Happy Mother’s Day to me … I Was Tommy’s Mother
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee
Photos of my son, Tommy … owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee. If you see damage to any of them … most of them survived a house fire, and I’m fortunate to still have them.
Well, I am sitting here in front of my computer thinking about Tommy. Today is Mother’s Day …
You all are aware Tommy died May 29, 2010, soon after Mother’s Day, and on Memorial Day weekend.
I was telling Skip last night that ‘now’ … I am just fine. I’ve coped with Tommy’s death, accepted my son … my only child is gone. I don’t cry anymore. I am just fine.
The strange thing is … as I said that … a wave of emotion washed over me, making me … remember the panicky, painful grief. As quickly as it came, it went.
It has happened twice … it only lasted several seconds. It lasted just enough to disturb me. I’m more fragile than I have been thinking.
I’ve been as strong as the biggest Redwood tree in the forest … oh, have I weathered awful storms in my life. I’m still standing. I’m strong enough to last ‘forever’.
Why does it disturb me? Because so much of the time I can go about life, think about Tommy … be all right. So, how can this be happening? I don’t sit … walk … do things while my Heart weeps on the inside, now. Isn’t that a good thing?
I’ve coped with it all … I know Tommy can’t come back. I know Tommy has died, I know … I know … I know.
Tommy’s not coming back … I’m not going to see his sunshine smile … I’m not going to hear his unique, soft Tommy voice … see him walk, do things … ever again.
He isn’t going to get a kick out of giving me one of his tools again, or something to Skip … when he updated his own things. He loved when making us smile. We loved making him smile. It’s all gone, now.
My son, Tommy … on March 16, 2007 when his only son was born. His only son is my only grandson. Tommy had one daughter who is my only granddaughter. Though I can’t see them, I love them very much.
He’s not going to ‘forget’ anymore … how when Skip told him a joke … later in time, try to use it on Skip. How funny that was when it happened.
Skip would pretend it was a big deal, and say, “Tommy, you are trying to use my own joke on me”!
Tommy’s eyes would get big … he would begin shaking … his eyes would fill with such happy laughter. His face would redden … and he knew he was caught! He’d try to get out of it … he and Skip would discuss it like it was really something … until they both were satisfied.
See … I miss all those times … special. I miss having my child, my son. I’ve cried many tears since May 29, 2010.
That doesn’t include the pain … the horrible knowledge of never seeing my child again.
The panic inside while trying to face it … like walking up to a lion in defiance … and it bite the hell out of you … over and over … until one day … you reach a point, you aren’t afraid anymore.
What’s shocking … is when out of the clear blue … you think you are so strong, you have dealt with everything … all of sudden you experience in seconds enough … to remember being so afraid, sick to your stomach … ‘birds trying to get out of a cage’ feeling.
You realize something … I realized, know even to this day something …
I made a statement to Skip during our conversation last night that I think ‘says it all’. The more I think about … the more I ‘already knew’ … I’m right. At least for myself.
I can’t speak for other grieving mothers … I haven’t ever discussed, or heard what they think, feel. I’m sure not going to put my load of grief on someone who is on the road I am traveling in life … as a grieving mother.
My statement came out before I thought about what I was saying. As soon as I said it, I ‘felt’ how true it was.
“I’ve coped with Tommy’s death. I’ve put everything into place. You know … I can live with it now. I don’t cry anymore.”
As I said that to Skip … I felt an unexpected wave of grief briefly wash over me … create a flutter of panic, pain that if had lasted longer … would have brought me to my knees.
I realized something … this was the statement I made, knew it was so true: “I just have to keep fooling myself”… to be able to live with knowing my child is gone.
My handsome son, Tommy …
I just have to keep fooling myself … I can’t afford to do any different. I thought I had done a good job even to the point of being proud … I had done all this on my own.
I didn’t talk in depth to anyone … I didn’t cry in front of anyone … I didn’t share my grief with anyone in person. I did keep a promise I made to you … my friends, followers, readers … I wrote my grief so you could see, feel without actually having to experience it in real life.
Why? Because it makes a difference … you could become closer to your own child, children. If something happened to one of them (I pray not) … you can at least have something inside to hold onto.
Hold onto the knowledge that you were close, you both loved each other. I promise you this … if your child dies, and you have good memories … it means the very world.
I keep thinking, “Thank God, I always told Tommy I loved him”. Thank God for all the things I held onto that were good … after his death.
Another thing … I’m sure many of you have seen grieving mothers. You aren’t sure of what she is experiencing. You aren’t sure what to say to her, how to approach her. You don’t … want to say the wrong thing.
The worst thing you could tell ‘this grieving mother’ is … “oh, your son is in a better place”! No hell, he isn’t. He’s not in a better place … he was here in a good place.
So, don’t tell me that he’s in a better place. I don’t have time to listen to that bull s___. We all have our beliefs … so, you can comfort yourself with that if you believe it.
It’s not my cup of tea. I don’t want to hear it. I may not ever speak to you again … if you try to push that belief on me.
Realistically … how in the hell do you know that? Then again … maybe that’s one of the ways you ‘fool yourself’ into thinking until one day … your own child dies. What are you going to say, then? See how strong you are then. See what you’ll say … then.
You have to do what you have to do, to cope. You have to go with your own beliefs. I guess the best thing is not to tell a grieving mother that.
Coming through all I have, I think the safest words to tell a grieving mother are: “I care, I’m so sorry”. I warn you though … don’t say anything unless you are sincere.
A mother who is super-sensitive, emotional can pick up on things. When she goes through the grieving process … I promise you, she will … remember you. I promise you that I have several people I remember.
One day they might get to know … that I remember. Things just ‘have a way of biting you in the ass’. Life is like that … things come around … full circle. It is what it is.
I have always tried to face things … head-on. If it’s going to hurt, let it hurt its worst.
I will crawl, claw my way back … even if it knocks me to my ass again. I will keep getting up … because either I’m going to win … or die.
Simple as that … win, or die.
That’s how I have dealt, coped with my child’s death. One way or the other … I’m going to win … whatever happens. I just so happened to have made it.
Like the Redwood tree, I’m still standing. Full of pain, grief hidden deep in my soul … you don’t have to see it, know it’s there.
I spare anyone that … I’d rather make you smile, be happy. Here, where I write my pain … you have the option of going your own way … you don’t have to read, feel my pain … unless you want to, care to.
My son, Tommy ….
I promise you … I will tell you ‘just like it is’. I will say it in the words I want to say … feel it must be said … how I feel as I write them. You might not like it … though I’m a most good person … I don’t always feel ‘good’ things. I also, will say several choice words that aren’t pretty.
I’m not perfect, I have never claimed to be. I live … real life. And … damn it, it hurts … sometimes. It hurts sometimes, like hell. Yes, it does.
Now … it’s time to fool myself again. Now … this grieving mother has faced up, coped once again that her son’s not coming back … he died. I won’t hear him speak today … on Mother’s Day. I won’t hear his laughter, see his smile. It’s all gone, whether I like it or not.
See … sometimes, when you try to do everything in a good, positive way … you can sound angry … when you really aren’t. I may sound that way in some of my words, but truthfully … I’m not.
It’s my way, the only way I can face the awful things in my life. I face up to things that I’m afraid of … as if I’m not afraid of them. It’s my way … even if it means dying. I’m not going to back down from real life … I have to live it.
It’s Mother’s Day once again … everything’s going to be all right.
I pray all of you mothers have the most wonderful day … I haven’t forgotten how much that means to a mother. I got to be one for 43 years.
My son, Tommy …
I’m grateful to have known my son, Tommy. I won’t ever forget him. I make dragonflies in his memory.
This grieving mother makes beautiful dragonflies in memory of her son … woven, twisted, created into being.
Love is in every twist of the golden wire I use; love reflects from my Heart in the colors of the beads I add.
I leave them in public places hoping to bring at least a little joy in someone’s day … a smile to their face, and maybe the excitement of finding something that truly is a little treasure with meaning.
Happy Mother’s Day to me … I was Tommy’s mother.
Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee
Note by author:
This is the 5th Mother’s Day since Tommy’s been gone. I really miss my son with my very Heart. I do have to keep … fooling myself.
I can either do that or … die. I have no choice … I have my whole world to live for … Skip, and our 2 Pups, Kissy Fairchild and Precious Camie. Not only that … I look forward to good things in my life.
I miss you, Son. You meant the world to me. I love you, Tommy. Today … is the day children go home to mothers.
On this day, I have my memory of my last Mother’s Day, only a couple of weeks before you died. It was special. I’m so thankful to have had you as my son.
All photos I ever use, are owned by me. All I write, is true … owned by me. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee