My Son Died A Beautiful Death …


My Son Died A Beautiful Death …

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

Tommy, and his little son, Taban.  Taban was Tommy’s pride, joy.  Taban was 3 years old when his daddy died.  Tommy was 40 years old.  Soon … May 29th will be here, again … May 29, 2015 will make 5 years that Tommy has been gone.

I grieve in a different way now.  I don’t stay distraught, upset like at one time.  I grieve in a very quiet, deep way … the pain goes very deep … my tears aren’t seen anymore.  I grieve no less … just deeper, quieter.  Very deep yet, grief is near to the surface, it can become a … flash flood … in a split second.

The date is wrong on this photo … Taban wasn’t born until March 16, 2007.  Tommy was so proud of his little son.  Taban loved his daddy.

Sometimes, I sit … think of my son, Tommy.  I lost my son on May 29, 2010.  He was 40 years old. He unknowingly had 3 blockages to his heart.  He collapsed on the beachMyrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Tommy and his family had just arrived at their beachfront hotel that evening.  He and his little 3 year old son slipped off from the rest of the family to run down to the beach.

I can imagine the joy, excitement in their minds that evening.  They’d driven several hours to get to the beach, they had arrived safely.  Tommy had called me an hour or so, before to tell me they were only a few miles from the hotel.

It was Memorial Day holidays.  I had worried for their safety driving in the holiday traffic.  When Tommy called me, I was so relieved, happy … I took a deep sigh of relief.  They were safe!  Thank God.  I could quit worrying.

“I’ll call you back in a little while, Mom.  I love you”.  Those were the last words he said to me.  “I love you, son.  I’m so glad you all got there safely”.  Those were my last words to Tommy.

I went on about whatever it was I was doing that evening.  I stop to think … what was I doing?  I’ve never remembered since that evening.  I keep seeing me coming in, out of darkness in disbelief … and thinking, “I can’t bear this, no! no! no!”

I remember softly asking Skip to help me, the pain hurt too bad, please get me to the hospital.  For the first time in my life … I wanted, needed … drugs.  Once that happened … it was a long time before I came out of the darkness. Months, months turned into a year, two years … the 3rd year I began to wake up.

Tommy and Taban ran off to the beach while everyone put the luggage on the cart to roll into the elevator.  Tommy’s wife, his little son, and step-children, and mother-in-law had rooms reserved.

I will always wonder if Tommy had some kind of feeling to ‘hurry, hurry’ to get to the beach to play with Taban, his little son.  He was looking forward to doing that most of all.  Did he sense he had to do it while he could?  Did he sense he could die?

The reason I wonder is because he never took time to go up to the floor to their rooms.  I wonder because he made it just in time to run, play with Taban.

I wonder if somehow, he could have known how important it was to leave Taban that special memory?  Taban will grow up knowing his daddy was doing exactly what he wanted to do … when he collapsed, died on the sand by the ocean.

Tommy was wanting to play with his little son for the first time, at the beach.  I remember his face glowing when he was telling me the evening before.

I look back into the past, to see … feel … search in my mind to sense what was in my son’s mind.  Did he have a premonition?  I think how everything timed itself out … ‘perfectly’.  So strange …

The phone rung, the caller ID showed Tommy was calling!  I began to smile, knowing he was going to tell me about him, Taban playing at the beach.  My mind couldn’t comprehend what the strange voice was saying … I remember asking the man why did he have my son’s phone.

The stranger didn’t know he was calling two hundred miles away … calling Tommy’s mother.  He went on to say, “ma’am, I have a man here, he’s collapsed on the sand … he’s not breathing.

I died … that night … it took a long time to come back to … life.  How many times have I sat, thought about that evening?  Imagined Tommy, Taban running, laughing, playing by the ocean?  Running up to the waves, letting them lick their toes?

I didn’t know it then … but, how many times does a person die doing exactly what they wanted to do?  How many people die not suffering?  How many people … die a beautiful death?  I see it, now.

My son died a beautiful death.

Note by this Author:

That evening a group of people nearby were watching a tall, blonde-headed man run, play, laugh, squeal with a little blonde-headed boy who looked just like him.  It was a special sight ….

They were distracted for a moment, turned to look away.  When they looked back to the big guy, little guy … they saw that the big guy was laying on the sand, his little son calling to him.

A man picked up the big guy’s cellphone, called the last number dialed.  The big guy’s mother answered on the other end … her voice smiling, happy …

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

Crystal Fish In Teardrop Ocean…


Crystal Fish In Teardrop Ocean…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/Granny Gee

 

 

Photo of Tommy and Taban exactly one year before Tommy died… May 29, 2009 at a lake… On May 29, 2010… Tommy and Taban were at Myrtle Beach… where he died on the sand, by the ocean………………….

 

 

I can’t see where I hurt, I can’t see my pain

I can point to where it feels like it hurts

I can’t touch it with my hand, only feel with my heart

 

I can cry tears of grief… where do the tears come from

How do they know to fall when I cry?

How is it possible to have all the tears I have cried

 

Since the loss of my son… I’ve cried an ocean of tears

If I named my ocean of tears, what would I name it?

I would name it… Teardrop Ocean

 

What would be the directions to find it

You would follow the path of tears down my cheeks

Down to the floor of water… around my feet

 

I stand in the Teardrop Ocean, listening to the sea gulls

Like the sea gulls that Tommy heard as he died

I listen to the waves of my tears, just as he heard them

 

Just as he heard them as his soul soared into the air

I can see it in my mind as his spirit flew with the angels

Who gently laid him on the sand when he took his last breath

 

Today is Tommy’s son’s birthday… he is seven years old

He was three years old when his daddy died while playing with him

At the ocean for the first, last time… his daddy left him on the beach

 

Daddy, won’t you get up and play with me, he cried

His little hands pulling at his daddy to help him get up

Come on, daddy… come run, play, laugh with me

 

Today is Tommy’s son’s birthday… Tommy hurried to the hospital

The day he was born… driving his tractor into the hospital parking lot

He was very tired from lack of sleep, but… he made it just in time

 

One can see the pride and love in Tommy’s eyes in the photos

That survived the house fire that claimed all our belongings

Thankfully, most of the photos are now… my memories

 

Some are charred, blackened, water-damaged by the fire, hoses

That’s okay… all I have of my son, grandchildren now

Are these photos that came through the flames of the fire

 

Sometimes, when I write … you can know where I am

You can picture the waves of teardrops washing up around my feet

As I stand here, listening to the sea gulls… at Teardrop Ocean

 

I see crystal fish jumping from the waves

Diving deep into the sea… crystal fish of memories

Crystal fish in … Teardrop Ocean

 

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Anyone Watching…


Anyone Watching…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Gloria Faye Brown Bates and her Son, Tommy…

(I’m fortunate to have this photo… it survived a housefire)

 

I become aware of myself from time to time

As I go about doing my daily things

The other times, I’m in a trance

I don’t think about things at all

When I become aware of my thoughts

I catch myself standing… my eyes half-closed

My head tilted to the side, my ears

Trying to hear sounds from the past

Anyone watching would see a woman

In deep, deep thought

What she’s seeing, no one else can see

She’s in her own mind… she’s in the past

A little smile plays on her full lips

Her eyes soften… diamond teardrops fill them

In her mind, she sees a tall, gentle giant

Who is smiling back at her

He walks toward her, holds out his arms

I love you, Mama… I miss you, too

She closes her eyes as the ghost of her son

Hugs her tightly, she hugs the… air back

Anyone watching would see a woman

With arms reaching out as if to hold someone

Tears streaming down her cheeks

She seemed to be hugging someone, but… it was… herself

Anyone watching would see her lips move

Hear her say… I love you, too… Son

I miss you with my very Heart

Please don’t go, stay here for a while

I have so much to tell you, I have a lot to say

You have to go… you can’t stay but, a moment?

Please come back as soon as you can

I’ll always watch out for you, I love you, Son!

Anyone watching would see a woman standing

Standing, watching something they can’t see

Hear her speak, listen to someone they can’t hear

See a woman crying her Heart out, sobbing… please don’t go!

I go about my daily things, my eyes burn

I think about my precious Son…

I’m … inside myself … looking inward

I’m trying to enter the past

Try as hard as I can… I can’t find the way

I mentally feel with my hands, trying to part the way

I look past things that try to attract my attention

I don’t want to think about this… that… I want to enter the past

I want to go see my Son… back when he walked, talked

I want to hear the sound of his voice, his laughter

Hear some of his funny jokes

Reach out to hug him tightly… kiss him on the cheek

Anyone watching would see a woman standing there

Many expressions pass on her face

While she stood there, unaware

Of herself…. as she came back … to herself

I felt a bittersweet smile on my lips

My cheeks felt wet as I reached up to touch them

I became aware that I was crying silently

Anyone watching would hear me say… I miss you, Son

Anyone watching would see a sad woman’s face

Quickly turn into a bright smile when she saw them

Anyone watching would hear her say… I was sad for a moment

But now… everything’s going to be alright


Anyone Watching…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

Gloria Faye Brown Bates and her Son, Tommy…

(I’m fortunate to have this photo… it survived a housefire)

 

 

I become aware of myself from time to time

As I go about doing my daily things

The other times, I’m in a trance

I don’t think about things at all

 

When I become aware of my thoughts

I catch myself standing… my eyes half-closed

My head tilted to the side, my ears

Trying to hear sounds from the past

 

Anyone watching would see a woman

In deep, deep thought

What she’s seeing, no one else can see

She’s in her own mind… she’s in the past

 

A little smile plays on her full lips

Her eyes soften… diamond teardrops fill them

In her mind, she sees a tall, gentle giant

Who is smiling back at her

 

He walks toward her, holds out his arms

I love you, Mama… I miss you, too

She closes her eyes as the ghost of her son

Hugs her tightly, she hugs the… air back

 

Anyone watching would see a woman

With arms reaching out as if to hold someone

Tears streaming down her cheeks

She seemed to be hugging someone, but… it was… herself

 

Anyone watching would see her lips move

Hear her say… I love you, too… Son

I miss you with my very Heart

Please don’t go, stay here for a while

 

I have so much to tell you, I have a lot to say

You have to go… you can’t stay but, a moment?

Please come back as soon as you can

I’ll always watch out for you, I love you, Son!

 

Anyone watching would see a woman standing

Standing, watching something they can’t see

Hear her speak, listen to someone they can’t hear

See a woman crying her Heart out, sobbing… please don’t go!

 

I go about my daily things, my eyes burn

I think about my precious Son…

I’m … inside myself … looking inward

I’m trying to enter the past

 

Try as hard as I can… I can’t find the way

I mentally feel with my hands, trying to part the way

I look past things that try to attract my attention

I don’t want to think about this… that… I want to enter the past

 

I want to go see my Son… back when he walked, talked

I want to hear the sound of his voice, his laughter

Hear some of his funny jokes

Reach out to hug him tightly… kiss him on the cheek

 

Anyone watching would see a woman standing there

Many expressions pass on her face

While she stood there, unaware

Of herself…. as she came back … to herself

 

I felt a bittersweet smile on my lips

My cheeks felt wet as I reached up to touch them

I became aware that I was crying silently

Anyone watching would hear me say… I miss you, Son

 

Anyone watching would see a sad woman’s face

Quickly turn into a bright smile when she saw them

Anyone watching would hear her say… I was sad for a moment

But now… everything’s going to be alright

 

 

 

 

When The Sun Went Away… I Began To Cry


When The Sun Went Away… I Began To Cry
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/Granny Gee

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Artwork by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

You smiled at me… no, it was a grin

A mischievous grin… I waited for your joke

When I saw that gleam in your eyes

I knew to watch out

You were going to play a prank on ‘Ole Mom’

You both laughed, talked, joked
I waited… I knew it was coming
You couldn’t fool me… you were going to get me
Get me, you did… when I least expected it
You both laughed, and laughed

I began laughing, too
Because I’d just been pranked by my son
Whom I loved with my very heart
He did his cowardly lion laugh
That put me in hysterics, on the floor

It tickled me so good
Because he did it better than the cowardly lion
He did it with a deep tone in his voice
It began slow… picked up speed
It kept on, I laughed until I was weak

Your smile was bright as the sun
When we last sat at the picnic table
I really noticed it… it stood out to me
You said those were the best sandwiches you ever ate
I really looked at you… you said that’s right, they were

I looked into your handsome face
Lit up by a sunshine smile
How I loved you with my very heart
I’ll never forget you live
That God gave me you, my son

That was the last time I saw you
You smiled, tooted the horn
Rode down the driveway in your big, white truck
Waving at your Ole Mom
Waving at her for the last time… goodbye

I sit here, I think I’m going to cry
No, I think I’ll scream to heaven
God, why did you take my son
Why did you take him away from me
Don’t you know how much he meant to me?

The anger I feel in my heart
The more my mind screams
Screams the pain his death has caused
People walk by me, smile
I stand there angry, grieving, mad at the world

No one knows the difference
They can’t see how my heart hurts, grieves
Damn you, God
Please forgive me, I know I said that
I’m hurting now, I know I struck out

Struck out at you, God, blamed you for my pain
I think we all do that from time to time
Who am I to say who is to blame
I’ll just think how grateful I am to have known my son
He was my son, my child… my only one

I really have no choice as I stand in front of you
Smiling my quiet, sweet smile
While my heart is breaking, my mind screaming
You only see a sweet, little old woman
Looking back at you

Who listens to your problems
Feels your pain, gives her time to listen to you
You’ll never know what she feels
She’ll never share it with you in words
But… she will come here… to write her pain

Soon… the holidays will come again
For the fourth time… without you, Son
What am I going to do… it hurts so bad
What am I going to do… the pain has broken free
From all I protected me from…. I feel it now with my heart

It began several days ago, I should have known
When I felt the darkness slinking around
Trying to drown the sunshine out, make me feel inside
Panic… like birds fluttering their wings against the bars
To get out of the cage they find themselves trapped in

How can I push this wave of pain back
This time, it’s really bad… what am I going to do?
I can’t just go talk to anyone… I can’t talk about my pain
I can only write the grief, as my fingers feel it flow
Through each fingertip… when I tap each key

I’ve had many distractions, Skip’s been sick
I rescued a little puppy… both are better now
Thank-you, God… you answered my prayers
Please help me once again… my heart is heavy
I feel afraid… I feel death is near… please make it go away

I don’t want to lose anymore people I love
Should I just hate everyone …so, I can’t feel
Hate until my soul turns black?
I can’t do that … I hate dark colors in my world
I’ll love until my soul is only happy colors

I’ll love the people in my heart
But, I’ll never get close to them
So, I can’t feel the pain
Of losing them… should something happen
Understand… I love you … at a distance

It’s the only way I know
For years I talked about ‘Family’
I see I’m just the same
I stay quiet with my pain, tell no one
So, they wonder why Gloria’s like that

At this day, time… I’m thinking they are like me
In the respect, that one can’t depend on their love forever
It’s love one day… hate the next… never consistent
It’s better to grow old alone than to feel anymore
So, understand why I’m this way

Losing Tommy has done something to me
Yes, you thought right… it did do that
Not make me crazy, lose my mind
But… make me more hesitant to get too close to anyone
I love you all more than you know… this is just… the way I am

Can’t you just love me back… understand
That I have to be to myself as I love you in return
Please accept me the way that I am
To love someone is to accept them as they are
Even if I don’t say it… I love all of you

I’m the most imperfect person in the world
Even if you think you are… I don’t think that way
I don’t judge people by their covers, what they have
I do go by the way they treat others… me
I can love you no matter who you are… who am I not to?

I’ll leave you with these words before I go
That comes from the pain I feel in my heart
Love your children, always let them know
How much they mean to you, no matter if they squirm
Secretly… they smile because it means the world to them

I thought as I wrote this pain that it would go away
No, it didn’t… what will I do this time to help myself
Get past this ‘bad day’ I’m having, what will I do?
When I feel as if I’ll fall to the ground, scream in anger
Where is my son? Scream to the heavens my very pain

All left for me to do… is to go to sleep
To close my mind, not feel the pain
Hope to wake up with a smile on my face
Let my spirit soar high above me
Thank-God for another day

Lately, I tried to ignore the feelings inside me
I knew it was going to happen, I tried to pretend
That everything’s alright… really it wasn’t
I think it’s okay ever so often… if I have a ‘bad’ day
Still… everything’s going to be all right… it always is

I have to get past feeling like the little birds
Trapped in a cage, panicky because they can’t get out
Fluttering, beating my wings against the bars
Something will open the door… let me fly free
Of my grief, my pain that… trapped me

I think this happened because the sun went away
It won’t come back out on this cloudy day
When it went away, it took my happiness with it
That won’t come back until the sun shines
When the sun went away… I began to cry