You Would Know… If I Could Just Tell You

You Would Know… If I Could Just Tell You

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



This evening I’ve been putting photos side by side… to see how much my son, grandchildren favored me.   The one photo of Tommy, below in the ‘gold’ tee shirt, upset me a lot… for some reason, it caught my attention.  I didn’t realize I was crying until… I ‘heard myself’.


I was putting photos here, crying at the same time.   Have you ever done that… not consciously be aware you are crying… until ‘you hear yourself’?  I’ve done that several times in my life… it was always associated with something serious, major in my life.


I was looking at the ‘little girl’ photo of me… to ‘see how far I’ve come in life’… only now, it’s made me awfully sad.  Now, I feel like crying… it really hurts so bad.  I can’t believe Tommy’s gone.   Some people would say that a mother should go on, get over the grief.

Well… this month on the 29th will make 3 years… is there something wrong with me… I haven’t gotten over losing my only child, my son, Tommy.   I do see so much progress in moving on, being able to accept him being gone… only because I know ‘I have to’. To do otherwise, isn’t healthy.  I don’t want to become ‘sick’.


I know he can’t come back.  I know when I cry for Tommy, I cry because I really miss him.  He was a fun person; Skip and I loved to spend time with him.  We loved laughing, talking, joking with him.  He meant the world to us.


I cry now, because he really is missed something awful… sometimes, like tonight… when I looked at that one photo, it was ‘so real, so Tommy’… almost like he was here.  I ‘felt’ him… that’s what made me cry… there’s something there I wish I could describe, put into words… I don’t know the words to tell you.  You would know exactly what I mean… if I could just tell you.                                                                                         I look into my face… I ‘see my pain’… it never goes away.  Permanent pain… I’ve become most ‘bittersweet’… just like a little flower my Grandma Alma loved.  It was called a ‘Sweet Betsy’… ‘why’… I associate bittersweet with that flower, I just don’t know, but… I do.


It’s okay to be bittersweet, I think.  It’s a mixture of pain, grief, love… all swirled into what life is about.  Being born, living… dying.  It’s easier to talk about… ‘if it’s not your loved one who died’.


I’m not going to preach about seeing Tommy in the next life, or I can’t wait to die to see him.  That’s ‘not me’… I don’t know those things… I only know one lives, and whether I like it or not… one dies.


In my life… my son died.  I have to tell me this… it’s ‘my way’, I have to ‘meet things head-on’.  Truthfully, we know I didn’t the first year… I stayed in the darkness where I didn’t have to feel, see, or even know what had happened.


I have learned what losing a child feels like… I can only say this, one never knows such pain until they’ve lost a child… until ‘you lose a child’… you have no way to know, feel what it’s like.


When you’ve experienced this kind of pain… only will someone like me, listen to you.  I won’t; if you don’t know this pain.  It would be like listening to a store clerk tell me what’s wrong with my car… if he’s never worked on one… he isn’t qualified to even speak about it.


If you care… I can ‘hear, know that you do’.  If you don’t… I can hear that, too.   There are several people I’ve met, known for years… who showed no emotion upon learning that my child died.  I’m sure this happens from time to time with other people.


Everyone is ‘so into their own lives, been there… done that’… they’ve forgotten how to take time to feel anymore.   Sad to say… but, when some people get older… they’ve become ‘too used’ to everything… nothing means anything anymore.  It hurts other people… when you are so uncaring, so unemotional, so… uncaring, callous.


These are people I pay close attention to… if they lose a loved one, a husband, parent… a child.  I want to see if they feel pain… do they hurt at all?  Do they even care?


It’s like having cancer… some people show no emotion.  It means nothing to them.  The strange thing is… I would see them again several years later, only to be told… they’ve had some type of cancer!  I’m always so amazed.  ‘What goes around… comes around’… while they stood there so, cold… uncaring, they never knew they already had cancer inside their bodies.


When they were ‘smug, unfeeling’… they didn’t know they would be fighting for their life soon, crying, afraid.  They got to feel ‘how it felt’… an eye for an eye.  The darn crazy thing is… I would ‘care’, when I tried not to.


It’s like some people have forgotten how it feels to be young… so, they can’t appreciate when wonderful, exciting things happen to a young person.  They have ‘been there, done that’… that’s all that mattered to them.  You know the people I speak of… they are in everyone’s life.


A thought just came to my mind when I had fought for my life, going through major surgery, chemotherapy… I fought hard to get to the point that I could drive myself to town.  I went into a drug store, just to look around.  I went up to the cash register to pay for my things… there was a woman standing there, who used to work at the hospital I did.


I remembered her well… gossipy, mean-spirited, she carried rumors from office to office tearing down others with her mean mouth… when she met the people she destroyed with her words… she’d smile so sweet at them; they never knew until too late what she was doing.  If her words had been a knife… the white hall floors would have been red, slick with that person’s blood.


I remember standing there to pay… she said “what have you been up to?”  She said it in her way which wasn’t very friendly… but, to know her… you’d know it was her way.  She couldn’t have been a happy woman… today, her face is slowly turning into an unhappy ‘prune’ reflecting the ‘real’ person she is ‘inside’.


I was too sick to stand there talking to her… while she pretended to like me.  All she wanted was more ‘fuel for her mouth’, so, she could go breathe fire all over the place.


She lived off gossip… in fact, that woman would ‘make the perfect picture’ of gossip… if you wanted to actually see what ‘gossip’ looked like.


I did tell her I’d had major surgery, and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She acted as if I’d told her nothing important… it wasn’t normal, I know… but, believe me, this is the kind of woman she was.


I just quit talking to her… in my mind I was thinking after almost dying, coming through such surgery as I did, and making it through the chemo… she wasn’t worth it.  I would just waste my breath speaking to her… she didn’t ‘give a damn’ that I’d been almost to death, and back.


That ‘wasn’t juicy enough’ to spread with her hateful lips.  If I had died… now, that’d would have been a different story… I’m sure she’d relished that.


People are like that… you could be like that… or know someone who is like that.   I was still trying to think of how to describe ‘what it was’ about that photo of Tommy… with the ‘gold’ tee shirt on.  Describe ‘why’ it made me cry… I can’t put into words this feeling at all… strange.


But, I know you would know what I was talking about, if I could just tell you.

18 thoughts on “You Would Know… If I Could Just Tell You

  1. When my wife to be died I was just one week away from going to Denmark to finalise arrangements to move over there and start a new life.

    Hanne died in her grandmother’s kitchen of a massive brain embolism with her family around her and the Ambulance team who could do nothing to save her.

    She had high blood pressure and that’s what killed her.

    I didn’t learn of her death until the following year, thinking she’d had second thoughts and had stopped answering my letters.

    That was nearly thirty years ago and it still aches like part of me is missing, but I know that this is nothing compared to the pain you feel my sweet friend.

    I can move on, but now I cannot love someone as much as I loved Hanne because I have learned that, in the end, we all die and death is nothing compared to the pain of living on when those we love are ripped from us.

    Some scars never heal.

    Love and huge hugs!


    • Prenin, how so sad, painful. I do understand about the pain, grief. I would be the same way as you. Hanne is a beautiful name… I’ve never heard it. Oh yes, when you grieve, feel pain… who is to say your pain isn’t as great as mine? It is, because it’s your pain…. Love, Gloria

  2. When we love someone and they die a part of us does as well, our hearts and thiers were a piece of each other and the grief is a physical pain within us like an abcess, we become empty inside wondering how to go on, if and we are able to go on, now that time has stood still inside of us. The tears we shed speak volumes…silently. Grief becomes our constant companion as we search for the answer to the mysteries of life and death. As we begin to accept the loss we also begin the ritual of remembering looking at photos seeing a cherished item, hearing a song or phrase, recognizing the smile of our loved one in a child, thier heighth or color of hair, the shape of their brow all reminders of our loss. It is a pain we will carry until we to die, each of us feels grief at greater depths, at different times, not one persons grief is greater than any others unless as a mother you have lost a child then I believe the grief far exceeds any grief known to mankind. So my friend Gloria know that I recognize where you are in this process and knowing your not alone that I feel as you feel my heart cries out to yours for your suffering and your silent tears.

  3. Thank you for sharing your photos. Tommy looks like a great guy. So many “normal” pictures… who knew what life was holding for him. Sigh. All I can say is … one day at a time.

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