the world … sitting on those shoulders.  So many things happen to strike a person down … getting back up each time.  Time after time … fall down, get up … fall down … get up.


So tired from the invisible weight carried on one’s shoulders.  No one can see why a person walks with their shoulders down … head down, sighing all the time.  They’ve given up on life …


Not I … oh no, not me.  I’m not giving up … I haven’t given up.  I won’t give up.  Okay … the truth is during the first 3 years after my son died … I did give up.  No one excepting Skip knew how fragile my very life was.  He worried … I couldn’t see his worry for my grief.


Grief … is the very heaviest weight I ever carried on my shoulders.  No one could see it … I couldn’t see it … I felt, knew it was there.  I could hardly walk for the heaviness of it all.  It was bigger than I.


Anyone not knowing me … would see a beaten-down woman who was looking … inside when walking … not looking out into this world.  She didn’t want to talk to anyone … she lived in the darkness of pure grief … there wasn’t even a speck of light in her world, her mind.  She/I was the darkness.


No one could see why this woman would look as she does.  No one could see that this woman used to be so happy … smiling all the time, silly … funny.  Invisible weight no one could see pushed me to the ground.  For the first time in my life … I wasn’t a positive person … I wasn’t capable of really thinking any further than my grief.


I look back toward that time … all I see is darkness.  I don’t feel like entering that darkness now to describe to you some of those times.  I do that from time to time to show/tell you … today, I can’t.  It takes so much out of me … for several days after entering the darkness.  I can’t get over it easy, because when I do that … I am in there totally … facing awful things.


Today … 6 years later … I am out of the darkness … I don’t carry the weight of grief on my shoulders, now.  I have coped with the loss of my son in a most positive way.  I realize no matter how much I cry, fight the world because my son died … it doesn’t change a thing.  He isn’t coming back.  All I have are my memories … where I can see, hear him.  It’s sad … but, it is the way of life.  I met it head-on, suffered such pain I could never describe to anyone … to get to this point in my life.


Even when I tell you how well I’ve coped … that I’m at a good place now, concerning Tommy’s (my son) death … doesn’t in any way … diminish the pain of losing my child.  It’s just now … I have grown big enough to hold my grief.  Before … it was bigger than I.


The grief doesn’t hold me down … weigh my shoulders down as it once did.  Before it was bigger than I … the heaviest weight I’ve ever known, or carried.  Now … I’ve grown so much stronger that I can carry it inside … and live, too.  Now … I’m bigger, stronger than my grief … I’ve coped with it.


Sure, once in a while … the grief finds a way to bring me down … I only let it happen for a short time until I can get back up on my feet, face it head-on.  Grief does have a way of sneaking up on me once in a while.  I can’t let it keep me down … I have to live until the day I die … I have my husband, Pups to be here for.  So, I make everything get back all right again.  I smile through my tears … conjuring up Tommy’s sunshine smile that always warmed my Heart.  That’s how I find myself smiling away the pain.


So, while all of these things happen inside me … it’s invisible to everyone around me.  They never see a thing … powerful things that go on in my mind … other people’s minds.  Even I don’t see it on others unless, I really take time to see, look, listen.  I can see true pain in a person’s eyes … the eyes are very telling, but … unless you have time to see … you’ll never know it.


Some of the heaviest things in my life are the ones I can’t see.  Grief being the biggest, heaviest of all.  Now … I’m stronger for it … before it was bigger than me … now … I’m big enough to carry it.  You can’t see that, either.


Oh, I do know this, so you will know … I’m not the only person in this world who carries the heaviest weight no one can see … I know that truly we all carry something inside us that hurts us.  I care, and I have so much compassion for others.  I don’t think only of myself.



Note by this Author:


I was thinking this morning about how holding so much pain inside … that no one can possibly see … how heavy that very pain is.  The heaviest weight I ever carried on my shoulders is grief for the loss of my only child.  Six years later … I am all right … because I meant to be in a positive way.


Photos/true story owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



It’s Possible I Did It Deliberately …

Tommy’s Chest … holds the few things I have left of my only child, Tommy.



I know subconsciously I block things from my mind that hurt me deeply … sometimes, I don’t realize I have until at a later time. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.




I have been thinking of something that I haven’t thought about in a long time.  I realize that before I can accomplish it … I have a ‘ton’ of stuff to move before I can get to it.


I’ll explain.  In my art room … over the past months I have been letting ‘everything’ go in there … to move it from other parts of the house.  I don’t know why … I let it all ‘pile up‘.  I treasure having my space to create, draw, paint.  So why did I do it?


The thought came to me this evening … it could be the reason ‘why’.  I have been thinking I want to get Tommy’s Chest … open it, take his things out that I have left of him.  I can’t get to it … I have blocked it by putting a ‘million’ things between it and … me getting to it.  Do you think subconsciously I did it deliberately?


In order to look in his chest … I have my job cut out.  I have to move everything in the path to it.  Do you know … I will be so glad to have my art room organized once again.  I wish I had never let it ‘pile up’ … I don’t do the other rooms like that.


Do you think I deliberately blocked my path to opening Tommy’s Chest?  When I do get the chest … I don’t know if I can open it … so much pain … grief.  My son died 6 years ago.


Why would I want to open it?  Because … because I want to hold the few things I have left of my son.  I have a green box in there that holds something so painful … I want to see.  I can’t talk about the green box.  Hurts too bad.  I might have to set it aside, not open it.


I’m not even certain I can open the lid to the chest … to not weigh a lot … it has been too heavy for me to just take my hands … simply open it.


Time will tell … if I open it I will share with you about it.  I know I’ve mentioned several times in the past that I would open it … looking back now …. I see that’s when ‘things’ begin to ‘pile up’ between me … and the path to walk to Tommy’s Chest.  Strange … I never thought about it until this evening.


I think I must have done it … on purpose.



Note by this Author:


Today … 6 years ago … my only child died.  Tommy … my son, died at 40 years old, never knowing he had 3 blockages to his heart.


Tommy’s Chest … is a burgundy/gold, upholstered chest.  It holds the very few things I have left of my son.  I want this chest to go to his son, Taban, when I’m gone.


Story/photo owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@Gee Granny on Twitter.

Until His Last Breath …

Tommy holding his newborn son … he was very proud, happy.

My son, Tommy … with his little son … my precious grandson (date is wrong on photo).  All photos are owned by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates.



Tommy was so proud of his only son.



Tommy fell asleep holding Taban.



Tommy pretending to cry with Taban …



Tommy being silly with his little son to get him not to cry.



Artwork by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



I’m bittersweet … sad at the loss of my son … thankful my husband is here after being deathly ill. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee




Tomorrow is May 29, 2016 … my only child, my son … Tommy … died May 29, 2010 … six years ago.


I’ve felt sadness … and happiness all at the same time.  I cope well now, with the loss of Tommy.  It seems for the past 5 months so many ‘bad’ things have happened … threatened to take Skip from me … I’m so happy he is doing well at this time.  I have a mixture of happiness, sadness all at the same time.


My favorite description of it is … bittersweet.  That’s a perfect word to describe how I feel.  It’s strange how I have so much to be thankful for … somehow, it helps greatly with the grieving pain I feel at this time.  I can talk about the fun things Tommy used to do, funny things he used to say … think about his laughter, twinkling eyes … all without crying.  Is this normal?  Is this good?


Sure, ever so often … I feel a deep, deep pain and I do begin to cry.  It isn’t often that I do … when I do … it hurts so bad.  The good thing is even when that happens now … I know I’ll be all right in a short time.  It used to be … I wasn’t all right at all.


Six years tomorrow … Tommy has been gone.  Six years tomorrow … I’ve come so far.  I would have never known I could get to a place in my life where I could deal/cope with the loss of my child.  I have.  I meant to.  I had to … if I hadn’t … I wouldn’t be here.


I’ve never talked to anyone to know how long they experienced the grieving process of their child before they felt like a real person again.  I know the grief is forever … in my case … I can live with it, now.  I can live everyday life now … and be happy.  Though for the past 5 months … our life has been completely upside down with all Skip has been through.


But … guess what?  For 6 days now … Skip has been on even keel for the first time since January.  My happiness outweighs my sadness.


Remembering tomorrow … May 29, 2016 … remembering Tommy, my son … he went to Heaven from the beach while running, playing with his little 3 year old son.  The last sounds he heard were happy sounds … of a little, precious child … sea gulls, and ocean waves.


My beautiful son died … a beautiful death if death could be beautiful.  He died while doing exactly what he told me he wanted to do most … that was to get to play with his own little son at the beach for the first time.  He made it just in time.  I don’t think he had time to suffer at all, before collapsing on the soft sand.


Tommy died with 3 blockages to his heart.  No one knew he was sick.  My little grandson can grow up knowing his daddy wanted to play with him at the ocean, made it just in time to do so … before he went on his final journey.


One thing for certain … my little grandson can grow up knowing his daddy loved him … and was with him until he took his last breath, his spirit soaring into the sky as the sea gulls sang to the tune of the ocean waves.




Note from this Author:


Remembering tomorrow … May 29, 2016 … my son, only child … died 6 years ago.  I’m remembering Tommy.



Written by/photos owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee, @GeeGranny on Twitter.