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

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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

 

Photos From the Past … Just in Time for Mother’s Day


Photos From the Past … Just in Time for Mother’s Day

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

The two special photos that came in the mail … just in time for Mother’s Day.  Photos of my mother that I never knew existed.  Thank-you, Linda Lou.

I received something very special in the mail.  I opened the pretty, soft sage green envelope … took a folded, matching piece of stationery out, opened it up.

Inside were 2 photos of my mother as a young woman.  I had never seen these photos before.  I was thrilled to get photos of my mother I never knew existed.

Thank you to my cousin in Oregon for sending them to me.  You gave me a priceless gift.

I’ve sat here looking at the two photos … my mother as a young woman was full of personality, and sass.  I loved her very much.

In these photos, I think she was around twenty-four years old.  Do you know what strikes me as special, strange when I look at the young photos of her?

The last time I saw my mother was in the funeral home … she lay on the stretcher (I tried not to notice she was being embalmed) … her hair had been freshly washed.

Her hair was so soft … I touched my mother’s hair with my hand.  I placed the palm of my hand gently on her cheek, tears flowed down on my arms.  I kissed my mother goodbye.

What struck me as special, strange … was my mother had no stress on her face … she looked very young … just like her photos.  Her hair, her face … she was beautiful as she lay there.

Tommy, and I went to view her before she was cremated.  (The funeral home guy mislead my step-father about embalming … that was another $800-900 added to the cost of her funeral arrangements.  (Remember when cremating, normally … embalming isn’t required).

Photos from the past … of my mother.  I never knew they existed.  Thank you very much, Linda Lou.  They mean the world to me … I will treasure them.

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

 

Happy Mother’s Day To You …


By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

(Photos are of me, my son Tommy … poem written by me.  Owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee)

I know that lady

She used to be Tommy’s mother

He’s gone now, gone five years

I think he died from a heart attack

I’m not sure.  I heard his mother took it bad

Tommy loved his mother, she loved him

She might not ever be right again

It may do something to her mind

You know that was her only child

Poor thing, she doesn’t have more children

That’s what she gets for having one child

Now, she doesn’t have any … she’s motherless

Wonder what you call a woman

Who used to be a mother, no longer has children

She has nothing to show she’s a mother … anymore

No one to call her mother

No one to say, “I love you, mama”

She can never be a mother in this life

So, what’s she called, now?

A used-to-be mother, motherless woman

You are no mother, now … Mother’s Day isn’t for you

What does Tommy’s mother do

Each year Mother’s Day comes?

Since she’s no longer a mother, she can’t celebrate

Tommy’s mother doesn’t celebrate Mother’s Day, now

She does give thanks that a little baby came into her life

Tommy gave her 43 years to be a mother

No longer will she be sad when Mother’s Day comes

She will be wishing every other mother … Happy Mother’s Day

She will be imagining their happiness when their children come home

Tommy’s mother will be happy for other mothers

Not only that, she will be praying that other mothers’ children

Always be safe, live all the mother’s life

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers

From someone who can’t celebrate Mother’s Day

Know she’s thinking of you, wishing you well

Happy Mother’s Day to you!

 

I Came From Such Ugliness… I Could Have Looked Like A Monster If I Had Become What I Lived As A Little Girl…


Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster…

I Could Have Become A Monster From The Ugliness I Lived In As A Child… A Monster… Monster

Gloria Faye Brown Bates… yes, I loved ‘me’… I loved being me.  I loved being pretty… and being a good person at the same time.  I was fortunate… I looked like anything at all… I could not have been a ‘Gloria’ at all.

 

Now… I am ‘this me’… below.  No longer so young, beautiful… full of life, as healthy.  I live with pain every day of my life.  That’s okay… my pain threshold has grown more, since Tommy died.  Both physically, mentally.  There’s not a day pain doesn’t reside in my body.  It’s a part of my life; it will be always.

 

I ‘didn’t go crazy’ like I heard some people say.  ‘Something didn’t  happen to my mind’ like some of you thought; said without any empathy that my child had died.  If it was your child… I just laughed to myself… something would happen to you… because to you… your child is more important.  ‘You would go crazy’.  I feel I am stronger… so, no matter who you are… I don’t wish that for you.  You just don’t know… so, how could you know better?

 

 

 

 

 

This me… who has permanent sadness, grief etched in her eyes that began when she became a grieving mother.  No matter how much I smile, laugh… I can run, look in the mirror… it’s always there.  Tommy, I love you.  I miss you.  My only child… is gone.  My eyes are… bittersweet… good and bad, happy and sad… all mixed together; pain and grief… all with a bittersweet smile.

 

Yes, grief and sadness have found a permanent home in my eyes.  That’s okay… when someone looks into my eyes… and remembers they never knew that expression ‘before’… they will know they are witnessing love for a child who is now gone.  They will remember Tommy.  My eyes will never forget Tommy… the day when my eyes are closed in death… grief will already be in them… for the sadness of it all.  For the sadness that Tommy died, the sadness that any of us die after making it through the obstacles of life, after the knowledge learned from life’s lessons.  It ‘seems’ like our lives are… wasted, in that respect.

 

If you think I look ‘ugly’ now… I don’t care… I’m thankful to ‘look like anything at all now’.  I’ve found my love for living again… I don’t focus on what you think.  I don’t have time… life isn’t about that.  I’m not a little girl any longer… I don’t have to put up with negativity… I have the choice to turn my back on you.  You got your pleasure from seeing me ‘down’… I don’t have to put up with you… now.  I’m old enough, now.

 

Those people… so, so many more than I could possibly count (this one blog in no way reflects all the people who have become special to me…. all these, and more), who care, have shown concern, gave encouragement… now, you are the people I’ve grown to love.  I love people I don’t know the names of, people I have never met… yet, you all have touched a place in my heart.  You are the people who matter.

 

When I looked so bad… you still liked, cared about me.  People who knew me before Tommy died… saw me afterwards, quit liking me because I looked bad… I was no longer anyone.  Guess what?  They were right.

 

I really was the ‘walking dead’.  So, I understand… I understand… I might would have walked past you, too… snubbed you, whispered behind my hand with a gossipy gleam in my eye, too… never simply walking up to you, say I sense something bad has happened, I’m so sorry.  I care.  I might would have been this kind of friend to you, too.  Or, I may have been glad your child died… so, you had nothing, anymore.  If you did this to me… you did… I can do it to you.  I might would have… In truth, I’m not like that, never want to be… I care too much.  But… I know who was like this to me… in my grief, I saw, heard you.  Just saying…

 

Things have a way of coming back full circle… it might be your ass ‘it bites’…  I’ll be watching… but, not with happiness because it did.  I have a big heart… a forgiving heart.  I just… remember.

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I Came From Such Ugliness… I Could Have Looked Like A Monster If I Had Become What I Lived As A Little Girl…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

 

This morning I looked for a scar, but… couldn’t see it.  I’m going to look closer; I know it’s there.  As I think about what caused it… I could feel the sensation in that spot.  Strange, I can’t see anything… I thought surely I would see the scar there.  It’s there… I just didn’t want to really see it.  I don’t sit, dwell on the things I talk to you about.  So, don’t think when I quit writing… I’m going to go back to thinking about them, stay depressed.  I’m okay.  I write about these things… it’s okay.

 

Don’t feel sorry for me, sad for me.  I’m here… I made it here.  :))) Everything is going to be alright.  I’m not looking for pity, sympathy… so, don’t feel that for me.  Life prepared me to be ‘this strong’…

 

I write; I’m a writer, this is what I write about… I have to pull these things out from the past, examine them, gently open them up… to take the story out.  Sort of the way you do an oyster… to retrieve the special pearl inside.

 

I don’t mind you feeling sadness, anger, happiness… I do that when reading things others write.  We all have to feel things… if we are to read them.  We have to feel, see them in our minds.  It’s how we understand things; it’s how we entertain ourselves when we read.

 

Suppose I wrote about wonderful, beautiful things all the time… all a bunch of soft, white, pure, wonderful fluffy… lies.  You’d become sick of reading ‘me’… you wouldn’t be interested in reading ‘me’.  It would be the same way with acting… someone would be thinking, ‘hey, you have to put real feeling there’ if you want someone to pay attention.

 

I’m the same way… give me real feelings any day!  The ones who don’t want to know ‘real life’… please go back to your soft, wonderful, safe life where everything comes to you on a silver platter… if anything painful comes toward you, you have someone to catch it just as a ball player catches a ball in his ball glove.. before it strikes you.  I’ve never known such… my life has always been full of struggles… even when… I had everything.

 

Sometimes, Skip will say to me… if you say a ‘dirty’ word… you’ll take away from being ‘Granny Gee’.  No, I won’t.  I’m real… and I’m ‘me’ before anything else.  Granny Gee is the special name Tommy gave to me before he died… I don’t claim to be a ‘perfect Granny Gee’.  I don’t pretend to be other than I am.

 

Just remember ‘I’m not a perfect Granny Gee’… I am Granny Gee, because Tommy called me that for my grandson.  It’s a special, magical name when one person ever says it… that’s my grandson, Taban.  Only when he says it… does it begin to have meaning; I feel Tommy. When I hear it… I can hear the most special little boy… saying it.  That’s ‘what the name Granny Gee’ is all about.  I don’t hide behind it, pretending.  When I ‘tell you like it is’… it’s me… Gloria ‘Faye’ Brown Bates.

 

I don’t use excessive ‘bad’ words… that’s not me.  There will be several words from time to time… because I thought them.  I still think ‘bad words’, sometimes.  ‘Back then’… oh my, the whole world was full of ugly words.  I’m lucky I don’t cuss every breath I take… I don’t.  But… I will use several dirty words from time to time.  Life isn’t all perfect… it might be for you… it honestly isn’t for me.  I don’t complain. If it bothers you… I know you’ll go on from here… to your wonderful world.  I wish it to be only more wonderful for you.

 

Lately, as memories surface in my mind… my body ‘feels pain’ from the past where it was abused when being a little child.  Thankfully, as I became older… I could ‘bluff my way’… scare anyone who thought they could walk over me.  I would somehow, project the illusion that I could be a force to reckon with… in my mind I became ‘the force’.  It worked almost every time…

 

‘If’ I had to back up my position… I stood my ground.  I didn’t look for situations… I only wanted peace in my life.  I could have held my ground… but, not against a strong man.  But… when it came to a… woman, it was different.  I began smiling, speaking softly… and if I raised my eyes to look directly into theirs…

 

Peace and quiet was all I wanted in life when I began to have a choice.  Sadly, I married too young; in a marriage with a young man who didn’t know how to settle down.  He was always gone… always with other women.  My heart never knew peace; I cried a lot… I went so far as to end my life.  I was too young, too naive.

 

I had gone from all the screaming, gnashing of teeth, hatred,noise in my life… to what I wanted… ‘peace and quiet’… only I had all the quiet I wanted… but, no peace.  Sometimes, I wanted to go back to Hell… where it was noisy, hell-raising.

 

I had lived in town all my life… now, I was fourteen miles from any town… living in the country in a nice home… but, I was alone all the time.  A teenage girl left alone for the first time in her life.  In an isolated place… in the countryside… away from the night lights, sounds she knew.  Away from people…

 

I cried in silence, all alone.  No one really knew… no one came around… excepting the friends of the young man I had eloped, married.  They knew when he was away… they knew, because they went with the same women.  They all did the same things.  They were all… friends.  Young men do those things whether a young wife likes it, or not.  It’s a part of life… my life.

 

When the husband is away… their best friends want to come play… usually, young wives played.  Why I had to be different, I don’t know… I kept hearing that little girl from the past calling me a ‘whore’… I wasn’t a whore.  I … should have been.  I ‘missed out on everything’, not only that… being good brought me much… loneliness.  I can’t say that I didn’t… daydream… I would be lying.  I just had this ‘damn’ sense of right, and wrong.

 

The older I got, the more thankful I was I stayed ‘true’… it felt good to have a good conscious; it felt good to know I didn’t have to hide something… like that… should I say ‘so much like that… that tried to come my way’?  I never told anyone… I never told my young husband that his friends wanted to keep me company, keep me from being lonely, play with me… while he was off playing.  Why would I?  I never told anything…

 

They came on pretense of looking for him.  I became afraid… I never told anyone.  I was a big-little girl now… I was used to keeping my fears to myself.  I had to watch out for myself…

 

 

 

Not only that… if I did tell someone… I ‘knew’ something bad would happen.  There would be flesh pounding flesh, cussing, blood… my stomach would shake thinking about it.  I couldn’t cause trouble like that.

 

The little girl inside me, knew that much.  I had become a holder of many secrets… I never thought about telling anyone… anything.  Why would I?  If I saw things even being older, such as a wreck… or something unusual… I ‘forget to tell it’.  Who cared… anyway?  :)))

 

No one wanted to beat, whip, hit me as I grew into a teenager.  Well… maybe twice, three times… when I became an adult it happened.  I became a tigress whenever I felt threatened… and fought like a bear.  Didn’t matter if I lost… I didn’t lose… the little girl learned to ‘fight like hell’ when she had to.  I’d forget… I was a person… I would become ‘the fight’…  ‘I happened’… if, pushed.

 

I knew everywhere to strike… because as a child… I learned.  I was the victim.  I knew every place that would ‘hurt like hell’… those were my targets… only if pushed.

 

Three times… I allowed 3 times, hoping someone would come to their senses, realize they needed to leave me alone, or just forget me.  When they crossed the line the second time… I would become upset.  I would know I was going to have to take action, I was going to make someone respect me; I wasn’t going to take it.

 

I would become ‘twice as angry’… because I never looked for hell-raising (I’d had enough growing up)… I never looked for trouble.  I minded my own business.  Sometimes… trouble came looking for me in form of ‘always some big-ass, blonde-headed woman’.

 

Through the years, it was always a ‘big-ass blonde-headed woman’ who would be drawn to me… drawn to try to bully, dominate me.  I always recognized … ‘the one’.  I ‘would know’ somehow… it was going to happen.  It did.  Maybe they sensed I grew up ‘hating women’… my life was full of dominating women who bent others to their will.  What these big-ass, blonde-headed women didn’t know… my will wasn’t going to be broken… by a ‘damn’ woman.

 

Usually it was a fat, blonde-headed woman, taller than me… sometimes, once in a while it’d be a tall, slender blonde-headed woman.  From the time I began to ‘be out in the world’… as a teenager onto in my thirties, I ‘met them’ in my life.  Always… ‘big, mean… wanting to find someone to pick on, verbally/physically abuse.

 

Now… how was it they ‘knew to come for me through time’?  How?  I never figured that out… if someone has an opinion, I’m interested.  I didn’t wear a sign saying ‘hey blonde-headed woman … come kick my ass’.  I never bothered ‘them’.  So… I wonder ‘why?’  They could be across a big room… their eyes like bees flitting here, there… until… they beamed in on me… like I was nectar, be drawn to me… naturally, wanting to be mean to me.

 

In my mind, I began to be taller… hoping they wouldn’t do it.  Do it… they would begin … I would try to keep my eyes hidden from them… to not cause them to be more aggressive.  Didn’t work.

 

I understood as a child the ‘why?’… but, as I grew older… ‘these women’ would be strangers; I’d never have any contact with them.  The anger, hatred inside me… would rise to the surface… they would back off from me.  My eyes lit up from inside, with a fire from Hell.  I didn’t dare to let them see my eyes.  I didn’t want to challenge anyone. If I looked up, and they saw my eyes… it was time… and I was ready to live… or to die.  At that point, it would no longer matter.  Time stood still…

 

 

 

 

When they saw my eyes… ‘when I finally had to lift them to look directly… in theirs’… I think, they ‘saw the Hell’ in them.  They saw ‘I had nothing to lose’… they’d underestimated the little, short girl who seemed so nice, so… easy to use as a scapegoat.

 

The young girl who wanted to be good, go through life smoothly without Hell constantly nipping at her heels.  I think they knew they’d get more than they bargained for… they wanted a ‘simple ass’ to intimidate, to use as a whipping post… nothing as … complicated as, I.  My question was ‘why’… I was always ‘the one’ …they singled out?

 

This is not saying I’m a ‘bad-ass’… I was all ‘girl’; I didn’t like bad things… I had a horror of blood (you wouldn’t believe how I had to become ‘strong’ when I first began working at the emergency room!).  I sure didn’t have a death wish, nor did I ‘want my ass beaten’… I’m sure any of them through time could have crushed me.  It was simply… ‘I wasn’t going down without a ‘helluva’ fight’.

 

I didn’t live in Hell for nothing.  I wasn’t a survivor from… not surviving anything.  I wasn’t a fighter for not… fighting to just get to grow up.  I fought for the right to just exist… not bother anybody, mind my own business.  People through my young life heaped any, everything on me… to hurt, crush me… until I became old enough.

 

Does this photo show you anything about me… that would make people be that way to a little girl.  I’ve sat, looked at the few photos that survived the house fire… trying ‘to see’ something about me as a child… that would make people mistreat a little, innocent girl.  Look at it again, below…

 

 

 

Through our married years, Skip, will mention my eyes when I feel angry.  He says he has never seen anything like it… he knows it’s the Hell in them… I came from Hell… my eyes reflect it.  It doesn’t mean I became a ‘devil’ or evil person… I could have been, I was taught well.  I do have a bad temper… I am a positive person… thank-God.

 

They must have seen that I was ‘willing to die, than to let them run over me’… and that, I wasn’t going to run from nobody.  They forced the ‘ugliness’ to come out of me, when I always tried to never feel it again.  I never wanted to be mean… never.  I’m not… but, I’m going to hold my ground… I will give 3 chances first, before doing so.  Sometimes, I … might not.

 

I never felt good after inflicting physical, verbal pain on anyone… strangely enough… I never found the pleasure others found when inflicting pain on me.  I was …different.  I ‘felt’ the pain of other people.  I sensed, saw what no one else saw, chose to ignore.  Why did I have to be different?  Why couldn’t I have been a ‘full-blown hell-raiser who thrived on the blood ripped from another’s skin?’  I could have been… there have been times I remembered ‘wishing someone would get their ass tore up… glad that they did’.

 

Whenever someone inflicted pain on me… I never felt it from that moment on.  I became a whirlwind… when the whirlwind slowed down… so, did I.  I would look around… and see evidence that ‘all hell broke loose’… then, I’d remember.  I became… I ‘was the whirlwind’… I was ‘the Hell that broke loose’.  I wasn’t proud of it.

 

The only times in my life I couldn’t win…. was when my father slapped me with all his might, in my face… when my stepmother began hitting me in the face after he walked out of the bathroom.  Respect for both… loving them… stopped me.  The shock they created in me… paralyzed me.  I’d never seen, suspected they hated me… that much.

 

Another time I couldn’t win was as a young girl… I told a lie.  The guy had been seeing other girls… telling me what he, and the girls did.  The details were in depth…  I sat, smiled …. with all my being, I pretended it didn’t hurt me.  It was devastating me, my insides.  He turned to look at me, asked me if I’d ever cheated on him… anger made me lie, and say quietly, “Yes, I did”.

 

I was in instant shock when he began slapping me, then… choking me.  I was shoved on my back, he jumped on top of me, hitting me in my face, my head.  He was killing me, he was choking me, I struggled to breathe; the pain… I went unconscious.  When I come to, I heard crying… who was crying?

 

The guy was holding me close, crying.  He knew I was dead… I began to remember; I felt hatred toward him.  With all my strength, I began to get away.  I was hurt too badly to cry… I made it to the bathroom… where in the mirror I saw a monster staring back at me.

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t know ‘me’ anymore.  I looked like the ugliness I lived in as a child… I was the ugliness, now.  My eyes, my face were swollen beyond recognition… my hair was all out of place.  My throat had marks on it… I cried inside.  I was battered, beaten the worst I’d ever known in my life.  I slid to the floor, I could no longer stand up for the pain in my body… my heart. He came to help me up… I kicked weakly at him, I tried to tell him how I… hated him.  He couldn’t hear my cries… they were deep in my soul.  The pain…

 

The next day, both my eyes were black, blue.  I’d never had a black eye, even in Hell.  I did that time.  My throat was bruised… my thoughts were… ‘I’m too embarrassed to let anyone see me, they’ll think bad of me.  I have too much pride for someone to know that he would dare to hurt me. They’ll think I did something really bad for this to have happened to me… I’m ashamed.’  I never told anyone what happened to me… my mother saw me.

 

 

 

My mother’s eyes, oh… my mother’s eyes.  Her voice… when she saw me she spoke softly… though her voice was soft… it sounded like a scream to me, like… “what happened to you, what happened to you!!!”

 

Tears filled her eyes… as I looked her in the eyes, reminded her of the rails around the deck of where I lived…. “mama, I climbed up on those rails to walk around on them, you know how high that deck is!”  She never asked me again what happened… I never told her until twenty five years later… what happened.  She looked at me, told me, “Faye, I knew”.

 

The secret is to ‘become what you want to be’ in a good way.  Whenever I did, life was wonderful.  Sadly, as I became older… it became harder to hold onto the vision/image in my mind to ‘stay what I wanted to be’.  When young, it’s easy to pretend, to see your dreams… fun things happen.  As life, illnesses, deaths, bad things happen in abundance… it weakens a person… this person.

 

Life… the pain, grief of life made me forget; took me on many paths farther from what I wanted to be… most.  Look at me… you can see the difference.  So much has happened in my life… I’m so fortunate to be here, today.  I’m happy with ‘what I have left of me’… I could have not had… anything.  I wouldn’t have known life anymore… I would have become… death.

 

I’m proof… that if you don’t hold onto your dreams, let life pry your mind off your vision to be… you will be a shell of yourself… just as I am.  That’s why I’m always chasing myself in the mirror.  My long-time readers know about this… new readers have to go back in my blog to … know.

 

Your thoughts, words will reflect what you wanted most in life… but, ‘you won’t be’… like me, you’ll just be ‘chasing a dream you let go of’.

 

If you are young, reading this… dig those heels deep into the ground… hold onto your dreams, never lose sight of them… don’t let life pry your mind off them… stay determined to accomplish what you want in life.

 

This is my advice to a young person… one of the secrets to making your dreams come true.  I can only hope for a comfortable life, hope life won’t be harder as I grow older, hope I stay at least as healthy as I am.  It’s almost … too late for me.

 

Sometimes… you ‘can see me’… just as I do.  You will maybe see I was once a very attractive woman.  When I ‘see me’ in my mirror… I run for my camera.  I try to capture ‘me’… I smile if ever I do.  It means the world to me.

 

 

 

I recognize ‘myself’ when I can find me; I love ‘me’.  :)))  Skip laughs, calls it ‘vanity’.  He always thought me beautiful… he even says that ‘now’.  I think because he is biased because I’m his wife, loves me.  I don’t nod now, agreeing with him, ha!  I do smile at hearing love in his voice, though.

 

After all… that’s the main secret to life… love, caring… not one’s looks, or material things.  I won’t lie and say they aren’t important… truthfully, they are… they do help one in life to go places, have comfort.  I treasure anything in my life that brings me comfort, happiness.  I’m always thankful, grateful.  I think that’s another secret to life… be very grateful.

 

I was never vain… maybe I was at one time… but, I honestly was a ‘good vain’.  I did fall in love with myself, thought I was the prettiest girl ‘I ever saw’.  I was thankful everyday… because I came from such ugliness.

 

I was fortunate, I could have looked like a monster if I had become… what I lived as a little girl.  When all is ugly in our environment… if we see something pretty… we all focus on it.  I did… and I was pretty.  :))) I loved to look at me, dress me, hear me.  It was a good vanity… I finally had something special that was ‘mine’ in my life… ‘me’.

 

Yes, I could have looked like a monster if I had become the ugliness I lived, come from… as a little girl.

 

If all unseen scars were to pop up to the surface on my skin from all inflicted on me… yes, I would look like a monster from the ugliness people ‘who loved me’… inflicted on me.

 

That’s okay… I’m completely opposite.  I love, care… though, I can still ‘hate’.  Remember … I told you I’m not perfect at all.  I can still be mean, ugly … I never mean to be.  It’s in me… I lived it, it was taught to me.  It’s something I have to battle all my life… and I do.  :)))  I’m still a very good person… and I mean to stay that way!

 

The monster below… is what I could have been!  :)))

 

 

 

Instead… I’m a ‘good monster’…

 

 

 

Ha! Ha! Ha!  See, I told you I’m not perfect… I can be silly, mean… too!  I forgot to tell you all through time, that Skip has a nickname for me…. he calls me ‘Monst’…. I wonder why I forgot to tell you?  :)))  :)))  :)))

 

 

 

Smug… a smug monster… :)))

 

 

 

Oh, where did my pride go?  I would have never let anyone see my face ‘looking ugly’!!!  I’m old, senile now… that’s the only excuse I have now.  When I do these ‘silly things’… you can know I miss Tommy.  I used to send ‘goofy’ photos to him while on the road… to make him laugh.  It almost guaranteed a phone call from him… every time.  Now… it doesn’t… work anymore.

 

So… ‘you all are here’… :)))

 

You all mean the world to me…

I hope you like the ‘monster’ that I am; that… I have become.  I could have been a ‘real-scary monster’… I couldn’t… I would have scared myself!

 

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I Came From Such Ugliness… I Could Have Looked Like A Monster If I Had Become What I Lived As A Little Girl…


Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster… Monster…

I Could Have Become A Monster From The Ugliness I Lived In As A Child… A Monster… Monster

Gloria Faye Brown Bates… yes, I loved ‘me’… I loved being me.  I loved being pretty… and being a good person at the same time.  I was fortunate… I looked like anything at all… I could not have been a ‘Gloria’ at all.

 

Now… I am ‘this me’… below.  No longer so young, beautiful… full of life, as healthy.  I live with pain every day of my life.  That’s okay… my pain threshold has grown more, since Tommy died.  Both physically, mentally.  There’s not a day pain doesn’t reside in my body.  It’s a part of my life; it will be always.

 

I ‘didn’t go crazy’ like I heard some people say.  ‘Something didn’t  happen to my mind’ like some of you thought; said without any empathy that my child had died.  If it was your child… I just laughed to myself… something would happen to you… because to you… your child is more important.  ‘You would go crazy’.  I feel I am stronger… so, no matter who you are… I don’t wish that for you.  You just don’t know… so, how could you know better?

 

 

 

 

 

This me… who has permanent sadness, grief etched in her eyes that began when she became a grieving mother.  No matter how much I smile, laugh… I can run, look in the mirror… it’s always there.  Tommy, I love you.  I miss you.  My only child… is gone.  My eyes are… bittersweet… good and bad, happy and sad… all mixed together; pain and grief… all with a bittersweet smile.

 

Yes, grief and sadness have found a permanent home in my eyes.  That’s okay… when someone looks into my eyes… and remembers they never knew that expression ‘before’… they will know they are witnessing love for a child who is now gone.  They will remember Tommy.  My eyes will never forget Tommy… the day when my eyes are closed in death… grief will already be in them… for the sadness of it all.  For the sadness that Tommy died, the sadness that any of us die after making it through the obstacles of life, after the knowledge learned from life’s lessons.  It ‘seems’ like our lives are… wasted, in that respect.

 

If you think I look ‘ugly’ now… I don’t care… I’m thankful to ‘look like anything at all now’.  I’ve found my love for living again… I don’t focus on what you think.  I don’t have time… life isn’t about that.  I’m not a little girl any longer… I don’t have to put up with negativity… I have the choice to turn my back on you.  You got your pleasure from seeing me ‘down’… I don’t have to put up with you… now.  I’m old enough, now.

 

Those people… so, so many more than I could possibly count (this one blog in no way reflects all the people who have become special to me…. all these, and more), who care, have shown concern, gave encouragement… now, you are the people I’ve grown to love.  I love people I don’t know the names of, people I have never met… yet, you all have touched a place in my heart.  You are the people who matter.

 

When I looked so bad… you still liked, cared about me.  People who knew me before Tommy died… saw me afterwards, quit liking me because I looked bad… I was no longer anyone.  Guess what?  They were right.

 

I really was the ‘walking dead’.  So, I understand… I understand… I might would have walked past you, too… snubbed you, whispered behind my hand with a gossipy gleam in my eye, too… never simply walking up to you, say I sense something bad has happened, I’m so sorry.  I care.  I might would have been this kind of friend to you, too.  Or, I may have been glad your child died… so, you had nothing, anymore.  If you did this to me… you did… I can do it to you.  I might would have… In truth, I’m not like that, never want to be… I care too much.  But… I know who was like this to me… in my grief, I saw, heard you.  Just saying…

 

Things have a way of coming back full circle… it might be your ass ‘it bites’…  I’ll be watching… but, not with happiness because it did.  I have a big heart… a forgiving heart.  I just… remember.

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I Came From Such Ugliness… I Could Have Looked Like A Monster If I Had Become What I Lived As A Little Girl…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

 

This morning I looked for a scar, but… couldn’t see it.  I’m going to look closer; I know it’s there.  As I think about what caused it… I could feel the sensation in that spot.  Strange, I can’t see anything… I thought surely I would see the scar there.  It’s there… I just didn’t want to really see it.  I don’t sit, dwell on the things I talk to you about.  So, don’t think when I quit writing… I’m going to go back to thinking about them, stay depressed.  I’m okay.  I write about these things… it’s okay.

 

Don’t feel sorry for me, sad for me.  I’m here… I made it here.  :))) Everything is going to be alright.  I’m not looking for pity, sympathy… so, don’t feel that for me.  Life prepared me to be ‘this strong’…

 

I write; I’m a writer, this is what I write about… I have to pull these things out from the past, examine them, gently open them up… to take the story out.  Sort of the way you do an oyster… to retrieve the special pearl inside.

 

I don’t mind you feeling sadness, anger, happiness… I do that when reading things others write.  We all have to feel things… if we are to read them.  We have to feel, see them in our minds.  It’s how we understand things; it’s how we entertain ourselves when we read.

 

Suppose I wrote about wonderful, beautiful things all the time… all a bunch of soft, white, pure, wonderful fluffy… lies.  You’d become sick of reading ‘me’… you wouldn’t be interested in reading ‘me’.  It would be the same way with acting… someone would be thinking, ‘hey, you have to put real feeling there’ if you want someone to pay attention.

 

I’m the same way… give me real feelings any day!  The ones who don’t want to know ‘real life’… please go back to your soft, wonderful, safe life where everything comes to you on a silver platter… if anything painful comes toward you, you have someone to catch it just as a ball player catches a ball in his ball glove.. before it strikes you.  I’ve never known such… my life has always been full of struggles… even when… I had everything.

 

Sometimes, Skip will say to me… if you say a ‘dirty’ word… you’ll take away from being ‘Granny Gee’.  No, I won’t.  I’m real… and I’m ‘me’ before anything else.  Granny Gee is the special name Tommy gave to me before he died… I don’t claim to be a ‘perfect Granny Gee’.  I don’t pretend to be other than I am.

 

Just remember ‘I’m not a perfect Granny Gee’… I am Granny Gee, because Tommy called me that for my grandson.  It’s a special, magical name when one person ever says it… that’s my grandson, Taban.  Only when he says it… does it begin to have meaning; I feel Tommy. When I hear it… I can hear the most special little boy… saying it.  That’s ‘what the name Granny Gee’ is all about.  I don’t hide behind it, pretending.  When I ‘tell you like it is’… it’s me… Gloria ‘Faye’ Brown Bates.

 

I don’t use excessive ‘bad’ words… that’s not me.  There will be several words from time to time… because I thought them.  I still think ‘bad words’, sometimes.  ‘Back then’… oh my, the whole world was full of ugly words.  I’m lucky I don’t cuss every breath I take… I don’t.  But… I will use several dirty words from time to time.  Life isn’t all perfect… it might be for you… it honestly isn’t for me.  I don’t complain. If it bothers you… I know you’ll go on from here… to your wonderful world.  I wish it to be only more wonderful for you.

 

Lately, as memories surface in my mind… my body ‘feels pain’ from the past where it was abused when being a little child.  Thankfully, as I became older… I could ‘bluff my way’… scare anyone who thought they could walk over me.  I would somehow, project the illusion that I could be a force to reckon with… in my mind I became ‘the force’.  It worked almost every time…

 

‘If’ I had to back up my position… I stood my ground.  I didn’t look for situations… I only wanted peace in my life.  I could have held my ground… but, not against a strong man.  But… when it came to a… woman, it was different.  I began smiling, speaking softly… and if I raised my eyes to look directly into theirs…

 

Peace and quiet was all I wanted in life when I began to have a choice.  Sadly, I married too young; in a marriage with a young man who didn’t know how to settle down.  He was always gone… always with other women.  My heart never knew peace; I cried a lot… I went so far as to end my life.  I was too young, too naive.

 

I had gone from all the screaming, gnashing of teeth, hatred,noise in my life… to what I wanted… ‘peace and quiet’… only I had all the quiet I wanted… but, no peace.  Sometimes, I wanted to go back to Hell… where it was noisy, hell-raising.

 

I had lived in town all my life… now, I was fourteen miles from any town… living in the country in a nice home… but, I was alone all the time.  A teenage girl left alone for the first time in her life.  In an isolated place… in the countryside… away from the night lights, sounds she knew.  Away from people…

 

I cried in silence, all alone.  No one really knew… no one came around… excepting the friends of the young man I had eloped, married.  They knew when he was away… they knew, because they went with the same women.  They all did the same things.  They were all… friends.  Young men do those things whether a young wife likes it, or not.  It’s a part of life… my life.

 

When the husband is away… their best friends want to come play… usually, young wives played.  Why I had to be different, I don’t know… I kept hearing that little girl from the past calling me a ‘whore’… I wasn’t a whore.  I … should have been.  I ‘missed out on everything’, not only that… being good brought me much… loneliness.  I can’t say that I didn’t… daydream… I would be lying.  I just had this ‘damn’ sense of right, and wrong.

 

The older I got, the more thankful I was I stayed ‘true’… it felt good to have a good conscious; it felt good to know I didn’t have to hide something… like that… should I say ‘so much like that… that tried to come my way’?  I never told anyone… I never told my young husband that his friends wanted to keep me company, keep me from being lonely, play with me… while he was off playing.  Why would I?  I never told anything…

 

They came on pretense of looking for him.  I became afraid… I never told anyone.  I was a big-little girl now… I was used to keeping my fears to myself.  I had to watch out for myself…

 

 

 

Not only that… if I did tell someone… I ‘knew’ something bad would happen.  There would be flesh pounding flesh, cussing, blood… my stomach would shake thinking about it.  I couldn’t cause trouble like that.

 

The little girl inside me, knew that much.  I had become a holder of many secrets… I never thought about telling anyone… anything.  Why would I?  If I saw things even being older, such as a wreck… or something unusual… I ‘forget to tell it’.  Who cared… anyway?  :)))

 

No one wanted to beat, whip, hit me as I grew into a teenager.  Well… maybe twice, three times… when I became an adult it happened.  I became a tigress whenever I felt threatened… and fought like a bear.  Didn’t matter if I lost… I didn’t lose… the little girl learned to ‘fight like hell’ when she had to.  I’d forget… I was a person… I would become ‘the fight’…  ‘I happened’… if, pushed.

 

I knew everywhere to strike… because as a child… I learned.  I was the victim.  I knew every place that would ‘hurt like hell’… those were my targets… only if pushed.

 

Three times… I allowed 3 times, hoping someone would come to their senses, realize they needed to leave me alone, or just forget me.  When they crossed the line the second time… I would become upset.  I would know I was going to have to take action, I was going to make someone respect me; I wasn’t going to take it.

 

I would become ‘twice as angry’… because I never looked for hell-raising (I’d had enough growing up)… I never looked for trouble.  I minded my own business.  Sometimes… trouble came looking for me in form of ‘always some big-ass, blonde-headed woman’.

 

Through the years, it was always a ‘big-ass blonde-headed woman’ who would be drawn to me… drawn to try to bully, dominate me.  I always recognized … ‘the one’.  I ‘would know’ somehow… it was going to happen.  It did.  Maybe they sensed I grew up ‘hating women’… my life was full of dominating women who bent others to their will.  What these big-ass, blonde-headed women didn’t know… my will wasn’t going to be broken… by a ‘damn’ woman.

 

Usually it was a fat, blonde-headed woman, taller than me… sometimes, once in a while it’d be a tall, slender blonde-headed woman.  From the time I began to ‘be out in the world’… as a teenager onto in my thirties, I ‘met them’ in my life.  Always… ‘big, mean… wanting to find someone to pick on, verbally/physically abuse.

 

Now… how was it they ‘knew to come for me through time’?  How?  I never figured that out… if someone has an opinion, I’m interested.  I didn’t wear a sign saying ‘hey blonde-headed woman … come kick my ass’.  I never bothered ‘them’.  So… I wonder ‘why?’  They could be across a big room… their eyes like bees flitting here, there… until… they beamed in on me… like I was nectar, be drawn to me… naturally, wanting to be mean to me.

 

In my mind, I began to be taller… hoping they wouldn’t do it.  Do it… they would begin … I would try to keep my eyes hidden from them… to not cause them to be more aggressive.  Didn’t work.

 

I understood as a child the ‘why?’… but, as I grew older… ‘these women’ would be strangers; I’d never have any contact with them.  The anger, hatred inside me… would rise to the surface… they would back off from me.  My eyes lit up from inside, with a fire from Hell.  I didn’t dare to let them see my eyes.  I didn’t want to challenge anyone. If I looked up, and they saw my eyes… it was time… and I was ready to live… or to die.  At that point, it would no longer matter.  Time stood still…

 

 

 

 

When they saw my eyes… ‘when I finally had to lift them to look directly… in theirs’… I think, they ‘saw the Hell’ in them.  They saw ‘I had nothing to lose’… they’d underestimated the little, short girl who seemed so nice, so… easy to use as a scapegoat.

 

The young girl who wanted to be good, go through life smoothly without Hell constantly nipping at her heels.  I think they knew they’d get more than they bargained for… they wanted a ‘simple ass’ to intimidate, to use as a whipping post… nothing as … complicated as, I.  My question was ‘why’… I was always ‘the one’ …they singled out?

 

This is not saying I’m a ‘bad-ass’… I was all ‘girl’; I didn’t like bad things… I had a horror of blood (you wouldn’t believe how I had to become ‘strong’ when I first began working at the emergency room!).  I sure didn’t have a death wish, nor did I ‘want my ass beaten’… I’m sure any of them through time could have crushed me.  It was simply… ‘I wasn’t going down without a ‘helluva’ fight’.

 

I didn’t live in Hell for nothing.  I wasn’t a survivor from… not surviving anything.  I wasn’t a fighter for not… fighting to just get to grow up.  I fought for the right to just exist… not bother anybody, mind my own business.  People through my young life heaped any, everything on me… to hurt, crush me… until I became old enough.

 

Does this photo show you anything about me… that would make people be that way to a little girl.  I’ve sat, looked at the few photos that survived the house fire… trying ‘to see’ something about me as a child… that would make people mistreat a little, innocent girl.  Look at it again, below…

 

 

 

Through our married years, Skip, will mention my eyes when I feel angry.  He says he has never seen anything like it… he knows it’s the Hell in them… I came from Hell… my eyes reflect it.  It doesn’t mean I became a ‘devil’ or evil person… I could have been, I was taught well.  I do have a bad temper… I am a positive person… thank-God.

 

They must have seen that I was ‘willing to die, than to let them run over me’… and that, I wasn’t going to run from nobody.  They forced the ‘ugliness’ to come out of me, when I always tried to never feel it again.  I never wanted to be mean… never.  I’m not… but, I’m going to hold my ground… I will give 3 chances first, before doing so.  Sometimes, I … might not.

 

I never felt good after inflicting physical, verbal pain on anyone… strangely enough… I never found the pleasure others found when inflicting pain on me.  I was …different.  I ‘felt’ the pain of other people.  I sensed, saw what no one else saw, chose to ignore.  Why did I have to be different?  Why couldn’t I have been a ‘full-blown hell-raiser who thrived on the blood ripped from another’s skin?’  I could have been… there have been times I remembered ‘wishing someone would get their ass tore up… glad that they did’.

 

Whenever someone inflicted pain on me… I never felt it from that moment on.  I became a whirlwind… when the whirlwind slowed down… so, did I.  I would look around… and see evidence that ‘all hell broke loose’… then, I’d remember.  I became… I ‘was the whirlwind’… I was ‘the Hell that broke loose’.  I wasn’t proud of it.

 

The only times in my life I couldn’t win…. was when my father slapped me with all his might, in my face… when my stepmother began hitting me in the face after he walked out of the bathroom.  Respect for both… loving them… stopped me.  The shock they created in me… paralyzed me.  I’d never seen, suspected they hated me… that much.

 

Another time I couldn’t win was as a young girl… I told a lie.  The guy had been seeing other girls… telling me what he, and the girls did.  The details were in depth…  I sat, smiled …. with all my being, I pretended it didn’t hurt me.  It was devastating me, my insides.  He turned to look at me, asked me if I’d ever cheated on him… anger made me lie, and say quietly, “Yes, I did”.

 

I was in instant shock when he began slapping me, then… choking me.  I was shoved on my back, he jumped on top of me, hitting me in my face, my head.  He was killing me, he was choking me, I struggled to breathe; the pain… I went unconscious.  When I come to, I heard crying… who was crying?

 

The guy was holding me close, crying.  He knew I was dead… I began to remember; I felt hatred toward him.  With all my strength, I began to get away.  I was hurt too badly to cry… I made it to the bathroom… where in the mirror I saw a monster staring back at me.

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t know ‘me’ anymore.  I looked like the ugliness I lived in as a child… I was the ugliness, now.  My eyes, my face were swollen beyond recognition… my hair was all out of place.  My throat had marks on it… I cried inside.  I was battered, beaten the worst I’d ever known in my life.  I slid to the floor, I could no longer stand up for the pain in my body… my heart. He came to help me up… I kicked weakly at him, I tried to tell him how I… hated him.  He couldn’t hear my cries… they were deep in my soul.  The pain…

 

The next day, both my eyes were black, blue.  I’d never had a black eye, even in Hell.  I did that time.  My throat was bruised… my thoughts were… ‘I’m too embarrassed to let anyone see me, they’ll think bad of me.  I have too much pride for someone to know that he would dare to hurt me. They’ll think I did something really bad for this to have happened to me… I’m ashamed.’  I never told anyone what happened to me… my mother saw me.

 

 

 

My mother’s eyes, oh… my mother’s eyes.  Her voice… when she saw me she spoke softly… though her voice was soft… it sounded like a scream to me, like… “what happened to you, what happened to you!!!”

 

Tears filled her eyes… as I looked her in the eyes, reminded her of the rails around the deck of where I lived…. “mama, I climbed up on those rails to walk around on them, you know how high that deck is!”  She never asked me again what happened… I never told her until twenty five years later… what happened.  She looked at me, told me, “Faye, I knew”.

 

The secret is to ‘become what you want to be’ in a good way.  Whenever I did, life was wonderful.  Sadly, as I became older… it became harder to hold onto the vision/image in my mind to ‘stay what I wanted to be’.  When young, it’s easy to pretend, to see your dreams… fun things happen.  As life, illnesses, deaths, bad things happen in abundance… it weakens a person… this person.

 

Life… the pain, grief of life made me forget; took me on many paths farther from what I wanted to be… most.  Look at me… you can see the difference.  So much has happened in my life… I’m so fortunate to be here, today.  I’m happy with ‘what I have left of me’… I could have not had… anything.  I wouldn’t have known life anymore… I would have become… death.

 

I’m proof… that if you don’t hold onto your dreams, let life pry your mind off your vision to be… you will be a shell of yourself… just as I am.  That’s why I’m always chasing myself in the mirror.  My long-time readers know about this… new readers have to go back in my blog to … know.

 

Your thoughts, words will reflect what you wanted most in life… but, ‘you won’t be’… like me, you’ll just be ‘chasing a dream you let go of’.

 

If you are young, reading this… dig those heels deep into the ground… hold onto your dreams, never lose sight of them… don’t let life pry your mind off them… stay determined to accomplish what you want in life.

 

This is my advice to a young person… one of the secrets to making your dreams come true.  I can only hope for a comfortable life, hope life won’t be harder as I grow older, hope I stay at least as healthy as I am.  It’s almost … too late for me.

 

Sometimes… you ‘can see me’… just as I do.  You will maybe see I was once a very attractive woman.  When I ‘see me’ in my mirror… I run for my camera.  I try to capture ‘me’… I smile if ever I do.  It means the world to me.

 

 

 

I recognize ‘myself’ when I can find me; I love ‘me’.  :)))  Skip laughs, calls it ‘vanity’.  He always thought me beautiful… he even says that ‘now’.  I think because he is biased because I’m his wife, loves me.  I don’t nod now, agreeing with him, ha!  I do smile at hearing love in his voice, though.

 

After all… that’s the main secret to life… love, caring… not one’s looks, or material things.  I won’t lie and say they aren’t important… truthfully, they are… they do help one in life to go places, have comfort.  I treasure anything in my life that brings me comfort, happiness.  I’m always thankful, grateful.  I think that’s another secret to life… be very grateful.

 

I was never vain… maybe I was at one time… but, I honestly was a ‘good vain’.  I did fall in love with myself, thought I was the prettiest girl ‘I ever saw’.  I was thankful everyday… because I came from such ugliness.

 

I was fortunate, I could have looked like a monster if I had become… what I lived as a little girl.  When all is ugly in our environment… if we see something pretty… we all focus on it.  I did… and I was pretty.  :))) I loved to look at me, dress me, hear me.  It was a good vanity… I finally had something special that was ‘mine’ in my life… ‘me’.

 

Yes, I could have looked like a monster if I had become the ugliness I lived, come from… as a little girl.

 

If all unseen scars were to pop up to the surface on my skin from all inflicted on me… yes, I would look like a monster from the ugliness people ‘who loved me’… inflicted on me.

 

That’s okay… I’m completely opposite.  I love, care… though, I can still ‘hate’.  Remember … I told you I’m not perfect at all.  I can still be mean, ugly … I never mean to be.  It’s in me… I lived it, it was taught to me.  It’s something I have to battle all my life… and I do.  :)))  I’m still a very good person… and I mean to stay that way!

 

The monster below… is what I could have been!  :)))

 

 

 

Instead… I’m a ‘good monster’…

 

 

 

Ha! Ha! Ha!  See, I told you I’m not perfect… I can be silly, mean… too!  I forgot to tell you all through time, that Skip has a nickname for me…. he calls me ‘Monst’…. I wonder why I forgot to tell you?  :)))  :)))  :)))

 

 

 

Smug… a smug monster… :)))

 

 

 

Oh, where did my pride go?  I would have never let anyone see my face ‘looking ugly’!!!  I’m old, senile now… that’s the only excuse I have now.  When I do these ‘silly things’… you can know I miss Tommy.  I used to send ‘goofy’ photos to him while on the road… to make him laugh.  It almost guaranteed a phone call from him… every time.  Now… it doesn’t… work anymore.

 

So… ‘you all are here’… :)))

 

You all mean the world to me…

I hope you like the ‘monster’ that I am; that… I have become.  I could have been a ‘real-scary monster’… I couldn’t… I would have scared myself!

 

Chasing Myself In The Mirror…


Chasing Myself In The Mirror

 

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

 

 

January 2011… I found this photo taken of me … Tommy had died 6-7 months prior to this photo.  I don’t remember this photo… I was in ‘another world’… The Dark World.

 

I look at this photo, ‘see’ that my world had come to an end… I see that I could have forever become an ‘old’ woman if I made it through this.  I had quit life for the first time… I didn’t know I was in the world… I didn’t care.

 

This is a photo of a grieving mother 6-7 months after her child’s death.  At this time… she was still in the Dark World… not thinking about the present… how could she when she didn’t know it was there?  She wasn’t in the present… she couldn’t be for the pain…

 

I look at this photo that was so ‘unlike me’… I remember seeing an aunt looking like this photo before she died… grief, pure grief was on her face… just like I see here.  She’d lost one son to suicide, and her only daughter to a car/log truck crash.  Both children died close together… adult children.  ‘Now’… I ‘know why’ she looked like this, like my face in this photo… I ‘recognize’ it.  My poor aunt, my poor, poor aunt… no one knew how she suffered.  I do…. ‘now’.

 

This is a photo of the ‘walking dead’… not aware of anything… not even that Tommy died… I couldn’t bear knowing.  This is the one time in my life, I took some type of medicine from the doctor, I can’t even remember the name of it… and ‘begged for it’.  This is the one time in my life I wasn’t afraid to be addicted to drugs.  I wouldn’t have known the difference.

 

Looking at the above photo… I was … just lost in another world.  Sometimes, I could hear Skip and the Pups… most of the time, I don’t remember anything.  Sometimes, I could hear myself crying… I must have blocked that out, also… because all was quiet and dark where I was.

 

 

This photo was taken not long ago… March-April 2013… my eyes look different, but… one can see that I’ve come so far.  I have fought so, hard to look better… to only keep falling back…to get back up, dust my pants off, to start over again… and again… and again.

 

I’m determined not to ‘just be an old woman just yet’… I have lost 6-7 years due to illness/cancer… and to losing my only child.  I can’t remember them… I tell myself I am going to make up for these years… it’s not time for me to be ‘old’ …. not just yet.

 

I do have a problem… in getting my mirror to cooperate with me.  :)))  I am always looking for a glimpse of the ‘real me’.  There are only times I ‘see me’… I begin ‘chasing myself in the mirror… with my camera’!  I try to capture those glimpses I remember of myself… that’s what I looked like ‘before’… I don’t recognize ‘me… now’.

 

It’s funny… it’s wonderful when I do ‘catch myself in a photo’… the ‘me’ I remember, knew so well.  I ‘lost me’ when Tommy died.  Have you ever went looking for yourself in your mirror?

 

This photo, and the ones since… is as close as I’ve gotten to ‘finding me’.  My eyes… my eyes… there’s something so different about my eyes.  It’s an expression that’s always there no matter how happy I am, when I smile.

 

You wonder ‘why’ I am constantly ‘looking for myself’… wanting ‘to be me’ again… wanting my ‘old self’ back.  That’s the way this grieving mother is… I have no idea if another grieving mother has experienced this, or not.  So, if you are a grieving mother and are doing this… know there is one more grieving mother who is doing the same.  Is it normal?  I have no way of knowing… but, I am normal.  :)))

 

I think I’ve come so, so far during this past three years.  I think writing my grief… publishing my book ‘I CRY FOR TOMMY’… made all the difference.  I think I might have not come this far if I hadn’t… in fact, I might not ‘have come this far’… at all.

 

I speak honestly so, you can know how it really is with a grieving mother… this grieving mother.  I know of some who have completely quit life… the death of their child completely shutting them down.  They are only a shell of themselves… they walk around ‘dead’.  The living dead…

 

Skip, my hero, the love of my life, my precious husband… saved me.  He, and our Pups… kept on, and on until they made sure I heard them, knew they were there.  They never stopped… Skip knew which ‘buttons to push’… to make my fighting spirit rise up to the challenge… it didn’t die inside me.  I didn’t know when it rose up… to fight to live; that’s how far gone I was.

 

Since then… I’ve been chasing myself in the mirror… trying to find the ‘me’ I remember.  Today… it’s fun, because sometimes… I see myself … and I try to make ‘me’ pretty again.  :)))

 

 

Bittersweet Mother’s Day…


I had my own son… he died on May 29, 2010.  I used to be Tommy’s mother.  I miss you, Son.

 

 

 

Bittersweet Mother’s Day

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

 

 

I have been waiting for this day… sort of with dread.  I’ve been waiting for it to… go by, be behind me.  Today, isn’t my day… anymore.

 

I didn’t think I would write at all this weekend.  So much has been going on in our life, most all stress… not the best.  You wouldn’t believe, I won’t even try to write it here.  It’s been really… a bad week, not only for me… Skip has had a bad time.  I worry for his health now…

 

Well…  today is finally here. ‘The’ day … Mother’s Day.  I’m not a mother any longer… I’m a used-to-be mother… I was a mother at one time.  Now… I’m not.  Can you tell… I tell myself this often.  I tell myself this with anger, sometimes.

 

It really does hurt thinking about it… the pain is still there.  I even feel anger because you see… I still know how it feels to be ‘Mother’, to be a ‘mama’.  I still know how it feels when my child told me he loved me, and he was glad I was his … mother.  I still know these things…. I’m like ‘memory wire‘… I don’t forget my shape.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot… about Tommy.  I’ve been thinking about what I wrote not long ago… ‘no matter what, everything will be alright’.  It’s true, no matter how much pain, tears I have… everything really will be all right.  I ‘know’ that now.  I’m going to make it now… pain or no pain… pain or … pain… or pain or no pain.  I’m past the danger point of ‘not making it’…

 

Today, in my mind I’m seeing in just a few minutes ‘everywhere’… families are, will be sitting down for a Mother’s Day meal.  I ‘see sunshine’ in my mind… reflecting happiness of my thoughts as I think of you….  Happy, Beautiful Mother’s Day to you!

 

I can ‘hear you all laughing, talking, happy to be with your mothers, mothers happy to be with their children’.  Beautiful… you don’t know ‘I’m here’…. nor are you aware… that I smile for you, am happy for you.  Not only that, my heart goes out to the mothers I’ve met… who have become… who were already like me.

 

See, my time has come and gone… I am an onlooker now.  I neither have a mother, nor a child… any longer.  I didn’t choose this, anymore than I chose to have non-Hodgkins lymphoma/cancer.  Life makes a lot of choices for us… I had no say.  Of course, if I could… I would choose not to have had cancer; not to have lost Tommy, and I’d still have my mother.

 

I am wishing you such special Mother’s Day memories, happiness.  Hopefully, you never go on to be like me… that is all I have now… those memories.  I pray that all of you will go on to ‘keep making beautiful Mother’s Day memories’.  Thankfully, I have special memories…

 

To look at, just as one would take an old movie reel out, crank it up, play the movies of the past.  Chevy Chase comes to my mind… as he sat up in the attic watching movies of the past, tears in his eyes, sad smile on his face…. bittersweet.  Bittersweet like … me.  I can hear the music playing, tugging at my heart, making me want to cry.  I won’t… I won’t cry today… I mean it, now.

 

I loved when he crashed through the attic… it stopped all the emotional stuff… making him ‘feel real life’ again.  I didn’t really like for him to crash through the attic… there’s some anger inside me; it is responsible for me saying that.

 

I’m not really mad… I just ‘feel mad’… is there a difference?  I think it is… but, I don’t feel like trying to explain.  ‘I’m not really mad’… but, I feel like… being mad.  I wish Tommy were here… but, you know… I know, he isn’t/can’t be.  I can be mad all I want to, it makes no difference.

 

I realize I’m trying to tell you about ‘this used-to-be mother’… tell you how it feels ‘today, Mother’s Day’… when a mother’s child has died.  There, I said it again… when a mother’s child has died… my child died.  I have a problem ‘still’… I am always saying ‘when Tommy went to heaven; when he passed away; he’s gone now’.  When I say the word ‘die’… I’m most aware of it.

 

Today is a bittersweet day for me… it’s like putting parts of this emotion, that emotion into a blender… turning it on.  As it swirls to mix ‘all equally’… you see tears, you see anger, you see grief, you see a mother’s heart hurting as she remembers good things; sees smiles, hears her child’s voice in her mind.  When it all finally mixes equally… it becomes ‘bittersweet like me’… mixture of sad, good things.  It’s a happy smile tinted with sadness on one’s lips, in one’s eyes.

 

‘Bittersweet’… strange how that word stood out to me in a book many years ago, when I was a little girl.  I never knew I would go on to know what that word really meant… or have it associated with me.  I love the word, though.  It does describe me accurately… I’m a mixture of ‘bitter, sweet’… I think more ‘sweet’ than bitter.

 

This is a bittersweet Mother’s Day… an equal mixture of all emotions that I can… deal with now.  Everything will be all right, no matter what.  That doesn’t mean everything is ‘perfect’… only that it can be all right, because it has to be.

 

 

 

 

 

No Matter How Bad It Hurts ‘Now’… Everything’s Going To Be All Right


Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee…  Tommy’s Mother… Tommy’s Not Here Anymore……….

(Around my neck is Tommy’s gold chain, gold nugget he always wore… when Tommy died, he had it on.

 

His wife gave it back to me… I’ll never forget her doing that, she didn’t have to.  The ‘gold nugget’ is my class ring that a jeweler melted down for me to go on a gold necklace for me.  It weighs 11 grams… I gave this to my only child… now, he’s gone.

 

 

No Matter How Bad It Hurts ‘Now’… Everything’s Going To Be All Right

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

The past couple of weeks have been having an effect on me.  I’ve tried to ignore it, not pay attention to commercials portraying it; at the stores around the greeting card aisles, I turn my head; I close my ears; I don’t let my heart feel.

 

Excepting yesterday, we were in Walmart.  Without realizing it, I was waiting for Skip to pay the cashier; I stood watching something playing out almost in front of me.  I wasn’t thinking about what I was looking at… it took seconds for me to realize.

 

By that time, it was too late.  The scene playing out in front of my eyes ‘got to me’… how many times have I done it.  How many times had Tommy done the same?

 

I’ve felt all kinds of emotions for the past couple of weeks… why?  I began paying attention to myself to ‘see what’s wrong with me’.  I’ve felt deep sadness, grief… no words can describe; I’ve felt anger… yes, real anger.  I’ve caught myself crying, not realizing it… until I heard myself.

 

Mother’s Day… I didn’t want to know that it’s next Sunday… this weekend; today is Thursday.  I didn’t want to ‘notice’ it’s time for Mother’s Day.  I told myself that I don’t care…

 

Why would I care?  I don’t have a child any longer… I’m no longer a mother.  It’s like I’ve never was a mother… what do I have left to show that ‘I had a child’?  I have one little, beautiful chest with a few things inside… showing I had a son… once.  It’s upholstered in ‘rich burgundy-colored material with gold designs’…

 

I have a heart full of grief, showing that I had a child once… but, you can’t see that.  Only if you ‘really looked at my eyes, and cared’… would you see that grief.

 

If you don’t have a heart… or compassion, you wouldn’t even see that… because you’d think negative things about how my face looked, how bad my eyes looked… you ‘wouldn’t want to see anything about me’… that would touch your heart.

 

If you didn’t like me, the word ‘mother’ wouldn’t come into your mind… it might be another kind of ‘mother’ come to your mind.  That’s your choice; you think what you want… I’ll also, think what I want.  It’s not a ‘one way street’… there are some people, I would think that about.  I told you… I remind you… I am not perfect… but, regardless, I’m a very good person.

 

If you opened that chest… you would begin seeing things that would give you information to indicate… okay, this woman must have had a son… an adult son.  There are ‘little possessions’ he used to hold with his hands to work with, to piddle around with… inside the chest.

 

There’s a couple of tee shirts, folded neatly.  Hey, look!  There’s this thick book… wait, ‘this mother’ is the author of that book!  Her son’s face is on the front of the book, wow!  Look closer, there’s another little, thin book… it looks like a short story of some kind….

 

It is… it looks like an introductory to a scary story… looks like she is now, writing book 2 to go with it… like maybe, it’s a ‘never-ending scary story’ she’ll write until the day she dies.  I wonder… ‘how many books it will end up being’?

 

Let me dig a little deeper… I keep seeing this plastic box that I move to the side.  Something tells me… that once I open that little box… I will forget to look any farther.

 

Something tells me that little sage-green plastic box ‘holds something’ so… ‘Tommy’… it might even hurt ‘me, someone who doesn’t know him’… if I look inside.  I will push it to the side, because my mind is trying to ‘read the information’ in front of me.

 

I want to know what ‘this chest’ is about.  It’s something to do with this… woman.  I think she’s a ‘used-to-be mother’… she’s not anymore; she doesn’t have anymore children.

 

There are Mother’s Day cards from this person, Tommy… to his mother.  They were from past Mother’s Days… this makes my heart feel pain for this woman.  The cards meant something to her.  Does that look like several logbooks from his trucking days?  Is that a ruler?  I am sitting here holding a hat; it’s dark in color.

 

There’s ‘something’ about this hat… as a stranger I don’t know ‘this is the hat’ Tommy had on… when he collapsed on the sand at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, May 29, 2010 on a late Saturday evening.

 

I don’t know this was the next to the last trip Tommy would ever take… I don’t know that his… ‘next to last’ trip came ‘almost’ to the time he arrived on… his last trip.

 

Tommy had this hat on when he collapsed to the sand… this hat fell onto the sand.  This was the hat … his wife could see when looking down onto the beach, wondering what the commotion was.

 

She thought people were ‘building a sand castle’ on the sand… until… she saw …Tommy’s hat laying nearby.  How so sad when the thought came to her mind… ‘Tommy, Taban’!

 

No one thought about how she felt as she began her run to get to his side… to her little son, too.  No one knows what this mother, herself… went through.  Truthfully, the mother of Tommy never thought about what she went through… until recently.  Isn’t that awful?  It took so much time to think about what Taban’s mother went through… I’m just ‘now thinking’…

 

No one knows the pain, grief when she realized her husband was gone, thanking God there were strangers who were really angels, there to protect her little son, and her husband until someone could come… one picked Tommy’s cellphone up, pressed ‘redial’… not knowing the call went to a happy, relieved mother 200 miles away.

 

Not knowing her son, Tommy, had called just a short time before, to say, “Mama, we are only 7 miles from the hotel”… not knowing this mother looked on the Caller ID, seeing her son’s name… happily answering her phone with a smile… how relieved she was knowing they had made it safely to their vacation spot in the Memorial Day holiday traffic.

 

Not knowing the call forever changed this mother’s life, not knowing that today, the last thing she remembers is … that she was smiling, knowing that smile followed her into the world of darkness… she almost never made it back from.  As a stranger, how could I know?

 

Oh, the hat… thankfully, I’m a stranger, because I would hold that hat close to my heart just as I know this mother must have done many times… feeling the grief of losing my child, knowing this is one of the last things Tommy had next to his living body… before.  I’m glad I don’t know… too much pain ‘here’.  Not only that, my heart would feel for his wife, who was a mother, too.  For his little son who ran, played with his daddy… who no longer has his daddy.

 

I go on to lift things, look at them… creating a picture in my mind of a very tall, muscular… good-looking guy with blonde hair (I saw his photo on the book… also, the photos sitting outside the chest in their frames).

 

I see his kind face, the smile that reached his eyes.  I feel I would like to know him (I am going to get the book, read about this mother’s grief… the name of the book ‘I CRY FOR TOMMY’).  As I thumbed through this big book… I realized the words are full of pain… I realized that here… I can read about real grief in real words, no sugar-coating.  I can read about it quietly, go my way… without really having it in my life… I can learn how it affects a… mother.

 

I go on until I reach the bottom of Tommy’s Chest… now, it’s time.  Time to look at what I sensed is most important, most painful to this mother.  Time to look in the sage-green plastic box.  I’m sort of afraid this little box will make this stranger cry… I sense it’s going to hurt me to my soul…

 

I read Tommy’s obituary, I read the different things as I lift them out of the plastic box.  On top are dried, cream-colored flowers, just a little bouquet held together with material wrapped at the bottom.

 

I come to a folded paper with Tommy’s name, and such on it.  I know it’s from the funeral that was for him.  I can see before my hands pick it up… inside are photos.  Oh no!  My mind tells me ‘this is what I was sensing… this is what will burn into my mind just as it did this mother, I know it will affect me always’.

 

Slowly, my hands begin to lift the photos up from the box… my eyes see this young man laying in a coffin… oh no!  This is hurting me… think how this mother feels.

 

I slowly go through the little stack of photos, one by one.  I sit and take my time looking at each one.  I’m careful not to let my tears fall onto them.  I’ll never look at a grieving mother the same… ever again.  I’m feeling what a grieving mother feels… and I haven’t even lost a child.  I am just a … stranger.

 

As a stranger, I don’t know that this young man’s mother cried teardrops that were shiny as diamonds… they fell into her son’s hair as she stood at the end where his head lay.  I don’t know this mother was standing in a world of darkness that moved ‘each time she moved’, trapping her in it.

 

I don’t know that this mother took her hand to pat her son’s head just as she’d done many times in the past; patted his shoulder, touched her son’s face… just like she used to do when he got hurt as a child.  I don’t know that this mother’s hand….

 

Smoothed her son’s hair down, her fingers gently touching, moving his hair into place (she didn’t know it was already in place, neat)… until….

 

Her hand touched a row of … what is that?  The tips of her fingers felt a ‘hard ridge’… they traced it… how long did it take before the realization penetrated the shock she was in… to tell her what she was touching?  Telling her… this was from the autopsy done on her son… this is where his head was ‘cut’… throwing her into the past when once…

 

As a young mother… she’d placed a centerblock under the swing so, her little four year old son could climb up on that very swing… anytime he wanted to.  How as a young mother, knowing no better, that her son would fall out of the swing to cut his head ‘probably in the same place as ‘this’ cut’?  All she thought about… was making it easy for her little son to swing anytime he wanted to.

 

She didn’t know she’d be standing in the emergency room soon, hearing her son scream as his head was… sewn up!  Sewn up… my fingers are touching a … my son’s head has been sewn up… again.

 

Touching ‘this place’ forever burned a memory into this mother’s fingertips… sometimes, when she touches things… it’s like touching that ‘scar, that ‘cut’…. sometimes, she sits and touches, holds her fingers together… remembering.

 

As a stranger, I’m so thankful I don’t know this… I would cry my heart out.  My heart would go out to this mother… I wouldn’t be able to bear knowing all this.

 

I don’t want to know this mother’s pain as her fingers began touching, patting her son’s head frantically, trying to let him know she cared for his pain… not thinking about… he never felt the pain… from this ‘cut’.  She was crying, her tears fell into his hair to dry permanently there… he went to his grave with his mother’s teardrops in his hair.

 

For a time, each little teardrop sat on strands of his hair… like little diamonds sparkling in the soft light that filled the room.  Like being showcased… a grieving mother’s tears.  Soon, they became invisible… each person who looked upon him later, never saw all the teardrops in front of their eyes… each teardrop of this grieving mother became… a permanent part of her son who lay there in that coffin… they are now, mixed with his ashes.

 

I have been writing as a stranger… trying to ‘see what they would see’ if they came upon Tommy’s Chest.  I tried to ‘see, think’ what they would feel.  Thankfully… a lot of you can just read, imagine for the time you read, the grief.  Then… you can slip quietly back to your life, your precious children… thank God, they are alive, well.  Isn’t it … so wonderful?

 

There are those of you, who are like me… we can’t do that.  You’ve probably been experiencing what I have for the past two weeks, the emotions… the not-knowing ‘what’s wrong’… until you realize.

 

As I watched what was playing out in front of me at Walmart, I felt deep pain.  I made myself look… just because I hurt inside, it didn’t mean I couldn’t see, enjoy, feel… the beauty of watching several children, along with their father stand in front of a card rack.

 

The card rack held the biggest Mother’s Day cards.  As they took this one, that one… out of the rack… they were discussing if this is the one they ‘should get for Mama’.  The cards measured about two feet tall, a foot wide!

 

I stood there, letting myself ‘see me years ago’ when I used to stand in front of a card rack to pick ‘my mama’s card’.  I imagined… Tommy standing in front of a card rack to pick a card out for ‘his mama’… I know his wife also, helped him.  :)))

 

I stood there… let myself enjoy seeing that family… it slipped up on me… so, all the while it was playing out… I didn’t realize what I was looking at… until…

 

I’m glad I did, it made me feel happy inside.  I think I may have been smiling at them… they never knew I was there… they never knew the impact they made on this grieving mother.  I felt… bittersweet.

 

This Mother’s Day, I think I am going to be okay for the first time since Tommy’s death.  I really believe this… not to say I’m not going to feel the deep grief that never leaves my heart.  That’s permanently ‘there’….

 

I feel since writing ‘I CRY FOR TOMMY’… that book made all the difference in my mind, heart, and soul.  I know now, that Tommy’s going to never be forgotten.  I know his children will one day know him, know me …through my words, my writing.

 

They will know how much I loved their father, my son.  They will know that their Granny Gee always loved them.  Maybe they’ll be proud that their Granny Gee writes… published two books.  They might be proud… there’s no telling how many more books there’ll be in the future.

 

I’m in the process of writing Book Two… The Saga Of Victoria Fairchild.  I, also, have in mind a coloring book with my own drawings, a book with my ‘doodles’, and maybe another book about Tommy, my grief ‘now’….

 

I feel somehow, I’ve come to a point in my life where I can accept Tommy’s death, my only child’s death, my son’s death… I have to say it like this… to meet it ‘head-on’.  I have to face any pain I feel, not run from it… because if I do… I have to ‘begin the grieving process all over again’.

 

I’ve been through that… now, I ‘make me listen when I say Tommy is gone, Tommy’s gone forever, I don’t have a child any longer; my child is forever …gone’.  I don’t try to be ‘mean’ to myself… I have to live the rest of my life… I need to be okay… so, that I can.

 

Does it hurt any less to be like this?  No, the pain is there… there comes a time when like ‘me’… I ‘know inside’, though my whole world’s changed, my child died… everything is going to be all right.  I am going to ‘make it now’.

 

Does it mean I’m not going to cry, feel upset, feel anger that he’s gone?  No… I’m still going to feel all that… but… I’m going to be all right ‘now’.

 

Does it mean I’ll just forget Tommy ‘now’?  No, I won’t forget Tommy ever… that would be like forgetting I have a leg, or arm… a part of myself.  All this just means ‘now’… that no matter how bad it hurts, everything is going to be all right.

 

No matter how bad it hurts ‘now’… everything is going to be all right.

 

 

 

 

 

What Are You Afraid Of?


 

 

5-29-2010.. Last photo of Tommy only a short time before he passed away. He was so happy on the trip to Myrtle Beach and so happy playing with Taban when he left us. My precious son, I miss you.

Last photo taken of Tommy just a short time before he collapsed on beach that evening…on May 29, 2010.

 

What Are You Afraid Of?
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

I read those words a short while ago… and the first thought that entered my mind was… I ‘used to be afraid of something happening to my child. Every parent is afraid of being told something has happened to their child… or… that their child is dead.

Something did happen to my child on May 29, 2010. He died… 2 blockages in his heart. He collapsed at Myrtle Beach …

He collapsed by the ocean waves as they washed ashore, while the beautiful sea gulls flew above him, while the wind blew gently over his body… while his little son played nearby… not understanding that his daddy had died. All he knew was that his daddy was running, playing with him… then… he was laying on the sand.

It changed my whole life… I don’t have a child anymore, I became a ‘motherless’ … mother. I no longer know what I’m supposed to be. I know that when a woman loses her husband… she becomes a ‘widow’.

What am I now? What do you call a mother whose child … has died? I have thought, and thought… is it something I’ve heard before, and just can’t remember? If so, I hope someone can tell me.

That was my worst fear to come true… to be told my child was dead. I learned it in the most unusual way… and I was 200 miles away… I was the first family member to know.

It began the moment the house phone rang… how I hate our house phone… no one will ever know the war that has been inside me, regarding the house phone. I hate it, and I’ve damned that phone a ‘million’ times since May 29, 2010. Damn that damn phone…

I don’t even bother to answer it… it’s my revenge for being the instrument that delivered the devastating news to me. “Ma’am, I have a man lying here on the sand, he isn’t breathing”. Our two Pups howl everytime that … … … … phone rings. My cousin in Oregon, has named our house phone … The Howl-O-Phone.

The stranger pressed the key on the cellphone to redial the last number dialed on Tommy’s phone. The number was ‘me’… Tommy had called me just a short time, saying they were safely at their destination at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

It was Memorial Day weekend… do you know how relieved I was as a mother… to know my child, his family had made it safely to their vacation spot on a weekend everyone travels, a weekend known for wrecks, known for some people never coming home again? I breathed a deep sigh of relief…

All that traffic… all those people going to the same place… all those people drinking, drugging, driving… excited about being on vacation, thinking about what fun they were going to have… my son, and his family made it safely to the beach. I remember being so … thankful, happy they were finally there.

I smiled while Tommy was telling me they were almost there… it was just what I was waiting for. I worried about them in the holiday traffic. He said he would call me back in a little while. I was excited for him… he was going to play for the first time with his little son at the beach. He was excited…

So, when that ‘damn’ phone rang… my mind couldn’t comprehend ‘who’ the voice was that came from it… from Tommy’s cellphone. I remember holding the phone out to see if I’d seen right… yes, it was Tommy’s cellphone, ‘it was suppose to be Tommy’s voice’…

But, a strange voice was talking to me, and what that voice said to me… was the worse fear ever coming true in my life. I had just talked to Tommy… I could hear a smile in his voice… I know he heard the smile in mine.

I’m so glad he called me, I’m so glad he said, “I love you, Mama”. I’m so glad I got to say, “I love you, Son”.

Here I sit… this moment thinking… I just can’t believe Tommy is gone. I can’t believe he’s not here. I sit here thinking … Easter holiday is already here… again.

Soon, Mother’s Day will be here once again… the month of May… is almost here again. The month of May when so many ‘bad’ things have happened..

The man stepped in front of Tommy’s big truck in May, he was killed. My precious brother, Rick-Rick, died in May. My son died in May one year exactly …. after the man that stepped in front of his big truck, died.

I’m still living ‘my worst fear’… I will be alright now… but, it’s still in my mind. I still live what I was … most afraid of…

 

 

DURING THE MONTH OF MAY…


Smile...Smile...Smile ;-)!

Smile…Smile…Smile ;-)! (Photo credit: Thai Jasmine (Smile..smile…Smile..))

DURING THE MONTH OF MAY…

BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES/ aka GRANNY GEE

Since Mother’s Day my colors have been not been so bright

I’ve been so sad thinking about Tommy, my path is alittle darker now, with less light

I knew it would happen no matter how much I tried

May is the month of tears for me, the month I’ve cried

The most ever in my life, millions of tears for my son

Millions of tears for my only child, my only one

I’m like two people, a happy one for your eyes

I smile for you and tell you lies

So, you think I am doing just fine

So, I don’t have to answer questions all the time

Let me be sad all I want, I won’t bother you

In fact… I’ll be happy while you are, too

The month of May is a very sad time for me

My brother died, later my son died in this month, you see

Imagine how painful this is to lose ones who mean so much

Oh my God, a brother and a son… the pain is such

That it weighs me down so low, darkens my path

making it hard for me to smile, or to laugh

But, I will smile and laugh when you see me

I promise not to make you sad or down, you’ll see

Here, where I write is my only place to tell you

About how sad I am, how I really feel.. too

You choose to read if you want to know

That way I don’t push my feelings on you, so

When you read… it’ll be alright

Because I’m here.. not around you in sight

For you to see me and feel you have to comfort me

Distance here is important… so, it’s alright to let me be

In time, I’ll be alright, in time I’ll smile a real smile

For now, especially this month… I’m grieving so much for my only child

You don’t have to worry, I won’t bother you

Here.. where I write, you are here because you chose to

Here.. is my private place, also… public, this is where I write

Here is my place where I’m out of sight

When you come here, it’s because you want to

That way I’m not pushing… myself on … you

Just know that I’m glad you chose to be here

I’m so thankful… you all are so near

It means the world to me

I don’t feel so alone, you see

With Skip, and our Pups … and everyone

I can make it while I grieve for my …son

I can make it while I grieve for my brother, and… son

During the month of May… for my loved ones