Won’t You Help Me Always Remember Tommy?
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
This is the week ‘before’… four years ago. Going back four years ago, how could I have known my whole world would… end? It ended for almost three years….
How could I have known that I would enter the darkness… not come back out of it for… almost three years?
How could I have known… I would become… someone else, but… still ‘me’?
The week ‘before’ was a normal week… I never had any premonitions… no signs indicating my world would change… forever.
Mothers do have premonitions… I’ve had them ‘before’… I ‘knew’ when something was wrong with my child… my only child; my son, Tommy.
‘This time’… I never had an inkling ‘something bad’ was going to happen. I never had… anything to ‘let me know’… my son was going to die… that week… Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial Day holidays are for happiness; good times. People take their first vacation of the year… a lot of times… to the beach.
Thank-God… the evening ‘before’… he came, stayed several hours. The strange thing that did happen… thank-God, it did… was Skip, my husband stopped by at that time, while he was working.
It was unusual that Skip did that…. the timing was perfect. Tommy and Skip were as close as father, son. Neither liked the word ‘step’ father, ‘step’ son.
That evening, we all spent time together. Tommy pressured-washed our house with his equipment. We all sat down at the picnic table… to eat sandwiches with deli meats; drank iced tea.
While we sat there, Tommy kept the brightest smile on his sweet face…. his blue-green eyes twinkled.
“Mama”, he said, “this is the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten”. I looked at him, smiling. I said, “Tommy, no, it’s not”! He began nodding his head at me, grinning. “Yes, they are, Mama”!
When Tommy smiled, it was like the sunshine coming out from behind the fluffy, white clouds to give the world a warm kiss of happiness. It never failed to warm this… mother’s heart. I dearly loved my son; my only child.
Just before he left that evening… he stood on the deck talking to me. “Mama, I’m going to the beach tomorrow, play with Taban for the first time at the beach”! Taban was Tommy’s only son; he was three years old.
Alot of his wife’s family were going with her to Myrtle Beach. All the children were excited. Tommy and his wife had one child, together. Little Taban who was three years old.
Tommy wasn’t going with them. He’d been going through a lot of grief from an accident that’d happened one year ago, in the same month… May (2009).
A man was killed… Tommy was haunted by it… he couldn’t get over it. The man opened the car door, stepped out in the path of a tractor-trailer… in the middle lane of fast-moving… interstate traffic.
The driver tried to avoid hitting the man… he had a choice… run over a car on his left side…. with a family in it… or hit the man. He tried… to ‘squeeze’ between them. This was on a long bridge going over the river. Tommy’s truck struck the man… this is a story for… later.
Tommy suffered mentally with survivor’s guilt. He was a nervous wreck… he couldn’t bear the thought that he was part of the man’s death.
Anyway… Tommy changed his mind. He was going to go to the beach with his family… play with his little son on the sand, in the ocean waves. Tommy was excited! Something we hadn’t seen since ‘before’ the accident…
We lived up on a little mountain we had named Fairchild’s Mountain (after our beautiful, huge Rottweiler… he died with cancer).
That evening when Tommy left… he drove his pickup down the driveway, smiling his sunshine smile at me… calling “Bye, Mama! Bye, Mama”! I stood on the deck, waved… smiling at him until I couldn’t see him anymore. I called to him, “I love you, Son”!
That was the last time… I saw my only child… alive. The next time…
My son, Tommy, died while running… playing on the beach with his little son. He collapsed on the sand… no one knew he had two blocked arteries to his heart. He died… right there.
You can learn more by visiting my blog at: http://happycolorsandgrannygee.blogspot.com
I also, wrote a book ‘I Cry For Tommy’… while grieving for my child. I began writing my blog… when Tommy died. I write about how it feels to be… a grieving mother.
I write so, others can understand what a mother goes through when her child dies. I don’t write about grief to get sympathy, or feel sorry for myself.
So, never think that … when you read my stories about my life. I call the stories of my life… ‘colors of my life’. Why? Because… colors are important to me…
I’ve lost almost everyone I’ve ever loved in my life. The only family I have now… my whole world… is Skip, my husband… and our three Pups. Kissy Fairchild, Sweet Chadwick Elsworth, and Precious Camie.
When a person writes… they write ‘what they know best’. Sadly, what I know best is… mostly sad. I write about grief… child abuse, bullying, suicide; death… the paths taken in my life… my colors/stories.
I write about how life has been for me… my own life. I also, write good things… because no matter what… everything always gets… alright. So, don’t think I’m a sad person all the time… I’m not. I love to laugh, be happy.
The positive thing is… that I’ve come through lots of ‘bad’ things since being a little girl… survived. I am shaped by all that touched my life. You would think I’d be a ‘bad’ person… but, I only became… a better, better person. A good person, a caring person.
I have many, many colors to share with you, through time. This gives you an idea of what ‘I am about’. I have many unusual things in my life to write about… it’s been different being a female. :)))
I also, write about what’s on my mind… talk to you about different things…. maybe things in a way you haven’t thought about. I make up poetry about life… no, I’m not a poet… but… I ‘do it my way’. I do everything … ‘my way’.
I voice my opinions, sometimes… in a good way. I respect all that others say, think about. I never-ever argue with anyone. I never feel the need to… I know we all are different. If we were all alike… how boring life would be!
I am remembering my son, Tommy Mitchell Sidden, today. I’ve been sitting here thinking of him. I wrote my book so, that he’d never be forgotten… I’ll never let him be forgotten.
Tommy was a wonderful, precious son. He lived… he was important, he was a person… a mother’s only child; her only son.
I think every person who has died… needs to be remembered for the person they were. Like books in a library… there should be a library with everyone’s life in a book… so, they didn’t live for … nothing.
A person doesn’t have to be famous… just to be remembered. Maybe a ‘family library of books’ of each person who lived… telling what ‘flavor’ they were… meaning what kind of person they were in life.
Remembering My Son:
A tall, six foot… 3 inch handsome, strawberry-blonde hair with the biggest sunshine smile, and blue-green eyes. He was just as nice, as he was handsome.
Tommy Mitchell Sidden… died at the young age of 40. He died running, playing, laughing on the beach with his little three year old son, Taban.
No one knew Tommy had two blocked arteries… no one knew he was sick; going to… die.
Tommy died on May 29, 2010 on a late Saturday evening, at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tommy was born November 20, 1969.
I loved my son with my very heart. I will always grieve for him… the difference ‘now’… is that I have learned… acceptance that I can’t bring him back; nothing I can do will make him live again. It took until recently… to finally reach this stage in life…
Won’t you help me to always remember Tommy?