THE FACE OF A GRIEVING MOTHER...
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES
This morning I got up feeling like I was still in 'yesterday' when I sat for several hours writing about what happened to my son (The Worst Happened... Oh My God). I think it will take a little time to get past 'being burned by the flame'... I 'went into the fire' yesterday when I wrote my story.
I really got burned this time... it hurts bad... it's so hard to shake the remnants of such pure, raw, grief off ...this time. My mental skin is painful from the burns I've suffered... going back.
I noticed last evening how I felt after finishing my story. I could imagine how an actress/actor felt after playing a role in a movie. I thought that it must be hard 'to come back' to now... reality.
I felt this way when I finished writing my last word. I could still feel the grief, the pain... my eyes felt like I'd been crying alot. In fact, I was crying alot, I just didn't realize it. I was 'back then'.
My head has felt like I was still in the fog that kept my path to my memories hidden. Today, I am still pushing through the fog to get off that hidden path... I want to be on the path with sunshine so, I can see where I'm going.
I want to put mental flowers and trees in front of this hidden path to hide the entrance... I can look at beauty to distract my mind from going there. I know that I will go there. Instead of parting the limbs and flowers back... I will instead, pick a flower to smell its wondrous fragrance... maybe pick more to make a bouquet.
I will walk away... hopefully, satisfied that I've found beauty and hold it in my hands.... instead of finding the grief I know to be hidden there, and walking away with pain in my heart.
This is the first time I have made myself 'go back' to remember so much. So much has been forgotten. I don't think I could bear to go 'back to then', again. I can't describe the pain, the grief of doing that. Being a grieving mother, I 'know' that I will go back ... again. I hope not for some time.
I know there are flowers and trees there now, they weren't before. Only that stark, foggy, scary path was there. For now, I don't have to see it unless..... I part the trees and flowers to see if I'm tempted to enter. I hope I won't be... this time was 'too' much. I think in my mind, I will put a colorful rainbow there, also. I'm always distracted by colors.
The strange thing at the funeral home 'that night'... somehow, I was standing there, outside. People were all around, someone said "look at that rainbow in the sky". I remember looking up, my eyes searching for the rainbow, I saw it. I wonder if Tommy helped it to be there.... he knew his mother was always distracted by beautiful colors. I was thinking for a moment back to what I have not told you about... at that funeral home. Oh my God.
I can't think about 'this' for now. My stomach feels sick, my heart is so heavy, my eyes feel like I've been crying for so long. I will have to wait until later to tell you about 'at that funeral home', so.. you can know too, what that was like. I thought I was strong enough to do it now... I'm afraid I still have to gather more strength to be strong enough to tell you.
This is a mental picture of a grieving mother. She holds her head down, cradling in her lap a pool of clear, sparkling tears. They are the teardrops of pure, pure love for her child. They are the diamonds of her eyes, because her child is gone, they still shine and sparkle with her love. Liquid diamonds fall freely... teardrop diamonds of the purest love in the whole universe. Love for her child.
Yes, every teardrop is a... diamond. Her soul is rich with such love one can never describe in words. I am a grieving mother... you would not believe how rich I am in teardrop diamonds.... each made of the purest love for my child. They sparkle, they shine with the purest of love. I miss you, Son. Tommy, I miss you with my very soul, you were my only child, my only baby.
A grieving mother... one can't imagine what a grieving mother goes through. It's so easy to say that 'in time' she'll be alright, when in fact, it does put distance between 'then' and 'now'. It doesn't lessen that pain in her heart, the grief she'll feel for her child until the last breath she takes. Her tears will form diamonds for the rest of her life.
It doesn't matter what anyone says... how can they possibly know? I don't know if anyone 'really takes time' to sit and talk to a grieving mother to 'really see' what she thinks, what she really feels. Truthfully, others 'can care'... but, they 'don't really want to know'. I understand 'why'... they know it can happen to them... it really can... you know, it happened to me.
I was like that 'before' it happened to me. We think we can walk around confident 'those things happen to others, not to us... somehow they must choose that to happen in their life'. I promise you that it not only happens to you, you don't have to choose it... it happens so unexpectedly. It 'chose you'... you didn't have to do a thing for it to happen... to you. I know... it happened to.... me.
I know no one has ever taken the time to just stop, say 'tell me what it is you are really feeling as a grieving mother'. I think the reason 'why' no one takes that time to talk to a grieving mother is .... they can't bear to look directly at such emotion because... it's too horrible.
They would be burnt by it, just as you would be if you accidently stepped into a fire. Just that 'seeing', that 'hearing', just 'feeling' that raw emotion from a woman who has lost her child 'if' she were to honestly show it in front of you..... you wouldn't be able to cope with seeing, knowing such. You would suffer a... mental breakdown.
As a grieving mother, I know that I won't let anyone see how I hurt inside, I won't cry in front of anyone. I will walk away from you to keep you from seeing something so personal, so private, 'so... so mine'. It's mine, it's my love for my child, my only child.
I'm glad I've begun writing... now, I can talk about grief, grieving. I don't have to worry about anyone looking to see if they see tears, pain in my eyes. I don't have to feel embarassed, no one can see me. I don't have to worry about making someone feel uncomfortable around me.
I can write about the emotions, and whoever reads my words can take away something hopefully to know someone else can possibly feel the same way they have, or do. I can write, and whoever reads what I write will want to read, nothing is forced on them.
So, I won't cry on your shoulder, or make a spectacle of myself in public, nor make you uncomfortable. If you read my words, it will be because... you really want to. You can see and know inside how this feels, because........... it really could happen to you, it really happened to me. I didn't choose for it, to.
No matter that we know one day we are going to .... die, no one wants to. We don't want to outlive our children, we want to watch their lives come together and see them... finally succeed and be happy in life.
Tommy was talking about going back to school. He'd been talking to a parole officer, and he was encouraging Tommy into that field. He was very interested and he really listened.. this was just prior to his...... death. Actually...just days 'before'.......
As a grieving mother... did you know that each time I type the words 'die, death, dying', or anything to do with 'death'... I feel sick in my stomach? I make myself do it... each time I do, I feel a wave of pain in my stomach.
I just sat for a moment to let the feeling subside... it's pure grief, you know. It's just pure grief. Sometimes, I want to be so angry, I want to scream out in pain. I don't.... I know that it won't change not even one thing. I hold all these powerful feelings inside myself.
I don't think there's a body big enough to hold all this kind of pain without there being an outlet of some sort. Thank-God, I can write... I can't just talk about this verbally. I just can't do it.
I want to be positive and try to handle it all in a positive way. I don't want to stay down and not stand back up.... that's the 'easy' way out. Thinking about it.... there's no 'easy' to it, either down or up. Whoever coined that phrase didn't know what they were talking about...... 'that's the easy way out'.
In regards to a grieving mother.... no way is easy, even if they were to stay in a drugged state. I stayed in a drugged state for 3 months... I know. I've never been on drugs in my life, but, I begged to be drugged. Isn't that amazing... I begged to be drugged.
In my life, I've met things head-on to knock them out of my path, so, that I could survive, live. This time, I almost couldn't.................. I never felt the need for drugs, nor alcohol.... until this one time.
I'm glad I didn't continue with the medicine, I almost died from taking too much. I realized Skip kept calling me back from that darkness, wanting me to be alright. In fact, I think he put his foot down about that medicine... he never 'puts his foot down on anything' regarding 'me'.
He watched over me as I slept too deeply, worried over me... he couldn't bear seeing me like that. He said he could see my breathing almost stop, and he couldn't bear it. He wanted me to fight, to come back.
When either of us are sick, such as when we both were diagnosed with cancer... we had to pull that fighting spirit out of each other.... to make us fight to live.
I promise you that Skip and I.... know exactly 'how to press the right buttons' to pull that fighting spirit out! :))) We call it 'Dangling The Bait'... our way to make the other succeed at something we find so hard to do, we make each other 'get up and do what you have to do ..to overcome'. I smile now, thinking about him 'pressing my buttons'. I know how to do it, too! :)))
Skip, my hero... you pulled me back. I've never loved a man as I love my husband. Our pups stayed by my side wanting me to be here, also. If I don't have anything else, and I really don't... I have Skip, our Pups ... who are perfect for me. I have all I need.
Do you know what's strange about being drugged 'then'... I could talk, laugh in that state. I know I had the sensation of 'floating' and 'drifting' from here to there. I described it as feeling like 'a leaf being blown about in the wind, when the wind stopped, I stopped.... when the wind blew, I blew'. Somehow... I was 'here and there', 'everywhere'.
That medicine somehow.. protected me from what I saw, felt at that funeral home... it made me 'float above it all' trying to keep me above the sea of grief, so, I wouldn't drown right there in front of my son's body.
I was like a balloon, softly bouncing here and there, everywhere.. to where he lay, away from where my child was in that... box. Back to where he lay... I don't know where I was... I only have all these fleeting images in my head.
One could imagine a balloon getting away and just taking off up in the sky until it disappeared. It made me think of something unusual just now...... that happened when Taban was born. We went to buy a gift and a balloon to take back to the hospital.
We came outside, I was holding the balloon... it got away from me. I'll never forget standing there helplessly watching it go farther, farther away from me... to never see it again. I wonder if it was an omen to let me know that .... I wouldn't see Taban anymore, one day?
I don't see Taban anymore... his mother broke that bond. Tommy would have been so sad about this, he meant for his mother to know his son... he knew that it was impossible for his daughter to know his mother... her mother made it impossible for him to know, his child. I realize the mother had to go on with her life, she began dating soon after Tommy's death. That's when mine and Taban's relationship was broken.
Truthfully, I know I sound bad... and it is bad, for now... I do hate her. This is from someone who tries very hard to be a good person. In this instance... I really am a very bad person. I'm the first to say so. I'm ashamed of it... I am working on forgiving her for things I can't write here.
No one is perfect, me being the fartherest 'from perfect'. I know I sound like the 'best' person sometimes... sometimes, I'm not. I know where my faults lay, I really work on them... constantly.
I do still feel hate, anger, dislike... I'm not sure honestly.... if any of us can truly get that out of our heart to ...never feel it again. I've tried as hard as anyone possibly could... I manage to 'almost not to' hate. I feel that as long as I try very hard, I'm succeeding. If I didn't do anything, I think that would be worse.
I've had to just 'let go'. This has compounded the grief over losing my son. I realize this has happened to many grandparents, I'm not the first, I certainly won't be the last. I don't understand 'why' a grandparent can't have a relationship with the grandchild... though the woman is with another man.
I think possibly because that 'other man' resents both the child and the 'previous man'. Then... comes 'the next to that man', his parents. I never saw Tommy act like that with her children and their father. He even had the highest respect for their father, and liked him. Truthfully, I think the mother of the grandchild should be strong enough to make that decision... not a boyfriend.
This is my opinion... especially when a boyfriend is a drunk, a no-good scoundrel, and doesn't work. All he can see are.... money signs. This happens in this area quite frequently... women think they are loved when their husbands die... they don't know about those 'Widow Seekers'.
They 'want the money, they want to be supported, cooked for'... while they buy them a new pickup, ride around bragging that they don't have to work. Why... it's surprising how much respect they get... I've watched this for many years. This is another story I have written about some time ago... The Widow Seekers.
I 'see' them, and there's no respect 'here'... from me. They play on the emotions, manipulating them like a weaver weaves her colorful threads to get them 'just right'.... to make a cosy, soft blanket to wrap up in against the cold. Watch out for those Widow Seekers.
They don't like for you to 'know' them, they will go in the opposite way if they realize you 'see' them. You threaten their cosy, soft blanket... how else will they get to keep warm... if you stop them? They don't work... it takes time to manipulate a widow... no, they don't want you near if they know you 'see' them. I 'hide my seeing'... and watch, listen, learn.
Life can be very sad... for so many reasons. It takes so long to one day realize how petty, how unimportant the reasons were to prevent a grandmother from knowing her grandchildren, much less a father knowing his child, one who cared, loved with his heart.
Tommy always sent each week, money for his daughter... no one ever made him do it, he was never in court to be ordered to do it... he did because he loved his daughter. He began doing this at the beginning, even giving the mother his bank card to take the money each week.. trusting her to do right.
Not only did she take the money each week, she took money to pay for treating her friends, and buying other things... that wasn't the agreement. She was a young girl who didn't know what an honor it was for a man to give his bank card to her.... and they were divorcing. Amazing.....
I remember looking at that balloon as it glided through the air until I couldn't read 'It's A Boy!' anymore, and for a brief moment I wondered 'if that was a bad sign'. As quickly as that thought entered my mind, I shut it out. This is going back to Taban, my grandson. Above .. I talked about not seeing him again. This thought and mental picture comes to my mind when I think of him.
I think 'now, at this moment'... I've been getting on other subjects, I am 'getting past' my visit to that dark world now. I feel my face relaxing, my stomach doesn't feel sick and my heart is lighter. I think talking about the Widow Seekers helped me. I love to talk about them... their ways. They think they are so ..... slick.
I find humor in thinking about them... I love to find ways to describe them. These are some of the most charming creatures in the world... they sing, dance to the rhythm of ... money. They smile the brightest, they are happiest, most wonderful souls. They have it made!
You will never see a wrinkle, if you do, there won't be many (the ones that are there were put there while they were 'seeking' a widow.... it was taking too much time!) on their faces.
Truthfully... I know we need 'all kinds of people' in this world for 'all kinds of things'. Regardless... we have to have things to think about, to study, to laugh and talk about.... so, we can be distracted from the grief, pain, sadness inside each of us.
The colors of life .... can distract one. I'm glad to be seeing them now... instead of the darkness I thought I'd never escape... for a time... I really thought I would permanently be a part of. Colors distract me, I'm happy to see them.
I do work on my hate for the one person I feel it for. I'm sorry I ever felt it, because at the same time... I love that person just as much as I feel the 'hate'... for that person. I'm not perfect... I can only just try to be a better person, the best I can be.
At this moment ..truthfully.. I don't feel hate at all... I honestly think what I called 'hate' is really... pure ..... anger. I only feel that at times, so... I'm getting somewhere, I'm making progress.
I'm sure that's what really counts in life... trying to replace negative with positive... replace hate with love.
In fact.... I'm sure that in life............. love is the whole reason we live, we all need and want it, we would die without it. Yes, in my opinion only... I think 'LOVE' is the secret to life, it's so easy to do.... yet, so hard to do ...sometimes.
Love..... that's all I would like to carry in my heart. It's so light and happy, doesn't 'weigh' anything. Hate...... is so dark and heavy, and pulls my soul down to the ground. Love is like the rainbow in the sky... filled with many colors.
Colors of life.. colors in Granny Gee's life... if it's a fairy tale... I still want that! I will 'go find me some rose-colored glasses', if that's what it takes to not feel 'bad' feelings inside. I hate to hate.. I don't like dark colors unless .... I'm happy enough to wear them... lightly!
To My Son, Tommy:
Diamond teardrops, dancing in the rain
sparkling, shining to hide my pain
colorful rainbows in the sky
distract me so that I don't cry
I loved my child with my heart
Tommy, I'm so sorry life pulled us apart.
My son, my heart, my child
I love you. Your 'Ole' Mom
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates
Colors As I Go
grief (32) only child (4) Scary (2) Boiled eggs (1) Distrust (1) Don't call me Faye (1) Dying (1) I hate to be called Faye (1) I'm afraid of the dark (1) Middle age woman (1) Pain that reaches the soul.. can't be seen (1) Running (1) Where did my youth go? (1) dying in a beautiful way (1) life is fragile (1) light on my path (1) my son (1)