A MOTHER'S TEARDROPS ...IN HER SON'S HAIR
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES aka... GRANNY GEE MARCH 07, 2012
I'm going to be alright now, because I have worked so hard to 'pull myself back from the edge of a cliff'... when Tommy, my only child... died. I can go on now. That doesn't mean that I don't still cry and grieve for him, miss him. It means I'm safe now... from dying myself to keep from accepting his death, not coping with it, to keep from feeling the panicky feelings in my stomach, knowing I'll never see him again.
I will tell you honestly at this moment... I almost 'let go' ... in plain words ...I almost died because I couldn't bear the knowledge that my only child, the baby I brought into this world, the child who loved me with his heart, I loved with my heart.... died. If you want to know the real truth that is rarely talked about, read further... it is about what one really feels and what they really do, when someone they love ... dies. This is how Tommy's mother felt....
Skip worried so much for me... I could hear him, more than see him. The medicine I was given made me sleep so ... deeply, quietly, almost like..... death. Skip would watch me to see if I was breathing... no, he didn't want me to keep taking medicine, he was afraid I wouldn't wake up.
Truthfully... I wasn't aware of it... though I could hear him when he spoke to me. It was the darkness... again. I had entered 'that world' .... again. I did know that .... I could 'take a little more of that medicine if I couldn't cope with knowing my son was dead'... and I could sleep forever.
I tried to 'hold on' for Skip and the Pups. Skip... my lifesaver who kept pulling me back from the ocean of darkness... death. I just drifted away to 'knowing nothing'......... Skip's voice would lead me back. I focused on nothing, then... I would focus on Skip's voice... and work so hard in that darkness to come back.... over and over... and over.
I'm saying it now... my son ..died. I can still 'feel inside' .... shaky feelings, but... I also, feel the 'strength' that's there too. It holds me up, it helps me to be able to walk now... holding up that 'heavy load'... one that is the heaviest in this world... strange how no one can 'see' it.................. I carry it in front of everyone... everyday, every second of my life..... right in front of everyone.
If Skip could see it, he would help me carry it until the day.... that I can gently put it down, and the pain is completely in a place that it doesn't hurt me like it still can now. I'm not sure if that day will come, I'll tell you 'why'.
I have been waiting since 2001 to look into the chest that holds my mother's ashes, her photos, some of her things, to look into it without feeling that sudden suffocating sensation, my stomach instantly hurting, and tears fill my eyes, pain wrenches my heart. I can't even begin to take her things out. I feel as if I'm 'going into darkness'......... it's pure grief, pure pain, all from loving her so much.
I have been waiting to look into my brother, Rick-Rick's chest that holds his ashes, his photos, his cap, and his cellphone, and other things. The same thing happens to me.... I can't look into either of these chests and it has been several years now... not so long before Tommy died. I loved my brother Rick-Rick with my heart, too.
I can look at my cousin Jimmy's ashes with the angel that sits beside them. They sit beside my mother's, and brother's ashes as he requested ... in my happy art room. I used to tell him about their ashes sitting in my art room where there is color, sunshine and happiness... he made me promise to one day put his ashes beside them... I did. He hoped it possible to 'match wits with Earlene again'.
Tommy's chest is nearby... it's bigger than the others. It holds more things of Tommy's, one day it will be Taban's. I can't remember everything that is in that chest since he died... but, I know this... the time hasn't come for me to sit and take those things out. There are several photos of Tommy laying in that 'casket'....... the one they use to cremate a loved one.
One day I opened his chest thinking I would be able to take the little plastic box holding those photos out ..to look at them. I waited until I took out several of his things to hold, to put to my face to see if I could 'recognize my son'.. hoping to smell something that said to me 'Tommy'. My stomach began shaking, I felt that tightness in my chest, I felt like I was going to suffocate.
At this moment... my stomach feels funny, my heart is tightening up.......... it will be sometime before, or if that time ever comes for me to 'gently put down that load'. But... I'm still... alright.
I made myself open the plastic box, to take out the photos. I looked at the photos, holding them away to keep the tears that rained from my eyes from wetting them. Tears, diamond teardops... I would be rich in diamonds if every teardrop was frozen into a diamond... diamonds that sparkle in the wetness of my unstoppable tears. Skip doesn't want me to look at the photos... he's afraid for me. I'm afraid for myself.
My eyes are always drawn to his face ... he looks 'peaceful'... so quiet. There is a slight smile on his face. He eyes are closed, he looks like he is asleep, his neck is swollen (could it be from the heart attack?).
My memory of being 'there at that funeral home'... standing at that casket alone with Skip nearby.... is like seeing myself in a dream, feeling myself in such agony, grief, holding in screams of pain. Screaming 'TOMMY, PLEASE COME BACK!, PLEASE COME BACK, TOMMY!' I sit here while writing to you all.. now, feeling it all over again... I am crying, tears falling down my face. I am still alright.. this is bound to happen throughout the rest of my life. It does hurt, though.... but, I can live now.
I have sat here crying, my heart aching so. I didn't know that 'all of that' was still so close to the surface... I've been trying to 'push' it all back far enough so, I can talk about Tommy freely ... and not cry. It's love you know... love that falls into tears as they pour from my eyes. I know every mother who has or will... lose their child... will recognize what I'm saying.
My memory of taking my hand to touch my child's hair as he lay there, I began to rub his hair, pat his head just like I did when he was a little boy ..... I was crying, screaming 'inside'...'Tommy!' My fingers felt something toward the back of his head...
My hand froze in place as my mind tried to somehow make sense of what I was feeling. It was hard, bumpy... at first I couldn't identify what it was. It came to me that the 'hard, bumpy places' were ... stitches. Stitches from the autopsy.
I looked up to see alarm on Skip's face ... 'Skip, there are stitches in Tommy's head, there are stitches in his head!' I did begin crying aloud, Skip's arms holding me. In my mind ..at this moment ...as my fingers caress the keys on my keyboard.... I can 'feel' those ...stitches.
I was crying inside, my tears falling onto his hair. Yes, when my son was cremated... his mother's tears were in his beautiful hair... falling as my fingers worried with the hard, bumpy scar on his head. Touching, not touching, but touching............ ever so gently. Each 'bump' burning its memory into my fingers... I'll always 'know' what it feels like... I won't ever forget that.
I was 'in a far away place' that night ....so many people were there at the funeral home. I 'wandered' ... I don't remember staying still long.... I have said over and over... I was like a leaf blowing in the wind, when it stopped blowing, I stopped.. also. When it blew again, so.. did I move. I didn't stay by Skip's side... I 'wandered'... like a lost soul. At least... I 'think I did'. I think I thought I was doing things, but... when I ask Skip... he doesn't remember me doing anything, except to ....... cry. It was the medicine trying to carry me to a place of peace to help me, to lessen the pain...
I remember 'wandering' as our home and everything in it ... burned up... moving, wandering, watching as 'our life went up in flames'. It's the shock, the disbelief.......... the 'wanting to reach out and bring our loved one, our precious possessions back'............ I was like that in the funeral home... I was led here... there when needed, I think. How many times in my life have I been in shock? I can't count them anymore... I recognize 'shock' now... it's become very familiar to me... too familiar.
I could hear people, see people yet.. not really see 'them'. The medicine I was given kept me in a 'calm place'.... it was potent. For once in my life, I had begged to be drugged... I was drugged... Thank-God! That night ... I don't know if I was crying... I don't know alot of... anything. I think I was smiling as I cried... smiling as if to apologize for anyone seeing my tears, and upsetting 'them'. Maybe I was 'thinking'... I did that.
Maybe smiling because the medicine was responsible. Smiling the wettest of smiles.... shining smiles from my teardrops... diamond smiles... maybe to keep people from feeling pity for me. Who knows... I react differently to things from the way I grew up. I was just sitting here... thinking ... maybe I didn't... smile. I don't know. I did know 'inside' the medicine made me numb that night.... but, when we went to the funeral home that day... I wasn't numb.
I do know that the whole time I seemed 'so far away'.... I never lost sight on that box 'over there' ... in it Tommy was lying peacefully with his eyes closed... the light above where he lay... it seemed 'dark around me', but, I could see 'over there'.......... that spot of golden light shining down on Tommy. His hands were clasped together... just like when he went into the Army...
I remember seeing him stand there... with his hands clasped together.... my beautiful , tall, golden-blonde haired, handsome son with the sunshine smile. Such a wonderful smile that reached his eyes to make them sparkle with... love, mischieviousness, fun. He was always ready to tell a joke, play a prank, or to help someone. Everyone loved him, women loved him, I loved my son. I loved to hear the sound of my son's soft voice.
I remember hearing that Taban ran to the 'box' as he called it... he tried to climb up in that box to be with his daddy. He was used to laying beside his daddy when sleeping, and taking naps. He was close to his daddy. He was just a little 3 year old boy who didn't know... that he'd never see his daddy again, never nap in his daddy's arms again... at that time, he just wanted to be beside his daddy.... he didn't know his daddy wasn't 'just asleep'.
I remember Taban telling me that he was 'dead'... and he fell to the floor just like his daddy fell to the sand at Myrtle Beach. His mother told me that at preschool, Taban had begun doing that, to tell the children that his daddy died... he'd fall to the ground and say 'I'm dead'. Taban would talk about his daddy and always point up to the sky and say 'my daddy's up there'. Can you imagine how I felt for my little grandson, how my heart broke because I was 'old enough to know'... that his daddy wasn't coming back.
Taban still didn't know that... because I saw several times he thought someone meant his daddy was here, and the excitement in his little face and how he jumped up quickly to look in the direction he thought Tommy would come. I can't tell you how that hurt me, how I wished for his sake, his daddy could... walk through the door. Isn't it just awful... for a little boy trying to find his daddy... somewhere?
Isn't it sad when that little boy begins to have new people in his life, his home... who resent him, and make his little precious life bad? I can't bear to think of him being hurt... I remember his mother telling me she got angry at the guy she was with (the one who didn't work, drank, a deadbeat).... for talking ugly to Taban. He called him names. Taban didn't deserve that... also, the man continued 'to be there' for so long, he should have been kicked to the curb. Yes, I mean that... if I say it ...I hold my ground... I just said that. We met him... she brought him to our home just weeks after my son died.
It broke my heart to hear the things Taban said... he loved his daddy. Sometimes... he'd call Tommy 'Big Daddy'... I know Tommy's height made him look so tall when Taban looked up to him. Also, Tommy drove a big white tractor-trailer. He always talked to his daddy at nighttime... when he'd say his prayers. His mother used to do that with him every night.
Taban's mother has Tommy's ashes, one day she will take them to Stone Mountain to scatter them... he wanted that. When she began going with that guy, I asked her for Tommy's ashes... she didn't want to let me have them... I understood, and was gracious. Inside, I wished so much to have my son's ashes.. I don't think I'll be asked to be there when she scatters my child's ashes... When she moved on, she shut us out. I email her once a week asking to see my grandson.
She just sent an email back to me along with a copy of the email I'd written to her letting her know how I felt about her.... she said that was 'in case I'd forgotten' what I wrote to her. I admit the email was not my nicest ... because I took offense at something she'd wrote to me.
Normally... I stay quiet, smile and... go on. I 'told her off' in my email, the first time since Tommy died. She messed up bad, affecting my grandson's life, and I was upset. The guy she'd began to be with soon after Tommy's death was a deadbeat, he drank, he talked ugly to Taban. He just used her while she was 'rich'. While I was 'at it' writing to her, I added other things that were in my mind. No, it wasn't a nice email...
She had emailed me an apology for 'messing up' with that guy, and she knew it hurt Taban... that she'd try to think with her head, instead of her butt.... from now on.
She had quit nursing school, now ... she is supposed to be back in school to be an RN... I admit I was harsh when I told her that she'd probably never finish school... truthfully, I hoped to make her angry enough at me... to make her say ....'I'll show that b_____!' I just want her to do good, her every action affects my grandson.
My granddaughter's mother has done well, she remarried to a great guy, and he loves my granddaughter.... they have a loving home, they go to church, and they are your good community people who will be there when someone needs them. I don't worry about my granddaughter... she is surrounded with people who truly love her.
I emailed her back telling her that no matter how we felt about the other... it wasn't about us. She hasn't communicated since. I will continue asking in the nicest way to see Taban. He needs to know his father's mother. I need to know him.
I will say this much in credit of Taban's mother... she really is truly a good person... I loved her with my heart. She is a family-oriented person, and tries to do the right things. I understand the feelings between she and I are really 'not good... she would have to think about letting me see Taban.
What she has done has been done by a 'million' young women when they suddenly find themselves alone. She had alot of grief inside, she was lonely. I hate her and I don't hate her... I only want good things to be in her life. I'm sure alot of mothers of sons who have died... have felt like I do.
As for my granddaughter, strangely enough.... her mother communicated with me through email until May of last year. I feel my grandson's mother is involved in 'why' she cut off communication. They were calling each other and talking ... once again at that time. I never heard from her again. I want to see my granddaughter, she will be 12 in September.
I feel that to justify insurance money spent that 'might have been' my granddaughter's.. she may have told her mother that I didn't want her to have it until she was eighteen years old. I did say that one time but, later I told my grandson's mother to give it to her, that her mother would spend it on her, and family things. McKenzie's mother would do right with that money. It wasn't my decision to make.... it was my grandson's mother's decision.... Tommy's insurance money and 401K went to her.
She kept the money.... hers, Taban's, and McKenzie's. I don't think that money is 'there for my granddaughter'... anymore'. If it is, then ... I'm wrong and I would feel bad for what I think..... I hope that's the case. She knows I feel this way... she says it's put up for McKenzie. Why not give it to McKenzie 'now' when she needs it? She has a new car she paid cash for, and really I don't know what else she has 'to show for all the money spent' through this time.... let McKenzie have her money, to help them have a better life... Tommy meant for that to be.
Just a month before Tommy died, he'd always kept me as beneficiary on his life insurance through the years he drove a truck..... I kept telling him that he was 'married now', he needed to put his wife's name as beneficiary. He would always say 'but, I want to keep you, mom'. It came time soon after to update all... he put it in her name. He died just a short time after this. It was a mistake.... but, I wanted to do the 'right' thing.................................
He told her just like he'd always told me.... 'if something happens to me, split it all in 4 ways... to you, my wife, my daughter, my son. She gave me the money he wanted me to have.. though, with hesitation on his 401K, but... later did. Tommy had told me just a week or so, before he died that he wanted me to have a new computer, mine had quit working.
He was waiting for his 401K plan at that time... I remember him standing there in the sunshine saying 'Mama, I want to give you $2,000 so, you can get a nice computer, and I haven't decided what to get Skip'. His wife was standing beside him... both smiling. She couldn't wait for him to tell me, and reminded him to. How he touched my heart... we both smiled at each other, his smile matching the sunshine over his shoulder. There was no need for words.... we'd done this before. All through time Tommy, Skip and I would do something 'big' for each of us... when there was extra money... it was how we were... we wanted each other to have something we wanted, and might not have the extra money for. We three were always 'there' for the other. I had my family, my own family.
I felt anger when Tommy's wife told Skip and I about the guy she began to see just a short time after Tommy died... (she saw his cousin first)... she began shutting us out. She did tell me that 'for the first time in that guy's life, he had 'brand-named' things because she bought them for him'... she did this at Christmas... Tommy had just died the 29th of May. She bought all these things on the life insurance money meant for Tommy's loved ones. She took her friends out to expensive restaurants, riding around, having a good time... she would call us sometimes from expensive restaurants to let us know... where she was at.
Just a thought... can you imagine how I, as Tommy's mother, felt when his wife tells me she's just bought name-brand things for a drunk so, he could have them for the first time in his life? Bought all those things for him ..... with money from my son's insurance and, he'd just died? Do you know... many things such as this happened while I was in mourning, the world of darkness.... I just remember looking at her through my grieving eyes, and I would quietly smile, and nod my head. I never commented... she felt she could keep 'telling me things'... not remembering I was Tommy's mother, that I was hearing her say the 'damnest' things that I am sure another mother would have physically jumped on her for. I sat there in my grief... quietly... listening and... smiling.
She will never know she made my grief ten times heavier ... she would 'forget' I was Tommy's mother... and tell me things I really shouldn't have heard.
If I don't see my grandchildren ever again... one day they will see my stories and know they are loved by their Granny Gee. I know I'm not the only grandparent who goes through these things. I want to stay nice as possible, sometimes it isn't easy and once in a while 'I'm not nice'.................. I'm not going to make a scene to see my grandchildren.
I do know that it will bite both mothers in the ass one day... it's wrong to do that to grandparents. I used to cry so much over this... I'm alright now. I don't cry over this anymore.... my grandchildren 'have me and have Tommy' in them.... they will come to see me ...one day.
Both mothers of my grandchildren helped to make me finish losing nearly everyone left that I loved with my heart in my life. Now... I have Skip and our Pups. Truthfully... I don't hate them, I only wish the best because really both are good people... see, I knew them both at one time... I 'know' they are really loving people... I never forgot their kindness through time.
Remembering back to 'that night'... I walked back to the 'casket' where Tommy lay... I put my hand back on Tommy's hair, I leaned down and kissed him on his forehead, I softly whispered 'I love you, Son... your Ole Mom loves you'. Skip led me away... that was the last time I saw my son, my child, my only baby... Tommy.. in my life. He lay there with my teardrops in his hair, sparkling like diamonds... if they had had a scent, I would chose 'roses'.
A mother's teardrops in her son's hair... to The End.
Note By This Author:
No one knows who my son's wife was... I never had 'family' enough to know or care. Even my mother never knew her. Both of Tommy's wives were from other states. In fact, very few people ever knew who my son was... no one ever cared... they were focused on their own lives when living. Tommy never grew up around any of my 'family'. There is no one to leave my information to, so... I write my stories so, that my grandchildren will read one day to 'see' me as a person, and know what's happened through the years I don't know them.
I don't tell my life stories to hurt anyone... never. I know that most people are like me... they are basically good people, sometimes life throws twists/turns to make us make wrong or bad decisions sometimes. The sad thing is that if we don't forgive and accept that we all are human... that person always remains 'bad' in our minds... when alot of times they aren't.... it was the 'wrong combination of people, circumstances' that was the catalyst triggering 'bad' things.
This includes me, both making mistakes and forgiving... I'm no exception, I'm the most imperfect person there is. I can say this in all honesty.... I'm a good 'imperfect' person with a good heart. So are they... no matter the mistakes. I've made mine, too. It didn't mean I was 'bad'... wrong people, circumstances, wrong combinations were the catalyst. That's why I can forgive, understand... I've been on many roads in my life to learn this.
Never think that I am talking to be talking 'bad' about anyone... ever. I'm writing my life stories/colors here... it's my life. My goal is to tell 'my' story... and let others tell their stories... we all see life differently. This is how I see mine.............
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/ aka Granny Gee (March 7, 2012)
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)