Six Years Later, I Am Finally … Finding ‘Me’

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter




I’ve seen a stranger in my mirror for so long … it’s good to finally recognize someone I know, like … ‘Me’. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee




Six years ago, my only child died.  For the first 3 1/2 years I wasn’t aware of anything but, my grief.  My son had died, I didn’t care about anything at all, excepting our Pups, and Skip (my husband).

I have to say that today … looking back … everything is dark.  I don’t want to see through that darkness right now.  It takes so much out of me when I force myself to go back.  It’s like being trapped in a dark, foggy, scary place … There are times I will go back to describe to you very real grief … not tonight.

I am writing tonight about trying to find myself in the mirror.  When I became aware of myself after the first several years of grieving … I would notice myself standing in front of the mirror, staring.  I didn’t know the person I was looking at.  I would peer closely, ask myself … ‘is that me?’  I couldn’t recognize the person in the mirror.  I had never looked like … that.

I was very overweight … my face had no happiness, sunshine in it … whereas before … I always smiled.  My eyes had no light in them … no life.  I couldn’t see myself anymore … I really was gone.  I was on a journey no mother should ever have to travel … the one traveled after her child has died.

Where I used to be very pretty … I looked so awful.  I couldn’t bear to see … me.  I didn’t have the motivation, nor desire to look better, then.  I didn’t care how I looked … I had died inside … my child was gone.  How could I live … even smile … feel any happiness at all … my child was dead?  Tommy died … Tommy was dead.

I began to tell myself I would grieve in a good way … a positive way.  I was beginning to think thoughts about the future.  I wanted to grow older in a good way … no bitterness, anger, hate.  I began to work on myself, how I thought about things.

Sometimes, I would catch a glimpse of ‘me’ in the mirror … sometimes, ‘me’ … smiled.  I would try to capture ‘me’ in a photo with my cellphone.  Photos of ‘me’ were just damn awful … I looked so horrible.  The truth is the truth … I never thought I would be, or find ‘me’ again.

I did try harder to look better … I just didn’t care.  This is someone who used to have to dress ‘perfect’ before going out the door even to a store.  My hair, makeup, clothes had to look very nice.  I always was known to look nice … people would say I was … beautiful.  Well … when I became aware of those people who used to say that … when they saw me … I saw mouths drop open like … what the hell?

Not one person ever came to me to ask me what was wrong.  No one ever knew my son died … I never bothered to tell them.  I could only write about it … not talk about it.  Writing helped to save my life … my grief was bigger than I.  Six years later … people are just finding out that Tommy died … they are shocked.  I don’t elaborate on his death … I can’t bear to talk about it.  When asked how he died, I just tell them he had 4 blockages to his heart, collapsed at the beach playing with his son.  I walk off … leave Skip to talk … I don’t want to.

I’ve never carried anything so heavy in my life.  If you saw me then … you saw a wreck of a woman … who moved automatically in life … who only existed because … she couldn’t just lay down, die.  I almost did … I never cared.  So … you can see, maybe understand the ‘whys?’ … it means so much for me to ‘see myself’ again.

Six years later, I’m ready to be myself, enjoy looking nice again.  I almost gave up … almost.  A year ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes … that was something I couldn’t accept even for a moment … it made me angry.

I already had several medical conditions … brought on during the three years I fought to survive cancer … Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  I’m a 16 year survivor … and am fortunate to be here … not many people who had it when I did … made it.  My oncologist told me last summer I shouldn’t be here.  Can you imagine being told that?  It brought home to me how fortunate I was … I felt cold chills when he told me.

I decided on studying, joining support groups on weight lost surgery.  I did this for over a year … I began to ask questions.  I found out that Medicare would pay for my surgery.  This was back when Skip was working, driving a truck.  My part to pay was $457 … Skip paid that months before he, himself became sick, had to stop driving.  Even after that … the tests I had to go for … over a 6 month period … I was still undecided.

Skip became very ill in January … and until a month ago … he went through so much.  I wasn’t going to have my surgery … until Skip was on even keel.  He stayed very sick for 5 1/2 months, almost dying 3 times.  He wanted me to have my surgery … he knew how much it meant to me.  For a short period of time … he stayed on even keel … just long enough for me to have surgery.

Just after my surgery, he became bad off again.  I didn’t have time to recuperate from my surgery … I was traveling 80 miles daily, to and from the hospital every day … no sooner than he come home from the hospital … he was back into the hospital.  I never let my pain stop me … I just kept going.  I had to be strong for Skip, and I was.

April 20, 2016 … I had my surgery.  July 20th will be 3 months since surgery.  I have finally begun to feel good each day … and I am seeing in the mirror … ‘Me!’ again.  I am just beginning to feel joy in seeing the weight come back off … feeling how good it feels just to feel good, again.  It’s wonderful.  I’m finding … myself … at last!

I couldn’t open my eyes to see ‘me’ …  until Skip got on an even keel, getting stronger and stronger.  For 5 weeks now … he is doing well.  I pray he never gets sick again.

Since January, I have lived in fear … Skip had a stroke, went into congestive heart failure 3 times, kidney failure/surgery, hemorrhaging nosebleeds that required him to be given blood, he had a pacemaker put in, 2 stents put in … he almost hemorrhaged to death just after the heart catherization when the shaft/sheath (I forgot the name) was taken out of his thigh.  This wasn’t all that happened to him during that time.  It was one nightmare after the other.  I was on a roller coaster I couldn’t get off from … I held on for dear life.  I had to be strong for Skip, our Pups.

Today … Skip is stronger.  He is driving … moving around like ‘Skip’.  I am so grateful, thankful.  He and The Pups are my whole life … they are my whole world.  Not only that … I am so grateful to all my friends who helped me make it through that awful time.  Do you know the song … Wind Beneath My Wings?  I think of that song when I think of the ones who helped me with tires, oil change, and gas to be able to make it through.  I have no family … I didn’t have one person I could go to … to ask for help.  I will be always grateful to everyone who cared for me … they never had to, but … they did.  I’m so thankful.

Now … today … I am finally beginning to see, find … me.  When I look in the mirror at times ‘now’ … I don’t cringe every time when I see me.  I’m beginning to recognize myself, again.  I’m so happy with my decision to go through with my surgery.  I wouldn’t trade doing it at all.  I no longer have diabetes, something I just couldn’t cope with.  I am feeling better, and better as Skip becomes stronger, himself.  The Pups are doing well … I took the best care of them during the months Skip was so ill.  They are happy Pups, know they are loved.

Today … I saw ‘me’ in the mirror … I am seeing ‘me’ in the mirror more often, now.  I’m finding myself after being on the longest, hardest journey in my life … as a grieving mother.  I’m finding myself after almost losing the one person I have left in this world, who is my world … my husband.  I have so, so much to be thankful for … I am.

I’ve shared my journey as a grieving mother … I will still share those times that happen when grief hits.  Now, I’m on another road in life … never forgetting my son … but, going forward.  I am on a weight loss journey … and in the process of … finding ‘Me’.



Note by this author:

As long as Skip and The Pups are doing well … I am happy.  Each morning I get up … I thank God for everything.  I can smile at myself in the mirror … because I am finally recognizing myself again.  This means the world to me.

5 thoughts on “Six Years Later, I Am Finally … Finding ‘Me’

  1. Pingback: Six Years Later, I Am Finally … Finding ‘Me’ — GRANNY’S COLORFUL – rvb

  2. Pingback: Looking Death In Its Face … | GRANNY'S COLORFUL

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