This Grieving Mother… It’s Been Three Years Now


My son, Tommy.  He died May 29, 2010… Memorial Day Weekend

This Grieving Mother… It’s Been Three Years Now

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

This is ‘the’ weekend…

The weekend… Memorial Day holiday weekend… ‘the weekend Tommy died’…

May 29th,2010… three years ago was on a Saturday… the day Tommy died.  Tommy died on a Saturday evening… Memorial Day holiday weekend.  No one knew he had two blockages in his heart… he was only 40 years old.

He died at Myrtle Beach; he was running, playing with his three-year old son on the sand.  They were laughing, squealing… happy sounds blended with the songs of the seagulls flying overhead.

Tommy was sending me photos, video over his cellphone to my computer.  His finger slipped off the key… Tommy collapsed onto the sand he played on with his little son.

Strangers were watching them play, laugh.  They thought it beautiful to see the big guy run, play with the little guy.  They were distracted for several moments; turned back to see the big guy collapsed on the sand.  They ran to help…

One of them picked Tommy’s cellphone up from the sand, pressed the call button.  The phone rang two hundred miles away… a happy, relieved mother answered the house phone.  She was smiling…

Smiling, because less than an hour before… her son had called her to say they had made it through the holiday traffic safely to their destination.  His mother had been saying prayers for him and his family’s safety.

She looked down at the caller ID, saw his cellphone number, his name.  She happily answered the phone; he said he’d call her back in a little while…

The mother waited to hear her son’s happy voice… became confused when another male voice spoke.  She held the phone out to look at the caller ID again… yes, it was Tommy’s phone.

She heard the man say something that couldn’t possibly be; she asked him why did he have her son’s cellphone?  The man wanted to tell her something… she didn’t realize it, but… her smile slipped away.

What did you say, she asked.  She could hear… but, couldn’t understand.  Why do you have my son’s cellphone, she asked.  She made herself be quiet, listen…

“Ma’am, I have a man collapsed here on the sand!  He isn’t breathing!”  The mother began to understand what was being said to her… though, she still ‘didn’t understand’…

She asked the stranger if there was a little three-year old, blonde-headed boy with the man collapsed on the ground?  “Yes, he is here”.

There was no doubt this was her son who had collapsed onto the sand… Oh, my God!  He isn’t breathing!  He isn’t breathing!

“Skip! Skip, please help me!  Help me, Skip!”  As Skip took the phone from this mother’s hands… I began going into darkness; shock.

Tommy!  Tommy!  Tommy!  You said you were going to call me back!  Tommy!  Tommy!  Help me, oh God… please help me!  Please don’t let Tommy be dead.  Oh, my God, he said Tommy isn’t breathing!

Soon after that phone call, I begged Skip to help me, to please take me to the hospital, let them drug me.  I can not cope with this!  I’m not supposed to hear that my son has died… is this how it feels?  Is it a dream; can it possibly be true?

For the first time in my life … I begged for drugs to numb me, to put me into another place so, I wouldn’t think, know anything.

This was someone who never wanted to be addicted to drugs.  This was someone who never knew she’d know in her lifetime that her child… her only child… had died.  Parents don’t outlive their children…

I lived my life in darkness, in and out… for the following two years.  I just couldn’t bear to know my son had died.  The panic attacks, the knowledge that I wouldn’t hear Tommy’s voice again.  I wouldn’t hear his laugh again.

I wouldn’t see him walk, move around; see his sunshine smile, the twinkle in his blue eyes ever again.  I couldn’t live with that knowledge.  Tommy was a most important part of my very world.  I can barely stand to think ‘beneath the surface’ about him being gone.

I find myself crying… something I haven’t done for a time now.  I’ve been keeping a thick, mental blanket over my grief.  I knew it would hurt too bad to let it slip off… slip off, it has.  It hurts so bad.

Today, someone mentioned to me about Tommy ‘going to a better place; he’s better off now’…  I politely smiled at the woman… and wished her to go to ‘hell’.  Tommy’s not in a better place, and he certainly isn’t better off now.  Who ‘was she’ to tell me that?

I know I sound ugly saying that… but, it’s ugly for someone to tell a grieving mother such a thing.  That’s an awful thing to come out of someone’s mouth… have they heard that so much, that they don’t ‘know how they sound’ when saying those words?  Let their child die, and see how it feels when someone dares say that to them.

Hey, sweetie, you know your child is in a better place… and he’s better off … there!  It’s good that your child is dead; that’s where he needs to be!  You may as well say that … if you dare to say such a thing to a grieving mother.  It’s a good thing that I am a quiet, private, grieving mother… that woman might be bald-headed tonight, with a bad headache.

I say to those people who think such… Tommy wanted to live just as much as you do… he wanted to be better off here in this world… just like you do.  If you want to die so much to get to your heaven… die, go on there.  You talk about it… you can’t wait to get there.

Tommy wasn’t ready to go… yet.  Even I am not ready to go… yet.  I’m not in a hurry.  If you are… shut up telling everyone else it’s a better place to go, and you can’t wait to get there… just you go on.  I hope you have a good life… excuse me, a ‘good death’.

You, who read my words, will always think before you say that again… you’ll realize just what you are saying… and know… it’s not true.  It’s not true, at all.

You are telling that mother she ought to be glad her child is dead… that her heart should fill with instant happiness because he is ‘somewhere’ wonderful, happy.  It’s isn’t so.

Just remember the things you say to others… ‘when and if such happens to you’ (and they will; it’s only a matter of time)… that mother is going to be watching ‘you’… to see if you still feel the same way.

I have several people I will pay close attention to… I don’t know if I could even say such a thing to them ‘just for payback’.  I have too much compassion for people; even for people I don’t like, nor have any use for.

This is one such thing that contributes to the anger that builds up inside a grieving mother… this grieving mother.  The dumb things that people let come from their mouths.

I bite my tongue, look at ‘who’ says such.  I remember them.  I know things have a way of coming back to bite one in the ass… be careful what you say… you might get to see how it feels.  Through time, I have learned… I’ve been bitten a lot, so… I know.

I believe in God; I believe in the wonderful ‘thereafter’… I honestly don’t think anyone is most eager to leave here, to go there… that quickly.  We all have loved ones we don’t want to leave any sooner than we have to… they don’t want to leave us any sooner than they have to.

Look at your little child…. your adult child… can you possibly say to them that you’ll be glad for them to go on and be in that better place right now?  Do you want to ‘let go of them right now’?  Think about it.  Do you want little Johnny to die ‘now’… or little Susie to ‘go to a better place than here where you are’… right now?

Three years later… I still feel such deep pain, grief.  I still cry, though not in front of others.  My grief is mine; it’s private.  You never have to worry about me breaking down in front of you, making you feel uncomfortable.  I will do it … alone.  I will write about it… here.

You can come here to find out what goes on in this grieving mother’s mind; her thoughts… as time go by.  Read quietly, leave quietly… you don’t have to feel uncomfortable.  See how it feels, read the real thoughts, feelings of a grieving mother.  I don’t sugar-coat it… I tell you exactly how I feel.

This weekend, I feel deep sadness… and after the woman told me that my child was in a ‘a better place’… I felt deep anger.  I feel anger that Tommy’s gone, I feel such pain that it takes all my strength to hold it up on my shoulders… I will carry this for the rest of my life.  No one can help me with this burden… no one.  I have to carry it all by myself.

I want to cry, go to the bedroom… pull the curtains, make it dark.  I want to hide myself from everything… my head hurts from the thoughts inside… I can’t bear it.

But, this grieving mother won’t do any of that.  I won’t even say anything mean to someone if they say something dumb to me about Tommy being in a ‘better place’.  I’ll just pretend not to notice… I’ll carry my own burden of grief in silence… no one will even know.  To know about it… one would have to know to ‘come here, read here’, about it.

I’ll leave quietly myself, now.  I just told you truthfully how this grieving mother felt/feels this weekend.  When you come here, read quietly; leave… I hope you have all your loved ones around you; I hope you aren’t missing someone special; I pray that no one close to you has died.

It’s the worst feeling in the world… more pain than one could possibly imagine… especially when it’s your child.  If your child has died, just know that this grieving mother knows what you go through; know that she cares with her very heart.  Love, Granny Gee

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14 thoughts on “This Grieving Mother… It’s Been Three Years Now

  1. Dear Gloria, I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. I actually feel your pain. I can only keep you in my heart. I will light a candle for Tommy tonight! Hugs!!

  2. HI GLORIA… I STILL REMEMBER THAT DAY, TOO…I WILL “NEVER” FORGET THAT DAY…THAT DAY, WHEN YOU & SKIP CAME IN TO EAT AT GC, IN WAKE FOREST…AND, I GREETED YOU, THEN WISHED YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY & YOU SHARED WITH ME…THE HORROR OF YOUR DAY…EVERY MOTHERS BIGGEST NIGHTMARE…ABOUT YOUR CHILD…YOUR ONLY SON…MY HEART COULDNT HELP BUT “SCREAM” INSIDE, THEN HUG YOUR HEART…A PERMANENT SCAR REMAINS…AS I WILL NEVER FORGET…YOU ARE MY HERO, SWEET GLORIA…FOR CONTINUING TO SHARE THESE UNSPEAKABLE TRUTHS…TO OTHERS IN NEED…TO OTHERS, WHO SIMPLY NEED A REMINDER….NO MATTER HOW “BAD” THINGS APPEAR..THEY COULD “EVEN” BE WORSE…YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN, IN MY PRAYERS…….Patty, xo

    • Patty, Skip and I both just read your words. You have been there every time we saw you. You always cared… I will never forget you for how you let me know… you don’t know how much it has always meant to me. You were one of the special people who somehow stood out to me in that terrible shock. I will always care about you. Skip thinks the world of both you, and Jim. Love, Gloria Thank you for remembering Tommy, me.

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