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.



I Need Words That Turn into Arrows to Point the Way in the Right Direction …




Email:  gloriapaintsat@yahoo.com





Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee




Life is too real … yes, it really is.  It’s full of challenges, twists … turns … obstacles in one’s path.


You take many journeys in life … events happen … unexpected events … life-changing events.  Each time something happens … you, your life … everything changes in some way.  Life isn’t ever the same again.


Sometimes, and best … are the little things that happen in Life.  You know … the things we can fix … do something about.  These are the events we’d rather have.


The events that happen … boom!  right out of the blue … these are the scary events.  These are the events that are life-altering … have to do with life-threatening illnesses, accidents.  A lot of times, we can recover from them with little change … a lot of times, completely life-changing.


The life-changing events can be so drastic as to make a person lose everything they have … quality of life goes all the way down … even to being homeless.


If you don’t go homeless … there are other scary things … being near homeless, hard to get medicines one needs … get nutritous foods to keep one’s health up … to stay warm, cool.  Buying gas to go to the doctor, supermarket.  Paying co-pays so, a doctor won’t quit seeing you (we had that happen … a cardiologist at that).  Scary.


Such things as I’ve mentioned … these are the things one has a time trying to recover from … sometimes, never recovering from them.  I can’t think of all to name here … but, I’m sure many of you who read here … know more things.


Other things to change one’s life are when you lose everything you’ve got … due to medicals bills, just trying to survive.  We did this when we both had cancer … I had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and my husband … Colon Cancer.  When we did begin recovering … we lost everything to a house-fire.  We were left at the mercy of the world.


Another time … my husband was in a tractor-trailer accident out in New Mexico.


Then … one by one … my family members began dying … the very people I loved with my Heart, my very favorite people whom I knew loved me.  This included my mother, brother, father, grandmother … a step-mother who might have in a way (didn’t matter, I really did love her), uncles, aunts, cousins … then, several of our friends.


One after one … they kept dying.  One cousin hit a log truck head-on during passing a car … she died instantly (she was trying to help us get on our feet after the house fire) … her brother, one of my cousins I loved dearly as a child … died with a gunshot to his head (supposedly suicide).


On and on … the deaths happened just like cards being dealt.  I have no one now left in my family that I can be close to.  They all live their lives, I live mine.  We go in peace.


These are just examples of life events, journeys in life.  All were awful … took so long to cope with … some I never got to cope with properly … because one after one kept happening … and then …


The worst of any of those things … was the evening a man, complete stranger rung our phone to say, “ma’am, I have a collapsed man here who isn’t breathing.”


My only child, my son … had gone on vacation with his family to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


Tommy (my son) … told me the evening before how he was looking forward to playing with his 3 year old son for the first time ever at the ocean.  His face was lit up like the sunshine … he was excited … I felt his excitement.  We were smiling happily while he told me.


The next evening, May 29, 2010 … Saturday evening … Tommy did get to play with Taban, my grandson … for a few minutes before he died there on the sand.  He’d been sending me photos, video to my computer.


A group of people watched this tall, blonde-headed guy run, play and laugh with a little blonde-headed boy who looked just like him.  Laughter, squeals of delight … as the waves came in to wash around their feet.


Tommy collapsed on the sand … thankfully, the people saw something was wrong, hurried over to protect my little grandson.  He was all alone … as his daddy’s soul drifted up to Heaven.  He could hear the sea gulls singing as he called his daddy.


I’ll stop here … this was the worst of worst to ever happen to me in my life.  I stopped living for 3 years … I was the walking dead … I had already died … inside.  Life stopped for me when I became aware of the meaning of the words the stranger was trying to tell me over the phone … the end, that was it.


I’ve never taken drugs … but, I do recall the last thing I said to my husband, Skip … before going into the darkness.  I told him to please take me to the hospital and let them drug me.


I couldn’t live with such knowledge inside me … I was trapped inside myself … my son was dead!  My son had died!  Oh my God, my son!  My son, Tommy!  I could not stay awake to know that … drug me until I’m not here anymore.


Unknowingly at that time … Skip told me later about standing at times to listen to me breathe … he was afraid I would die … I was taking the medicine because I couldn’t bear to face the daylight … I had to hide in darkness.


I vaguely remember Skip begging me not to take the medicine anymore … “please don’t take it, Baby Girl”.  I couldn’t … not take it.  God knows what would have happened if I had.


Anyway … you get the idea of what I mean about journeys, life-changing events.  I’ve lived real life … I’ve lived more life-changing events than anyone knows … some I’ll never reveal, they’ll go to the grave with me.


I made it … I’m still here … something inside me kept fighting to survive when I really died inside to I didn’t know I was still living.


I’m not the only one to suffer, go through pain and grief mostly in life.  Where you probably have had a normal, good life without such things happening in your life … maybe one or two things … mine has had more than I could count.


I’ve been reeling … constantly getting back to my feet where Life has slammed me into the ground all through my time here on earth.


I’m just realizing at this time in my life that I’ve become an OLD-ass woman … can you believe how time’s gone by?  During all the crisises in my life … I wasn’t ever aware of how I was growing older.  Isn’t that damn-amazing?


Now … I’m on another road in Life … on another journey.  I’m having to learn my way on how to navigate being OLD.  I’m on the OLD road in Life.  Especially now … I’ve got to learn in a hurry what to do.  I’m not OLD but … old.


Skip has had a stroke … I almost lost him a couple weeks ago … he had complete 3rd degree heart block (electrical activity in the heart where the upper chamber communicates with the lower chamber … his wasn’t doing that).


Skip just got a pacemaker to help his heart beat as it should … he isn’t well, is recovering now.  The stroke did something to his left eye, he is still having headaches.  He has diabetic neuropathy in his feet/diabetes.


I have my own medical conditions I have to cope with on a daily basis.  For now, I am having to be the strongest.  I take care of Skip, and our Pups.  No matter what I have to go through … I will focus on caring for them.  They are my whole world … they are all I have left in this world.


So, that means Skip can’t work … no income.  I have to find a way to get help.  Get help with rent … food … medical … gas to go back and forwards to the doctors.  I’ve applied for food, medical … I won’t know for a week or so, if I get it or not.  I pray that I do … for once we are really desperate … it’s a crisis.


When I asked for help with the rent … it was at closing time … the Spanish girl wanted to go home.  Everyone at the office there was excited at the pending snowstorm heading our way.  They were walking out the door to go home … only the Spanish girl had to stay … until the last person … being me, and my very sick husband.


She met us with a cold expression, took us down a long hall to her office.  She wasn’t interested in anything I said … I sensed she just wanted us to be gone.  She wanted to go home.  I asked her for resources for seniors … for help to pay rent … some direction to go to get help.


I’ll never forget the Spanish girl looking up at me, saying “go to a shelter, but … I don’t know where there’s one.”  I sat there stunned … my poor, sick husband sat there stunned.


She wanted us to go, leave so she could go home … we did, and she almost beat us getting to her car in the parking lot.  I was just opening the door to get in when she rushed past us … I told my husband to look.


This is another of those life-altering events that I have no manuel, no direction in which to turn.  I don’t know what to do … what do I do?


Where will I go first?  How do I keep from hurting when someone steps on my pride?  Makes me feel bad for asking for help when I’ve waited too long to.


What happened to the other seniors before me … who were disabled, desperate for help?  Were they sent away to a dark hole, box?  Where are they?  I asked the Spanish girl … “what happened to them?”  Who did they go to … to get help, direction?


I mean, it was this young, Spanish girl whom we were sent to … to get this type of help.  I told her we were sent from the front to her, and were given hope … she told me, “well, it’s this way … they don’t know how I operate back here … I don’t know how they operate up front.”


They might tell you … you can get help with your rent … but, they’re wrong.”


How can I argue that with her without looking bad?  Or appear to be making a scene?  When it was past time for her to go home?  I didn’t … we left, feeling hopeless.


The thought of going to shelters, being separated from each other … our two Pups that are our entire life being taken away from us … in our minds.


We were crushed.  She never smiled at us the first time … she never offered words of comfort … hope.  Cold … blank face … uncaring.


I haven’t gotten through this new journey I’m on … I’ve just stepped onto the road … I am seeing roads ahead … the signs are blank.  I don’t know which way to go.


I will have to make decisions blindly … unless someone can speak out, tell me.  I understand people in our situation might not want to talk … afraid it could affect them in their life … mess up the even keel they finally got on.


In the meantime … we have to live … but very soon, we’ve got to have financial help to buy gas to go find help, go to doctor appointments, eat … to stay in the home we live in (rental), to buy water to drink (we can’t drink water from the tap).


I’m not going to beg, whine, cry to get help … I’m not doing that now.  I don’t feel sorry for myself … I was knocked to the ground again by Life … I’ve dusted my pants off … I’m standing up … holding my ground here.  I just need solid advice … some sure-fire direction to go in … not what someone ‘thinks someone did’ … but, seriously … what did they do to find real help.  I’m living real Life … I need to know.  I know I’m not the only one who has had to do this.


My email address is:   gloriapaintsat@yahoo.com  … if you can offer solid advice (it has to be for North Carolina) … won’t you please email me, tell me?


We hope to stay here in the same rental house we moved to after my son’s death … it feels like home, safe … good neighbors who mean the world to us.


I’m not asking for anyone’s money, material things … just for words that will be my arrows to point the direction to get the help we need.


Just words that will be arrows to point in the direction of help.  You don’t have to give me your names … if you do, I promise to respect your privacy.  I’m on a new road … I just don’t want to get lost.




Note by this Author:


Photo/true story (January 2016) owned, written by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.


I have written our situation in hopes of someone knowing what to do … will contact me … tell me.  I’m not asking for anything else … just words that turn into arrows to point the way to help on this new road I’ve just gotten onto.  Thank you in advance.  Gloria/Granny Gee.


Email:  gloriapaintsat@yahoo.com    …..  (my private email address)


In Memory of My Son … Tommy

Remembering my son, Tommy.  He was my only child.  He died at the age of 40 on May 29, 2010 while running, playing on the beach with his 3 year old son.  No one knew he had 3 blockages to his heart.  He collapsed on the sand by the ocean, died.


Tommy made it just in time to play a short time with his little son.  He was looking forward to it. This November Tommy would have been 46 years old.


Tommy Mitchell Sidden

Born:  11-20-1969

Died:  5-29-2010


I’ve been writing since Tommy died … it is what saved me.  Thousands of words have been released through my fingers typing on my keyboard … like a river flowing over rocks.  I make dragonflies in memory of Tommy, also.


I love you, Son.  I will never forget you … many people help me remember you.  Rest in Peace, Son.

Note by this Author:  ALL Photos are owned by me.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@Gee Granny on Twitter.    #Remember Tommy (Gloria Faye Brown Bates/Granny Gee)

Happy Mother’s Day to me … I Was Tommy’s Mother

Happy Mother’s Day to me … I Was Tommy’s Mother

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

















Photos of my son, Tommy … owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.  If you see damage to any of them … most of them survived a house fire, and I’m fortunate to still have them.

Well, I am sitting here in front of my computer thinking about Tommy.  Today is Mother’s Day …

You all are aware Tommy died May 29, 2010, soon after Mother’s Day, and on Memorial Day weekend.

I was telling Skip last night that ‘now’ … I am just fine.  I’ve coped with Tommy’s death, accepted my son … my only child is gone.  I don’t cry anymore.  I am just fine.

The strange thing is … as I said that … a wave of emotion washed over me, making me … remember the panicky, painful grief.  As quickly as it came, it went.

It has happened twice … it only lasted several seconds.  It lasted just enough to disturb me.  I’m more fragile than I have been thinking.

I’ve been as strong as the biggest Redwood tree in the forest … oh, have I weathered awful storms in my life.  I’m still standing.  I’m strong enough to last ‘forever’.

Why does it disturb me?  Because so much of the time I can go about life, think about Tommy … be all right.  So, how can this be happening?  I don’t sit … walk … do things while my Heart weeps on the inside, now.  Isn’t that a good thing?

I’ve coped with it all … I know Tommy can’t come back.  I know Tommy has died, I know … I know … I know.

Tommy’s not coming back … I’m not going to see his sunshine smile … I’m not going to hear his unique, soft Tommy voice … see him walk, do things … ever again.

He isn’t going to get a kick out of giving me one of his tools again, or something to Skip … when he updated his own things.  He loved when making us smile.  We loved making him smile.  It’s all gone, now.

My son, Tommy … on March 16, 2007 when his only son was born.  His only son is my only grandson.  Tommy had one daughter who is my only granddaughter.  Though I can’t see them, I love them very much.

He’s not going to ‘forget’ anymore … how when Skip told him a joke … later in time, try to use it on Skip.  How funny that was when it happened.

Skip would pretend it was a big deal, and say, “Tommy, you are trying to use my own joke on me”!

Tommy’s eyes would get big … he would begin shaking … his eyes would fill with such happy laughter.  His face would redden … and he knew he was caught!  He’d try to get out of it … he and Skip would discuss it like it was really something … until they both were satisfied.

See … I miss all those times … special.  I miss having my child, my son.  I’ve cried many tears since May 29, 2010.

That doesn’t include the pain … the horrible knowledge of never seeing my child again.

The panic inside while trying to face it … like walking up to a lion in defiance … and it bite the hell out of you … over and over … until one day … you reach a point, you aren’t afraid anymore.

What’s shocking … is when out of the clear blue … you think you are so strong, you have dealt with everything … all of sudden you experience in seconds enough … to remember being so afraid, sick to your stomach … ‘birds trying to get out of a cage’ feeling.

You realize something … I realized, know even to this day something …

I made a statement to Skip during our conversation last night that I think ‘says it all’.  The more I think about … the more I ‘already knew’ … I’m right.  At least for myself.

I can’t speak for other grieving mothers … I haven’t ever discussed, or heard what they think, feel.  I’m sure not going to put my load of grief on someone who is on the road I am traveling in life … as a grieving mother.

My statement came out before I thought about what I was saying.  As soon as I said it, I ‘felt’ how true it was.

“I’ve coped with Tommy’s death.  I’ve put everything into place.  You know … I can live with it now.  I don’t cry anymore.”

As I said that to Skip … I felt an unexpected wave of grief briefly wash over me … create a flutter of panic, pain that if had lasted longer … would have brought me to my knees.

I realized something … this was the statement I made, knew it was so true:  “I just have to keep fooling myself”… to be able to live with knowing my child is gone.

My handsome son, Tommy …

I just have to keep fooling myself … I can’t afford to do any different.  I thought I had done a good job even to the point of being proud … I had done all this on my own.

I didn’t talk in depth to anyone … I didn’t cry in front of anyone … I didn’t share my grief with anyone in person.  I did keep a promise I made to you … my friends, followers, readers … I wrote my grief so you could see, feel without actually having to experience it in real life.

Why?  Because it makes a difference … you could become closer to your own child, children.  If something happened to one of them (I pray not) … you can at least have something inside to hold onto.

Hold onto the knowledge that you were close, you both loved each other.  I promise you this … if your child dies, and you have good memories … it means the very world.

I keep thinking, “Thank God, I always told Tommy I loved him”.  Thank God for all the things I held onto that were good … after his death.

Another thing … I’m sure many of you have seen grieving mothers.  You aren’t sure of what she is experiencing.  You aren’t sure what to say to her, how to approach her.  You don’t … want to say the wrong thing.

The worst thing you could tell ‘this grieving mother’ is … “oh, your son is in a better place”!  No hell, he isn’t.  He’s not in a better place … he was here in a good place.

So, don’t tell me that he’s in a better place.  I don’t have time to listen to that bull s___.  We all have our beliefs … so, you can comfort yourself with that if you believe it.

It’s not my cup of tea.  I don’t want to hear it.  I may not ever speak to you again … if you try to push that belief on me.

Realistically … how in the hell do you know that?  Then again … maybe that’s one of the ways you ‘fool yourself’ into thinking until one day … your own child dies.  What are you going to say, then?  See how strong you are then.  See what you’ll say … then.

You have to do what you have to do, to cope.  You have to go with your own beliefs.  I guess the best thing is not to tell a grieving mother that.

Coming through all I have, I think the safest words to tell a grieving mother are:  “I care, I’m so sorry”.  I warn you though … don’t say anything unless you are sincere.

A mother who is super-sensitive, emotional can pick up on things.  When she goes through the grieving process … I promise you, she will … remember you.  I promise you that I have several people I remember.

One day they might get to know … that I remember.  Things just ‘have a way of biting you in the ass’.  Life is like that … things come around … full circle.  It is what it is.

I have always tried to face things … head-on.  If it’s going to hurt, let it hurt its worst.

I will crawl, claw my way back … even if it knocks me to my ass again.  I will keep getting up … because either I’m going to win … or die.

Simple as that … win, or die.

That’s how I have dealt, coped with my child’s death.  One way or the other … I’m going to win … whatever happens.  I just so happened to have made it.

Like the Redwood tree, I’m still standing.  Full of pain, grief hidden deep in my soul … you don’t have to see it, know it’s there.

I spare anyone that … I’d rather make you smile, be happy.  Here, where I write my pain … you have the option of going your own way … you don’t have to read, feel my pain … unless you want to, care to.

My son, Tommy ….

I promise you … I will tell you ‘just like it is’.  I will say it in the words I want to say … feel it must be said … how I feel as I write them.  You might not like it … though I’m a most good person … I don’t always feel ‘good’ things.  I also, will say several choice words that aren’t pretty.

I’m not perfect, I have never claimed to be.  I live … real life.  And … damn it, it hurts … sometimes. It hurts sometimes, like hell.  Yes, it does.

Now … it’s time to fool myself again.  Now … this grieving mother has faced up, coped once again that her son’s not coming back … he died.  I won’t hear him speak today … on Mother’s Day.  I won’t hear his laughter, see his smile.  It’s all gone, whether I like it or not.

See … sometimes, when you try to do everything in a good, positive way … you can sound angry … when you really aren’t.  I may sound that way in some of my words, but truthfully … I’m not.

It’s my way, the only way I can face the awful things in my life.  I face up to things that I’m afraid of … as if I’m not afraid of them.  It’s my way … even if it means dying.  I’m not going to back down from real life … I have to live it.

It’s Mother’s Day once again … everything’s going to be all right.

I pray all of you mothers have the most wonderful day … I haven’t forgotten how much that means to a mother.  I got to be one for 43 years.

My son, Tommy …

I’m grateful to have known my son, Tommy.  I won’t ever forget him.  I make dragonflies in his memory.

This grieving mother makes beautiful dragonflies in memory of her son … woven, twisted, created into being.

Love is in every twist of the golden wire I use; love reflects from my Heart in the colors of the beads I add.

I leave them in public places hoping to bring at least a little joy in someone’s day … a smile to their face, and maybe the excitement of finding something that truly is a little treasure with meaning.

Happy Mother’s Day to me … I was Tommy’s mother.

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee


Note by author:


This is the 5th Mother’s Day since Tommy’s been gone.  I really miss my son with my very Heart.  I do have to keep … fooling myself.

I can either do that or … die.  I have no choice … I have my whole world to live for … Skip, and our 2 Pups, Kissy Fairchild and Precious Camie.  Not only that … I look forward to good things in my life.

I miss you, Son.  You meant the world to me.  I love you, Tommy.  Today … is the day children go home to mothers.

On this day, I have my memory of my last Mother’s Day, only a couple of weeks before you died.  It was special. I’m so thankful to have had you as my son.

All photos I ever use, are owned by me.  All I write, is true … owned by me.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee


I’m Proud Of You, Son …

I’m Proud Of You, Son …
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Watching tv tonight, I watched a young man sing on America’s Got Talent. When he found out he was among the chosen, he put his arm to his face. He pressed it there, to catch his tears.

His gesture touched something deep inside me. Not only that, his whole demeanor reminded me of my son …. Tommy. He was humble … it meant so much to him to be chosen to go on in the competition.

When he left the judges, he called his mother. He told her that he’d made it through. She said the words that I remember so well … words that I used to say to Tommy … many times.

Tears sprang to my eyes … I put my arm up to my own eyes when I heard his mother say … “I’m so proud of you, son”!

Photo credit: Photo is of my son, Tommy… owned by me. I’m fortunate to have my photos. They survived a house fire that destroyed all our belongings. My photos are damaged from smoke, water. I treasure them with my Heart.

I was reminded tonight of how I used to tell my own son, Tommy … many times … “I’m so proud of you, Son”.

Tommy died May 29, 2010 with 2 blockages to his heart. He collapsed at Myrtle Beach on the sand. He’d been running, playing with his 3 year old son.

Tommy made it ‘just in time’ … to play with Taban. I miss my son with my very Heart. I was … most proud of him.

My Bag Of Memories….

My Bag Of Memories…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



Tommy at one year old… this photo survived a house-fire.  I’m fortunate to have any photos… please forgive the damage to it.  My precious son…….



I look into my bag of memories I took with me

When I delved deep into my mind

Old memories, not new ones of today


I take the first memory out of my bag

Lay it on the table… it looks like a tablet

I press the button on the side to make it play


I see a young mother who has just given labor

To a little 8 lb. 4 1/2 oz baby boy

She cradled him in her arms, looked down at him


Looked down in amazement at what she’d brought into the world

She was  a mother now, she had a child

Her very own son she could call her own


Her body shook as she held her baby tight

She had a cold, and coughed a lot

She turned her head each time she coughed


The night before her baby boy was born, there was an earthquake

She was in such pain, she didn’t know the difference

Though she imagined her bed moved around


The earthquake announced the coming birth of her baby

There was a full moon that night, also

The next morning her child was born at 11:28


The young mother was myself, I had my only child

A little strawberry, blonde-headed boy

Named Tommy… he had beautiful blue eyes


pressed the button to turn this memory off

I put it back into the bag, chose another one

Pressed the button on the side to turn it on


A little blonde-headed boy was standing in the sunshine

With a baffled expression on his face, holding his hand on his head

What was that, I heard his sweet little boy voice say


I saw purple on his head… I began to laugh until I sat on the ground

A bird had flown over Tommy… it deposited something on his head

Oooooh!  Oh-oooo mama, get it off… get it off, he said


I pressed the button on the side to turn it off

Put the tablet back into the bag, chose another memory

Pressed the button to turn it on


A young girl sat in the middle of the floor

She couldn’t see for her tears, she was doing something with her hands

She was cutting photos up with a pair of scissors


I pressed the button on the side, I couldn’t bear to watch

This was a painful memory… I don’t want to remember

Let it go… let it go… I put it in the bag, chose another


A little blonde-headed boy stood smiling at me

I love you, mama… with my heart

I love you, son… with my heart I told him


Seems like the sun was shining all around him

His smile had a way of making it seem that way

I find myself smiling now… thinking of that


I press the button on the side to turn it off

I put the tablet memory into the bag

I don’t want to remember anymore right now


I close my eyes, imagine walking down the hall in my mind

The hall with rooms, closed doors to store my memories

I open one… put my bag of memories on the shelf for another day


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