Ashes To Ashes… Dust To Dust; I Have To Remember Because… I Must (What 9-11 Means To Me)
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
The Pups have eaten breakfast from their clean, stainless-steel bowls. Kissy grabbed his milk bone from the treat bowl I put out for each of them. He is laying on the carpet, chewing it… making a little crumbly mess. I’ll vacuum it up in a little while… the main thing is that he enjoys it… that’s what treats are for.
Each Pup has 2 stainless-steel bowls that are washed before they have breakfast, and before their evening meal. The first ‘big’ bowl is for their meal… the 2nd ‘smaller’ bowl is for a little extra dry food, and several treats. The treats are usually a chew stick, and milk bones. I put 2-3 treats there to last throughout the day.
I’m writing about the Pups… our Precious Pups… Kissy, Chadwick, and little Camie. Little Camie is our little puppy I rescued… have been nursing back to health. It’s a story all its own… that’s the new book I’m writing at present… Camie’s Angel.
Many people have befriended Camie on her Facebook page. The link is: https://facebook.com/camocameobates . She has her own Followers, also. They will know, recognize alot in my book about Camie.
I am writing about our Pups… only for this moment. I am sitting here with such grief in my Heart. No one looking at me would know how heavy… my heart is this morning. I’ve been like this for several days… knowing how much the 9-11 events affects me.
I feel I could lay on the ground, and turn into pure tears… a long, flowing river of tears for the death, destruction of 9-11. It breaks my heart… it hurts me to my very soul. I could scream as loud as it would wrap around this world like a comforting blanket… the pain, the pain. I can’t take this pain away for anyone. I hurt for the thousands of people directly affected that day.
My tears flow down my cheeks, so much that my skin burns at this moment. I just watched about the dogs that played such an important role in the 9-11 events… not only were they used for searching for survivors, the deceased.
They brought comfort to people who would begin smiling when they saw these dogs… they got comfort when they stopped for a moment to reach out… pet them. My heart cries for the beauty of it… in such horrific circumstances.
I see all the destruction around … in the middle of it, a fireman squats to pet one of the dogs, smiles though his heart and mind are seeing things… no one should ever see.
I sit here watching the 9-11 documentaries… I cry inside. You can’t hear me, but… somewhere on a different frequency… something’s bound to. The emotion…
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust… comes to my mind. What’s so strange is the very morning it happened… I was standing in front of the tv as I began to become aware of what was happening. I couldn’t see through swollen eyes, hear for a numb mind… I had to peer closer in order to hear, see….
See, I was already in the most horrible shock of my life. My mother had died on September 09, 2001, on a Sunday. We had come home from Raleigh, NC. We’d been shopping, and a strange thing happened while we were in Sam’s Club that Sunday.
My attention was caught by a beautiful ‘jar’ with a lid. It was blue, and white… the design elegant. Out of the blue… it came to my mind, it looks like an urn. I blocked that thought out of my mind, put it in the shopping cart. I wanted it to put on the counter; inside were Biscotti biscuits to enjoy with a cup of coffee.
We got home that evening… I walked past the telephone. I saw the red light blinking, indicating there were messages to be heard. I waited to put our purchases in place… the Biscotti jar on the counter. ‘Urn’… came to my mind once again. ‘Urn’….. I felt a little unease. I went on to ignore the thought ‘urn’…
A little later, I was standing by the telephone in ‘pure shock’ at what I’d just heard. I cried out for Skip… he didn’t hear me. The shock had taken my voice down to a whisper. Skip! Skip! Skip! Please come, Skip!
He heard me, rushed into the room to me. He saw my face, knew instantly something was very wrong. I knew it was, too… but, I… didn’t know what.
I had pressed the button to play the messages… and the room filled with a sound that sounded as if it came from another world. I recognized the sound as… being my mother’s voice… only I had never-ever heard her voice sound like that. Mama!
The sound was bone-chilling. It was a ‘keening’ sound that at first, I just couldn’t understand what it was. The tone, the sound…. Mama!
I began pressing the button over, over… I could hear her trying to scream out, “Faye-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, please help me-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”! I won’t go any farther here… I can’t. I still have that cassette… I have hidden it from myself. The pain …. I can’t bear the pain of listening.
When time went by, I connected dots… and there were things ‘not right’ about her death. I won’t write about that … ever. People have died… people are still living… they ‘know’.
Before I could call my Mom… the phone rang. It was someone we thought of as a real friend… only to find out later… he never was from the beginning.
Secrets…. so, many secrets… walls… people who pretended to be other… than what they were.
Deceitful, lying… but, always smiling, kind, wonderful. ‘GOOD’ people…….. when your back turns… a ‘whole other life is being played out’. Walls… walls, I was never allowed to find the door to… to ‘see’.
Pain here… I’ve ‘come to a wall’ … I’m standing here mentally beating my head against it. Let go, let go…. I ‘have seen’ on the other side through others’ actions, things they said… reactions… do you know, I really didn’t want to see. Riddles, only more riddles for a story I … can’t tell.
He told me my mother died that evening… Skip! Skip! Skip! Please help me, Skip! Please help me! September 09, 2001… Sunday evening….
A person dies on a Sunday evening… by Wednesday evening all her things are removed from the house.. her clothes taken out of the closet… they hung on one side of her husband’s clothes.
On the other side… only ‘the color purple’ … remained; hanging by his clothes. ‘The Color Purple‘… the strange thing is… I still love the color… purple.
THOUGHTS… expressions on different people’s faces as they stood out on the front deck… frozen in shock… blood drops on a white Avon headband… the house was cleaned hurriedly… Mom’s things from beside her recliner moved, stuffed back… a whisper in my ear to get Mom’s handbag… I ask permission first from her husband. Hearing the words from someone I loved, saying: ‘she’s dead, ain’t she, goddamn it’! Deeper shock… I can’t function. Did I really hear that …from…? The list goes on, just as ‘jumbled up’ as the words in this paragraph… something’s wrong here. Can’t think now… Mama! “Faye-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Help-ppppp me-eeeeeeeee, Faye-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can’t take this! I’m going to die, my mama’s gone. Mama! Help me, Skip! Help me! I can’t bear this! Hope for a moment, a phone rung… ‘she’s dead, ain’t she, goddamn it’! I’m hopelessly lost once again… in darkness.
For the three years, until after my mother’s death, I had been battling cancer… non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I had lived in darkness with the fear of dying… going through so many treatments, chemotherapy, tests, scans… my life was almost living at a hospital…
Not only that, more darkness came as I began to win my battle… Skip was diagnosed with colon cancer… he began going through his battle… still going through it when I learned my mother had died.
No end to the darkness… one thing after another. I learned my favorite aunt, my father’s youngest sister… had died. She died when if I’d been told, I’d never understood… I was so sick, myself.
A step-mother constantly calling… never calling before in my life… to monitor me… through Skip. He was innocent of her motives… she won by telling my Grandmother… that I was dying. That took care of my inheritance … my aunt had died… she couldn’t keep her promise of making sure… the doors were left open… and a wicked stepmother ‘stepped in’… smiling.
Ironically… after I got better… Skip got better… she began to get very sick. She wouldn’t tell me what was wrong… we did go see her… took her out to eat at Golden Corral… she couldn’t eat even one bite. Looking at her… she was so thin.
We suspected she had cancer… she never would tell us. Being respectful… we didn’t pry in her life. We never did… she entered our life… when we were weak. Skip was so innocent… he thought she was genuinely concerned. I was too sick to tell him… don’t trust that woman.
She won… I will never forget what my Grandmother told me just several months… before she died. I’ll never forget how she looked down… my stepmother had fooled her. No, her words will stay in my mind until the day … my last breath is drawn.
Strange enough… with all that’s happened in my life… I’ve never become bitter… I don’t hate. I just ‘know’ what people will, can do if given the opportunity. Think of how animals in Africa do… when another is weak… they become easy prey. This is the thought that comes to my mind to describe. What is the saying? Only the strong survive…
Another thought comes to my mind… a little 9 year old girl being watched as she goes too far out in the ocean… the other two little girls are stopped before ‘they go too far’. What was the difference, all were only one year apart? One was a step-child… insurance policy taken out at her birth… who cares, she’s not my child. Riddles, more… riddles.
My life is full of them… you probably won’t ever hear the answer to … most of them. You know… we all have to go to our deaths one day… and we all go with one secret, or other. Even the person ‘who tells everything’ …will die with an untold secret. Who would believe them, anyway… some are very hard to believe ever… happened. I know…
Death… so much death in my life. Grief… I’ve known such grief in my life. I don’t feel sorry for myself… I don’t wallow in self-pity. I smile… I go on. You don’t have to be touched by my pain… I don’t share it with you. It’s private… I don’t talk about it to you.
I ‘come here to write my pain’. I make it into stories… if ‘you’ read it… you ‘choose to take your time’ to read it. You can walk away, no excuses to leave… they are only words.
If you feel something… it’s because you let yourself do so. If you do, you only feel ‘a small fraction’ of the pain inside me. Aren’t you so glad… it isn’t you? I am. I’m strong… I’ve made it this far… everything is going to be alright. I ‘know now’… that’s why I grew up in ‘Hell’… it was to prepare myself to ‘walk out of it’ on the paths I traveled in life… I made it when I thought … I wouldn’t.
What I’m looking forward to … now… are the good things in life. It’s time, and I ‘feel’ that. Time for both Skip and I, to know peace… and have a good life. Skip is more deserving than I… he has worked the hardest of any man I’ve known… he has been stressed more than any man I’ve ever known. It’s time for life to be good for him… he is truly deserving. Skip is a truly good person.
I am meaner than Skip. :))) He is more kind than I. He has more patience than I do. I care as much as he does… but, I’m just meaner. No matter how good I am, try to be… I’m still ‘meaner’.
I’m the one who has ‘hell burn inside me’… it was already burning when I was born. Life events made it burn more, burn less. I’ve tried to turn that ‘hell’ into a ‘fireplace’… one that will keep my heart warm, loving, caring.
I still feel ‘mean’, sometimes. It’s a battle I will fight until the day I die. I don’t want to be mean, I love being a good person. When I say ‘mean’ … I don’t mean ‘hard-core’ mean.
I mean that I am sometimes short-tempered, I anger quickly. I really try hard not to… it doesn’t make me feel good… ‘but, it’s there’. Pain… pain in my body every remaining minute left of my life… the trade-off to live. Pain… makes me ‘feel angry’… I never take medicine to relieve it. Why? I don’t want to be addicted to drugs in order to live. I don’t want to clutter my mind, I want it to be clear. I love to think.
Pain is the trigger that fuels the flames of anger. I have to fight that all the time. I could have not had these years if not for a trade-off in pain. I love to live… I love to see the sunshine, feel the gentle breeze of the wind, feel the sand between my toes. I love to hear birds singing, wind chimes ring… dogs bark… people talk, sing… I love the sound of water running… I ‘pure love’ life.
So… I’m going to do my best to smile through my pain… I’m sure not going to lay down and …. whine, cry, and sing ‘woe is me’. Pain… I will fight you… and I’m going to win. I have life to… live for.
I have written pain here of another kind… not just the physical pain. I wrote mental pain of losing a precious person in my life. I have a lot of regrets… there are things I wish I had done… knowledge came ‘too late’… to help my mother.
I wish during the 3 years I was so sick… my mind constantly in and out of darkness… my mind focused on just trying to get well… I wish I had been able to ‘know sooner’ what my mom was going through. I was too sick… things happened. I didn’t know… until too late. Just as I began to get better… Skip was diagnosed with cancer. Isn’t it amazing… from May 1998… through 2002… all this happened… and more?
Our home burned down, claiming all our belongings December 28, 2004. Another death… someone I cared about… someone who dearly loved my mother… was always there for her… who also, knew her secrets… talked to me… died several days after our home burned down. A log truck hit her head-on, killing her. I grew up with her in Hell… she was my 1st cousin… my sister as a child.
Soon after that, Skip almost died in a big truck crash in Moriarty, New Mexico. Several weeks after that… a bank robber almost hit him in the side of his truck… fleeing from law enforcement. Several weeks ‘after that’…….. a woman runs a stop sign in front of Skip… he hits her. It seemed like one shock after the other… one after the other. I’ve known shock so many, many times.
The strange thing is… the list goes on… so many more deaths. People ‘I truly loved’… began dying. Skip had escaped death three times… ‘things came out of the blue… almost took him’.
Everyone knew I would have fought for my mother. Strange… remember what I said about the animals in Africa. They wait until there is a weakness… then, they strike. They devour their prey with tooth, and nail. Yes, I know… more ‘riddles’. Life is full of riddles… and sometimes, that’s the ‘only way’ …something can be told. Only the sharpest person could know that… and then, it’d take ‘forever’ to learn … the story… some of my stories.
The man pulled the woman out… through the smoke. She lay there coughing, she couldn’t breathe. Tears come into my eyes… she almost died. She’s a survivor, she made it through the 9-11 terror attack. Her name was Sheila Moody. My mind has gone back to my tv… I am sitting here remembering 9-11… a lot happened that day.
A lot happened in my life just before… and afterwards. Mine was on an ‘individual scale’… 9-11 events were on a ‘mass scale’… oh, the loss of life, it breaks my very heart… my mama died, too. It broke my heart.
Ashes to ashes… dust to dust. I see dust, papers ‘raining in the wind’ as they fall from the twin towers… on tv. So much life lost, wasted… gone. My mama was gone, too.
Hate… pure hate… came out of the blue, no one knew. Someone had their mind focused … while others didn’t know.
Animals in Africa… strike when no one’s looking, killing their prey. They wait until the strong… is weak, unexpecting.
See… I can’t think about just 9-11 terror attack by itself… that morning… something awful had already occurred in my life. My mother had just died… my thoughts are all jumbled up together. Entangled is a better word.
My mind never did register the attack on the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I find that strange… my mind took in the attack on the twin towers, the World Trade Center.
While I watched it later play out on tv… my mind screamed with the pain of the terror, panic, death… the horror… the destruction… it also, screamed at the loss of my mother. I can’t separate the two in my mind… so, entangled both became… I can never think of one without the other. Oh, the grief… oh, the grief.
My mind is filled… with many doors. Each door opens to a different memory. I call this in my mind … Memory Hall. There are more doors that open to sadness… but, there are also, those ‘good’ doors.
‘Ashes to ashes … dust to dust’… this is the one thought that says it all… we went to pick my mother’s ashes up on 9-11-2001. All the while in my mind… I could see the ‘ashes raining down’ from the sky… from what I saw on tv, before we left to go get them.
Ashes, dust…… this memory is just that. A thought came to my mind… when our home burned down… my mother’s ashes were ‘burned’ again. The container holds that scar to this day… where it sits in her Rose Chest.
Today I cry inside at not only the loss of my mother; for the loss of so many people that day. I picked my mother’s ashes up… as I watched others fall … that day. My words can’t even describe the grief I feel inside…
I Have To Remember… Because I Must
Written By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Grief in my heart… tears in my eyes
I think even God can hear my cries
So much death that day, grief fills my heart
That’s the day… families were torn apart
I just walked down my Memory Hall
Closing these doors, I can’t bear this at all
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
I have to remember, because… I must
No one should be forgotten in this event
What they went through, the day terror was sent
I don’t only cry for myself
I cry for the 9-11 families that are left
To carry their burden of grief, pain
Just as I carry mine… the same
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
I have to remember, because… I must