That’s Not Tommy …

That’s Not Tommy …

By Gloria Faye Brown/ aka Granny Gee



 Tommy … and his precious son … (date is wrong on photo) … My son, grandson … Taban

 Tommy  … and Taban … My son, grandson

 Tommy … and McKenzie … My son, granddaughter

 Tommy … Taban when he was born … My son, grandson

 Tommy and Taban … like father, like son … My son, grandson

 Tommy ‘crying’ with Taban … My son, grandson

 Tommy making Taban not cry … being so silly … My son, grandson

 Tommy and I, living at Lake Royale … my photo damaged by housefire … lucky to have it


 Tommy, my son, on the road … big, gentle guy … tough, only if had to be

 Tommy, my handsome son … I was so proud of you

 My son, Tommy … age 11 with me, Gloria Faye Brown Bates /aka Granny Gee

 Tommy, age 11… as tall as me, in this photo… my precious Son


Tommy, on the last day he lived on this earth … hours before he collapsed on the beach, sand … at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  May 29, 2010.


Tommy! My eyes follow the young man as he walks tall, proud … he has on sunglasses … hair, beard nicely trimmed. Big guy, gentle guy … a force to be reckoned with, if pushed … a big teddy bear any other time. I look down to my lap, where my hands clasp each other … that’s … not Tommy. A tear falls on my hand … I wipe it away.

The gate rattles, Tommy’s coming through the gate. He’s here to visit! I think I hear him speaking to the Pups. I am excited … instead of going to meet him, I sit … wait. The wait goes on … I know it … that’s not Tommy.

I hear a soft voice, speaking … it laughs. Tommy! Hey, that’s my son, Tommy. My lips begin smiling, I feel sunshine in my eyes … lightness in my Heart. I close my eyes, enjoy it as long as I possibly can … because … I can only ‘hear, see’ my son in other people, now. I pretend for a few minutes, ‘just to see how happy it feels’ … then, real life sets in …


That’s not Tommy …




Note:  These photos are my property, I own them/and story.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee …     Remembering Tommy


I Didn’t Know The World Was Big Enough For Both … Grief Of Losing My Son … Me

I Didn’t Know The World Was Big Enough For Both … Grief Of Losing My Son … Me

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee






























Photos of Tommy, Skip, myself, my artwork, beadwork; I made fireplace in the photo with our Christmas tree this year… dragonfly picture (Tommy loved dragonflies) …. owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



I have made it to another Christmas … never knowing … I could ever feel joy, happiness in my Heart, again.

My only child, Tommy, died May 29, 2010, at the young age of 40. He had blockages to his heart … no one knew. He … was at Myrtle Beach … running, playing with his little 3 year old son … when he collapsed on the sand.

Tommy’s spirit soared with the angels who came to take him home. The last sounds he heard … were the laughter of a precious, little boy … sea gulls singing to him as the ocean waves softly played in the background. Come home, Tommy …

I can’t in no way … describe the grief I’ve suffered. Grief … there wasn’t enough room in this world for my grief … myself. I almost … had to go … to make it bearable. How in the world does a mother … learn to live without the child she brought into the world?

Of course, if you’ve never lost a child … you can’t even begin to understand, nor … imagine. I do know you can begin to think about your child being ‘gone’ … you will panic inside, have to stop trying to imagine.

Why? Because … you don’t want to think of this world without your child in it. Oh, my God … the pain. Pain just from ‘thinking about it’ for a moment, or two. Just think if it were the ‘real thing’ … that it really happened.

I’m glad you have your children. It makes my Heart happy when I see you with them. I smile when you don’t know it … I love to see families, hear … their happy, family sounds.

My Heart breaks if I see unhappiness in a family … I have to not look. My thought is that they just don’t know how fortunate they are to have each other. If I think closer, I realize that there are others like me … who will never have a normal family relationship with loved ones.

Some families are ‘f____ up’ before they are born … things are somehow, born in them … when they come into this world, they come in kicking, screaming … full of hate, anger. If you see a happy smile … watch out … someone else is hurting, someone else had to ‘pay for’ that happy smile. Just hope it isn’t … your ass.

This is life … just the way it is. I don’t sugar-coat it. I see it this way, I have felt it … this way … since I began aware of being a little person with thoughts. I’ve known grief, sadness, pain all my life … it’s a part of me just as breathing.

I also, know how it feels to smile, laugh … feel the happiness of happy! It just never lasted very long in my life … just enough to get a taste of it … wish for so much more.

Once in a while, I allow myself to ask ‘why can’t I have happiness all the time’? I stop as soon as the question forms in my mind. So, I tell myself that no matter what … everything will somehow find a way to be alright …. at times, it’ll take longer … but, it will be alright.

I just have to be happy while I’m sad, grieving … or in pain. I’m never going to feel one … without the other. I just have to make the best of it … or just … die. I love to live …

Thank-God for writing … thank-God for Skip, our Pups … and thank-God for … you. I made it, to ‘now’ … Truthfully, I never ‘saw ahead this far’.

I fought the battle of my life … losing a child is a terrible war inside. I won … I’m here … and for-real, everything is alright. Not ‘going to be’ … it ‘is’.

I wish all mothers, fathers … the most wonderful holidays with their children. Hold them close to your Heart … I pray you never lose them. Parents should never live to see their children … die.

The perfect way would be for parents to grow old gracefully … go before their children. The world is … not perfect.

I didn’t know the world was big enough for both the grief of losing my son … me.

Photos, story owned by me, Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

#grief during holidays #loss of a child #grief #Gloria Faye Brown Bates #Granny Gee


A Mother’s Grief Never Goes Away …

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Mother’s Grief Never Goes Away …

A Mother’s Grief Never Goes Away …
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Seagulls walked on the sand, flew up in the sky

Sunlight kissing their wings … as they soared

It came to my mind the evening my son died

I know the last sounds he heard were the ocean, sea gulls

He died on the soft, damp sand by the ocean

His little son was close by …saw him fall

Daddy, get up … come play with me

Daddy, won’t you get up … come play with me

He was too young to know his daddy had played

For the first, last time at the beach with him

He was too young to know how excited his daddy was

To be taking his son to the beach to run, play

Too young to know … his daddy had made it just in time

To play with him … to leave a beautiful memory behind

As he went to Heaven that evening … his spirit soared above

To look down with sadness at his little son he had to leave behind

Tommy, come home … the sea gulls sang

He watched his son call to him to come play

He drifted down to put his hand gently on his son’s head

His son looked up, never saw him … tears in his blue, blue eyes

Daddy! Daddy! Daddy, please get up! Come play with me!

He shook his daddy’s shoulders … he never moved

Young as the little boy was … he instinctively knew something was wrong

He laid his little blonde head down on his daddy’s chest

Wept for him … somehow, he knew Daddy wouldn’t be playing anymore

He felt a hand touch his shoulders, looked up, saw a group of people

Who became his guardian angels until his mother could be found

One picked up the cellphone that had fallen to the ground

Dialed the last number called … to a home two-hundred miles away

The woman answered with a smiling, happy voice

Hello, Tommy! An expression of puzzlement came across her face

When a strange voice answered her … why do you have my son’s phone?

It was my voice … I was the woman Tommy last called … I was his mother

My world ended that evening for almost three years

To this day, I still can’t believe my only child died, my son

So strong, so vibrant … so full of life; how could that happen?

Can you imagine such … imagine your adult child is gone?

You can’t imagine … it hurts too bad to think about it

A real person who grew up with his own special personality

With a voice, laugh all his own … a person whom you gave birth to

Your own beautiful creation … a real part of yourself

Someone you love with your very Heart, so thankful for

Knowing he’d always be there when one day you become old

Never expecting him … to die before you

If I’d been at the ocean, I would have cried with my very Heart

Son, please come back … please come home!

Photo Credit is mine… is of my son … Tommy, grandson, and owned by me, Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

Note by this author:

I write over and over about the evening my son, my child died. I try to imagine exactly what happened, see it in my mind. I will probably do this the rest of my life. I miss my son … though, somehow I’ve accepted his death … the pain is just as great.

The trapped bird sensation still fills my stomach at times, I feel panicky … sick inside. I want to cry out to the Heavens above. I try to think of other things fast, so, I won’t become lost in my grief.

Grief is an awful thing … it’s like falling into an ocean of darkness that threatens to drown you. It’s very hard to come back from. Thankfully, I had Skip and our Pups… they are … why … I came back. I had no one else left in this world but, them to come back to.

I’ve never felt sorry for myself, nor wallowed in self-pity. I stayed in the darkness for protection from the pain that hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt in my entire life.

I know Tommy can’t come back. I don’t question ‘why’ did he die. I know these are for-real ‘impossible’ things. So, that proves the old saying ‘anything is possible’ isn’t … exactly true. 🙂

I don’t feel bitter, angry because Tommy’s gone. I just feel the bittersweetness from the sweet memories of my son … my golden child. The precious baby I brought in this world.

Writing helps me to cope … through time, you will see me writing about this over, and over. Know that while I’m writing, I’m also, imagining at the same time how my son’s last moments were; what he heard … what he saw. If his soul soared above to look down at little Taban, his precious son.

Know I’m examining every little detail that I know, sense about my son’s death. Why? I think, I don’t really know, but … I think every grieving mother must do this. This grieving mother does. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

That’s The Beauty Of Becoming … Older

That’s The Beauty Of Becoming … Older
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Do you have to constantly get something from another … for you to give your friendship to?
Do they have to ‘buy’ you?  I remember being younger, and the ‘friends’ I had … weren’t real friends.  I had to keep giving … this was before I learned I ‘could say no’.
One memory comes to mind, was when someone I really liked, came to visit me.  I was probably eighteen… she was a little older.  She came into my living room all smiles, confidence.
She looked me sitting on the couch in my pretty nightgown, my book close by.  She said, “I want your nightgown!”  She saw my book, said she’d like to have it, too!
I gave her both… I didn’t want to.  I didn’t know how to get out of it… gracefully.  I would have been very embarrassed to have explained ‘why’ I wanted to keep my nightgown, my book.
It took years to learn to ‘say no’.  I look back to ‘before’… when I should have.  It would have saved me so much grief.
You know how being young… you think you have to do everything someone else tells you … or someone’s going to get mad at you.  Back then… I couldn’t bear for anyone not to like me, much less be mad at me.
Today … I am myself; I can tell you ‘no’!  If you don’t like it… or turn against me … you just have to.  I can go my way… ‘let go’ of you.  I would never if possible say ‘yes’ to something I don’t want to do, or agree to do.  I would wish you all the best.
That’s the beauty of becoming a little older…
Photo Credit/ Story are owned by me (of me), #Gloria Faye Brown Bates/ aka #grannygee

Your Face Is Gone, Mama!

Your Face Is Gone, Mama!

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Photo is owned by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.  Photo is of myself, and Tommy as a young boy of eleven.

I saw horror in the eyes of my little son, Tommy.  He had come to the door of the bathroom.  I couldn’t understand at first the expression on his face!

I remembered!  I had put a beauty mask on my face.  It was time to peel it off.  The devil took over at that point … because I knew I was going to play a trick on Tommy!  I was laughing inside … yes, I know it was so mean!

I looked in the mirror, gasped.  I turned back around to Tommy, and began peeling the mask off.  “Oh, no!  My face is coming off … my face is coming off”!

Tommy began crying, pointing.   “Mama, your face is coming off”!  I peeled the mask off … it had holes in it where the eyes, mouth was.  I held it for Tommy to see ….

He looked at my face … saw it wasn’t gone!  He quit crying.  I don’t think playing that trick ever caused any damage!  Yes … it was a mean trick!  I was young, myself … and very mischievous!


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.

I Was Happy, Relieved… Sad… All At The Same Time!

I Was Happy, Relieved… Sad… All At The Same Time!

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



My only son, Tommy … with his little son.  Tommy died May 29, 2010… I miss him with my heart.



Today, Skip called me to tell me he had something to tell me.  He didn’t want it to upset me.


I was instantly alarmed… became more so, when he said, “I stopped at a rest area“……  When he said that, I was afraid.  Skip survived colon cancer… I was afraid he was going to tell me he saw more blood.


I waited for him to go on.  He began to tell me that he saw a Celadon truck… he parked beside it.  He saw the driver doing stretches outside his truck.  He began talking to the driver.


Skip told him about Tommy working there.  The driver asked him what his name was… when Skip told him.  The driver began to smile.  He told Skip that he and Tommy were friends… that Tommy was a ‘helluva’ guy; good guy!  He thought a lot of him.


He also, added that the ladies loved Tommy.  We knew that… they always have liked Tommy.  Not only was he handsome… he talked softly… and had a twinkle in his blue eyes… like the sunshine on a cloudy day.


He said he saw about Tommy passing away in their company paper.  He and Tommy worked on the high-risk loads… liquor and cigarettes.


While Skip was talking… saying it is a small world, and such… I was thinking about Tommy.  My eyes filled with tears, and I began smiling.  I wasn’t upset… Skip is afraid to mention Tommy’s name… fearing it could put me in a depressed state… darkness.


I told Skip I was glad he told me… I loved hearing something that had to do with Tommy.  It warmed my heart.  I told him that I had been afraid he was going to tell me he saw blood… because he said he was at the rest area, and he didn’t want to make me upset.


I was relieved… happy, sad… all at the same time!


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I’m Not Going To Write Anymore…

I’m Not Going To Write Anymore…
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee… 2013


This morning I got up still thinking about something that has bothered me since I published my book, Camie’s Angel… last week.

I haven’t felt happy about making several mistakes on a name in my book… it took the whole week to get it right… and wait until it was changed in my book. I kept resubmitting it… getting it back… sending it back for review over, and over… until I got the ‘Congratulations’ email.

I was unhappy because no matter what I did… I got it wrong… and kept on to correct it. Have you ever made such a dumb mistake?

Have you ever felt so bad about something… and the less said about it… the more hurtful it became? I’m at this stage now.

I have the option at anytime to take my books out of print… I have been considering it. I wonder if any other writer/author has come down to this level… feeling bad enough to do that… bad enough to… stop writing? To say ‘to hell with it’.

I wasn’t trying to get rich, writing. My books have made very little money…

I did have the satisfaction of becoming a published author… I did have the satisfaction of getting copyrights from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC… on my three books (I’ll be receiving my third copyright in the next several months)… I was very happy to have accomplished that.

I have experienced unhappy feelings since last week on Camie’s Angel… when I should have been very happy.

I feel I did well on my short story of Camie’s rescue. I look forward to holding in my hands a printed copy of it.

I’ve found such pleasure in writing… I wrote my grief when I grieved over my son, Tommy. Now, I am feeling sadness from my writing. I wonder how normal that is?

I’ve noticed people acting different since they’ve learned that they’ve known me all this time… but, they never knew I also, write… now, they act different toward me.

I don’t tell people ‘everything’ about me. I am private… I don’t feel the need to ‘glorify myself’… never. I go on to forget a lot of the time… about the good things about me.

Anyway… to make a ‘long story’ short… for the time-being… I’m not going to write anymore.



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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


You Can’t See Him … I Can

You Can’t See Him … I Can

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee


NOTE:  (This is just wishful thinking … I wish to see my Son… I’m

remembering …. Tommy)…
























I can’t see you … for looking at him

You can’t see him … for looking at me

He stands between us … all you see is air

When tears fill my eyes, and I smile… it’s not for you


They are for him … as I look up to his face

My tall, gentle-giant … my son

You hear me speak to him… not to you

Hello, my precious Son… how I’ve missed you


You stand there … wondering why I call you … Son

Thinking, oh… what’s wrong with you

Have you lost your mind .. I’m not your Son

Nobody’s … there


I don’t hear you … if I do, I may lose the vision

In front of me … I’ve waited so long for him to appear

That I don’t care if you think I’ve lost my mind

I focus on savoring the moment … of seeing my Son


I reach up to touch his cheek … I see his sunshine smile

You move back … you aren’t sure of what is happening to me

Especially … when you see me smile the most beautiful smile

At someone … you know is not … you


You know it’s real … by my eyes, my actions

You can’t pretend … like that

You try so hard to see … what I see

No matter what … you can’t … but, you know something’s there


You stand there in amazement as you watch, feel

Your heart is touched … it’s like a hand squeezes it

Gently in your chest … your eyes fill with tears

Could it be … could it really be Tommy?


I’m not aware of you as I speak to my Son

I smile, gesture … laugh … I cry

I touch his shoulder as I speak, I touch his cheek

I hug his neck … when the time comes to say … goodbye


I stand… sob … you can’t see why

You can’t see my son as he walks away from me

Only to disappear again from my life … I can’t go after him

I cry my heart out … I don’t know you are there


My Son… Tommy … you’ve left on another journey

On a journey I can’t go on … it’s not time for mine

I stand there watching through shimmering, diamond teardrops

As you walk away … until you are … there, no more


Goodbye Tommy … please come back

Please come to me again … I don’t care where I’m at

Just give me a moment to see you again

My eyes, my ears … will only see, hear you


I stood, watched the tall, gentle-giant walk away from me

He always had the best posture for a man

My tears made him turn into a shimmering, wavy figure

That disappeared … in front of my eyes