Lost In… Grief

Lost In… Grief

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

2011… one year after Tommy died :

2012… Beginning to try ‘to look a person again’… failing so much of the time… so much grief inside.  I looked ‘good’ here, compared to how I did ‘really look’ … most of the time.  Grief changes one’s appearance….



All these photos below… were taken in the 1980’s… I had experienced so much in my life, so much pain, grief… yet… you didn’t see it permanently ‘etched in my eyes’.    I could still smile, you didn’t see it in my face… I could hide it well… making one think ‘life was perfect’… it was, it wasn’t… it was… it wasn’t.




2013… Now, no matter how much I smile, I can see a different expression in my eyes… it’s called ‘permanent pain’… my name for it.  I recognize it when I see it in other people’s eyes who have ‘become older’.
I recognize ‘how’ they’ve let it affect them… some people will carry an expression of awful anger, hate.  Others will carry forever a soft smile… a ‘bittersweet smile’, I call it.  That’s what my smile is… because at times, I do get angry, I do hate… because my only child, my son……. Tommy died.  I told you that I’m not perfect… ‘never have been, never will be; tried to be for 3 years, 3 ‘wasted’ years… won’t try to be again’….

So, I wear a permanent ‘bittersweet smile’… one made up with pain, anger, grief, hate… all mixed with …. love, compassion, caring, empathy, honesty, loyalty, goodness.   All mixed with a positive attitude… knowing ‘no matter how bad it is, is going to be… I’m going to get through it… somehow, all will be all right again… no matter what’…
How can I be like this?  Oh, how can I be like this?  I don’t know the answer in words… I ‘just try to be, because …I want to be’.  I fail sometimes, miserably… but, I pick my …. ass…  (yes, I’m aware I said that… it’s the tone of my words)…… up off the (here I go again)…. damn ground, and make me stand on my two feet.
Oh… I ‘can say damn… if I want to… I earned that right as a tiny child playing in the white sand, turning it into ‘tea’, drinking it, getting choked, saying ‘damn!’, getting my mouth washed out with soap, water’.  My mother was breaking me from forever from saying that word… I determined as a little girl … ‘I’d damn-well say that damn word whenever I felt like it… that’s my one… damn cuss word.’  I really will use that one word… if need be.  No apologies…. no apologies.






So, I don’t feel any … guilt, or… remorse for saying it.  I know a lot more ‘cuss words’… and though I don’t say them often at all… I know how, when I come ‘to that point’; so, the word ‘damn’ isn’t all that bad.  :)))  I told you… I’m not perfect at all… I am a good person, regardless.  Now!  No matter what ‘ugly word I could possibly say, and will do from time to time’… I’m a good person.  I just happen… to know ‘all those words’….
It’s just like a person who drinks alcohol, smokes a cigarette, does drugs, is a ‘loose’ person…. they can still be ‘good people’.  Sometimes… it takes a ‘bad person’ to … do ‘something good’….. that’s ‘why’ good things ‘come from no where to make all the difference’ in another person’s life.  Unexpectedly, and from the … most unlikeliest sources/places.  Life can be wonderful… it takes ‘all kinds of people’ to make the world go round…



I fight to ‘make me’ find the positive in things so, negative.  One way or the other… I’m going to find it… I can’t live any other way.  I’m not a negative person… though I may appear to be … for a short time.  That’s only… until I ‘find the way’ to where ‘I want to be’…. inside.
I try not to be angry, I try not to hate… I really don’t… it’s just at times, I honestly do feel that way.  I don’t mean to… but, life happens.  It puts me in situations that I have to make the best of, find ‘my way back’ to where I was.
I will grovel in the dirt, say every ugly word in the world, crawl, scream, cry, pray, whatever I need to do… to get back to being… positive.  It sounds strange… but, my nature would be to ‘fight to stay positive’… I would be afraid to be negative all the time… what a scary thought!
When Tommy died, it’s taken this long to ‘come back’ to a place… I can ‘almost find peace’. Almost… until the next time grief strikes at me. Sometimes… it is softly, sometimes… it can be quite vicious… I never know. All I know is that like a fish thrown out of the water…I’m left floundering, trying to find my way back to … my life, where … I can be all right, again. I… almost didn’t make it back when Tommy died… even making it, I didn’t care for the longest time…
Now… I do care.  I want to live, be happy.  I try so hard to cope with such grief like I’ve never known in my entire life.



Now… you can see in my smile … ‘real life, a mixture of both good, bad’; you can see that I’ve tried to be very positive in my … bittersweet smile.  I mean to carry that bittersweet smile to my grave (I want to be cremated…)…. I’m not growing old with a wicked, mean, hateful-ass expression like a dried-up prune on my face… if my face looks like a prune… it will be a ‘sweet, ripe, soft, good’ prune face!
Now… you can see that I’ve traveled far in life in the etchings on my face, the chiseling of my smile… now, ‘I can see how’… people ‘my age’… ‘look the way they do’.  I always wondered ‘why their eyes looked so tired, washed out’.




Now… I can see ‘why’….. now, that I can see why… I’m trying so hard to have a happy, colorful face … again.  I would like also, for … peace of mind, to be mixed with my bittersweet smile…
I’ve paid attention to some people who are much older than I… they have a wonderful ‘calmness, peacefulness, beauty’ in their faces.  I’m trying to ‘reach for that’… I, also, want it in mine.  I wonder if I can attain it.
I might not be able to… because ‘those people may be the ones who have escaped life’s pain, grief… all might have been ‘perfect’ in their lives’…. they might not have known how it feels to lose a grandparent, a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, a pet, an aunt, uncle, cousin… or a child, a son or… daughter.  They might not know anything at all about … death.
They might not have ever had a major illness, nor nearly… die.  They might not have watched a love one be deathly ill, fight for their life…..
They might have just been ‘free as the wind’ to enjoy only the sweet pleasures of this life… taste, feel, experience only … the best.  If you’ve never known something… how can you have feelings about it?
Just imagining… not feeling how it feels… are two different birds going separate ways in life… one will be fed, fattened with the best life has to offer, while the other will struggle to feed its young, struggle to survive.
They might have been so rich… yes, being wealthy does protect, buffer one from a lot of life’s pain… money does help… it is said to ‘be the root of all evil’…. it’s also, the very difference in many people’s lives.  It means …survival, hopes and dreams realized… one can realize happiness from it.
‘Just because it’s ‘money’… doesn’t make it all bad’.  Personally, I know ‘millions of ways’… I can make money ‘good’.  I know, see many people whose lives would be so much better … with just a little money.  Don’t you?  I would make ‘good things happen’…
Getting back to pain, grief… that’s what’s shaped my face for the past three years… making me lose myself.  I was unaware that ‘I had lost myself’… until the past year.  I’ve been trying so hard to ‘bring me back’… failing, so much of the time.  Why ‘failing’?
Because grief would come back, find me… take me out on a new wave of pain.  I had to learn how to mentally swim… back to the shore… only for it to happen again… and again.   Sometimes, I’m so weary… so, so tired…..
Grief… hell are both the same to me… I’ve lived in both… one hurts as bad as the other.  One torments as much as the other.  Grief… hell… grief… hell.  I don’t know the difference between them, anymore.
I do know, I don’t want to stay in either place any longer than I have to.  I don’t want to live in the darkness, the anguish…. though, I know deep down… I will have to at times.  I’ve lost an important part of my life, never to be replaced… someone who was part of me, whom I loved with my very heart… so, it’s bound to be.  I can’t prevent it.  I’ve lost my child… my only child, I’ve lost … Tommy.
I think about Mother’s Day… it’ll soon be here.  I am seeing, hearing sons and daughters discussing ‘what to get mama’ … for Mother’s Day, when I’m out shopping.  I have neither a mother to get a present for…. and I’m no longer… a mother… for my son to come see, or get a present for.  The present isn’t important… it’s the relationship.  Mother and child… in my case… mother and son.
I have to walk on by the racks of Mother’s Day cards… when I wish to purchase one.  I remind myself … I have no mother to buy a card for.  When it comes time to buy a birthday card… I find myself looking at them for ‘Son’… I can’t buy one… he’s gone.
This is life… whether I like it or not… I can’t change it.  I can only change, make the best of the life I have left.  I think sometimes, with Tommy gone… there’s no future left for me.  He was my future….
Whatever you call it for me, now… future… the life I have left…. I hope it can be good, I hope it won’t hold such pain again… but… I know in ‘real life’… it can’t be ‘all good’… and most definitely… there’s going to be pain.  It can’t be any other way…. one has to strengthened themselves in the meantime… because life goes on.
I just wanted to compare photos here in one place… to ‘see the difference in my eyes through time’.  I’ve been to Hell and back… here’s my proof in photos.  I’ve been lost in …. grief.



17 thoughts on “Lost In… Grief

  1. So very beautiful when younger yes, but much more so with maturity for now shines the light of wisdom and grace, and remember that the blood of Jesus Christ is greater than any pain we suffer. God bless you Love and hugs my friend (((xx)))

  2. Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual and you certainly can’t send it back for repair or replacement!!! 😦

    Hope you feel better soon hun!

    Love and hugs sweety!


  3. I see shock on peoples faces that I have not seen in a while. I can see that “OMG she has aged so much!” I too look in my eyes and see the pain, the grief… Hugs and love dear Gloria.

    • Tersia, I have done the very same thing…people who never saw me without being dressed up, looking ‘just right’ saw me… I saw their eyes. Instead of asking me what happened… they hung back, whispered behind their hand. No compassion…. I so, understand, Tersia.


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