Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Sign From the Other Side

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter

(Dragonfly tattoo done by Jason Wilkins ... in memory of Tommy)

The dragonfly came from nowhere to hover, fly
In front of my face, close to my eyes

I stood waiting for the sign I knew would come
From the other side ... from a young man I loved

Sure enough, when I blinked ... the dragonfly
Landed on my nose ... his little wings became still

It sat there ... looked at me ... I looked at it
Tears began to roll from my eyes

The dragonfly touched a teardrop with it dainty foot
He rose from my nose ... flicking the teardrop into the air

Drops from the teardrop rained on the little dragonfly
Making him shimmer, shine in the golden sunlight

My eyes saw such special beauty
I knew this dragonfly was giving me a sign from the other side

Love reflected in the sunlight as the tiny drops flew off its wings
Touching my cheeks like a child's kiss

I knew my son had sent me a sign through a dragonfly
A special sign from the other side ... I love you, mom

Dragonflies do strange, wonderful things whenever I see them ... I know it's Tommy sending love from the other side. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee    

Note by this Author:  My son died 6 years ago ... for 6 years I've noticed dragonflies do unusual things.  I know the dragonfly would be the way Tommy would communicate from the other side so, I wouldn't be afraid.

Photo/poem owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Monday, June 20, 2016

My World in Photos ... I'm Finally in a Happier Place

My World in Photos  ... I'm Finally in a Happier Place

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter

Sometimes ... my photos can express more than my words can. My world is a happier place after almost 6 months of pure Hell. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

After 5 1/2 months of medical emergencies ... this is my world, today.  Skip is doing very well after being in the hospital ... going through medical emergencies that threatened his life ... since January of 2016.

I'm so happy to say that for the past 4 weeks ... he has been on even keel.  He did have 2 nosebleeds that required trips to the emergency room.  Thankfully he didn't need to get blood those times.  The first nosebleed ... he had to have 2 pints of blood.  I had to go to the emergency room, once.  That has happened in the past 4 weeks ... I still call this even keel ... because no one was admitted.  Skip has been admitted 6 times since January with life-threatening emergencies, several surgeries.  I had surgery in April.

We are walking more, and feeling better physically ... mentally.  As Skip becomes stronger ... so, do I ... mentally.  I become happier.

So, for today ... this is my world in photos.  Doesn't it look like a happier world?

Note by this Author:

I feel the stirrings of wanting to write again.  I was afraid that all that was happening in my life would crush my writing spirit ... I'm back.  I have also, been interested in my second book book I'm writing about Victoria Fairchild ... I have begun working on it once again.  I am re-writing it as I go ... to become familiar with all I've written ... to get into my story, my special world once again.

So much has happened in our lives for the first 6 months of June.  You can read back to see all ... I won't bore anyone trying to name everything, now.  It's hard to believe all that has happened ... even the doctors have been shaking their heads.  We are recognized in the emergency room and on the floors at the hospital ... gracious.

Photos/true story owned/written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Friday, June 3, 2016

Some of The Heaviest Things in My Life Are Things I Can't See ...

Some of The Heaviest Things in My Life Are Things I Can't See ...
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/aka @GeeGranny on Twitter

You never saw all I carried on my shoulders when my son died ... grief is the heaviest weight a grieving mother can carry. By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny

Walking with shoulders stooped ... hard to take a step forward in life.  Walking with all the weight in the world ... sitting on those shoulders.  So many things happen to strike a person down ... getting back up each time.  Time after time ... fall down, get up ... fall down ... get up.

So tired from the invisible weight carried on one's shoulders.  No one can see why a person walks with their shoulders down ... head down, sighing all the time.  They've given up on life ...

Not I ... oh no, not me.  I'm not giving up ... I haven't given up.  I won't give up.  Okay ... the truth is during the first 3 years after my son died ... I did give up.  No one excepting Skip knew how fragile my very life was.  He worried ... I couldn't see his worry for my grief.

Grief ... is the very heaviest weight I ever carried on my shoulders.  No one could see it ... I couldn't see it ... I felt, knew it was there.  I could hardly walk for the heaviness of it all.  It was bigger than I.

Anyone not knowing me ... would see a beaten-down woman who was looking ... inside when walking ... not looking out into this world.  She didn't want to talk to anyone ... she lived in the darkness of pure grief ... there wasn't even a speck of light in her world, her mind.  She/I was the darkness.

No one could see why this woman would look as she does.  No one could see that this woman used to be so happy ... smiling all the time, silly ... funny.  Invisible weight no one could see pushed me to the ground.  For the first time in my life ... I wasn't a positive person ... I wasn't capable of really thinking any further than my grief.

I look back toward that time ... all I see is darkness.  I don't feel like entering that darkness now to describe to you some of those times.  I do that from time to time to show/tell you ... today, I can't.  It takes so much out of me ... for several days after entering the darkness.  I can't get over it easy, because when I do that ... I am in there totally ... facing awful things.

Today ... 6 years later ... I am out of the darkness ... I don't carry the weight of grief on my shoulders, now.  I have coped with the loss of my son in a most positive way.  I realize no matter how much I cry, fight the world because my son died ... it doesn't change a thing.  He isn't coming back.  All I have are my memories ... where I can see, hear him.  It's sad ... but, it is the way of life.  I met it head-on, suffered such pain I could never describe to anyone ... to get to this point in my life.

Even when I tell you how well I've coped ... that I'm at a good place now, concerning Tommy's (my son) death ... doesn't in any way ... diminish the pain of losing my child.  It's just now ... I have grown big enough to hold my grief.  Before ... it was bigger than I.

The grief doesn't hold me down ... weigh my shoulders down as it once did.  Before it was bigger than I ... the heaviest weight I've ever known, or carried.  Now ... I've grown so much stronger that I can carry it inside ... and live, too.  Now ... I'm bigger, stronger than my grief ... I've coped with it.

Sure, once in a while ... the grief finds a way to bring me down ... I only let it happen for a short time until I can get back up on my feet, face it head-on.  Grief does have a way of sneaking up on me once in a while.  I can't let it keep me down ... I have to live until the day I die ... I have my husband, Pups to be here for.  So, I make everything get back all right again.  I smile through my tears ... conjuring up Tommy's sunshine smile that always warmed my Heart.  That's how I find myself smiling away the pain.

So, while all of these things happen inside me ... it's invisible to everyone around me.  They never see a thing ... powerful things that go on in my mind ... other people's minds.  Even I don't see it on others unless, I really take time to see, look, listen.  I can see true pain in a person's eyes ... the eyes are very telling, but ... unless you have time to see ... you'll never know it.

Some of the heaviest things in my life are the ones I can't see.  Grief being the biggest, heaviest of all.  Now ... I'm stronger for it ... before it was bigger than me ... now ... I'm big enough to carry it.  You can't see that, either.

Oh, I do know this, so you will know ... I'm not the only person in this world who carries the heaviest weight no one can see ... I know that truly we all carry something inside us that hurts us.  I care, and I have so much compassion for others.  I don't think only of myself.

Note by this Author:

I was thinking this morning about how holding so much pain inside ... that no one can possibly see ... how heavy that very pain is.  The heaviest weight I ever carried on my shoulders is grief for the loss of my only child.  Six years later ... I am all right ... because I meant to be in a positive way.

Photos/true story owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

It's Possible I Did It Deliberately ...

Tommy's Chest ... holds the few things I have left of my only child, Tommy.


I know subconsciously I block things from my mind that hurt me deeply ... sometimes, I don't realize I have until at a later time. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

I have been thinking of something that I haven't thought about in a long time.  I realize that before I can accomplish it ... I have a 'ton' of stuff to move before I can get to it.

I'll explain.  In my art room ... over the past months I have been letting 'everything' go in there ... to move it from other parts of the house.  I don't know why ... I let it all 'pile up'.  I treasure having my space to create, draw, paint.  So why did I do it?

The thought came to me this evening ... it could be the reason 'why'.  I have been thinking I want to get Tommy's Chest ... open it, take his things out that I have left of him.  I can't get to it ... I have blocked it by putting a 'million' things between it and ... me getting to it.  Do you think subconsciously I did it deliberately?

In order to look in his chest ... I have my job cut out.  I have to move everything in the path to it.  Do you know ... I will be so glad to have my artroom organized once again.  I wish I had never let it 'pile up' ... I don't do the other rooms like that.

Do you think I deliberately blocked my path to opening Tommy's Chest?  When I do get the chest ... I don't know if I can open it ... so much pain ... grief.  My son died 6 years ago.

Why would I want to open it?  Because ... because I want to hold the few things I have left of my son.  I have a green box in there that holds something so painful ... I want to see.  I can't talk about the green box.  Hurts too bad.  I might have to set it aside, not open it.

I'm not even certain I can open the lid to the chest ... to not weigh a lot ... it has been too heavy for me to just take my hands ... simply open it.

Time will tell ... if I open it I will share with you about it.  I know I've mentioned several times in the past that I would open it ... looking back now .... I see that's when 'things' begin to 'pile up' between me ... and the path to walk to Tommy's Chest.  Strange ... I never thought about it until this evening.

I think I must have done it ... on purpose.

Note by this Author:

Today ... 6 years ago ... my only child died.  Tommy ... my son, died at 40 years old, never knowing he had 3 blockages to his heart.

Tommy's Chest ... is a burgundy/gold, upholstered chest.  It holds the very few things I have left of my son.  I want this chest to go to his son, Taban, when I'm gone.

Story/photo owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@Gee Granny on Twitter.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Until His Last Breath ...

Tommy holding his newborn son ... he was very proud, happy.

My son, Tommy ... with his little son ... my precious grandson (date is wrong on photo).  All photos are owned by me ... Gloria Faye Brown Bates.

Tommy was so proud of his only son.

Tommy fell asleep holding Taban.

Tommy pretending to cry with Taban ...

Tommy being silly with his little son to get him not to cry.

Artwork by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

I'm bittersweet ... sad at the loss of my son ... thankful my husband is here after being deathly ill. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Tomorrow is May 29, 2016 ... my only child, my son ... Tommy ... died May 29, 2010 ... six years ago.

I've felt sadness ... and happiness all at the same time.  I cope well now, with the loss of Tommy.  It seems for the past 5 months so many 'bad' things have happened ... threatened to take Skip from me ... I'm so happy he is doing well at this time.  I have a mixture of happiness, sadness all at the same time.

My favorite description of it is ... bittersweet.  That's a perfect word to describe how I feel.  It's strange how I have so much to be thankful for ... somehow, it helps greatly with the grieving pain I feel at this time.  I can talk about the fun things Tommy used to do, funny things he used to say ... think about his laughter, twinkling eyes ... all without crying.  Is this normal?  Is this good?

Sure, ever so often ... I feel a deep, deep pain and I do begin to cry.  It isn't often that I do ... when I do ... it hurts so bad.  The good thing is even when that happens now ... I know I'll be all right in a short time.  It used to be ... I wasn't all right at all.

Six years tomorrow ... Tommy has been gone.  Six years tomorrow ... I've come so far.  I would have never known I could get to a place in my life where I could deal/cope with the loss of my child.  I have.  I meant to.  I had to ... if I hadn't ... I wouldn't be here.

I've never talked to anyone to know how long they experienced the grieving process of their child before they felt like a real person again.  I know the grief is forever ... in my case ... I can live with it, now.  I can live everyday life now ... and be happy.  Though for the past 5 months ... our life has been completely upside down with all Skip has been through.

But ... guess what?  For 6 days now ... Skip has been on even keel for the first time since January.  My happiness outweighs my sadness.

Remembering tomorrow ... May 29, 2016 ... remembering Tommy, my son ... he went to Heaven from the beach while running, playing with his little 3 year old son.  The last sounds he heard were happy sounds ... of a little, precious child ... sea gulls, and ocean waves.

My beautiful son died ... a beautiful death if death could be beautiful.  He died while doing exactly what he told me he wanted to do most ... that was to get to play with his own little son at the beach for the first time.  He made it just in time.  I don't think he had time to suffer at all, before collapsing on the soft sand.

Tommy died with 3 blockages to his heart.  No one knew he was sick.  My little grandson can grow up knowing his daddy wanted to play with him at the ocean, made it just in time to do so ... before he went on his final journey.

One thing for certain ... my little grandson can grow up knowing his daddy loved him ... and was with him until he took his last breath, his spirit soaring into the sky as the sea gulls sang to the tune of the ocean waves.

Note from this Author:

Remembering tomorrow ... May 29, 2016 ... my son, only child ... died 6 years ago.  I'm remembering Tommy.

Written by/photos owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee, @GeeGranny on Twitter.

Friday, May 27, 2016

I Had Forgotten They Existed ...

Strange how so much life goes on around me ... I didn't see, hear it for focusing on Skip ... for the past 5 months I've lived in fear for him. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee ... as a younger woman.  Sitting and thinking ...............

I have been sitting quietly ... sensing, feeling out my world around me ... by listening, seeing.  I can hardly believe all is calm ... when the past 5 months have been in such turmoil.

For the moment, my mind feels at peace.  Gracious, what a nice feeling ... I had forgotten how it felt.  It's strange when one's life is in turmoil ... they focus only on what's at hand.  No time to relax, feel at ease ... only a driving fear.  At least ... for me, that's how it's been.

It sure feels good to feel good.  I got to do something yesterday I didn't get to think I would do ... play in some garden soil.  I added beautiful, black soil to the several potted plants on the porch, and to one big cherry tomato plant I have.  It sounds like nothing, I know ... to me, it felt wonderful to stop ... 'smell the roses' so to speak.

My hands were dirty ... my skin warm from the sunshine ... the breeze felt good.  My mind was at peace while listening to the birds, the distant drone of an airplane ... someone mowing grass ... I even heard children squeal in laughter.  These are happy sounds ... I had forgotten they existed.  Isn't that amazing?

Note by this Author:

Photo/true story by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter.

This morning I am sitting ... thinking about how much I have to be grateful for ... I don't think a day goes by without me feeling grateful for all in my life.  No matter how bad it got ... good things happened.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Getting On Even Keel After Non-Stop 'Bad' Things Keep Happening

Photo of Skip taken weeks ago ... he was very sick. 

Life is like a roller-coaster ... seems like 'bad' things kept happening ... I held on as hard as I could ... for now, all is calm. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

Writing ... I haven't written for weeks.  I have been living real life where only too-real things have happened.  Things that haven't ever happened in my life.  For 5 months ...

Skip, my husband, began to have many health problems.  It seemed to be no end to all the 'bad' things ... stroke, low heart rate/pacemaker/2 heart stents ... congestive heart failure 3 times, pneumonia, kidney failure/kidney stent/surgery ... hemorrhaging nosebleeds/blood transfusion/cauterization.  He had to wear a Foley leg catheter for a month ... and more things I won't go into.  He was near death several times ...

Can you imagine experiencing so many things in your life ... never-ending 'bad' things?  I didn't think it'd ever stop.  Well ... for 4 days now (since May 22, 2016) ... since Skip left the hospital ... all has for the first time ... been on an even keel.  This is the first time Skip has gotten out of the hospital stronger, not having to stay in bed.  We walk, do little things every day now.  This hasn't happened for 5 months.

So, for 4 precious days ... Skip has been doing well.  I have felt peace inside ... for the first time ... fear isn't a part of my everyday.  I don't quite know how to act ... I know I'm happy.  I've been so non-stop ... that it's hard to slow down.  When I rest ... it feels good especially when I can look over at Skip and see him being more himself ... every day.  I'm so grateful.

This weekend will make 6 years (May 29, 2010) ... since Tommy, my son, died.  I almost lost Skip several times ... they and our Pups were, are my whole world.  I'm so fortunate to have Skip and our Pups.  I'm sad my son is gone ...

Being sad ... and happy at the same time ... is how I am feeling.  I'm sad Tommy is gone ... most happy Skip is here.  I could have been all alone at this time ... I have been so afraid.  Thankfully ... it looks like everything is going to be all right.  I pray so.

Note by this Author:

I have so much to be thankful for ... I think I'm the most grateful person in this world.  I know I'm not but, I rank up at the top.  I could have lost the only other person who is closest to me ... and been alone in this world.  Yes, you are reading the words of a most grateful person to have her whole world ... her husband, Pups.

Photo/story owned ... written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nothing Compares to a Mother's Grief

Nothing compares to the grief a mother feels when her child dies ... it changes her forever. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

My Son ... Tommy holding his newborn son.

This weekend is once again ... Memorial Day weekend.  It makes one more year since my son died. He died on May 29, 2010 while running, playing on the beach with his little 3 year old son.  No one knew he was sick.

Tommy collapsed on the soft, damp sand.  It was on a Saturday evening at Myrtle Beach.  He and his family arrived not long before he took his son down to the ocean while all the others were unpacking to stay for a week on vacation.  He made the trip to the beach ... just in time to do what he wanted.

Tommy wanted to play with his little son at the beach ... he died doing what he meant to do.  He made it in time ... just before he went on his final journey in life.

I would be fibbing if I said I haven't been sad ... felt overwhelming grief, pain well up inside me.  No matter how positive I grieve ... it still hurts.  This is year .... 6.  Six years ... since my son died.

My memory of my son is still just as vivid as  ... yesterday.  I can still see his face, hear his voice in my mind, hear his laugh.  I will never forget my son ... I will always remember him just as I am doing by writing about him.  I loved Tommy with my very Heart.  He was a good son.

I don't cry now, like I used to.  Grief does hit me at unexpected times ... I do cry.  It doesn't take as long to get back all right.  I've accepted I can't change a thing ... I can't bring Tommy back.  When I think of him ... it's with a deep, quiet sadness.  I really miss him.

I write about Tommy to remember him.  He was a wonderful person ... full of laughter, jokes, pranks. He had a twinkle in his kind eyes ... his smile full of sunshine.  He had a soft-spoken voice.  He loved me, Skip ... and our Pups very much.  We were all very close.

Tommy loved dragonflys ... at times, I make dragonflys with gold wire, beads and leave them in public places for someone to find ... in memory of him.  Someone finds a treasure ... and I keep Tommy's memory alive.

Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us ... I pray that your sons, daughters and their families go on their vacations safely ... come home safely.  When my son called to say they made it safely to Myrtle Beach in all the traffic ... I took a sigh of relief ... only to get that dreaded phone call a short time later from a stranger.

I was the first one to know my son died ... I was 200 miles away.  A stranger picked Tommy's phone up from the sand ... dialed the last number dialed ... I answered the phone.  I heard the stranger say, "ma'am, I have a man collapsed here on the sand ... he isn't breathing".  For over 3 years ... this grieving mother died inside.

Looking back ... I can't remember well that time ... in my mind I see such darkness, and feel the 'I don't want to remember' feeling.  I don't force myself.  When I do ... it takes days to get over the grief that wells up in me.

This was the worst thing to happen to me in my life.  I've experienced many 'bad' things, including being a cancer survivor.  Nothing compares to a mother's grief.

Note by this Author:

I write to remember my son, Tommy.  He was 40 years old when he died.  He had 3 blockages to his heart ... no one knew.

I don't think it's meant for parents to outlive their children.  Like you, I knew my son would be there as I grew older.  It gave me comfort.

Photo, true story by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Remembering Tommy ...

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny

Remembering my son, Tommy ... when I was a mother. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

My thoughts drifted off into the past today
To a time when a little baby was born

A little blonde-headed boy with big, blue eyes
Crying to be held, rocked to sleep

A little boy who ran, played, rode his bicycle
Eyes filled with wonder as he learned his world

One day he grew up ... I couldn't any longer protect him
I wanted to .... I was gently reminded that he was no longer a little boy

One day the phone call came that no parent wants 
Ma'am, I have a man collapsed here on the sand, he isn't breathing

That was the day I lost my son ... my only child
Six years later, I still grieve quietly ... but, in a positive way

I haven't forgotten what it feels like to be a mother
I'll be alright this Mother's Day

I just wanted to remember my child, I loved him with my Heart
I also, wanted to wish all mothers in the world ... Happy Mother's Day

Note by this Author:  Tommy, my son died May 29, 2010 on a Saturday evening at Myrtle Beach.  He was playing with his 3 year old son on the beach.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day ...

Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers ... I still remember being a mother once to a most special son ... Tommy. Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Today ... I was told several times ... Happy Mother's Day!  I only smiled, said thank you.  I didn't even bother to say that my son died 6 years ago ... only a short time after Mother's Day in 2010.

That was the last Mother's Day I ever had with my son, Tommy. He died May 29, 2010 with 3 blockages to his heart.  He collapsed on the sand while playing with his 3 year old son at Myrtle Beach.

This Mother's Day I won't cry ... at least I think that.  I've coped with my grief ... though at times it slips up on me.  I admit lately there have been some times I've almost cried when I thought of him, when Skip and I spoke of him.

As a mother ... I won't ever stop being a grieving mother.  I don't have to cry now, to grieve. I just grieve quietly ... always, but ... in a positive way.  I loved my son with my very Heart.  I've accepted he's gone now ... I can't bring him back no matter what.

I would like to wish every mother a wonderful, special Mother's Day with their children ... their sons.  I don't have my only child, my son now, but that doesn't stop me being happy for other mothers.  You are so fortunate.  I'm so fortunate to have had my son for 40 years.  

Happy Mother's Day from my Heart.  <3 Gloria <3

My son, Tommy with his little son, Taban.  (Date is wrong on photo) ...

Note by Author:

I miss my son with my very Heart.  I miss the sound of his laugh, soft-spoken voice, the twinkle in his eyes.  I miss Tommy, my son.   I also, miss my grandson.