I’m Proud Of You, Son …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Happy Smile She Would Wear … When Needed

The Happy Smile She Would Wear … When Needed

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


Tommy and Taban … my only son, my only grandson…


She took the mask off her sad face

Alone in her home, sitting in front of the mirror

Now, the smile lay on her dressing table … instead of her face


She took the gold hoops out of her ears… six, in all

Unclasped the golden chain that held a special nugget

A big, gold nugget her son wore until the moment … he died


She wore the gold nugget as a young girl in high school

Melted it down as a young woman to wear around her neck

Gave it to her only child when he was a young man


He wore it proudly, knowing it was his mother’s class ring

Melted down by the jeweler to be worn on a gold chain

It was taken from his neck shortly after he went to Heaven


His mother treasures her gold nugget as she never did before

She touches it time to time… trying to feel her son

Trying to somehow, feel his last moments


Try as did… she never could… she couldn’t feel anything

She would catch herself patting it gently… as if to comfort


To comfort herself… somehow, comfort her son when he died

Isn’t it strange how we do things when we lose the ones we love?


One day this mother’s gold nugget will be given to her grandson

When she’s gone, for him to remember his father; father’s mother


Maybe one day when he is a young man just like his father was

His Granny Gee will put the gold chain with the nugget on his neck


On his neck to wear with pride, to wear with such love

To know that his Granny Gee, his father wore it through time


His Granny Gee got it in 1968, gave it to his father in the late 80’s

He wore it until the evening of May 29, 2010 when he went away


Went away forever… on that evening by the sea

On the warm sand, where his body was lowered by the angels


Lowered gently by their hands, their wings beating softly

All the while the sea gulls sung, ‘Come home, Tommy, come home’


Tommy traveled that day to Myrtle Beach to play with his little son

By the ocean … he barely made it in time… soon, he left once again


On an unexpected journey no one knew about, not even him

He didn’t have time to say goodbye… he looked out to the sea


Heard the waves washing ashore, the sea gulls sing

The rustle of the angels’ wings… felt the breeze on his face


He must have heard his little son say ‘come play with me, daddy’

Maybe tears filled his eyes, he couldn’t say anything


He may have stayed just long enough for the group of people

The people who came to his side, who protected his little son


Protected him, until his mama came… they must have been angels

They were the only ones there at that time, that place


One picked up the cellphone Tommy dropped, rang the last number

The last number dialed… to a home two hundred miles away


Hello!  They heard a happy voice say, when she answered the phone

‘Ma’am, I have a man collapsed on the sand, he’s not breathing’…


They never knew at that moment… she died, too

For this was how she learned of the death of her only child, her son


She sat at her dressing table, her lips in a sad smile

Her eyes looked in the mirror at her reflection


Tears filled her eyes, she wanted to cry

No matter how happy she was …. she was sad


No matter how sad she was … it didn’t change anything

To this day… she still couldn’t believe that her son is really … gone


She closed her eyes as she sat there … traveled to the ocean in her mind

Her head rested on the back of the chair as she fell asleep, listening to the song of the seagulls as they … sang


She awoke to a soft whiteness around her… where was she?

Someone came toward her… his smile like the sunshine


His hair shone like gold… his eyes were blue as the sky

Tommy!  Tommy!  She cried


As he hugged her, told her he loved her… she felt a bump

On her knee … she opened her eyes to see three Pups


One standing by her knee, one laying on her foot

The other had just jumped up to kiss her on her face


She smiled her sad smile as she looked at the happy smile

Laying on her dressing table… the one she would wear when needed


The happy smile, the happy smile

She would wear… the one she would wear when needed


I Wonder… Will He Grow Up To Be An Actor

I Wonder… Will He Grow Up To Be An Actor
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

(Tommy holding Taban… he was so proud)………

Tommy Mitchell Sidden holding his newborn son shortly after he was born... 3-16-2007
I looked at a little face so familiar
So, like the little boy I had once
I even saw ‘myself’ in that little face
The eyes, the smile so, like mine… like Tommy’s

My little grandson, so like his father
With such a sunshine personality
That can change to stormy in a moment
I wonder who else was like that… who is like that… ‘now’

Yes, it was Tommy, this little one’s father
And … me, too… I’m lots of sunshine, and stormy, too
This little fellow might be a flirt, he likes girls
Girls like him, big girls… little girls are drawn to him

His daddy was like that as a young boy, I had to say ‘no’
Big girls wanted to ride him around in their cars
He’d smile his little boy smile at me, hoping I would say ‘yes’
I would grin back at his little mischievous face, say ‘no!’

I would tell him to wait until he was old enough to be out with big girls
He would laugh at his over-protective mother
So, would the girls as they went their merry ways
They knew… one day would come… Tommy would grow up

Just as Tommy’s little son will grow up one day, full of life
Full of wonderful life, his bright personality lighting up the world
Only when he sleeps will it soften like the night
When he wakes up, it’ll glow like the golden sunshine

I sense special things about my little grandson, I feel he will go
Far in life with such confidence, do something special
He could become an actor, a writer, a doctor… even
I ‘know’ in my heart he is destined to ‘be someone’, I ‘see’ it now

Little sweet Taban, who melts my heart, makes me smile
My little grandson whom I love most… he’ll say ‘Granny Gee, I love you most!’
I know in my ‘big girl’ heart that I love him most… I know what it’s all about
I love him in so many ways… for himself, for being my son’s …son

For being my only grandson I’ll ever have in this life
He’s the closest to Tommy I can ever come
I can see my son in my grandson who is here
I thank God for him … everyday

I feel I can ‘see’ special things in the future, I ‘feel’ them
All around my grandson… I know he’s going to do well in life
How do I know… I can’t possibly explain, but, I’ve sensed it before
With other children… sure enough… they grew up to be special

I think I’m going to plan on being around a very long time
Just to see what he’ll do, accomplish… I know it will be interesting
For even now, he likes ‘to wear many hats’, dress up to be somebody new
I’m thinking he loves to be different characters… I wonder if he’ll grow up to be an… actor? He can be very entertaining…. :)))



A Grieving Mother Will Always Grieve Until Her Dying Day… Until Her Last Breath Is Taken

Tommy and Taban at a lake on May 29, 2009…

Tommy and Taban played for last time at ocean on May 29, 2010… Tommy died there



A Grieving Mother Will Always Grieve Until Her Dying Day… Until Her Last Breath Is Taken

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



March 10, 2013… is the publication date of … ‘I CRY FOR TOMMY’.  After that… my book… was written, finished.  All of a sudden… after so long… there wasn’t anything to do…..


I didn’t know what to do, how to feel after going through the happy period of getting the ‘Congratulations!  Your book has been published!’  I felt lost, I was very emotional.  I cried a lot, happy that it was done… sad… because ‘what was I going to do now’?


I had worked so hard at trying to correct the issues found in it…. I know there are still several mistakes in my book.  Guess what?  I ‘let go’ of it …so, I can move forward. That’s why I told everyone that I’m not perfect.  I tried to catch them all… only to find more, until I thought I’d gotten all.


On March 12, 2013… I took the Lexiscan Nuclear Stress Test… afterwards, I began hurting in my chest, head, stomach.  I called my doctor’s office.  It didn’t seem the test would cause that..


On March 25, 2013… I was in the Emergency Room for hours, so sick, my chest, head, stomach still hurting.  I became short of breath.  It was determined I had fluid in my lungs.  I was given a medicine for fluid retention..


I took the medicine all weekend.  I still hurt in my chest, head, stomach.  I didn’t feel well at all, I felt light-headed.  I slept a lot… I never sleep in the daytime unless, I’m very sick.


I found out that the fluid medication only removed fluid from the body… not the lungs.  I quit taking it.  I was having leg cramps because of it… no matter that I added the banana to my daily diet as instructed.


I began to get better by Monday evening… much better on Tuesday evening (a week later).  Today is Wednesday, I’m back to being ‘myself’.  I cancelled my appointment with my cardiologist for tomorrow morning.


I know I had a bad reaction to the Lexiscan test, and I feel after doing a lot of thinking that when I finished my book about Tommy… being very emotional because ‘that was it’… all contributed to how sick I became.


I was grieving for Tommy… for my book being finished.  I learned something… I thought when I finished my book… I wouldn’t grieve like that again.  Like magically … all was going to be just fine.  I learned… that’s not so.


I’m going to always grieve for Tommy, he was my child, and I loved him with my heart.  My pain will always make me remember Tommy.


I am so glad to feel good again… it feels good to feel good!  :)))  I’ll still grieve, I’ll still write about Tommy… ‘why would I stop now’?  It was the very reason my blog was born…. to remember Tommy.  I will always remember Tommy… until the last minute, second of my life.


So… if you see that I grieve, understand that a grieving mother will always grieve until her dying day, until her last breath is taken.


I Cry Because It’s So Sad…

Tommy and Taban at a lake on May 29, 2009… one year later Tommy and Taban were at the ocean on May 29, 2010… Tommy collapsed, died from 2 blockages in his heart……


 I Cry Because It’s Just So Sad…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


This has been an emotional weekend for me.  I’ve been working on my ‘I CRY FOR TOMMY’ book for quite some time.  I shortened it down to 1,066 pages… then, to 738 pages.  


Since finishing the book, submitting it once again, then getting the email saying ‘Congratulations, your book has been published’… I have found myself in tears … a lot.  This was ‘the’ one book I wanted published most.


Every word in this book is a part of ‘me’. I wrote from my very heart the grief, pain from the depths of my soul.  When someone holds it in their hands, they will hold my grief, my pain … in the form of a book.  


A lot of you may recognize some of my poems, stories.  Do you know the strange thing?  Through time, I have been going through all I wrote, do you know I couldn’t remember so much that I wrote?  I know I wrote it, it was all about my son.  The words were from a grieving mother… ‘me’.  The words were my words.


I didn’t have anyone to talk to, I tried not to burden Skip with all the pain I have carried in my heart.  I would come to my computer, sit, write my pain trying to write it out, I had no other outlet.  I don’t talk to people about something so private… though I could write my words here to you. 


I didn’t want to take medicine to stay drugged so, I wouldn’t be able to think.  I did take powerful medicine (I still can’t remember the name of it) for a time after Tommy first died… I can’t remember ‘then’, though in a way I can.  Darkness, pain, crying, panic….


Medicine only numbs pain, ‘hides’ one in it’s soft cocoon so, one doesn’t have to feel fully the horrible pain of losing a loved one, a child, one’s only child.  The end… no child anymore.  


The child you wanted to have your personal belongings, your photos, your everything to.  There’s no one to ‘carry on’ for you anymore, to carry your ‘family branch’.  


There’s no one to be there when you become older, need your children to watch out, look over you wherever you are.  No son who loves you, cares for you… now, he’s gone forever.


When one stops that powerful medicine… they begin to ‘wake up’, begin to feel that horrible pain, begin to feel it all the way to their soul, begin the grieving process that was prolonged for so long.  


After I read the ‘Congratulations’ email, I began to feel as if I had come out of a tunnel, out of Hell.  I began taking a lot of deep breaths… God, I could finally take deep breaths again.  


Getting my book ready has taken so long… now, I can ‘let it go’… I’m so happy that I can let it go.  Such a load has been taken off my shoulders, I know I don’t have to worry anymore, Tommy’s not going to be forgotten.  


I feel every person who has lived, died… should be remembered.  It hurts me thinking about each person I loved, who have died.  They don’t have a book to remember them by… eventually, through time so many things will be forgotten, no one will have an idea of the kind of person they were when living.


Don’t you think it so sad that to ‘go to all that trouble of living’, we are forgotten after we die?  We all had, have a purpose to be here.


I had opportunity to talk for a short time with my precious little grandson last night.  His mommy told me something he said… it hurt my heart so much, it makes me cry.  How sad, how so very sad.


He has been very upset because lately, he ‘can’t see his daddy’ in his mind to remember what he looked like, anymore.  I think he cried because he doesn’t want to forget anything about his daddy.  


I could hear him in the background as we talked.  It touched my heart to hear her tell him, ‘that’s why we have pictures, so we can look at them, so we will never forget’.  To listen to her tell him in her ‘ mommy voice’, a voice so sweet, so comforting… touched something in me.  


Tommy was a presence when he entered a room.  He always made a good impression on people.  He was very polite, kind to people, he went out of his way to help others.  One could always see in his eyes that he was happy to make a good difference.


I understand what my little grandson is worried about… it’s keeping his daddy’s face, voice, how he moved … in his mind.  He wants to remember him forever.  Why do we have to forget?  I wonder if it’s to ease the pain… would the pain be ‘more’ if we kept such a clear picture in our mind?


Is that ‘why’ when I see someone who looks like Tommy, I stop and let my eyes follow them, ‘trying to see Tommy’ walking, moving, smiling, talking?  I feel pain as I watch for a brief moment ‘Tommy’?


At this moment, I sit here at my desk… my head feels achey.  It has hurt a lot lately.  I think I’ll be glad when a few more days go by… this has been quite a weekend.  I’m so happy, but… you wouldn’t believe it looking at me.  I look so drawn, tired, weary… my eyes are red, sleepy looking.


I’m back now, I just came in from the long journey I have been on.  One of dark roads, paths.  I have traveled in the bowels of pure Hell, while my soul screamed at the pain of losing my son.  My book has made it possible for me to be alright now.  I had somewhere to release the pain from my very soul.


I know I will cry, I know I still feel the pain, grief… but now… I know everything will be alright.  I know I will always feel grief, sadness, pain over the death of my only child.  I can accept now, that he is gone.  I didn’t want to … before.


May 29, 2010… it will be 3 years since Tommy walked into heaven from the sandy shore of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on a Saturday evening.  He made it in time to play with his little three year old son… it was the first, last time he ever played at the beach with his son.  


The last time I saw my son was on the evening of May 28, 2010 … the last time I saw his smile, heard his voice, saw him walk, eat.  It’s so sad … now, I cry because it’s just so sad.  So sad that a wonderful son, person is gone.  I love you, Son.  

Anger To My Dying Day … No Need To Ever Question … ‘Why?’

Tommy with newborn son, Taban Mitchell Sidden 3-18-2007 (born March 16, 2007)... he was so proud of him

Tommy holding his newborn son, Taban.  He was so proud….  also, when his daughter, Mckenzie… was born.



Anger To My Dying Day… No Need To Ever Question… ‘Why?’

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


I have been going through another ‘Tommy Time’. You have shared it with me many times, reading as I wrote about it.

I wrote honestly, as I promised I would … how it felt to be ‘this grieving mother’. That’s ‘why’ I began writing this blog… I couldn’t find anything to compare with… being a grieving mother.

I can’t speak for other mothers who have lost a child/children. I can say I know from losing my only child, my son… how I have felt. I don’t even know if ‘you’ can read my blog about grieving… to know if what you are feeling is ‘normal’. I only know what ‘I feel’…..

How do you compare one grieving mother’s grief… to another grieving mother? How? In her mind… ‘her’ child died, the pain she goes through is from ‘her’ child. Think about it for a moment… just for a minute… ‘if’ it were your child…. see, it’s so bad … that you can’t bear even the thoughts of it. ‘Your’ pain would be greatest…..

It seems I keep going through ‘disbelief’… disbelief that such a strong, big guy who loved life, wanted to live it to the fullest ….died. I look at his photos… I see a ‘real’ living person who was there for the photo to be taken of him. How can he not be here… now?

Blocked arteries… it really is a silent killer… the strange thing is… Tommy was going to doctors the most ever….. in his whole life during the weeks prior to his death…….. not one of them ‘saw anything’… not even one doctor hinted at it.

Silent, invisible….. I can’t believe that not one of the doctors who prescribed heavy dosage medicine didn’t do an EKG, at least some kind of tests on his heart. Especially knowing he’d been a long-distanced truck driver for years… one knows they don’t usually eat right.

Especially knowing Tommy had just come off the road with a breakdown, suffering from the death of a man he accidentally … killed. A man who stepped out of his car, into oncoming traffic… into the path of a tractor-trailer …driven by my son, Tommy.

I don’t even question ‘why did it have to be Tommy who hit the man… some cars did in fact ‘hit’ the man, ‘afterwards’… they had no choice in the three fast-moving lanes of traffic on that bridge. Only it wasn’t the man… it was ‘parts’.

I’m not going to get answers to my question ‘why’… did it have to be Tommy. As someone would think to ask me …. ‘why not Tommy?’ How in the h___ can I answer that question…. ‘because he’s my son, and I wish he were here, and that’s ‘why’ he died… what he was going through ‘disguised’ his medical condition…..

Don’t I sound so angry at this moment? I don’t mean to … oh yes, I do! No, I don’t… but, …. I am. No, I’m not………… I’m not… it just hurts… I feel pain in my heart. These are just thoughts…. :)))

Can you see a gentle giant of a guy down on one knee, in the middle of the highway… in shock? Crying… tears on his face… his eyes only focused on the parts of the man lying in the road? How did the traffic ‘not hit’ my son, too?

His eyes not seeing any car, or person who slowed down …. after realizing something bad had just happened? They drove silently past my son, looking straight into his face…. he never saw them.

I stop to think for this moment…. if it were my eyes seeing this gentle giant of a guy down on one knee, in the middle of Interstate 40 on the bridge (no breakdown lanes)……. what would ‘my eyes have seen?’

I would see a blonde-headed guy with eyes frozen wide in shock, tears he never knew were falling from them…. looking around him, at the ‘parts… the ‘red’…. in the road. I ‘can hear the screaming in his mind’ that no one else could hear………….. how long did it take for someone to come, put their arms, their hands out to touch him, comfort him? How long?

Once the law enforcement arrived, and the IMAP people got there… they began comforting him, talking to him. They kept telling him it was an accident…

I won’t ever forget my son … he sat in front of me, crying … ‘not seeing me as he tried to tell me what happened’ … as he described the blood, the torso with the heart still beating in it… lying there.

The things he saw…. the things he carried in his mind… oh God, I understood the pain he was in…. I was experiencing it as I watched my own son experience it. I was sick to my stomach, I felt actual, physical pain. Mothers do that……

In my mind, I keep hearing his soft voice crying, “mama, mama”….. You see, I still deal with what he went through, I grieved with him… I ‘felt like I was there, too’. That’s part of being a mother…. being a part of your child… almost feeling like whatever happens to your child… also, happened to you.

Oh God, the physical pain I felt in my heart when this happened to Tommy… (May 2009)…. one year later in the same month… May-2010 … my son died. He never got over the death of that man… he came off the road in April-2010… with a breakdown… began going to doctors.

Not one doctor checked his heart …his heart was broken… not only that, it really was ‘broken’….. blocked arteries… he would die at any moment. It was just a matter of …. days, weeks… from April 1st to May 29th. (2010)

Tommy suffered, grieved … was in bad condition just before he died. You wonder ‘why’ I grieve the way I do… there’s always more to the story when it’s told. There’s still ….. more. It is always like that… true stories have to be told in ‘layers’.

He was desperately trying to … come back to life, to live it. I even saw several smiles … just before he died. Do you see ‘why’ I talk about his smiles? He’d quit smiling after that accident….

Just before he went to Myrtle Beach that weekend, he’d talked to someone about going back to school. He was supposed to meet, ride around with a parole officer… that’s what Tommy wanted to do. He’d been good at that job.

These are thoughts in my head today. It takes a long time to tell a story… a true story of real events. Some are too painful… to tell straight-forward. There’s always still ‘more’… left untold. The same as in my life … it’s always going to ‘be one day’… only layers at a time can be told, seen….. too painful.

It’s always ‘if’…. after things happen. Just like the ‘if a doctor had just checked Tommy’s heart’….. damn all the ‘ifs’…. yes, I said that! I felt a flash of pure, hot anger… mixed with pure, raw grief.

Now, it’s time to go back to ‘being all right’ again. Play the game of life… everything is all right. I smile again, laugh… never mind if a tear or two falls.

I just think lately… I have felt anger about Tommy’s death. I think about all he suffered prior leading up to his death… he was experiencing ‘pure hell’, not only that… he was experiencing bad things in his life.

Yes… I guess I’ll feel anger to my ‘dying day’… I know there are things I’ll always live with… things I’ll never talk about… unless it’s the right place, right time.

Tommy’s death … Tommy’s death … can ‘you’ imagine ‘being in my shoes’… saying your child’s name in place of ‘Tommy’s name’? Yes, I know you can’t bear to even think it, anymore… than saying it.

I know this won’t be the last time I’ll experience the feelings of anger ‘inside’… over my child’s death. For now, it’s how I’m feeling. I’m sure from time to time, I’ll experience ‘anger to my dying day.’

Not only that…. it never does any good to question ‘why?’

I’m Not Big Enough To Hold The Pain…

I Miss You With My Very Heart...

I Miss You With My Very Heart…

My Precious Son, Tommy….


I’m Not Big Enough To Hold The Pain

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

I’ve been in a … strange mood since yesterday. I sat at my desk in my computer/art room for several hours. I was thinking of Tommy … he died at the age of 40. Was that all there was to his life…. just to come that far in years … to die?

He never had a chance to say ‘goodbye’… he didn’t know he was going on vacation … to die. The ‘goodbye’ he told me, the evening before … was a ‘goodbye’ …knowing he was coming back to see me, his mother. He knew he was coming back to see Skip … he didn’t know that was his last time to laugh, talk with us that evening.

Do you know, I want to cry… I miss him so very much. Tommy was so real for 40 years of … my life. I see him in my mind, as I listen to soft music that makes me sit, think…daydream. I can see him moving around at our home that last evening. I ‘enter my mind’…..

Tommy was pressure washing our house. When he finished, he was so proud. He said he ‘meant to power wash our house before he … left.’ I began to feel…. sobs building up inside my chest.

When he said ‘left’… it wasn’t the kind of ‘when you leave … you don’t come back.’ He didn’t mean it that way. He meant to come back to see his mama, Skip, and the Pups.

Just before he left… he power washed Skip’s pickup, then… my Expedition… I call it my ‘truck.’

What’s funny about it all … is ‘after Tommy died’ … over the weeks when it rained… what we discovered about the house… my Expedition.

Even in our grief, it ‘stood out.’ It was ‘so Tommy.’ I smile … thinking about it now.

You see, Tommy loved to help everyone. He liked to ‘fix things’… though, sometimes… they weren’t ‘as fixed as he meant them to be.’

For example, he could walk by Skip’s pickup, say he would check the air in it… he’d take his little gadget, stick it in the tire to check the air. Later, when Skip would go to leave in his pickup… the tire would be flat….. :)))

It would be so funny, because when Tommy would say he was going to do something for us… Skip and I would look at each other with our expressions saying…. ‘uh oh!’

We’d look back at Tommy, and say “no, that’s all right, Tommy!” He would begin laughing, his eyes filled with such laughter… so big, so ‘Tommy.’ He knew sometimes… things didn’t do as he meant them to! It was funny…

Several days…. weeks after he died …. I can’t remember that period of time well at all. It began to rain, storm one night… I remember being up, walking to the kitchen, turning on the light. I stood very still, and I began laughing, crying at the same time.

I walked over to the stove, put my finger on the porcelain top… there was water on top of it. Lots of water…. it came from the hood…. I put towels there to absorb it, and any more that would fall through the exhaust fan opening.

The next morning I showed Skip… he said that what most likely happened was when Tommy was on top of the house pressure washing… the little lid on the pipe flipped open, didn’t close back.

We looked at each other, said “Tommy!” at the same time. We began laughing, I cried so much… at the same time. Tommy did it!

Later, we went up to my Expediton to get in …. on my side of the truck… the rubber rug … the little ridges in it … was filled with water! My truck had leaked water for the first time ever, somehow… coming down from the windshield!

I showed Skip, and again … we looked at each other, saying “Tommy!” We began laughing, of course… I cried again. Tommy had ‘sabotaged’ …once again!

With us… Tommy ‘was known for that’… he thought he could fix everything… sometimes, it … wouldn’t be! :))) We got many laughs at him through time, would gently tease him. He would laugh that sweet laugh of his, laughter spilling from his eyes like rays from the sun.

His bright ‘Tommy smile’… how I miss his smile. One couldn’t help but, to begin smiling when Tommy smiled. It was a heart-warming, comforting, everything’s going to be all right smile. It was my … son’s smile, one that never failed to warm my heart.

Oh God, I miss my funny son! I wish he’d walk into the doorway, filling it with his height, his ‘Tommy presence.’ It would be like sunshine breaking through the gray clouds on a rainy day. What would I do?

Why hasn’t he come back to see me? I have heard through the years how someone’s ‘loved one comes back to sit, to talk with them.’ Why hasn’t Tommy come back to sit, talk with me? I know if anyone would… Tommy would. Yes, I will ask ‘why?’ this one time. Why?

Why can one loved one do it… and another loved one … doesn’t? I’ve seen strange things … but, ‘why?’ didn’t he just simply …. appear?

I can’t even describe the sadness in my heart, the pain… oh, the pain. Sometimes, I have to get up in a hurry, walk, move around for the pain ‘inside’ me… it’s so great, that I can’t sit still with it.

The pain will make me move, it’s too much for one body to hold. I feel panicky, I weep inside … no one hears me. I do it all silently… I know people wonder ‘why my eyes are red’… if asked, it’s so easy to blame it on allergies I suffer with. I never have to explain that.

I cry ‘inside’ often … it never goes away. Like yesterday, this morning as I write … I am… crying. If you passed by the doorway, looked in at me… you’d just see … a woman sitting at her desk typing at her computer, while listening to soft, classical music. Only if you looked close into her face, would you see tears have fallen down her cheeks.

Allergies … she would say, if you asked ‘why her eyes are red, and swollen, glassy.’ Allergies do this to me … all the time.

I sit here now, as I write. I’m reliving ‘yesterday’ while sitting here.

‘Inside’, my sobs go high, low while riding on the waves of the soft music, while my eyes stay closed. My eyes burn from the wet tears that fill them. I close them tightly, feel the burning sensation, then… relief feels so good as the burning goes away.

Now, I feel sleepy… I could go to bed to seek peace of mind, but… I won’t. Today… I’m not mad that Tommy died … I feel the utmost sadness ‘inside.’

I thought Tommy was coming back from his vacation, to tell me about all the fun he and Taban had while playing on the beach, in the sand, chasing waves out into the ocean.

I thought he was coming back, to tell me the funny things Taban did, said while running, playing with his daddy. He did get to send some photos, and in the midst of videoing Taban… his cellphone slipped out of his hand, as he…………….

Can you see it ? Can you see this tall, gentle-giant of a guy with a little blonde-headed 3 year old boy that looked just like him?

See them running on the sand toward the waves, the big guy saying “Look Taban, look at the waves! Let’s get our feet wet! There’s a seashell, Taban, pick it up for mommy!” Can you see it in your mind? I am sitting here … living it in my mind.

Then… I picture in my mind … my son possibly looking up, with a ‘knowing’ that he’d done what he came to do there ….at the beach that evening …. he came, he played with his little son, left Taban with a beautiful memory of his last time with daddy.

Maybe … he heard his name called softly, as he looked up. The sea gulls flying in the air overhead, the waves washing up on the sand close by… the wind gently caressing his hair… as his eyes widened… as he slipped from here in our world …into the ‘thereafter.’

Maybe … unseen hands helped to guide his body down to the sand, so… that it didn’t hurt him as he fell….

He never suffered… as the waves of the ocean continued to wash up on the sand close by, the wind softly blowing his hair, maybe he was hearing, understanding what the sea gulls were saying overhead in the air… as he joined them. As he hovered above, watching his little son run to his body, saying ‘Daddy, won’t you come play with me? Daddy?’

He watched as the little group of people close by… angels in disguise… run to protect the little boy, call for help. He smiled, he knew there would be lots of pain for his family… but, it was really time for him to go. He just waited until his little son was in good hands………

One of the angels… picked up Tommy’s cellphone, pressed the last number called. On the other end, a happy woman’s voice answered quickly… like she was expecting the call.

The angel began telling her that he ‘had a man lying here on the beach, he wasn’t breathing’…………… never knowing the smile on the woman’s face slid off into darkness, she following immediately behind it… to the dark world to drown in the sea of grief… for almost 2 years.

Just before she went to the dark world, she asked about her little grandson, the angel told her he was there, safe…. she handed the phone to Skip. The woman was his mother, the woman was ‘me.’ Her whole world changed in that brief moment….

I keep trying to imagine, to know what happened the ‘last moments’ of my son’s life. I try to ‘know’… by knowing my son, his ways.

He would have never left his child alone to the unknown… he was so strong, such a force that he would have protected him… but, at that moment …. I don’t think he knew inside what was happening… I keep wondering ‘what did he think, feel?’

This is always in the back of my mind. I hope he wasn’t hurting, I hope he didn’t feel pain when his body fell to the sand. I hope unseen hands did guide him down to the sand gently to lay him.

I panick sometimes, when I’m thinking … when I let myself think… ‘Tommy won’t ever come back, I won’t ever get to see Tommy again.’

I have the sensation in my stomach … the only way I know to describe it is… like birds trapped in a cage, their little wings frantically fluttering so fast, beating against the bars of the cage, trying desperately to … get out.

This is when ‘I’ am not big enough to hold such pain … it’s too great. It drives me up from where I’m sitting, laying, standing…. to move around until I find some outlet, some… peace of mind.

It’s time for me to get up once again … to move around until I can feel some peace of mind. I think I see a distraction … a happy distraction!

I just saw some fine snowflakes falling outside my window! I didn’t think it would begin until… late evening. Now… I am excited, I love snow… I feel excited…

I’m having to walk off… leave my sadness in the background for now. I have to live while I’m here in this world… I ‘see Tommy smiling’ in my mind. I love you, Son. I miss you with my very being.

Shoes Of A Different Color… Taban’s Car Seat… Damn House Phone!



Granny Gee’s shoes … today I wore them for several hours before discovering they don’t match….  :)))  It was one of those ‘I don’t believe it’ moments.



Shoes Of A Different Color…  Taban’s Car Seat …  Damn House Phone!


By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


I went to run several errands on Sunday, I visited several stores.  I didn’t feel my best but, I had the confidence I normally have, until … I looked down at my feet.  Something seemed a little odd, at that moment I didn’t pick up on it.  


My mind kept saying ‘something ‘isn’t right’.  I looked back down at my feet, my mind not registering anything out of the way.  I went on to finish all I needed to do, got in my truck, came home.  My truck is high enough off the ground that I have to step up on the running board to enter it.  Sometimes, it isn’t an easy job when there are days my body ‘feels the pain more’… also, for a ‘short’ person.  :)))


When I got home, I began to exit my truck and slid down to the ground… when the sunlight revealed to me what I had not seen before … I was wearing different sneakers!  They didn’t match!  They were of different colors!  Oh my God!  I went out in public like this!  I couldn’t believe it.  I knew I wasn’t feeling well, but…..


Well, hopefully no one noticed it… thankfully, they were of the same style, but… of different (soft) colors.  I didn’t recall anyone looking down at my feet… I ‘looked into my mind immediately!’).


I had gotten sick on Saturday, very sick with flu-like symptoms …enough so, that Skip was worried.  I slept all of Saturday evening, through the night, and on Sunday morning, I felt ‘well’.  How fortunate was I?  I didn’t feel 100%, but, almost.  I think I ‘missed the bullet.’  


Not feeling the very best, is my only excuse for wearing non-matching shoes.  I did that once many years ago, when I worked in the office… I couldn’t go home, I kept my feet hidden under my desk! 


Not only did that happen… something kept distracting my attention as I drove my truck.  Each time I looked into my rear view mirror, I saw this:





Taban’s brand-spanking new car seat.  I will save this for him ‘one day’… I already have his wagon, dump truck, artist easel with paints, paper, Christmas presents, and toys… blankets….. and …. and ….. and………………………………………………………………………


This was what kept bothering me as I looked into my rear view mirror… see Taban’s seat sitting there on the 3rd seat of my truck?


Taban’s car seat has sat here almost as long as Tommy’s been gone.  Taban has never gotten to ride, while sitting in it.  


 Taban’s seat still rides with me everywhere I go, sitting there wishing for a little, precious boy to sit in it.  It been there for almost as long as Tommy’s been gone.  I ordinarily don’t let my mind focus on it….


That was the second thing … today, that bothered me.  When I got home, got inside… another thing made me feel worse.





You can see 24 Missed Calls… get an idea how much I pay attention to that house phone, I don’t hear it anymore … I don’t care.  Who’s going to call, unless it’s someone with something ‘bad’ to … tell me?


The third thing… the house phone was ringing … Kissy began crying, howling.  It sounds so sad, I can’t bear to hear him do that.  It’s strange … it’s really strange he does that.  


I ‘know why’ I can’t bear to hear the house phone… that’s how I found out Tommy was … Tommy died.  The man talking on Tommy’s cellphone called our house phone…


I hate the house phone, I feel instant anger when it rings.  ‘If’ I answer it, I know anger is in my voice… I feel mad, I feel anger….  I begin to tense up when it rings.


It is just how it affects me… so, whoever chances calling me on it, also…. may hear pure anger in my voice.  I know it’s wrong, not right… but, tell my feelings that.  I feel ‘mad’ now.. talking about it.  I’m not mad at who calls…. I’m mad … at something in the past.


Combined with how I feel, Kissy crying each time it rings… it’s almost… unbearable.  We use it mostly to fax with. I would not keep it, if it wasn’t needed.  Our cellphones would be enough..


I’ve turned the phones down as low as they will go… thinking the tone is too high for Kissy… it doesn’t matter.  He begins crying, howling… anyway.  


Same thing when he hears the theme song for ‘Two and a Half Men‘… and the ‘bacon, bacon, bacon commercial.’  Kissy will begin crying so pitifully, it turns into howling non-stop.  


We can use the remote control on the tv to mute the sound, but… we don’t have a remote control… for everything.


So, today shoes of a different color, Taban’s car seat, and the house phone have bothered me…. threes are always my number it seems.  A lot of times though… threes are significant in a good way.  Today, they weren’t… I felt them more because I was sick.


All of these things were upsetting, but… I don’t dwell on things too long… I make myself ‘let go’…..  to find peace of mind.










It’s Be Christmas Again … Without Tommy

Tommy's Chest and Contents, Xmas Tree 013

Tommy’s Box that sits inside Tommy’s Chest… the contents of this box are my very last moments with my son.  This box hurts me more than anything in this world…  this box was in my mind as I wrote the poetry below……

Tommy's Chest and Contents, Xmas Tree 011


The Christmas ornament I felt I needed to get to put on our Little Christmas Tree… we never had a little Christmas Tree until after Tommy died.  The Christmas Angel ornament was given to me by his wife after Tommy died… I can’t remember her giving it to me… but, somehow I ‘know’ she gave it to me.


When Tommy died … it crushed our world, we still feel the aftermath of it all… life can never be the same with him gone.  These are things that one day Taban will want … he’ll see photos of his daddy, hopefully read my blog… he will know he wants to come to his daddy’s mama… I have things for him, can tell him things about his father… that no one else can. 


I don’t mention my granddaughter because she’s never shown interest in her father, us.  I’ve never just talked to her by phone.  I’ve always updated our address, phone numbers…  we don’t live far from either grandchild.  We don’t force ourselves on anyone… we are … just here.


Taban was very close to his daddy, he was in the stage of ‘wanting to be like daddy’ when Tommy died.  There’s a country song, something with ‘buck-a-roo, I want to be just like you’… I’m not good at remembering songs… this song touched my heart and I used to tell Tommy that the song made me think of him, and Taban.  Tommy would get tears in his eyes… he loved Taban with his very heart… Taban loved him back… he wanted his daddy’s love. 


Anyway, that song … makes me cry if I hear it… maybe that’s ‘why’ I can’t remember the name of it when I want to.  I would love to have it to put in Taban’s Chest.  I would love to have the song ‘Rhinestone Cowboy‘ to put in Tommy’s Chest… when Tommy was a little boy, that was his favorite song (that, and the silly song ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia‘ :))).


It’ll Be Christmas Again … Without Tommy

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


As I laid there, I tossed, I turned

My thoughts were like hot water

Burning me here, burning me there

I could not lay in any one position long


Let me get up, come to my keyboard

Type out the thoughts that are torturing me

I stand in my mind’s Memory Hallway

Looking at the many doors on either side


I see the floors … waxed, shining

With a soft, golden glow

The walls are a neutral color

So, I can add any color in my mind I want


The hall is lit with many tiny lights

It’s not a scary place, just only beyond certain doors

The lights remind me of the Light In The Bottle

That our friend, Cindy, made for us


In fact, at this very moment, I’m changing all the lights

To Bottles Of Light to softly light my path

As I float down my mind’s Memory Hallway

That’s better, for it truly comforts me


There are special chests on each side of the hall

Funny, I try not to ever see them

They are Memory Chests, ones I try to avoid

For the pain, grief I can’t bear


I try not to open the lids to the Memory Chests

I have replicas here in the physical world

Of three of those chests in my Memory Hallway

My mom, my brother, my… son


I did something yesterday I didn’t know I was going to do

I opened Tommy’s Chest, my son’s chest

I felt I had to have the Christmas/Angel ornament

Holding his photo… I wanted it for our little Christmas Tree


There were things in there that I held in my hand

I held to my heart… I held to my face

My tears fell on them, absorbed into the cloth

My Mother‘s Tears for my only child, my son… Tommy


I looked at the green plastic Tommy’s Box sitting in the chest

My mind ‘knew’ what was in that box

Photos of another Box that Tommy laid in

Just as his Last Photos lay in… this Tommy Box


These are the thoughts torturing me this morning

I can’t sleep, I couldn’t just lay there

I had to sit me up, walk me here to my keyboard

To get relief from all going round, round in my head


In my mind I could see a cloud of pure, white, thick cotton

Fluffing around Tommy’s Box, until I couldn’t see it anymore

I saw it going back into Tommy’s Chest, the lid close

On the memory of what my eyes saw yesterday.. when I opened it


This happened in my mind… but, here in my physical world

There’s no pure, white, thick cotton to wrap Tommy’s Box in

It sits in Tommy’s Chest, all one has to do is to open the lid

Easy to take out, easy to open, but… not easy to look at


The contents of Tommy’s Box is the closest to ‘being back’

Back to very moment standing there looking at my son

With shock, disbelief, numbness in my heart, my body

Looking at my son, not believing it was him… laying there


The contents of Tommy’s Box are of the Last Moments

This Mother spent with her son, not talking, not laughing

As we always did… he didn’t say a word to me

My words to him were in my mind as I stood there looking at him


Through eyes filled with tears, the worst pain I’d ever known

I could see him, I couldn’t see him, I wanted to see him, I didn’t

I wanted to see him moving, talking, laughing… but, I … didn’t

Silence… my son lay there not moving, talking, laughing


He … just lay there, he wasn’t … anymore

His very essence had left his body … to where did it go?

Where did you go, Tommy… where did you go?

Why can’t I feel you anymore as I stand there?


Questions in a grieving mother’s mind

That will never be answered

That’s ‘why’ this grieving mother is always looking

To see Tommy if something unusual happens


She knows anything is possible

Why, you might ask

Because… through time miracles happen, strange things happen

This mother has seen a lot of them through time… she believes, she ‘knows’


Thoughts, visions in my mind of the contents of Tommy’s Box

Were burning me this morning, as I tried to lay in bed, go to sleep

I had to sit me up, come to my keyboard

To look for comfort, to tell someone without saying a word, I don’t want to wake Skip, the Pups


I look at my body in my mind, all the scars… lots old, some new

I see many places my thoughts burned, scars will be left

Here, in my physical world… you can’t see a thing

But… a smile … you don’t have to be burdened with my grief


I’m so thankful to be able to come here

To write, to talk … you who read, choose to

Choose to listen to my soul’s pain, my cries

To feel what it feels like… to be a Mother Who Grieves


I pray that it never happens to you

Only … here … will you see, feel this kind of pain

Because… our children are supposed to outlive us

Most likely, your children will always be there for you


My only child won’t be there for me

His two children won’t be there for me

I only have Skip, our Pups, our Friends

I have You, here… to comfort, care for me


To read, to listen to this pain

That builds up inside me, no where to go

But… here … in my written words

To be read by those who care, are curious, want to know


What it’s like to Lose A Child

How it feels to be a Grieving Mother

Without experiencing these things yourself in real life

My prayers are that you never do… my prayers are good wishes for you… I care


It’s Christmas again without Tommy

The third Christmas he is gone

I know that all the Christmases left in my life

It’ll be Christmas again… without Tommy

I Just Had A Bad Time… Writing The Pain Out

Christmas Tree (1)

Christmas Tree (1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I Just Had A Bad Time… Writing The Pain Out


By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


Well…  this evening, guess what I did?  I asked Skip to bring several things from our outside building… to the house.  I was paying close attention to myself, my feelings when he brought all in.


I waited to see if I’d become sad… feel panicky, want to cry.  These are the emotions I have experienced for two years now.  It’s awful… the pain, the pure grief…. holidays have a way of making all worse.


Why?  Because that’s when all of our loved ones gather for a time to feel close, happy, glad they have each other.  It’s a time of such pure happiness looking around yourself, thinking ‘I love my family… these are my special someones in my life… I’m so thankful for them’.  I feel so safe, loved by all of them…. I’m special to these people, they are special to me.


Then… someone is all of a sudden ‘gone’…you didn’t get to tell them ‘goodbye forever‘.  Like Tommy… I did get to speak to him on the phone less than an hour ‘before’ ……… when we ended our call we said, “I love you, son.”  “I love you, mama.”


We said ‘goodbye’……… but, we never said ‘goodbye forever, mama’…. ‘goodbye forever, son’…..  When I said goodbye, I only meant until he would call me in an hour, or so… to tell me about playing with Taban at the ocean.  I didn’t say …’goodbye forever, son’.  I didn’t …. mean ‘goodbye forever’…..


Now… at this very moment, I look at what I’ve done… I could become very upset easily… but, I mean to do as I told you all I would do… that’s to make our Christmas a happier time for us… Skip and our Pups.


I just made it through Thanksgiving… and I heard Skip say… ‘This has been the nicest Thanksgiving’…..  I did it, and I’m so thankful I didn’t make it another sad Thanksgiving.


Skip is so fortunate to see this Thanksgiving… I’m so thankful to have Skip this Thanksgiving.  Wouldn’t I be awful not to appreciate, be thankful after what he has just been through when he became deathly ill?  I could have… been all alone … only the Pups and I on these holidays.  My world is complete with Skip, our Pups.  I’m so fortunate.


I’m happy, I’m sad… bittersweet is the only word I can think of to describe what I am.  I looked at photos of Skip I had taken of him in Rex Emergency Room when he was very ill, when he was in the hospital that week…. one could see ‘death was close by’… my heart hurts, I want to cry looking at them.  One photo, he was lying on the bed with his eyes closed… so still, so sick… he looked like… he was ‘gone’.


I showed these photos to Skip this evening… he didn’t know I took them in the emergency room… he knew about the ones while being hospitalized… I took them because I could see that he was getting better, and better.  Skip said, “I looked like I was dead, I’ve seen dead people look better.”  I smiled at that because Skip is funny… he is the most wittiest person I know… quick on his feet to say something hilarious.  He’s… my special someone, he’s all I have in this world… he means everything to me… him and ..our Pups.


I look again… I stop writing to turn around to see… what I’ve done this evening.  I’m determined not to get in the condition I have been in for the past two years… I may be sad but, I’m going to be a… strong sad … mixed with gratefulness…


There…. on the table is a 4 foot Christmas tree, decked out in shiny red balls, colored lights.  That’s what I’ve done this evening… ‘I’ve put up the Christmas tree’…….  I tell myself ‘everything is going to be all right’….


I keep experiencing this feeling of wanting to cry… I feel tears threaten to fall… I’m so happy, I’m so sad…. I have Skip, I don’t have Tommy.  I’m caught in the middle… I could have had … no one.  I could have been all alone.  I feel I want to lay my head down, and just … weep.


All of this is from thankfulness, mixed with grief.  One of my loved ones is still here, one of my loved ones is… gone.  One whom I didn’t say ‘goodbye forever’… to.  I only said goodbye for a little while….


For a few moments… I want to cry out for Tommy to come back, please don’t be gone!  I know I sound foolish… grief can make one do, think foolish things.  No matter how happy one can appear to be… when they’ve lost someone that is a part of them…. grief is only beneath the surface.


I see that I’m going to have to cope with this… I feel inside that the darkness is trying to come near again.  I can’t let it … happen now.  I just can’t.  I love my son, I miss my son, it hurts so bad.  I wish for my son to be back… Tommy, I wish you weren’t gone.


Today I saw a young boy … he looked alot like Tommy looked when he was a child.  I stood there, watched that boy… ‘seeing Tommy’ for several moments.  I made myself turn away… what good does it do to ‘see Tommy’?  It hurts me deeply.  I feel ………………. I feel … so much.


Sitting here in darkness around me… I have the lights out… I sit here in the light of my computer thinking, writing…. I’m beginning to feel calmness inside.  See… how this happens when I think I’m … all right?


I just turned around again to look…. at that pretty Christmas tree.  I’m so happy that I put it up for us to enjoy.  I’m so glad that I can write this pain down here.  Now… I can feel better… Skip never has to know how sad I became because…. now, I’m all right.  Everything is going to be all right.


I can smile through my tears… because I see, hear Skip talking… he’s here.  I know Tommy is gone… it’s like the glass of water…. half empty, half full.  I wish I could fill that glass right back up… Tommy to be back.


I know that he can’t come back… but, it still doesn’t stop the pain I feel.  That can come back at any time… no matter how happy I am determined to be.


Everything is all right now…  I wrote out the pain.  I was having a bad time… I have been writing the pain out.