What You Need To Know about Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

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



From time to time I have to remind others ‘why?’ I write. I don’t write to gain pity … I write to live. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



Think of me as the strongest, biggest Redwood tree in the forest.  I’m still standing after all Life’s storms.  Pray that I have beautiful, calm weather until the end of my days.  I would love to know that for the rest of my life.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/Granny Gee.

Artwork by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee  … I’m still standing.



This is the link to this story I wrote today … 2-29-2016 … I want to tell my new readers, friends, followers ‘why?’ I write ……. I want to remind everyone who knows me why I write grief, pain … I write as I promised about grief, pain when it happens, how it feels.  






Don’t you dare feel sorry for me.  Think of me as … envision the biggest, strongest Redwood tree … I’ve weathered many of Life’s storms … twigs, limbs are missing … but … I’m still standing.  I hope now … at this point in my Life … that the weather be wonderful … calm … until the end of my days.  I’ve had enough grief, pain for several lifetimes.



I have been writing since November 2010 …( I’d been writing all my life … but, I began my blog: ) … just a few months after my son … Tommy … died. When I began my blog I made the promise to all my readers/followers/friends I would describe pure grief, pain of a grieving mother.


I didn’t need anyone’s sympathy … I never thought of anyone as I wrote my pain. The truth is … writing my grief, pain … saved my life. While I was in darkness, the keys under my fingertips gave me comfort as well … as an outlet for my grief.



My grief, pain flowed like the biggest river in the world … rocks hurt like h___ … I still flowed on to … wherever. In fact, before someone says something to add more pain, grief … say empty, useless words … I asked people to just come into my blog to read quietly, leave just as quietly, go their way.



My beautiful Son … big as life … in a truck stop on his way to somewhere … taking a selfie.  I miss you, Tommy.  Your Mama miss you with her very Heart.


They could see how it all felt, never having to experience in their life … grief, pain of a grieving mother. I promised my readers that I would write grief when it happened … as it happened … and I would tell the raw truth about grief.



No pity … no feeling sorry … read like you are reading something else … if you learn something from my grief, thank God. I pray no one ever goes through losing a child … only child like I did.



This logo was made just for me by Donnalyn, several years ago.



I didn’t need all those comments that you are going to always hear people say … such as … ‘oh, he’s in a better place now … he’s sitting down at the Lord’s table eating … you don’t have to worry about him anymore … oh, you’ll get over your grief in no time, like in the next few weeks … the worst one I heard, that fills me with pure, white anger is … oh, I understand, I know how you feel.’ I understand, I know how you feel … can you imagine someone telling you that when they’ve never experienced grief?



Needless to say … I didn’t say a word to those people … I never forgot them … I forgave them for their careless words. Can you imagine modeling your life after someone who has never experienced what they are ‘selling’? Can you? Can you imagine listening to a pastor preach empty words when he has never experienced being saved, the true feeling of love, compassion, caring for his congregation?



My son, Tommy … holding his newborn son … Tommy had one son, and one daughter.



Can you imagine telling a grieving mother that you understand how it feels, her grief should be over in oh, probably … 2 weeks? Can you imagine being told that by someone who has never lost a child? Can you imagine someone who has never experienced the pain, grief in their life … try to tell you how it feels? How you should handle it?



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



I want to share with my new friends … and new readers/followers on my blog … what happened to Tommy one year almost to the day he died … what he suffered … what his mother suffered, what I was grieving for …. before he died. I was already grieving for Tommy one year before … he died. Tommy ‘died’ … one year before he …. died.



Every writer knows that in order to write … be real, sincere … they have to write what they know best in life. You can’t fool your readers .. they know when you are being an imposter.



I write what I know best in my life since being a child … all the way until today … I’ve known grief, pain … awful things throughout my life. I know grief, pain … best. Just remember this when you read ‘me’ … I don’t write to gain your sympathy, pity … I don’t need it. I truly don’t need anyone’s pity.



Tommy is holding his newborn son …



I have grown very strong throughout time … think of me like you would a … redwood tree. I’ve withstood many, many terrible storms. I’m weathered, beaten … missing a twig or two … but, I’m still standing. I’m still weathering storms … I do pray for sunshine, calm weather … I would like to rest from battling the storms in my life.



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



I would like to tell you this … to remember also, about me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee … I’m the most positive, happiest person you’ll ever meet who is a grieving mother … a person who has battled cancer … congestive heart failure, motorcycle wreck … lost over 19 family members (not just any family members but, the ones I truly loved with my very Heart) … whose husband has battled cancer, almost dying again twice with strokes, heart problems … blood infection in his body from a tiny cut from old wire … lost all in a housefire … the ultimate loss … losing the only child whom I loved the ground he walked on. These are only … a few things ‘BAD’ that’s happened in my life.



My published book of grief, pain … writing this book saved my life … if you asked me what is in it … I can’t tell you … I can’t remember … I can’t open the book to read it.  Over a thousand pages of pure grief … pure pain.  You are looking at my life raft … writing this book is why I’m here today.  Writing this book makes sure my son, Tommy, is remembered forever.  It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t sell … doesn’t matter at all.  I have my copyright from Library of Congress on this book ( I have 3 copyrights on the 3 books I published).  They don’t sell … that’s okay … I still have my copyrights, and I’m proud to have them … I did it all when I was in the deepest throes of grief.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.




This is only a fraction of what I’ve battled … so, this is what I write best … pain, grief, sadness. I write it to tell you that no matter how bad … things DO get better … no matter how BAD … they will get good again I can smile now … when I thought I couldn’t ever smile again … I mean how does a mother ever smile again with the knowledge that her child died?



It does happen … a grieving mother can smile again … but … this grieving mother had to make a choice … either stay in the darkness and not cope with the loss … or … meet it head-on … no matter how bad it hurts … battle it like you would battle with a bear … I did … I was going to either live … or die.



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



I’m smiling … I am here five years after my son’s death … yes, I still go through bouts of grief … oh my, I really do. Those times are farther apart … and I recover from them quickly now. Does it … lessen the pain, grief … when it comes again … no.



To write my story … on my blog for maybe the last time about what happened … I had to transport me back deeply into the darkness where I knew my grief, pain was for my son … doing this … something I don’t do anymore … took something out of me … for several days until now … I still feel the pain deeply. I can’t do it anymore … if I do … it may be years down the road.



For now … in order to understand me, my type of writing … one will have to go read on my blog … this is the link to what happened to Tommy … exactly one year leading up to his death. Link to my Blog: Colors in My Life … /2016/02/this-may-be-last-time-i-tell-anyone.html



A grieving mother … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



These are only words trying to describe by writing … living pain, grief … they are in no way the same. I couldn’t describe how … it really felt. Know that as you read … there was so much more than what I wrote.



Unless you are a mother who suffered with her child … then … her child die … you can’t understand at all. The closest you can come to that is … get very quiet … think of one of your children … think of what that child means to you … what you love so dearly about him/her … think of the sounds that child makes when they laugh, talk … everything that makes that one person your child.



Now … the phone rings … you see your child’s cellphone number pop up on the caller ID … you smile! You answer … you become confused because a stranger is trying to tell you something. What? What did you say?



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee … a grieving mother who can smile today.



“Ma’am, I have a man collapsed here on the sand … he’s not breathing.” You have just found out before anyone knows … you are 200 miles away … you learn from a stranger that … your child is dead … he is laying on the soft sand at the ocean where he’d just arrived on vacation to play with his own little boy.



Your son has just collapsed on the sand … died that fast … 3 blockages to his heart. No one knew he was sick.



At that very moment … only you and the stranger and his family who cares for the man’s little son to keep him safe … knows your … son is dead.



The little son is wanting his daddy to get back up … “Let’s run, play … Daddy!”



I see you can’t bear to think of your child being … dead. I know you can’t … I couldn’t before my own son died. I’m sorry I made you feel pain, grief when imagining losing your child.



It’s the closest you’ll ever come to understanding a grieving mother … until … I pray you’ll outlive all your children. That’s the way it’s supposed to be … parents should never outlive their children.



My beautiful Son, my only child … Tommy

Born November 20, 1969

Died May 29, 2010




Children are our world … our family support when we have no one else … children carry on our name, inherit all our possessions and knowledge. Children are truly the … wealth of our world … when we teach them to be the best they can be.



Children are our everything. Now … I only have Skip, my husband … and our 2 dogs … they are truly the only family I have left in this big, old world … they are my whole world.



I have no one else … but, you … my online friends, readers and followers. So, my whole world, Skip and our 2 Pups … and you … mean everything to me.



 Tommy Mitchell Sidden … my only child, my Son.  This is the last photo taken of him driving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina … he died that evening … collapsed to the soft, damp sand by the ocean’s waves washing ashore … where he and his little son played just minutes before …  May 29, 2010 … on a Saturday evening.




Just remember whenever you read anything sad, painful that I write … that it’s coming from a most positive person who has traveled many journeys in life … who has felt the pain from many things … who knows how so much feels … who truly knows no matter how bad … everything will be alright.



Good comes from … bad. Don’t even feel sorry for me … feel how strong the redwood tree looks when you stand below it … it’s still here after many storms have tried to take it down.



I am short, 5′ 2″ … but, I’m tall in spirit. In soul, I’m larger than life … from all the experiences, journeys I have taken in my life.



I have no room for pity … I’m not a ‘poor little thing’ … all broken into pieces … I worked very hard … to put ‘me’ back together. Sure … a piece falls off … now and then … I begin scuffling to put it back so … I can be alright again.



So now … you have an idea who Granny Gee/Gloria is … a strong person who when knocked down … jumps back up, dusts her pants off … holds her ground to meet life head-on … no matter how painful it is. Sometimes, it takes a little time to get up … I always manage.



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee … in this photo you can see the gold nugget necklace that was around Tommy’s necklace when he died.  He wore it always … it is my class ring melted down into a gold nugget … 11 grams gold.  I gave it to my son … his wife gave it back to me … it meant the world.




Don’t feel pity for me … don’t think when I write my grief … I’m reaching out for someone to feel sorry for me. I don’t need it. Just care … go on … open your eyes wider when you see a grieving person … have compassion, not pity. Just simply … care with your Heart.



If you say something sincere in your own words (not a bunch of ___ you’ve always heard) … it’ll mean the world to that grieving person. Don’t recite a bunch of nothing just to have something to say … don’t say anything … just hug … care … if you can’t say anything … real.



Know that I am a for-real good person … I’m most real. I love everyone … see through fakey people … don’t waste time on them. Life’s too short to let others in my life that aren’t sincere.



I will voice my Gloria Opinions in a moment … I’ll respect yours and you respect mine … I won’t argue anything with anyone. Why? Because I simply don’t have to … it’s not worth the grief, pain it causes.



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee




One last thing … I’m known for some times, writing long stories. I have to … it’s part of being me. You don’t need to tell me … I already know. I don’t do it all the time … only when … it’s important.



Photo/story owned … written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



Photo is of the only tattoo I most likely will ever have … in memory of my son, Tommy. He loved dragonflies … dragonflies show up in my life at the oddest times.



My Tommy Dragonfly Tattoo created for me by Jason Wilkins at Revelation Ink & Piercings … his new shop will open in early March 2016 in Raleigh, NC (Wakefield area).  Until then, you will find him at his shop in Louisburg, NC at Dystink’d Tattoo.



This May Be The Last Time I Tell Anyone What Happened That Day …


This May Be The Last Time I Tell Anyone What Happened That Day …

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



My son, Tommy … his son, Taban … 2008



I don’t know if I can make myself go into darkness again to bring my grief, pain out … again. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.


What a beautiful, sunny day to drive.  Traffic was moving smoothly as he drove down the interstate.  He loved to drive a big truck … handle such a big piece of equipment.  Not only that he got to travel all over the country.  He had a little son who wanted to be like him!  Life was good!


Tommy was a tall, handsome 6′ 3″ guy.  He had strawberry-blonde hair, and blue-green eyes depending on what color he was wearing.  He had a sunshine smile that if … it ever turned your way … you basked in its rays … warm rays.  His smile could compete anyday with the sunshine!


His voice was like soft silk … his laugh even silkier.  Tommy had a wonderful sense of humor.  He could make his mother laugh when no one else could.  He could irritate his mother quicker than anyone … when he would reach down … toussel her head of hair.  His mother was very particular about her hair, didn’t want anyone to touch it.  He would laugh so big!  His mother secretly loved it … she would grin.


Tommy would call his mother almost every day, numerous times to tell her something he thought about … wondered about, or tell a joke he heard.  He and his mother … and his step-father were close-knit.  They knew no matter what … they had each other.


He called his step-father every day … and at all times of the night… he was his best friend and like his father.  His step-father also, drove long-distanced.  They called each other often … and at anytime.


Tommy was approaching the Hernando De Soto Bridge that separated Tennessee into Arkansas.  There were several lanes of fast-moving traffic.  He could see ahead traffic going into other lanes … he couldn’t see what was the cause was.


He began trying to get over into the left lane … just as he knew he was going to get over with no problem … a car came up beside him quickly.  He began slowing down … there was a family in the car next to him … he could see children!  Before it was too late, he began to try to ‘squeeze’ the truck ‘between’ the family in the car … and what was just ahead of him causing chaos in the middle lane.


Tommy thought he’d missed the car sitting in the middle lane … got safely by the family car … he had, until …



The date is wrong on this photo … Tommy and his little son, Taban.



A man at the last second … opened the driver’s door, stepped out of the car!  Tommy’s mind went into shock when he looked into his rear view mirror as his truck passed the man, car.


He saw an explosion of red.  He began pulling the truck over to park.  He was in pure shock … he knew he was missing the family car, and the car blocking traffic in the middle lane in fast-moving traffic, until … oh my God!  He went to pieces as he climbed down from the big truck … his legs became weak as he saw what was behind him.


Tommy walked, tried to run in a state of shock … he saw parts of the man laying … everywhere.  He fell to his knees, sobbing … when he came upon the torso of the man … he never saw all the cars passing, gawking at the big guy on his knees in the road, crying.  No one stopped to help him … comfort him.  Traffic kept moving …


Finally … help came.  A gentle hand reached down to help Tommy up.  The officer led Tommy to a truck … IMAP truck that assists law enforcement, and such.  They comforted Tommy … talked with him.  They told him it was an accident … he couldn’t have avoided the man when he stepped out of the car.  Tommy would have missed both the car … and car loaded with a family … if only … the man had stayed in his car.


Blood was everywhere … Tommy kept seeing the man laying in pieces.  He couldn’t cope with it … he kept breaking down.  Tommy was in a bad way.  The officers took him to the hospital … his company in Indiana made him come back there as soon as he got back home to North Carolina … he couldn’t go home to cope with his grief … to get better being around his loved ones.


Tommy’s family was very upset … in order for him to keep his job … he had to stay months at the company’s facility … see their psychiatrist to deal with his state of mind.  His family cried when they heard his voice on the phone.  At that time, he had to keep his job … he had a wife, child at home to take care of.


While he was being comforted by the officers … Tommy called his mother … she knew something was wrong with her child … she knew her only child.  “What’s wrong, Tommy?” she asked.  He began sobbing … she pieced the words together … when she realized he said he’d killed a man … he’d hit a man with the big truck.


She felt an awful pain in her heart … she felt she was a part of what happened to her son … she felt she was there, and that she also, had hit the man.  Mothers are like this about their children.  She instantly went into shock, pain as if she was there with her son.


His mother began crying, telling him she was so sorry.  She tried to comfort him 600 miles away … he never heard her words.  He was in another world … grief, shock.  When he ended the call … his mother was in another world of grief, shock for her son.  She knew he’d never get over hurting another human being.  If only the man had stayed in his car!


This happened on May 17, 2009 … one year later … Tommy died on May 29, 2010.  He never got over the accident … he couldn’t bear to see the color red … he would break down.



Tommy was forced to stay at the company’s motel … they’d come on certain days to take him to their doctor … they wouldn’t let him come home to be with people who knew, cared, loved him.  If he came home … he would lose the job with the trucking company he needed.


A couple months just before Tommy died … he had another breakdown … while trying to drive his big truck.  He went to pieces at one of the terminals he had stopped at.  They let him drive the big truck home … he was less than 2 hours away from his home.



Tommy holding his newborn son … his only son.  He has one daughter, also.



He made it home … his wife had to take him to the hospital.  They gave him medicine to calm him down.  He went to a doctor in Henderson … was put on several medicines that caused great concern with his mother.  The medicines were too powerful … she couldn’t do anything about it.


Tommy stayed home … he wasn’t in any condition to drive a truck.  He began to come see his mother … the medicines he took kept him calm.  Her heart broke for her son.  There wasn’t one thing she could do for her child … her only child … just be there for him.


On May 28th … Tommy showed up at his mother’s and stepfather’s home.  He had his professional power washer with him … he was going to powerwash their home … at one time he used to work in that business.


Tommy was in wonderful spirits … his sunshine smile warming his mother’s heart like nobody’s business.  How long had it been since she’d seen that wonderful smile that melted her very heart?


His stepfather drove up on his truck … it was unusual for him to come home on his big truck, but … he did that evening.  Later … he thanked God he did.  He never came home like that … but, he did that evening.


Tommy’s mother made sandwiches with the Boar’s Head cold cuts they’d purchased at Sam’s Club.  She knew Tommy would like them.  She saw Tommy and Skip sitting at the picnic table.


She took a Mountain Dew (Tommy’s favorite drink) out to Tommy, and a glass of iced tea to Skip (Tommy’s stepdad whom he loved with his very heart).  She also, had a glass of iced tea for herself.



This is the book I wrote my grief, pain in … I can’t bear to even open this book … I don’t know what it’d do to me to try to read it.  It serves its purpose … I made it possible for Tommy to never be forgotten … I never made money on selling it.  I do have copyrights from The Library of Congress on 3 books I’ve written … no matter how good, bad they are.  I’m proud of this.

Tommy’s mother went back inside to get the plates of sandwiches she’d made … brought them back to the picnic table.  She set them in front of Skip, Tommy … and at her place.


They sat there … it was the most wonderful evening … laughing, talking.  The weather was beautiful … sun shining … in competition with Tommy’s smile that evening.  His mother didn’t know which was shining the most … the sun … her son’s smile.  It’d been so long.


Tommy said, “Mama, these are the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten!”  His mother looked up at him, asked him … “really?”  “Yes, Mama, they are the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten!”  She began laughing, telling Tommy that they were like all other sandwiches.


Tommy said, “Mama, they are the best I’ve ever eaten.”  She smiled … was amazed he said that … it must be the type of cold cuts they’d purchased at Sam’s Club.  Later … this always stood out in her mind … they were the best sandwiches he’d ever eaten … she knew he meant his mama had made them for him … that’s why they were the best.


His mama and Skip were so happy when he told them he’d changed his mind about going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his wife … his little son … two step-children, and mother-in-law.  They had reservations at a hotel there.  They were going to stay a week at the beach.


Tommy laughed, talked … “Mama, I’m going to play with my own little son at the beach!  Play with him for the first time at the beach!”  Tommy was excited … his mother looked up into his face, saw such happiness she hadn’t seen for over a year in his face.   Oh, how happy her Heart felt for her child.  She felt everything was going to be alright.


Tommy told her he was going to ride with a parole officer to learn about being one, go to school.  He was going to persue being a parole officer.  His mother felt for the first time … Tommy’s going to be alright!  She smiled happily at him.  She felt hope come alive like when a match is struck … lights a candle.  It was burning brightly in her mind.


Just before he left for home … Tommy walked to hug his mother, say goodbye.  She hugged him hard.  God, she loved her son with her very Heart.  He stood, holding the storm door … looking down at his mother, smiling.


His mother looked up at him … looked past him at how light all was around him … the green roof overhead on the deck was so clean … the leaves, dirt was gone on the green roof (fiberglass).


All felt so wonderful, good … her son’s smile was adding to the happy light around him.  This stood out to his mother … later in time.  Her son was going to be alright … this evening was the beginning! Hope burned in her chest, now.


She watched her beautiful son … a tall, handsome, blonde-headed guy … walked up the sidewalk to leave.  She thought how proud she was to have a son like him.  Everyone loved him … his gentle way.



This photo was taken exactly one year at a lake in May 2009 … before Tommy died at the ocean one year later on May 29, 2010.  I’ve always looked at this photo … thinking about water being there in this photo when he and Taban were at the lake …. and then … water/ocean where he and Taban played when he died.




The sunshine made his hair sparkle … the light around him was so clear … he was so … real.  This was her only child, her son.  He meant the world to her.  She always thanked God for him.  Her son loved her just the same way.


They both had been through Hell no one knew about … in their lives.  They appreciated and were grateful to have each other … and were fiercely protective of the other … same way with Skip.  They all three were there for the other … when no one else was.  They knew this.


He walked to his big, white pickup … got in, started it.  He backed up, then began driving slowly down the driveway.  She began to wave her hand at him, smiling as … he grinned that big smile everyone loved … at her.  He honked the horn as he waved goodbye to her … then, the house blocked her view.  How happy she was!


Tommy was leaving the next morning … Saturday, May 29, 2010 … he was going to the beach to play with his only son, Taban.  He was very excited now, that he’d changed his mind.  He couldn’t wait to get to the ocean, run on the sand … play for his first time with Taban!


They left for the beach the following morning … Tommy called his mother … she heard excitement in his voice.  “Oh God, thank you!”  Her son was going to be alright!


She hadn’t heard such happiness in so long from him … the accident crushed him that fateful day … took not only the life of a stranger who stepped out of his car … it took Tommy’s life, also.  And … his mother’s.  She came alive that evening … hope was alive in her heart!


“Mama, we’re only 7 miles away!”  Tommy called her just a short time before they arrived at the hotel.  He was most excited.  “Mama, I’ll call you back in a little while!”


A little while later … her eyes lit up when the phone rang.  The caller ID showed it was Tommy calling!  She thanked God that Tommy and his family made it to the beach safely … it was Memorial Day holiday weekend … everyone knew how bad the traffic would be … how dangerous.  “Thank you, Lord!”  she breathed.


Tommy’s mother was smiling as she answered the phone.  She couldn’t wait to hear Tommy’s voice tell her about being at the beach!


Her smile played on her lips … her smile didn’t know to stay or go.  As she listened to the voice on the other end … her smile disappeared as she became confused … trying to hear the words a stranger spoke … but, not hearing them.



This is the last photo taken of Tommy … on the last day of his life … driving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  May 29, 2010.



Oh my God!  What did that man say?  What?  She asked him once again … “why do you have my son’s cellphone?”  She had ignored his words … not wanting to hear them as if … the stranger would say something different … this time.


Her eyes filled with tears … oh God, help me!  I can’t listen to the voice telling me … “what did you say?”


The stranger’s voice said, “Ma’am, I’ve got a man collapsed here on the beach … he isn’t breathing.”


Tommy’s mother tested him to see if … she said, “Is there a little blonde-headed boy with him?”


“Yes, ma’am”.  His mother began calling for Skip … her mind had already slipped into darkness … following her happy smile.  She died at that very moment.  Please help me, Skip!  Skip came running to take the phone from her hand.



While Skip talked on the phone … Tommy’s mother was looking out the windows into the forest … the stranger’s words in her mind.  The phone … oh my God … the dreaded phone call people talked about!  No! No! No!  Oh my God!  I can’t live with this, I can not live with this!  Help me, Skip … I can’t deal with this!


Skip got off the phone, went to her.  Skip!  I’ve never taken drugs before … you are going to have to get me to the hospital … let them drug me.  I can’t live with this, I can’t live with this.  Oh my God!


Tommy’s mother wept … time went away … only blurry memories when looking back.  She sat in the waiting room of the Emergency Room where she used to work at the same job the girl registered her, did.  She slipped back into darkness … she became aware for a moment  …


A family sitting across from her … blood, scratches on a woman’s face … someone mentioned dog bite.  Tommy’s mother slipped back into darkness until …


She was sitting on a hospital bed … white sheets, all was sterile, cold around her … a doctor was speaking to her … all disappeared.  She felt a needle … heard soft voices as she cried, blended into the darkness … she never thought of her smile she followed into darkness until several years later.


She heard Skip’s voice … she couldn’t see him.  Are you okay?  Can you hear me?  She came to the surface of the darkness she was in … like a fish swimming up for a breath of air … said, “yes, I’m here”.  She disappeared into darkness again.


Seeing a tiny, white pill in her hand … not knowing how many she’d taken … only that she was awake again … it was time to take another pill.  What she knew was bigger than her … she couldn’t escape it … she couldn’t live with such knowledge because … she couldn’t … get away from herself.  Oh my God, please help me!  Tommy!  Oh my God, my son!  My son!  Help me!  I’m dying … my son’s dead!


She swallowed the pill quickly … all the while weeping … until once again … she was no more.  She became darkness … she only surfaced to the light when she heard Skip’s voice … when she became aware … of why she stayed in the darkness … she slipped back into it.


For 3 years … and more … she didn’t live … she didn’t die … but, what was the difference?  She didn’t know anything … when she became aware … the only thing she knew was … her only child whom she loved with her very heart … was … dead.


How could she know anything more than that?  The knowledge always sat there when she began to become aware of the world … an obstacle like a huge boulder blocking the road … she wasn’t going anywhere excepting back to where she came from … the darkness.


She tried to come back to the light … her life.  When she tried to see, find herself … she only looked blankly at the image in the mirror.  She didn’t recognize it …  back into darkness … nothing to hold onto here.


Many times after looking into the mirror at the stranger that stood before her … one day … the stranger smiled a little smile at her.  She smiled back … the stranger seemed familiar at that very moment.  She disappeared back into the darkness.


This went on and on … on and on … on and on ‘forever’.  She never realized she was writing her pain, grief … she sat at her computer not thinking … only doing.


Tommy’s mother … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



How did she publish a book?  How did she go through all the steps of self-publishing without remembering?  How did she write over a thousand pages of grief, pain for her son … not remember one word she wrote?  Today … she can’t bear to open the book … read even one page.


How did the house get cleaned?  How did the clothes get washed?  How did?  How did?  How did?  How did? How did?  And she not remember?  How did she live … not remember?  How?  She never did get her questions answered as to ‘how?’  Somehow … she … did.


On May 29, 2010 on Saturday evening … at Myrtle Beach … there was a tall, blonde-headed guy running, playing with a little 3 year old boy … who looked just like him … two peas in a pod.  “Daddy! Daddy! let’s play!”


The sea gulls sang … the ocean waves washed in on their feet … they squealed with delight.  The sunshine was competing with the big guy’s smile of happiness doing the very thing he wanted to do most … why he’d just told his mother what he looked forward most to doing …. he was playing with his precious little son on the beach!


He felt the warm, ocean breeze caress his face with love.  He looked up into the beautiful sky … he heard the seagulls call his name … Tommy, Tommy … come home!  He looked down at his son knowing he had to leave … angels gently guided his body to the sand.


Angels nearby … came to protect the little boy until someone came.  One of the angels picked up a cellphone that fell out of the big guy’s hand … pressed the last number dialed.  “Ma’am, I have a man collapsed here on the sand … he isn’t breathing.”


Two hundred miles away … Tommy’s mother found out her son was dead before anyone else knew.  Two hundred miles away … her son, only child … lay on the soft, ocean sand as the waves washed in from the sea … seagulls were singing in the air … the warm wind was caressing his body with love as his soul lifted into Heaven.  “Come home, Tommy” … the seagulls sang.


Two hundred miles away … Tommy’s mother slipped into darkness as her son lay on the sand to be taken away … the next time she saw him was some time later after … an autopsy was done.


She stood at the wooden box … looking down on a familiar face.  Her precious son!  Oh my God!  My son! Oh, oh, oh!  Tears streamed out of her eyes as she wept … tears more than a storm … pain, grief more than any thunder, lightening.  A wound deeper than any ocean in her very Heart.


Tommy’s mother reached out to touch her son’s hand.  It was so cold … she patted it gently.  She walked to the head of the wooden box … she patted her son’s wavy, strawberry-blonde hair … her tears fell onto his hair.  She could feel the coldness of her tears on her hand as she touched her son’s head with such love … as if he were a baby.


Her hand felt something … what is that?  Her fingers traced a line on his head … rough.  A thought came into her mind … oh my God!  Oh my God!  That’s from the autopsy … she couldn’t take anymore.


Over the next days … in and out of the darkness when she was forced to become aware … memories … and more memories of floating like a leaf … blowing in the wind … stopping here, there … when the wind stopped blowing.


Light over the wooden box … silky lining inside … she peered closer … no! no! no!  Her son lay there … she knew that face.  Her baby, her child …


How do I know all of this … how would I know what a grieving mother would think, feel … describe true grief, pain?


I’m Tommy’s mother … this is only a small fraction of what I’ve shared here to let you for a moment … try to understand a mother’s grief when she loses a child.


I reached into the darkness where I know my grief, pain lives … brought it out just long enough for you to feel … see … understand so, that’s all you’ll do … and I pray you never-ever outlive your child to know it firsthand.


At this moment … in doing that … I am sobbing my Heart out.  I miss my son so much.  I wish he were here.  It does hurt so badly.  At this moment … I am still in the darkness I reached into to pull out my grief, pain … to share with you.  I want to get out …. now.


I didn’t think I would be able to live with such knowledge in my mind.  How did I find the strength to keep on living … when I was already dead in my mind?


How did I end up coping with such an awful knowledge … being able to live with something bigger than I am … inside me?  Something so heavy … so very painful more than any pain you can feel … inside me … something you can’t even see to know it’s there?


How did I learn that everything was going to be alright … no matter what?  How did I know I could live … knowing my own child died … have you stopped to think …. how in the world can a mother live … knowing her child has …. DIED? How?  How?  How?  Have you any idea … how awful that is?  How devastating that is?  How … so END of the World that is?


How did I somehow know … no matter how bad … something good comes from it?  Everything will be okay again.  I have learned now … just those things.   No matter what … somehow, everything is going to be alright again.  I’m living proof.


Oh my God … my child died.  It’s so hard to imagine, I know.  I don’t want you to ever have to know the reality of losing a child … no parent should ever outlive their children.


I have made many new friends on my social media/Facebook/Twitter, etc. … my blogs.  People ask all the time … what happened to your son?


Unknowing to all of us … and to Tommy … he had 3 blockages to his heart.  He was only 40 years old.


No one knew the grief, survivor’s guilt, heartache, pain Tommy suffered exactly for one year … before he died.


Tommy lived with a stranger in his heart for one year … he saw the man’s life … story, face online … we all did.  Grief, pain, survivor’s guilt … ‘killed’ Tommy.  Once he told me, “Mama, that man must have been a better person than I.”  He began sobbing after he said it.  He couldn’t live with the knowledge he had been the cause of the man’s death.  I couldn’t live with watching my son suffer so much.


Can you imagine my happiness that evening before he died … when he came to say he was looking forward to going on the family vacation to play with his little son for the first time … never knowing he’d make it there ‘just in time’ … to play with his little son for the first time at the beach … and it be … his last time?  Leave on another journey … die?


Tommy and the stranger’s life collided that day when the man stepped out of his car into the oncoming traffic.  We heard he may have been committing suicide … doesn’t matter what the stranger was doing … when he stepped out in front of Tommy’s truck … that was the beginning of the end of my son’s life.


I lived Tommy’s pain, grief with him … he called me every day to stay connected with his mama.  I knew I was important to him … I knew he needed me no matter how many times he called each day.  He didn’t have to say so … I knew.


When he died … I lived with the grief of losing my son … almost ending my life.  I never knew I was living after he died … somehow I lived without realizing it.


It’s all a blank … I tell myself … I must have been doing something.  I lived … amazing … after the worst storm of my life.  I’ve battled cancer, survived many terrible things … losing my son was the worst thing to ever happen to me.


This may be the last time I tell anyone what happened … one would have to ‘dig through’ my blogs, Facebook to know.


As I have been writing this whole time … I have went from the light … deep into the darkness to pull my grief, pain … out for you to see, to learn what happened … as I come to this point in my story … I have completely come back out of that darkness.  I am okay again … I wrote the grief away.  I’m back outside … in the light again.


This may be the last time I tell anyone what happened that day … I can’t bear the pain of entering the darkness anymore.



My Tommy Dragonfly Tattoo in memory of my son, Tommy Mitchell Sidden.  Born November 20, 1969 … Died May 29, 2010 … playing on the beach with his little son, Taban in the beautiful sunshine, wind blowing … waves washing ashore on their feet … wind blowing in their hair.  The seagulls were singing as Tommy’s soul was lifted by the angels … to Heaven.




Note by this Author:


I think at some point in life we find out that it’s time to let go … put things where they have to be … in order to go on living.  When you can’t change a thing … you waste time hitting your head against a wall.


Instead … when you are me … it’s better to stay positive … live the life I have before me … out to the fullest.  The knowledge that I have to live with … knowing my son died … doesn’t destroy me, now.  I made it … I can live with it now.  I’m going to be alright … it’s okay, I’m okay.


There are those times I will become sad, cry … but, they are far and between.  Those times don’t last … forever … now.  I can grieve, go on with my life … I can even smile now.  It’s okay for me to live now.  It wasn’t ‘before’ … I mean in my mind … how could … I … live … when my son died?  Now … I can.


Before I forget … I had a Tommy Dragonfly Tattoo done on my right shoulder in memory of my son, Tommy.


Jason Wilkins is the creator of this special tattoo … his shop is Dystink’d Tattoos … soon to be … Revelation Ink Tattoo & Piercings when he moves his shop to Raleigh (Wakefield) in March.


I’ll always be grateful to Jason for caring and making this one tattoo I’ll ever have probably … most special knowing it was in memory of Tommy.  Now … I can touch this … dragonfly … for comfort, when I think of Tommy.  He loved dragonflies.  I loved my son.  He loved his Mama.


Photos/true story owned, written by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



Disappeared Like the Light She Blew Out …



Disappeared Like the Light She Blew Out …

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



Photo of Dining Area in our previous home … dining area, living room and den were like a huge room …



She stood in the middle of the room … actually three rooms together … no doors … only a wall here, there.  It was a wonderful ‘big’ room.

One area was for the living room … another area was where the fireplace was … this was the den.  The other area was the dining room where the china hutch sat in it’s glory … she could see all the colorful, happy pieces of glass she had collected … inside.

The short walls around the dining room had decorative glass … the frosted, decorative glass gave the atmosphere of cosy privacy … like in a quaint, little restaurant.

On this particular day … the house looked warm, cozy … happy.  She turned slowly around thinking this was the first time she had really looked around her in several months.  She felt a surge of happiness that quickly … went away.

She had no right to be happy … her son had just died.  How could she forget that?   Her shoulders dropped … she couldn’t do this … she sat down, placed her head in her hands.

Tears began running down her wrists … teardrops wet, cold.  She had wanted to call someone to share her moment of happiness with.  There wasn’t anyone to call … she had tried to call her husband.  He didn’t answer … he was a thousand miles from home, on a big truck.

She couldn’t call her mother … her cousins she was close to … her aunts … grandmother … her brother.  Her mind went over the list of all the people she loved with her Heart.  They had all died in the past few years … the very ones she loved dearly.  There wasn’t anyone left in her family she even desired to be know, be close to.



This photo is the last photo taken of my son just a short time before he collapsed, died at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  May 29, 2010 … Saturday evening.  I miss you, Son.  My son, Tommy.  No one knew he was sick … 3 blockages to his heart.




She thought of her son.  Her shoulders shook as she cried silently.  She never cried aloud … her sobs were always hidden … they came from deep inside.  She cried now … her son was dead … so was all the rest of her family.  She had no one left … only her husband, her dogs.

Nineteen people … a major number of people in her life … had died, gone away … forever.  She took one last look around the big room … she thought how pretty it looked.

There were candles in the fireplace … they burned brightly through the glass doors.  She looked out the sliding doors … the trees were beautiful, green.  Some of the leaves had already turned red, yellow.  Fall time … her favorite time of the year.

Her husband called her often … he worried about her.  Sometimes, their cellphones couldn’t get through … they lost signal.  At this moment … she couldn’t reach him.

She stood up … looked toward the fireplace … she watched the flames burn … tried to draw in the happiness of watching them … failed.  She had no right to be happy … her son had just died … her mama was gone … her precious brother was gone, too.  Every person she thought of … gone.  All were gone away to never come back.

She walked to the fireplace, opened the doors … blew the big, fat burning candles out, closed the door.  She stood, looked through the glass on the doors … pure, black darkness … now.


Den Area … Kissy on the ottoman … he was born November 02, 2010 … my only child, my son Tommy … was born on November 20, 1968 … Tommy died May 29, 2010.




Pure, black darkness … for a moment her candle inside had burned to match the brightness of the candles in the fireplace … now, inside … matched the pure, black darkness inside the fireplace doors.

There wasn’t anyone to ever know she had become aware of the world once again … it was short-lived.  She never reached her husband for the short time she was aware she was in the world.

She lay on her side of the bed … blankets wrapped around her.  Her dogs laid around her … everyone was asleep.  She never heard the cellphone when it rang.  She was gone now … wouldn’t become aware of anything for months later.

She had done like the candles she had blown out … disappeared like the light did … became pure, black darkness.


Tommy’s Chest … this is all I have left of my son.  This chest is always sitting there quietly … waiting for me to come to open it … take all out to touch, look at … to … remember.  The times I’ve tried to open it … to take something out … I became physically sick.  I couldn’t go on … I closed Tommy’s Chest up … it’s still waiting for me to come open it.  When I do, I’ll keep my promise to let you know … maybe with photos … show you several things in it.  I’ve forgotten what’s inside.




Note by this Author:


True story, photos are written, owned by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.



I can look back and remember those few moments of feeling aware of the world around me … it was briefly lived.  There wasn’t anyone to talk to … no one to call … I was all alone in this big, old world.

I might have gotten better quicker if I had had a family support system.  I had no one.  Skip had to work, be gone long periods of time.  I had no one at all.

Before … I used to call my mother, brother … there was always someone to call to share news with … happy or sad.  At the time my son died … I had lost all of them … only briefly did I remember.

Afterwards … I didn’t remember anymore because during the next several years … I don’t remember thinking at all.  I know I did … but, it didn’t matter … my son had died.  My world had come to an end … The End.



Describing Shock of Learning Someone Had Died …



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



Disbelief … not sure I heard right.  I need something … to validate what I just heard.  Why?  Because … just because there might be that possibility … it isn’t true.  I just pray it isn’t true.

Someone has made a mistake.  I will try to find out in a discreet way … I don’t want to hurt anyone by asking outright.  If it’s true … oh my God … people are hurting … people are going through such undescribable grief, shock.  I … know how grief, shock feels.

No one needs a nosy-ass person asking questions … it would be like a firecracker going off inside a quiet library … a bull clomping through the house on a white carpet.  It would be just damn awful … and insensitive.

I’ll look online to see … I did … the strange thing is I found the name of someone who died unexpectedly … a year ago … with the same name.  I kept thinking … okay, it is a mistake … someone is talking about this person.

An hour or so later … I looked online once again … and there it is.  It isn’t a mistake.  My Heart instantly fills with sorrow … like when you fill your tank full of gas … overfill your glass … liquid spills over the sides.

I’m full of sorrow for someone who has passed away with so much in life going for them.  Both Skip and I held such high regard for this person … liked them a lot … a whole lot.

Skip admired this person … said this person’s life was everything a life’s plan should be … this person had accomplished everything.

This person did everything in life a man should do.  He excelled in all he did.

Academically … military … family … this person did it all.  He was someone in life … one couldn’t do any better.  Not only that … he was a witty, fun person to talk to.  Also … he ‘was the sharpest knife in the drawer’.

In fact, I will say that it’s rare I see Skip look up to, respect another man as much as he did this person.  That made me know … this person was special.  I liked, respected him very much … moreso … Skip thought ‘he was someone’ … that meant he … really was.

All evening I kept feeling grief for his family, friends.  When someone who is strong … so alive, vibrant in life … unexpectedly dies … there’s no way to describe in words what it does to the people left who loved them … whose world that person was such a huge part of.

I know … my only child unexpectedly died.  He was so strong, alive … so vibrant in life … and like one of the legs on a table … he was a huge part of mine, Skip’s world.  Not more than 3 weeks ago … I almost lost ‘another leg’ on the table … my world would have crashed.  Skip almost died in the hospital.

Skip said it made him question his own mortality … the person who died was so strong, healthy … had a good life.  It’s hard to believe he died.  Skip said here he was … going through medical, financial, mental stress … he made it through … when he had a stroke, his heart rate went so low.  He can’t believe it.  He thinks if anyone should have died … it would have been him.

Below are my thoughts I can’t say to this person … so, I write them.  Sometimes, I write to Tommy, my son … how do we know that our words we write … travel out through the universe … doesn’t also, travel to Heaven … to be read, heard?

So in case … I will write my words as well … as think them.  These are my words to this Special person.




To YOU …  May my words travel into the Universe, Heaven to you.

I can only think … I am so, so sorry you are gone.  We truly liked you very much.  I’m so glad we had time to carry on a conversation the last time we saw you.

You were so funny … and interesting to talk to.  Skip and I went away from you … glad to have talked to you … saying what a wonderful person you were.

In my mind … when I ‘look back’ … seeing us all talking … it’s like seeing a flash of sunshine … smiles, laughter.  All good things … we have a good memory of you.  I feel the world lost a good person … and Heaven gained someone who will help the sun shine brighter.

Skip was impressed, talking about how you did so much in your ‘young’ life … he wished he’d went on to do such.

We will never forget you … though it may seem we do.  We never forget people who made us feel good … happy to have met them.  YOU were one of these people.







Note by this Author:

I promised to share grief whenever I experienced it … this is grief for another person other than my Son.  This grief is for a person who made an impression on both mine, Skip’s life … a good impression.

He made us glad to know him … not everyone can say that.  Anytime … one can ‘look back in their mind’ when thinking of someone who has died … see, sense sunshine … that lets you know that person made a positive impact on your life.

My true words, thoughts … and photo are written, owned by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

I Haven’t Forgotten How It Feels To Be a Mother …



I Haven’t Forgotten How It Feels To Be a Mother

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



My Son, Tommy and I … I was so proud of him.  He was my only child whom I loved with my very Heart.  I’m fortunate to have my photos of him … and all the others.  They survived a house fire … in a big suitcase soaked with water from the firemen’s hoses.  I treasure them.  A lot of photos … I put in a rose box … gave them to my grandson’s mother for him one day … when Tommy died.  If something happened … I wanted him to have them.




Well … yesterday was a big surprise to me.  I got up not knowing that it was going to be a day of grief for me.  It was exactly what it was.  I began to grieve for my Son, Tommy.  It’ll soon be Christmas … he won’t be coming home.


I still haven’t forgotten how it feels to have … my son and his family … come home on holidays.  I haven’t forgotten the warm feeling of love … happiness whenever my son came home.  I can’t forget that just as one can’t forget how it feels to come in from the cold … stand in front of the fireplace.  Safe, cozy, warm … happy … everything is going to be all right.  My world changed when my son died.


I learned to accept that every holiday Tommy won’t be coming home ever again.  I accept I’m going to always see him in my memories … and I want to.  I can’t forget having my own child for forty years.  My only child.


Visions play in my mind like videos … I can see Tommy smiling as he opened presents from us.  I can feel his hug and hear his soft voice say, “I love you, Mama.”  Or when eating special holiday foods … ‘That’s good, Mama!”


Yesterday morning the pouring down rain triggered this bout of grief … and looking outside at the gloomy day.  Skip had just left for several days … so, it was just me and The Pups.  Grief settled on me like a soft blanket of darkness.  I just couldn’t shake it off.


I felt the same old sensation of trapped birds in a bird cage … wings beating against the bars … wanting desperately to get out, fly away.  This is something that has happened many times since Tommy died.


I become afraid … I have to be careful when thinking too much … death … my child … gone forever.  I begin to become panicky … I have to help myself be all right.  I do it by writing … I have no other outlet … I sure don’t discuss it with anyone by talking about it.  I can only write about it.


I couldn’t get away from myself.  So, all yesterday I coped with it by writing … and I even went to bed to sleep myself away from it.


When I feel grief … I feel like Death is close by.  Really, if one thinks about it … it is.  Why do you grieve?  In my case, I grieve over all my many, many loved ones who are gone (most, prematurely) … and my Son.  Death.  Grief … Death.


If you knew the circumstances of each death … and the people I loved with my very Heart … you would understand why I grieve.


Nothing is normal … everyday like probably in … your world.  I grieve because of … how … my loved ones died.  I don’t talk about them … that pain remains inside me.  It hurts more than my words can say.  My son’s death hurts much more than I can possibly say.


No matter how much I write the pain … it’s always there.  I can’t write it away.  It hurts but, I’m all right.  I just don’t run from thinking about it …


Do you think I sound morbid?  I promise you I’m not at all.  It’s just how I think about things.  I face things head-on.  I face reality … I don’t stick my head into the ground.


I should be a mean, cold, bitter, angry ‘old’ woman.  I am completely the opposite.  I am a most positive person … I still believe in good … I know no matter what … no matter how bad … things do get better.  They do get all right.


Grief is ugly … as ugly emotion as you’ll ever feel.  There’s nothing pretty about grief.  Your face reflects such pain … your eyes deepen with that pain.  Do you ever look into people’s eyes?  Do you see the difference in people who have been through a lot … almost dying, losing a loved one, suffered a trauma?


If you really take a moment to really see … you can tell the difference … people who go through bad things … recognize it in another when they meet them.  Their eyes tell it all.


In fact, if the shock, trauma has been recent … you’ll see deep emotion … their eyes will instantly tear up if talking about what happened in their life.  I recognize it all the time.  I know what it feels like to suffer many things the average person hasn’t.


I’ve walked many journeys in my life … no two alike.  Many … bad … things.  I’ve felt that emotion all the way to my very soul after I almost died several times in my life.


I’ve felt how thankful I was to still be living … after surviving cancer, congestive heart failure, and several other things.  I couldn’t talk about them … I would instantly choke up … tears filling my eyes.  Powerful emotion would fill my Heart.


I will say this … you have to help yourself when you come through bad things … you have to get your ass up off the ground, ‘dust them britches’ off … meet life head-on again.  There are no ‘ifs … ands’ … you either do it … or lay there.  Don’t you ever, ever give up.  Oh … this is so much easier than said.


I know things get really bad enough to want to die, sometimes … I know that very well.  As soon as you are aware of that … open your eyes full of tears, your Heart filled with such pain … fight like Hell … bring yourself out of it.  Sure, you’ll fall back into darkness … so many times I did, I couldn’t see my way out … don’t give up.


You just have to keep taking baby steps.  Who am I to preach … I failed miserably for the first 3 years and even into last year … and at times this year (the 5th year) when Tommy died.  The good thing is now … I can look back … oh my … I have come so far.  When I thought I had given up … something happened to bring me back.  Even I am amazed I have ‘come back’ from losing my only child.


You know I have kept my promise to write about grief when it happens just exactly as it happens … I think sometimes, my new readers don’t know that, become alarmed … and want me to be all right.  I would like to tell them that this is what I write about … grief, pain in my life.

It doesn’t mean I’m some poor soul lost out in the darkness floundering around.  I’m on stable ground … I have coped with my grief.  It’s at times, grief comes back … unexpectedly.  I write about that just as I promised.  I always will write about grief, pain.  It is what I know best in my life.  Grief never goes away.


If you notice … I’ve lost over twenty family members I loved with my very Heart … but, I write about my son, my only child all the time.  I haven’t even written at all about all the grief in my Heart … because my own flesh and blood … my own child … died.


Losing my only child … is worse than anything I know or have ever experienced.  The grief is so much … that was all I could think about when I lost him.


To my new friends, readers, followers … just know I am fine.  This is what I write about, share with everyone.  If grief, pain … death upsets you … you might not want to read what I write.  When I write … I face up to the same fears you may have … I meet them head-on.  You may not want to do that … I understand.  It’s scary … sometimes, too scary … uncomfortable.


I study them in my mind … find different ways to think about things.  I’m always looking for something to learn to understand ‘the whys?’ … in my Life.

I will write forever because I can’t write the grief away.  I can try, and I can share what I experience … what I try to learn through time.  Maybe it could help someone … maybe not.


Maybe my words can connect with others who might need them.  I’ll never know unless someone tells me.  At least … if you are interested in real life, real thoughts … feelings … you can be entertained.  I do share good, funny, happy things … also.  I try to find good in everything … even if it’s bad … and … impossible.


Yes, I’m afraid … I cry … I fall down … I get right back up no matter how bad it hurts, or how scared I am.  I will until the day I … die.  If you’ve read me long enough to know about my Grandma Alma … you will see I have my Grandma Alma’s fighting spirit.


I have a Gloria Fighting Spirit …  and though I do … I still haven’t forgotten how it feels to be a mother.




Note by this Author:


Story/Photos both owned, written by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.  All I have written are true thoughts, feelings that I think … have.

I Feel a Rainbow Coming On In My Heart …


I Feel a Rainbow Coming On In My Heart …

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



My son, Tommy … and I … he was 11 years old in this photo.  I was so proud of my son, and he was proud of his Mama.



Today has been a strange day … one of sorrow, grief appearing from nowhere.  That’s how grief does … it comes … out of the blue.  What triggered it?


Rainy days can trigger my grief.  I’ll speak for myself.  As it rains … my teardrops flow inside my Heart.  Standing, looking through the window at the rain … I forget which are teardrops … raindrops.


Looking at me … you wouldn’t see a thing.  I hide my grief … so you don’t have to see … I smile brighter if I see you looking.  All the while, the teardrops fall … in my Heart to my Soul.


Thankfully … the times this happens isn’t as often as before.  Before when my every waking minute was nothing but, pure grief.  Pure torture to wake up to remember my Son was gone … pure torture to have to live with myself.  Such knowledge was too big for me … yet, I had to find a way to live with it … if I wanted to live.


If you’ve never lost a child … you can’t possibly understand.  I know you try to … you try to offer advice, kind words.  Sometimes … no words are needed.


When I write my grief … I share it with all my followers just as I promised I would.  I tell you exactly how it feels … it’s not pleasant.  When talking about fear … fear and death … it’s scary … one becomes afraid.


When I write my grief … and you read it … you don’t have to say anything to me.  You don’t have to feel sorry for me.  You just read, go your way … I’m very strong now.  I’ve made it this far. Everything is going to be all right.


When grief appears in my everyday unexpectedly … my outlet is my writing.  I write my grief until it goes away.  I’m like a river … my words flow forever.  You have something to read … I get relief from something bigger than I … before it consumes me.  Like a dam … water has to be released so, it doesn’t burst.


My son, Tommy … and I (Gloria Faye Brown Bates)

Ever so often I let my new friends, followers, readers know why I write about grief.  They aren’t aware … that writing is my outlet.  They aren’t aware of my promise to all of my oldest, faithful followers that I keep a promise to always share, describe such grief when it happens.  I’ve done this for almost five years … I’ve kept my promise.  Grief, pain is what I know best in my life.  One writes about what they know best.


My readers/followers/friends can come read about pure grief, pain.  What they take away with them afterwards may help them with someone who is experiencing such.  They do get to see what it’s really like to be a grieving mother.  I don’t sugar-coat it.  If you feel my pain … you are feeling only a tiny fraction of real grief.  When you see a grieving mother in your own life … your Heart will have compassion.  Not pity … compassion.


I hope you never lose a child.  Parents should never lose their children.  They are supposed to die before them.  We bring our children into the world … we have hope, dreams of what they’ll become … dreams of grandchildren one day.  This is what we as humans do … when that chain is broken … the pain is unlike any you’ve ever felt.


My son, Tommy … his only son was born on March 16, 2007.  He was so happy … proud.



I’ve lost most all my family on both sides.  I know what it feels like to lose mother, brother, father, grandmothers, aunts … cousins.  I’ve been on this path in life for at least 15 years.  I can’t tell you how many times I have suffered shock, pain … pure grief.  I can tell you that no matter how many times it happens … it still hurts so bad.


When I lost my child … I almost lost my own life.  If I had died, I wouldn’t have known it.  I was too-far gone … I was lost.  I still can’t remember so much for the first 3 years after my son died … nor do I care to.  I can’t bear it.  If it hadn’t been for Skip and our Pups … my online friends, readers, followers … I couldn’t have found my way to … today.  I had no one else.  No one was … there.  They are all gone.



My Precious Son, Tommy.  See how his smile can compete with the sunshine?  As bright as can be!



Can you imagine losing a child at the age of 40?  Never knowing he had 3 blockages to his heart? Never knowing he was standing there so alive, so happy … looking forward to going to the beach to play with his little son … never knowing that would be the last time your eyes … saw your child.  The last time … your ears heard his soft voice, his laughter … say … “Mama”.  The last time you saw his twinkling eyes that smiled, competed with the sunshine.


The evening before he died … I did ‘many last things’ … never knowing it.  I made for my son his last sandwiches … the strange thing is I’ll never forget that moment when I gave them to him.  We were sitting outside at the picnic table … I had made him several sandwiches with cold cuts from Sam’s Club.


He looked up at me, smiling his beautiful son smile … he said, “Mama, these are the best sandwiches I have ever eaten!”  I remember noticing that a lot, and I said, “Son … you know they aren’t the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten.”  I was smiling at him.  He began nodding his head … “Yes, they are, Mama”.  I watched as he enjoyed those sandwiches.  My Heart felt such love for my child, my son … such warmth like being cold and standing close to a fireplace.


Tommy … getting ready to go into the Army.  He was so happy that day.  My Beloved Son.



Those were the … last … sandwiches I ever made for Tommy.  Boar’s Head cold-cuts from Sam’s Club.  I had my … last … hug from my son when he left.  I heard him say for the … last … time … “I love you, Mama.” So many … last times … in a short time … just before he left … leaving only what my eyes saw that evening … my precious son.


Grief has many layers … I’ve just went down to a deeper layer I usually don’t think about, much less speak about.  I want to tell you honestly what I think, feel while I am experiencing this bout of grief.  It really hurts … it makes me cry quietly … inside.


Normally … one thinks someone’s child is dead … that’s as far as their mind goes.  They don’t think about the mother … how she thinks about the … last things she saw, heard from her child.  Maybe you will if you have a grieving mother somewhere in your life.  Maybe my grief can be a ‘good’ thing in your life, to help somewhere along your life’s journey.


My handsome Son, Tommy.  From the time he was a little boy … older girls loved him.  He was just as nice as handsome.



After being sad all day … since the rain began this morning … I can see I’m like the weather … I’m clearing up … the sun is going to shine … no more clouds for a while.  I’m going to be all right.


Thank you for being here through time for me.  You all know who you are … I know who my followers are who have been here since Tommy died.  You mean the world to me even though we don’t talk often.  My new followers/readers/friends, you mean the world to me, also.  I need all of you … you are a huge part of my life.


Now, you can see that I’m not all of a sudden sinking into grief, going crazy, all sorts of things.  I smile here … this is where I let water out of the dam … so, it won’t burst wide open.  Writing about my grief is my outlet.  You get to see as you read … what it’s like.


My son, Tommy and his little son, Taban.  I loved them with my very Heart.  Date is wrong on this photo.



Oh … don’t even feel sorry for me.  I’m very strong from all the pain, grief in my life.  Like a redwood tree, I’ve weathered many storms … I’m still standing.  I can still cry easily, hurt easily … but, that’s because I have a big Heart.  I love, I care, I feel.  Grief is pure love … pure raw pain at the loss of someone close to your Heart.


For now, I’ve survived another storm … like a brief summer storm that clears the air … the sun is shining once again … I feel a rainbow coming on in my Heart.


My son, Tommy and his only daughter, McKenzie.  I loved them both with my Heart.

My son, Tommy and his son, Taban.  I miss you, Tommy … I miss my Grandchildren.

Last photo taken of Tommy on May 29, 2010 … he died shortly after this photo was taken. So strong, so alive … no one knew Tommy was sick … 3 blockages to his heart.  He collapsed on the beach where he was playing for the first, last time with his little 3 year old son.  He made it just in time to do what he wanted to do … then, the angels called him home.


Note by this Author:

This is a photo of me after Tommy died … you see the face of a grieving mother.  I was fighting to come back … at that time I couldn’t.  Grief would overtake me, pull me back down into darkness.

It seems this day has been one of great sadness for me.  The rain that began this morning … triggered grief in my Heart.  I began missing my son very much … I began ‘feeling the birds in the birdcage struggling to get out, wings beating wildly against the bars’.  (This is my description when I feel grief).


Tonight I can see the sunshine once again … I am all right.  I realize this will happen ever so often … it’s how I cope with grief that’s most important.  I prefer to cope in a positive way.

Photos/story are both owned by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.  In this photo, I had a brace on from accident on October 3, 2015 (broke my kneecap, spiral fracture in fibula on my left leg).


Writing Until the Grief Ebbs Away

Writing Until the Grief Ebbs Away

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





Eyes closed, all is quiet excepting for the sound

Of raindrops falling onto the metal box outside

I’m sad today … grief crept back into my world

Really … it was there all along

It sits, waits for days like this

Days without brightness … colors

Oh God … please let the sun shine

Shine on me … keep the darkness away

Let colors of the rainbow fill my world

Never no more black … gray

I’ve had a lifetime of grief … pain

I know how it feels to lose all my loved ones

They are gone I’m still here

To mourn their loss to the day I die

Death to death … no more pain

Death, grief … death takes it all away

Rain, rain go away … raindrops become my tears

Falling heavy upon the metal box outside my window

I am so sad … grief has sneaked into my day

I feel the birds in the cage begin to panic

Panic, beating their wings against the bars

Of the bird cage … please let me out

Death is close by in my thoughts

I’m afraid … I have lost my son, only child

I can’t bear this pain … I don’t want to think about it

Please grief let me go … I wish the sun would shine

Filling my world with a rainbow

With many colors to take away my pain

Sunlight to brighten every corner of my mind

Until no more shadows remain

I listen to the raindrops fall as I cry in my mind

Wind sweeps bare branches back and forth

Cold, wet … I want to get warm

Grief go back where you come from

I take several breaths … rest my head on my arm

I open my eyes to see … golden sunshine

Smiling, I sit up straight to look around me

I see colors in the bright light

I know that once again everything’s going to be alright

Grief has gone away until another rainy day

I sit here writing these words

Writing until the grief ebbs away




Note by this Author:

Today I am writing the grief away.  It has crept up on me through the shadows of the rainy day.  I’ll be alright as soon as the sun shines on me … making colors bright again.

I can say that this year I am more myself than I have been since my Son, Tommy … died.  I knew the holidays would probably bring on grief.  I also, knew this time I would be alright.  I am … you are just seeing me write until my grief ebbs away.

Poem/photos owned by me, Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.









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

(I dedicate this poem to a special person who was once in my Life … Earline Jackson Williams)



I’m not here … but, there

I’m not here … but, there

I just can’t tell you where

I’m inside myself

I have nobody left

To hold, love me

I’m just the shell you see

My life here on earth is done

All I can do is wait for Death to come

No, don’t try to bring me back

My Life’s spirit … I lack

My love has gone away

I have nothing more to do, say

You see my shell moving around

I live in my house without sound

The only life you see are my tears

That fall on on my face as Death nears

Let me go to him … let me die

I’m so lonely … I cry

I sit in my chair each day

I can’t focus on life … what did you say?

I hear you but, I don’t … why?

Because I’m already gone I sigh

I’m not here … but, there

I just can’t tell you where

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Note by this Author:

I woke up thinking about our elderly neighbors (couple) we lived beside once.  They loved Skip and I … we loved them.

In fact, I was the first person she called when he was dying.  I held his hand as he took his last breath, talking softly to him … telling him everything was going to be alright and that we loved him.

I’ll never forget watching her as I would check on her … I never saw anything like it.  She began to ‘be not here’ … she turned off all sound in her home … when I would knock on her door, I would see her sitting in her chair through the window … staring into space.

It broke my very Heart.  This woman who was full of energy, laughter … loved her flowers … always working in her yard or making something … quit living once her husband died.

She was here … but, she was … there.  I dedicate this poem to Earline Jackson Williams, whom we loved with our Hearts.  She and Bill were the best people in the world to us … we all were close.  We didn’t think ‘neighbors’ … we thought of best friends we trusted to look after each other.

They were close just as Skip and I are close.  When he died, she died inside.  All her beautiful Life sounds of laughter, talking left her body.  She became a shell of herself.

I tried to bring her back by encouraging her to turn the tv back on … get happy sounds to surround her.  To do the beautiful things she always made, always was working on.  She would smile her sad smile at me, nod … being polite.  Her family took her away to live with them.  I never saw her again.  She died not long after.

I loved you, Earline and Bill, with my very Heart.  You both were a big part of my world.

Photo/poem owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

I Won’t Cry Today …



I Won’t Cry Today

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



A grieving mother … I miss my Son with my very Heart. Gloria Faye Brown Bates



I’ve accepted Tommy is gone … he died on May 29, 2010.  I realize I can’t bring him back.  Time is the only thing that helps grief … wait!  Didn’t a woman tell me not even a week after Tommy died … that I should grieve only a couple of weeks and be alright?

No, I’m not going to cry today.  Everything is alright.  I’ve coped with my only child’s death.  I’ve lost my son … now, I pay attention to mothers who have sons … it’s so beautiful to me.  Do they realize that their sons could be here this very minute, be gone … in the next?  Do they realize that’s how quickly it can happen?

On Memorial Day weekend 5 years ago … all I had on my mind was saying a prayer and praying Tommy and his family would be safe driving to Myrtle Beach, SC.  All the traffic … was worrying me.  You know how everyone wants to get to the beach on that weekend … now, with all the ‘extra’ thousands of people who have moved here … the traffic is ungodly.

When Tommy called me to say, “Mama, we are 7 miles away from the hotel” … I took a deep breath of relief.  Thank you, God … for letting my son and his family get to the beach safely.  Only 7 miles to go.  I felt so happy!

I relaxed and went around doing whatever I was doing … happy inside.  My son and his family were safely at their destination.  They were going to enjoy being at the beach for a week.

Tommy had ended the phone call with the promise he’d call back soon to let me know when he and his 3 year old son, Taban went down to the beach to play!  Oh, how excited he was.

If you notice … I don’t write about the evening before … the last time I saw Tommy.  I think at this time I won’t because I don’t want to cry today.  I … could.

The next phone call came less than an hour … Tommy!  I answered it with a big smile.  I knew he was going to tell me that he and Taban were at the beach, playing.  I knew how excited he was to go to the beach and play for the first time with his own little son.

This is last photo taken of Tommy on that evening as they were driving to Myrtle Beach, SC on May 29, 2010.  My Precious Son, how I miss You with my very Heart.

I heard a strange voice saying, “ma’am, I’ve got a man collapsed on the beach … he’s not breathing.”  I heard him, I didn’t hear him … I knew it didn’t have anything to do with me.  I asked the stranger why did he have my son’s cellphone.  The man said again … “ma’am, I’ve got a man collapsed on the beach … he’s not breathing.”

Tommy made it to the beach just in time to play with his little son for the first time.  It was sadly … his last time.  He did leave a beautiful memory behind for a little boy to know his father died loving him, playing with him.

Tommy made it safely to his destination just in time to play with Taban … then, leave on another journey.  A journey he could never come back from.

My thought here is … Tommy died doing what I knew for a fact … doing exactly what he meant to do, wanted to do with his heart.  I remember his expression the evening before as he told me … twinkling eyes, sunshine smile, excitement!

No … I won’t cry today.  That’s because I’ve already cried.

Tommy’s Chest … I still can’t open it, take the contents out to look at them.  I’ve tried … as I handled them … I became physically sick, upset.  I’ve tried several times in the past 5 years.

Note by this Author:

Tommy was born November 20, 1969 … he died May 29, 2010.  He was my only child.  I lost the rest of my family when he died.  His death almost was … the end of me.

Thankfully, I had Skip and our two Pups … they are my whole world.  Thankfully … I had my writing and … you, my readers … this is what saved my life.

I’ll stop now … because I don’t want to cry today.  The tears are beneath the surface just as fish in the water.

I write in memory of my son, Tommy.  I make dragonflies of gold wire and colorful beads, leave them just anywhere for someone to find to bring a little happiness to their heart … and they help me remember Tommy.  Doesn’t matter if they ever knew him … or know me.

Photos/true story are owned, written by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee (Granny Gee is the name Tommy gave me for Taban to call me … I am Granny Gee in name only … my grandson doesn’t know me anymore … nor my granddaughter).

Memories Just Beneath the Surface … Like Fish in Water



Memories Just Beneath the Surface … Like Fish in Water

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



My Precious Son, Tommy …………….



I was thinking of you today

You are only a thought away

Like fish in water … your memory is beneath the surface

Just barely beneath the surface

Thoughts of you are there … like fish in water

Just a slight riffle in the water … I think of you, Son

Tears come to my eyes

Longing comes inside my Heart

I want to cry for the loss of you

No need for me to ask ‘why’

No need for me to cry

No need for me to be sad

That’s a lie … I do cry and I am sad

But … I’ve never asked ‘why’

I know there aren’t any answers to ‘why’ you are gone

Good things come from bad things

No matter how bad … all will be better again

No matter, I still cry because I loved you … I’m your Mother

You left on May 29, 2010 for a vacation only …

Unexpectedly … you left on another journey

There on the beach as you ran with your little son

You left with a smile on your face, laughter in your heart

As you collapsed to the soft sand

Angels guided you gently as you fell

Angels stood a distance away watching you play

A big guy playing with a little guy who looked like him

My son … my 3 year old grandson … running, playing

My beautiful Son and I …………………



Laughter, squealing … I love you, Daddy!

Daddy? Daddy?  Please get up, play with me!

Why are you laying down … get up Daddy!

My Son, Tommy and my Grandson, Taban ………



Daddy, won’t you play with me

The angels came over to see, protect the little boy

One picked up Tommy’s cellphone, pressed the redial key

The call traveled two hundred miles away

A smiling woman answered the phone knowing it was her son

Confusion to the strange voice speaking to her

She said, “why do you have my son’s cellphone?”

The man repeated his words

“Maam, I’ve got a man collapsed here on the sand, he’s not breathing”

Her smile faded away as darkness sucked her in

Help me!  Help me, please help me!”

Her husband came, took the phone out of her hand

The mother’s son had died there on the soft sand

As angels lifted his soul to Heaven to the song the sea gulls sang

Tommy, come home … Tommy, come home!

Time has gone by … this month is your birthday

November 20th, born in the year 1969

My only child whom I treasured with my very Heart

I find myself thinking of you … your memory is beneath the surface

Just as fish in water … your memory is only a second away

You were the only child I could have

Now, you are gone forever … I’ve accepted that

Done the things through time I needed to do to cope with your death

Doesn’t matter … your loss still hurts my Heart

My son, Tommy holding his little son……………….




You were a part of me … suppose I lost my hand, leg?

I can’t ever forget you were here, Son

No more than I could forget I had a hand … leg

Flesh and blood … a mother and child

A permanent bond throughout life

I’ll forever grieve over you in my own way

Now … I make dragonflies in memory of you

Gold wire, colorful beaded dragonflies

Leave them for people to find

Dragonflies I’ve made … and bracelets ………………




Hoping to bring a smile, joy to hearts

As they help me remember you, Son

Doesn’t matter if they knew you or me

They can sense the love a mother had for her son

Making their dragonfly a special treasure

With a story behind it … sad, but … beautiful

How can I say beautiful through all the pain

If we die, we would hope to go the way you did

Running, playing on the beach … happiness in your heart

Here one moment leaving a special memory for a little boy

Gone the next moment … never suffering

Going from this world to the ever after

No matter … it still makes me cry

I miss you, Son … your familiar face, smile, sound of your voice

I’m okay now, took so long … but, I’m fine

No matter … it still makes me cry

Memories of you are just beneath the surface

Like … fish in water

Fish … memories … jump out from time to time

Some I remember good … some get away before I do

Memories just beneath the surface … like fish in water

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



Note by this Author:

I will forever grieve over the loss of my only child.  When I see mothers with their sons I smile … knowing they know how precious their children are to them … never able to imagine not having them.  I hope they will have them forever.  Parents should never outlive their children … never know the awful pain of losing them.

I live with the pain every moment of my life.  I have coped with it … so, I can live with such knowledge inside me … knowledge I can’t get away from.  Knowledge that my child died … something I never knew I’d be able to live with.  Knowing such a thing was bigger than I am.  I have done that now … I can live with it.

You say why don’t I just forget about my son … it’s time to quit grieving.  I say to you … if you really feel that way … then, don’t be surprised if … it happens to you.  You never stop loving, missing the people you truly loved, treasured with your heart.

A mother is a special being … she is the vessel that carries a child until it is born into this world.  Like the golden egg … when it opens … the most precious treasure is inside.  A baby made of love, a very real part of the mother just as her hands, feet are.  If one gets gone, the pain is unbearable … she’ll forever grieve the loss.

This mother knows this pain … and has found a way to live with it.  I grew up knowing emotional, physical pain as a little girl all through life … I never knew I’d say I’m glad I did … it prepared me to cope with such pain in my life as every family member I truly loved … died.  I have survived many things that I won’t go into at the moment.  You can read back in my blog.

I’ve known pain my whole life … mentally, physically.  Know this … I am a very positive person who really knows that … no matter how bad … things do have a way of getting better.  I know this to be true.

I look for what I need to learn from life’s lessons in the things that happen in my life.  Doesn’t mean it’s easy … it isn’t.  I just know things happen for a reason … I try to learn the reasons why.  I don’t always find out ‘why’ … I just do the best I can so, I can live until I die.

I never knew I would be able to live … with the knowledge my child had died.  I never knew I’d be able to walk, move around with such knowledge trying to live my life … with the heaviest load I’ve ever carried in my life … grief over the loss of my child.  Thankfully, I have managed … somehow the ‘load’ strengthened me even more.  I can carry it now.  At one time … I never knew … I’d be here … today.

I grieve over Tommy … I grieve silently.  I don’t push my grief on anyone.  I write about grief, pain … that’s ‘why’ I write.  If you come here to read … that’s what you will read about.  You don’t have to feel sorry for me … I’ve never felt sorry for myself nor cried ‘woe is me’.

If you don’t like to read about pain and grief, life, my thoughts … how it really is or really feels … probably you want to visit other blogs that are more fun.  This is what you get here … when you read … real life, feelings.  Just know I’m not stuck in one place in my grief … it’s in a ‘good, healthy’ place now.  I grew from it all.

I face reality … reality can be harsh.  I face it … head-on.  Let it hurt like hell but, I am going to overcome … I mean to.  The death of my son … almost took me, also.  Now … I’m strong again.  I’m not bitter, angry … I love life.  I know there are many wonderful things in life … I can see the beauty of life.  Bad things that happened in my life … didn’t blind me.

I didn’t come this far in my life through all I have … to lay down and cry, whine, feel sorry for myself.  Sure, it hurts like Hell … Life has a way of doing that … I still manage to smile through my tears, and know … somehow everything gets alright again.  Sometimes … it seems impossible but, it does.  I’m always amazed.

I have forgiven all through time … I don’t forget a lot but, I do … forget a lot.  It’s no longer important in my life.  I just care so much about everything, everyone.

I think I have learned what’s important in Life … it makes me think that if everyone felt the same way … Life would be good for everyone.  Caring, loving, giving, helping others.  What do you think?

Sadly, I’m old enough now to realize something I never thought possible.  There are truly evil people in this world … I used to never believe that.  Now, I know better.  Sometimes, you have to stay away from them … that’s why the world has so much war, and terrible things.  You can’t make people like that care … they have no regard for human life.

Photos/ poem written, owned by me.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.