Tommy Dragonflies … No Strings Attached
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Tommy Dragonflies I make to leave for others to find … no strings attached … in memory of my son, Tommy.
Seagulls flew overhead … with their seagull sounds
All seemed normal … a day at the beach
Waves washed ashore … warm winds blew
Close your eyes … breathe in … breathe out
Aw-www … so relaxing … vacation time!
Seagulls sang their songs … glided on the wind
Looking out at the ocean … the blue and white sky
I become aware of the soft, wet sand between my toes
Warm waves washing the sand around my feet
I see a blonde man running, playing with his little son
A little boy who looked just like his daddy … two peas in a pod
Laughter, squeals of joy … as the two ran … played
What a beautiful sight … father and son playing on the beach
I turned away to see what I could see … turned back
In the instant, my eyes looked away … the man collapsed to the sand
The little boy ran to him … fell on his knees … Daddy!
Daddy! come play! Daddy, get up! Let’s run … let’s play!
I saw on his little face as he realized … Daddy wasn’t getting up
The little boy began to cry … he and his daddy were all alone
They had sneaked off from the family to come play on the beach
Daddy! Please get up … Daddy!
A family approached the little boy … they had been watching
Watching the little boy and his daddy play
A man picked up the little boy’s daddy’s phone … pressed redial
Two hundred miles away … a woman answered the phone
Excitement … a smile in her voice … Tommy!
A stranger spoke … confusion spread on the woman’s face
Her happy smile slid from her face … never to be found
It was her last happy smile for her son whenever he called her
He never called again … the stranger spoke to her
“Ma’am, I have a man collapsed here on the beach … he isn’t breathing”
The woman asked him why did he have her son’s phone
The man repeated … “Ma’am, I have a man collapsed here on the beach … he isn’t breathing”
The woman called for her husband … Skip!
She handed him the phone … listened as shock set in
Her baby was dead? No! She tried to listen but, couldn’t hear
She was conscious enough to tell her husband to get her to the hospital
To tell the doctor to give her something to make the pain go away
Please help me, she cried … this is too big for me to hold inside
No! Tommy’s gone! She tried to cry but, it hurt too bad
She was in another world when her husband got her to the hospital
She barely remembered the needle placed in her arm
Darkness … darkness became her friend
Darkness wrapped around her like a blanket
Holding, comforting her for many months to come
Her only child was gone … she’d never see him again
Never hear his voice, laughter … see his smile
How could she live with such knowledge … she couldn’t
Looking back … I stayed in darkness for 3 years
I tried to find spots of light in the cave I was in
I wanted to come back to the surface
When I did … the knowledge my son was gone forever
Was too heavy for me to bear … I fell back into darkness
Where I didn’t have to think … remember
Oh my God … my son … my child was dead … he really died!
How could I live with that … I wanted to die
I could have been dead for all I knew … I would have never known the difference
Taking medicine … never used to taking anything
The medicine was potent … making me sleep the sleep of death
Barely breathing … Skip watched over me … pleaded with me not to take it anymore
I don’t remember how much I took … or times to take it
The pain told me when to take it
Thank God for the darkness … oh God … I’m afraid of the dark!
Skip’s voice … cold Pup’s noses … kept pulling at me to come back
Little by little I could begin to think again … then … like a turtle
I’d run back into my shell of darkness … my blanket to comfort me
Little by little … I have no concept of the time … I would think
I wanted to come back … I wanted to live … I couldn’t for the pain
Why should I live … Tommy was gone … how could I live with such knowledge?
I’ve never carried such a load on my shoulders as the knowledge of my son’s death
No one could see it … no one could see why I looked like I did … they did see a broken woman
No one thought to ask ‘why?’ I’d changed so drastically … I never told them but … I did see the shock in their faces
I began to write my pain away … like a river of water
My words began to flow … pain from my Heart flowed out from my fingertips
To my keyboard … I couldn’t stop … even to this day I haven’t stopped writing
I write to live … I live to write … doesn’t matter if it’s good … bad
I write my pain … I don’t have enough room inside for the pain … I’m not big enough
‘I Cry For Tommy’ … is the book I wrote … pure grief, pure pain for the child I lost … it saved my life
I make golden, beaded dragonflies in memory of my son
I leave them in public to remember Tommy
And … to bring someone joy, happiness in finding one
Writing … creating dragonflies are my ways to remember my son … Tommy
Writing … creating dragonflies keeps the pain from pooling up inside me
Writing … creating dragonflies … like a river of water … constantly keeps the pain flowing from me
Writing helps me to live … I live to write … no matter good or bad
I keep the pain flowing … mixed with my diamond teardrops
I write … I have to … I can’t keep it inside … I might die
When you find one of my Tommy Dragonflies … look at it … really look at it
Look beyond the gold wire, beads … can you see, feel my pain?
No … you can’t … it’s not meant for you to … it’s meant for you to find … feel joy in your own Heart
I remember Tommy … my precious son
While you have a little treasure to bring you joy, hopefully, good luck
You can help me remember Tommy … it’s okay if you don’t
My Tommy dragonflies have no strings attached
So if you find one … I’m honored if you want to keep it
Keep it knowing love from my hands made it … it was meant for You to find … no one else
Note from this Author:
This month is the month Tommy died … May 29, 2010 … Memorial Day weekend. I was so happy when he called a short time before he died … he called to say, “Mama, we are here! I’ll call you in a little while”.
I was very happy and relieved to know he and his family had made it to Myrtle Beach, SC safely. They were going to stay a week in the hotel where they’d made reservations … it was on the beach at 9400 Shore Drive at Sands Beach Club Hotel.
You know how mothers are … they worry until they know their children are safe … especially when traveling on holidays. I wasn’t any different.
I write about Tommy … real life … real grief … I have to write. When I write … it isn’t to gain sympathy … it’s writing the pain so I can live. When you read it … feel it … you can go away … if you see someone in your life suffering from grief, pain … I hope you’ll feel compassion. Just care a little … a little means a lot.
I didn’t tell people when Tommy died as I’ve always been private. I am like that just as you are like the way you are. I never talked about it … I grieved and withdrew from everything.
So when people saw me … they had to have thought ‘Oh my God, what has happened to Gloria!” I never bothered to tell them anything … I did see their expressions … their eyes. It was the same way when I had cancer … Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Why?
Once when I was gravely ill … Skip wanted me to get out of the house and go to the supermarket with him … he talked me into it. I was so weak … I walked very slowly … I looked very bad. I was going through chemo.
We saw a friend I’d known for many years coming down the aisle toward me. He was an older man. He saw me … his eyes registered who I was … I saw shock … he stopped, turned his back … went away. He never spoke to me … he did leave me standing there in that aisle … devastated. I never forgot it. It left me knowing no one cares when you are … ‘in a bad way’.
It also left me to always walk up to someone I know if I ever see them not well … let them know I care. No one has to tell me that because … all I’ve been through has strengthened me … I can cope with it. I’m like a Redwood tree … strong … weathered many storms … still standing. Just because I cry … doesn’t mean I’m weak.
Just because I cry … doesn’t mean I’m weak. By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee