My Precious Son, Tommy….
I’m Not Big Enough To Hold The Pain…
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
I’ve been in a … strange mood since yesterday. I sat at my desk in my computer/art room for several hours. I was thinking of Tommy … he died at the age of 40. Was that all there was to his life…. just to come that far in years … to die?
He never had a chance to say ‘goodbye’… he didn’t know he was going on vacation … to die. The ‘goodbye’ he told me, the evening before … was a ‘goodbye’ …knowing he was coming back to see me, his mother. He knew he was coming back to see Skip … he didn’t know that was his last time to laugh, talk with us that evening.
Do you know, I want to cry… I miss him so very much. Tommy was so real for 40 years of … my life. I see him in my mind, as I listen to soft music that makes me sit, think…daydream. I can see him moving around at our home that last evening. I ‘enter my mind’…..
Tommy was pressure washing our house. When he finished, he was so proud. He said he ‘meant to power wash our house before he … left.’ I began to feel…. sobs building up inside my chest.
When he said ‘left’… it wasn’t the kind of ‘when you leave … you don’t come back.’ He didn’t mean it that way. He meant to come back to see his mama, Skip, and the Pups.
Just before he left… he power washed Skip’s pickup, then… my Expedition… I call it my ‘truck.’
What’s funny about it all … is ‘after Tommy died’ … over the weeks when it rained… what we discovered about the house… my Expedition.
Even in our grief, it ‘stood out.’ It was ‘so Tommy.’ I smile … thinking about it now.
You see, Tommy loved to help everyone. He liked to ‘fix things’… though, sometimes… they weren’t ‘as fixed as he meant them to be.’
For example, he could walk by Skip’s pickup, say he would check the air in it… he’d take his little gadget, stick it in the tire to check the air. Later, when Skip would go to leave in his pickup… the tire would be flat….. :)))
It would be so funny, because when Tommy would say he was going to do something for us… Skip and I would look at each other with our expressions saying…. ‘uh oh!’
We’d look back at Tommy, and say “no, that’s all right, Tommy!” He would begin laughing, his eyes filled with such laughter… so big, so ‘Tommy.’ He knew sometimes… things didn’t do as he meant them to! It was funny…
Several days…. weeks after he died …. I can’t remember that period of time well at all. It began to rain, storm one night… I remember being up, walking to the kitchen, turning on the light. I stood very still, and I began laughing, crying at the same time.
I walked over to the stove, put my finger on the porcelain top… there was water on top of it. Lots of water…. it came from the hood…. I put towels there to absorb it, and any more that would fall through the exhaust fan opening.
The next morning I showed Skip… he said that what most likely happened was when Tommy was on top of the house pressure washing… the little lid on the pipe flipped open, didn’t close back.
We looked at each other, said “Tommy!” at the same time. We began laughing, I cried so much… at the same time. Tommy did it!
Later, we went up to my Expediton to get in …. on my side of the truck… the rubber rug … the little ridges in it … was filled with water! My truck had leaked water for the first time ever, somehow… coming down from the windshield!
I showed Skip, and again … we looked at each other, saying “Tommy!” We began laughing, of course… I cried again. Tommy had ‘sabotaged’ …once again!
With us… Tommy ‘was known for that’… he thought he could fix everything… sometimes, it … wouldn’t be! :))) We got many laughs at him through time, would gently tease him. He would laugh that sweet laugh of his, laughter spilling from his eyes like rays from the sun.
His bright ‘Tommy smile’… how I miss his smile. One couldn’t help but, to begin smiling when Tommy smiled. It was a heart-warming, comforting, everything’s going to be all right smile. It was my … son’s smile, one that never failed to warm my heart.
Oh God, I miss my funny son! I wish he’d walk into the doorway, filling it with his height, his ‘Tommy presence.’ It would be like sunshine breaking through the gray clouds on a rainy day. What would I do?
Why hasn’t he come back to see me? I have heard through the years how someone’s ‘loved one comes back to sit, to talk with them.’ Why hasn’t Tommy come back to sit, talk with me? I know if anyone would… Tommy would. Yes, I will ask ‘why?’ this one time. Why?
Why can one loved one do it… and another loved one … doesn’t? I’ve seen strange things … but, ‘why?’ didn’t he just simply …. appear?
I can’t even describe the sadness in my heart, the pain… oh, the pain. Sometimes, I have to get up in a hurry, walk, move around for the pain ‘inside’ me… it’s so great, that I can’t sit still with it.
The pain will make me move, it’s too much for one body to hold. I feel panicky, I weep inside … no one hears me. I do it all silently… I know people wonder ‘why my eyes are red’… if asked, it’s so easy to blame it on allergies I suffer with. I never have to explain that.
I cry ‘inside’ often … it never goes away. Like yesterday, this morning as I write … I am… crying. If you passed by the doorway, looked in at me… you’d just see … a woman sitting at her desk typing at her computer, while listening to soft, classical music. Only if you looked close into her face, would you see tears have fallen down her cheeks.
Allergies … she would say, if you asked ‘why her eyes are red, and swollen, glassy.’ Allergies do this to me … all the time.
I sit here now, as I write. I’m reliving ‘yesterday’ while sitting here.
‘Inside’, my sobs go high, low while riding on the waves of the soft music, while my eyes stay closed. My eyes burn from the wet tears that fill them. I close them tightly, feel the burning sensation, then… relief feels so good as the burning goes away.
Now, I feel sleepy… I could go to bed to seek peace of mind, but… I won’t. Today… I’m not mad that Tommy died … I feel the utmost sadness ‘inside.’
I thought Tommy was coming back from his vacation, to tell me about all the fun he and Taban had while playing on the beach, in the sand, chasing waves out into the ocean.
I thought he was coming back, to tell me the funny things Taban did, said while running, playing with his daddy. He did get to send some photos, and in the midst of videoing Taban… his cellphone slipped out of his hand, as he…………….
Can you see it ? Can you see this tall, gentle-giant of a guy with a little blonde-headed 3 year old boy that looked just like him?
See them running on the sand toward the waves, the big guy saying “Look Taban, look at the waves! Let’s get our feet wet! There’s a seashell, Taban, pick it up for mommy!” Can you see it in your mind? I am sitting here … living it in my mind.
Then… I picture in my mind … my son possibly looking up, with a ‘knowing’ that he’d done what he came to do there ….at the beach that evening …. he came, he played with his little son, left Taban with a beautiful memory of his last time with daddy.
Maybe … he heard his name called softly, as he looked up. The sea gulls flying in the air overhead, the waves washing up on the sand close by… the wind gently caressing his hair… as his eyes widened… as he slipped from here in our world …into the ‘thereafter.’
Maybe … unseen hands helped to guide his body down to the sand, so… that it didn’t hurt him as he fell….
He never suffered… as the waves of the ocean continued to wash up on the sand close by, the wind softly blowing his hair, maybe he was hearing, understanding what the sea gulls were saying overhead in the air… as he joined them. As he hovered above, watching his little son run to his body, saying ‘Daddy, won’t you come play with me? Daddy?’
He watched as the little group of people close by… angels in disguise… run to protect the little boy, call for help. He smiled, he knew there would be lots of pain for his family… but, it was really time for him to go. He just waited until his little son was in good hands………
One of the angels… picked up Tommy’s cellphone, pressed the last number called. On the other end, a happy woman’s voice answered quickly… like she was expecting the call.
The angel began telling her that he ‘had a man lying here on the beach, he wasn’t breathing’…………… never knowing the smile on the woman’s face slid off into darkness, she following immediately behind it… to the dark world to drown in the sea of grief… for almost 2 years.
Just before she went to the dark world, she asked about her little grandson, the angel told her he was there, safe…. she handed the phone to Skip. The woman was his mother, the woman was ‘me.’ Her whole world changed in that brief moment….
I keep trying to imagine, to know what happened the ‘last moments’ of my son’s life. I try to ‘know’… by knowing my son, his ways.
He would have never left his child alone to the unknown… he was so strong, such a force that he would have protected him… but, at that moment …. I don’t think he knew inside what was happening… I keep wondering ‘what did he think, feel?’
This is always in the back of my mind. I hope he wasn’t hurting, I hope he didn’t feel pain when his body fell to the sand. I hope unseen hands did guide him down to the sand gently to lay him.
I panick sometimes, when I’m thinking … when I let myself think… ‘Tommy won’t ever come back, I won’t ever get to see Tommy again.’
I have the sensation in my stomach … the only way I know to describe it is… like birds trapped in a cage, their little wings frantically fluttering so fast, beating against the bars of the cage, trying desperately to … get out.
This is when ‘I’ am not big enough to hold such pain … it’s too great. It drives me up from where I’m sitting, laying, standing…. to move around until I find some outlet, some… peace of mind.
It’s time for me to get up once again … to move around until I can feel some peace of mind. I think I see a distraction … a happy distraction!
I just saw some fine snowflakes falling outside my window! I didn’t think it would begin until… late evening. Now… I am excited, I love snow… I feel excited…
I’m having to walk off… leave my sadness in the background for now. I have to live while I’m here in this world… I ‘see Tommy smiling’ in my mind. I love you, Son. I miss you with my very being.
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