TO 'SEE WHERE' TOMMY WENT...
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES/ aka GRANNY GEE
I've been sitting here looking at photos of the sand between the beach and hotel at Myrtle Beach
Soon, I'm going to paint a ocean scene in memory
of Tommy, my son... he died at the ocean
He died where everyone goes to feel the freedom of everyday life... stress, to vacation... to breathe the fresh ocean air
Where people 'came to take a new lease on life'... to relax and rest their souls, their minds, their bodies....
People didn't come there to ... die, but.... then again, I've heard of people wanting to get to the ocean 'just before', haven't you?
Tommy died while running, playing on the sand with his little three year old son, Taban
I sit here looking on the computer at that sand in front of the hotel they had just arrived at... 'just in time'.... where Tommy... collapsed
I'm trying to 'see', to feel, to 'know'... from all I was told ... 'is that the spot' where my son exited through an invisible door?
I keep wondering 'if I go there'... can I 'feel' the door handle and turn it... to 'see where Tommy went'?
I wonder if at all possible I could just 'peep behind that door'... look up the steps made of air and clouds... white, blue, a hint of violet and pink, sunshine... fluffy steps
Could I 'see Tommy'? Could I just see him for a moment to see his precious smile... I promise it would make the difference for the 'rest of my life'
I feel my mouth begin to tremble on its own because I know what I am looking for, Oh God... it does hurt so bad
I'm looking for where you walked into heaven, Son, where you got to play just a few moments
I'm looking for the lifeguard station there nearby on the sand.. they couldn't have saved you if they tried
You collapsed with two blockages in your heart... how did we not know?
The nightmare that happened to you disguised and masked what was happening to you... you had just come home off the road a few weeks from a breakdown
This is something I haven't done since learning that my son was gone ... forever... 'now', I'm beginning to cry ..again
'Where' on that sand did you go away, 'where'? did you open that invisible door... Son, where did you go?
I'm looking for you... I miss you... I cry for you... you are my baby, my only child.. my only son... I loved you with my very heart
I haven't been strong enough... even now, I'm having doubts as I try to 'look for something' I'm trying to find
Something that says 'Tommy' when I look at that sand where his spirit left the shore
Something that I can find peace of mind, something that even I don't know what it is
I'm just trying to 'find'... just trying to find something that even I don't know what it is
I'm like our Kissy Fairchild, our precious 1 year old Rottie... he is constantly searching for ... something
You got there just in time to play with your little son,
you got there in time to take another trip
Another trip that you, no one expected for you to take, I thought you were 'already there'... at the beach, at your destination... I thought I only had to worry about your safety... when it was 'time to come back home'
But, no.... your trip wasn't quite finished, it was a trip that forever altered mine and Skip's and Taban's life
This was your last trip, Son... it's strange that you had to take a trip to ... take another trip, I didn't know to worry about 'this one'...
It's strange you made it just in time to do what you most wanted to do
You barely made it in time to play with your little son, I'm so thankful Taban will have this memory
He can't help but, to grow up knowing that while his daddy was here
His daddy loved him with his very heart, that he was his daddy's pride and joy
His little girl will grow up knowing her daddy loved her just as much, she has to be older to understand the 'whys', she will have to be older to 'see and understand', only then... will she know how her daddy loved her, too
The 'whys' that no matter how hard he tried, the money he spent ... it was in vain to see her... it always turned into heartbreak
If you all only knew the grief, the stress, the heartbreak Tommy suffered
It would be easy to see 'why' God called him home, his heart couldn't take anymore
He called him home to rest his mind, his spirit... his soul because Tommy was so tired, he couldn't take more
Tommy couldn't get over the death of a man ... a death that reached out and touched his life
Through no choosing on Tommy's part... be careful everyone, life has a way of touching your life
It can reach out even if you're living your own life ...in the form of unexpected happenings, people touching your life when you don't choose for them to
A person who wants to come to disturb the calm in your pond... toss pebbles on your water just ... to see it ripple... then, there are the accidents, the unexpected...
There are things that happen out of the blue, just as that fateful day on the Hernando De Soto Bridge in Tennessee
When that man stepped out of his car in all that fast-moving traffic... 'why'? I'm so sorry for you 'man'... but, when you did that... you also, 'killed my son' that day
He stepped out in front of Tommy's big tractor-trailer... when he did ... he changed my son's life forever
Tommy 'died' the first time when his tractor-trailer struck that man, he cared with his life
Tommy couldn't bear the knowledge of seeing, reliving that tragic event in his life
Tommy had the biggest heart, he cared about people and would be the first to run to help someone... not hurt them
'Forever' ... being only 1 year and several weeks... forever until Tommy ... died... again
Tommy couldn't bear to live with what happened, he cried often, he was in such a state of mind where he couldn't find peace
I grieved for my son's life... twice over, I have grieved since May ...one year before he died in May of 2010, I also, 'lost my son as I knew him'... that fateful day only to lose him forever the 'second' time
Survivor's Guilt is what the doctors called it... all I know is my son lived in such pain, grief... he couldn't get past hurting, killing a man even if it wasn't his fault
He tried but, he was alone too much... when he tried to be with his family, the people who loved him most
The company he worked for told him he had to come to their motel to stay... and go to their doctors...hundreds of miles away... to keep his job...
Weeks upon weeks... Tommy went and stayed alone when he needed all of us
He went back to work driving that truck and tried to be alright... saying he was 'okay now'... when he really wasn't
Yes, Tommy did that so, he could come home and see his little son, to be able to just see his loved ones while 'pretending he was alright'... so, he could leave that motel where he was isolated
When he came home on April 1st, 2010... the breakdown, he couldn't take anymore... my son didn't know it... he meant to go to doctors here at home, to be with his loved ones to help him through....but, those were 'his last moments' until....
May 29th, 2010.... I know the ones who caused him grief during this time will forever suffer inside, never see peace of mind... life has a way of 'coming back in full circle'... it will 'bite you in the ass'
Because all that was done, said....... added to all that took Tommy from his 'last moments' to.... the last trip of his life... Tommy never saw peace.. never.. before he died
Am I angry as well as sad... sometimes... like this moment when I think of what I saw and heard, what Tommy said
Yes, I feel a white anger burn in my soul... yes, it will be there until the day Tommy's mother... takes her last trip
Tommy wasn't treated right, he was in bad shape but, he chose to stay home when we asked him to come to us
Tommy loved his little son more than anything... he didn't want to lose him, too
Tommy would walk through hell to be with him... Tommy did
He would have never left that little boy on his own, that little fellow was his life-line
That little boy was who Tommy lived for ... his precious little son... he didn't want to lose him... he 'lost' his daughter ... he fought hard to see her only to have obstacles placed at every turn in that path
Yes, I am angry... Granny Gee feels anger, she'll never forget the things that are unspoken............ 'for now'
The things, the people who made her son so unhappy, the very ones who hurt him so
While they loved him 'in their own way'.... no, Granny Gee remembers, she'll never forget... one day
Though... like her son... she forgives but... of course, like you ... if all happened to you like this... no, you'd never forget... especially if you knew all that I know
The main thing is forgiveness... that I've done well but, no... when you ask me if I've forgotten
I will not answer you because this is my private life that I only write about... I won't 'talk in words' to you about it... please don't ask
Here, I will tell you 'no'..... no, I've not forgotten, in my mind I still hear that voice in the background spitting out
Awful words to him because he was on the phone and not cleaning up a mess he didn't make, I hear that voice that was always there when he called us... angry because he was talking to us... to Skip... to me
He would just hold the phone, no words were said... Tommy was too sick to know what to do... he was the weakest in his life
That big, gentle giant of a man just sat there... he'd just had a breakdown on April 1st and had to come home to try to find peace
Tommy never found peace, instead he went on a long journey... two journeys in one
Tommy's heart couldn't take anymore, he had two blockages... all he was going through masked his life-threatening condition
Tommy left that evening... when he left ...my world forever changed... I am left with knowing, remembering more as time goes by
Yes, for this moment ... Granny Gee feels that anger... no, it doesn't feel good
Anger makes my colors dark, makes me feel bad... I'm working on that anger to put it back 'inside'
I know it's not a good thing, I know I have to constantly put it away forever
I hate, I don't hate... I'm angry, I'm not angry... I forgive, I don't forgive... I cry, I don't cry... I hate, I don't hate
I do, I don't........ I know, I don't know... but, deep 'inside' I really do know that I do forgive, I do forget, I do love instead of hate, I don't stay angry and mad
These are emotions that go through a mother's heart when she loses her child... some mothers are never 'alright'... again.... you are reading 'real' thoughts of a 'real' grieving mother ... in 'real' time
After losing her child... she never is 'right again', she lives forever in her own world where her child left her at that time
I won't do that ... I will let the colors of life pull me through, pull me back to now, the present
I'm not staying in a world without seeing, knowing anything but, what happened 'then'...
I'm here, today... but, for the moment I feel anger. It will go away in a little while... I've been like this before
I have to be gentle with it and put it back... this time it will be alittle 'less'... each time 'a little less' until one day
I won't have to feel it anymore... only sadness will be there to take its place... I may be ninety-nine when that happens, but...
Anger... has a place in our world as it can help us to overcome obstacles in our life... it gives us fuel to succeed in life
Anger... isn't healthy, it can make us sick inside... this is the anger I work hard to 'let go'
This is the anger that is 'bad'... it doesn't help a thing, it only serves to pull one down so far
If they don't work hard at it... they'll only have dark colors in their life... for the rest of their life
They'll grow old, bitter, mean, hateful... they'll never see the bright colors around them, their world is black
I love colors, so... I won't let this anger stay... my world has many colors of blue, pink, yellow, green, gold, orange and just any color thought of!
Yes, 'now'... I feel my colors brightening back up... my world's going to be alright
I feel that anger receding, going back... alittle less now, I see that I am going to be alright
Tommy, I remember something you said alot, while laughing, when you were a little boy
You would say 'I'm Tommy, I want my Mommy!' I will think of happy things like this... yellow-golden sunshine just came into my heart
Go back anger, I don't want you... I'm sorry I've ever had to feel bad feelings... but, I have
I have tried to be perfect, to no avail... I am only human and the most imperfect person you've ever seen
I do still feel mean thoughts, anger when I don't want to... I can only keep going forward from it... but, I will be like this again... again... and again
I will have to battle these feelings for the rest of my life just... as some of us battle to lose weight, or like some people to quit smoking... I will be in a constant battle for the rest of my life... to keep from hating, being angry...
Just as I am doing now... in colors of pink, yellow, green and blue... colors of dusty rose, violet, fuschia, lime, orange.... happy colors!
All I feel is because I'm in pain, I'm grieving for my child... I was grieving 'before' he died........I loved my son just like you do... you have yours now, I don't
I'm sorry to say sometimes... I get mad... I want him back but, realistically... I know better
I'm filling my mind with distractions now... colors of yellow, pink, green and blue... colors of every kind... I follow the colors without thinking
I'm going to be alright as long as.. I keep myself distracted
I'm going to be alright as long as I write
The things I can't say in words out loud, letting these things out in written words
This is my outlet where I can talk... my fingers talk for me here
As I talk with my fingers, I don't push myself or my thoughts on anyone
If you are reading here, it's because you come here on your own, to read
I know there are some who come here to 'see if there's something about them'... I don't want to hurt you with my words... but, always remember... you contributed to how I feel and to Tommy's death... 'before'... several of you made his life 'hell on earth' before he died
I remember, I 'know'... he talked to me, his mother... and to Skip, whom he loved with his very heart as 'father'... many, many countless hours on the phone while on the road... I want you to know that 'Tommy cried... Tommy loved each of you in his own way'...
Spite, the need to win and the need to make a child another man's child when she had a father, to make any visit 'pure hell' when the child came to spend time with her father... the need to call in the middle of the night to disrupt visits, the need to tell a child things to do or say
For a father to wish for his child to call him 'daddy'... but, that child has been told she can't call him 'daddy'... the child being loving to everyone but, him... when it comes for hard-won weekend visits....
Granny Gee/Gloria will never forget the heartache, the anguish.... though she forgives, though she hates and... strangely enough... still loves... Tommy still loved..... 'you who come here to see what I write about'....
I know you hurt inside, because there's so much more than what's here... that you two have to live with...............
I can say this in all honesty.... you did wrong... sadly, I 'know that you two know this, also'....
We know what hurt him to the very core of his soul, we know and saw.... I will say this in all fairness... in your minds when you helped to destroy Tommy... you did it 'with love in your heart'... you couldn't 'see farther than that'....
Tommy lived in 'hell on earth' from 'people who loved him'....... I think 'back' all the time and 'I see, hear in my mind the things that I saw, heard with myself'.... Oh my God... the things I don't know...
I wonder 'if you meant to hurt' or... you were so unhappy that 'you didn't mean to hurt'... or 'if you hurt Tommy because of 'loyalty' to others'?
I think about 'you all' ... all the time... I have to because... you've hurt me, too... the strange thing is I 'never knew any of you that well'... somehow I could 'never connect' with any of you... I really tried ... at one time... I 'gave up' and I tried to just 'be nice'... it didn't make any difference..
See... I'm angry though I don't want to be... my only excuse is being a 'mother'........ :))) I 'know' what a couple of you are thinking at the moment... I can be 'if I have to be'... I wish I was perfect... I wish I wasn't angry, sad.. or even... thinking about 'you'... but, of course, I do... you are the people who contributed so much to my son's life... good... bad
If you want to know real thoughts, real emotion and feelings... you will from this mother who has lost her child
Yes, here you will read not just happy, wonderful things in my life... full of color, the dark colors are there, too
Here, I fight to keep dark colors from my world that sometimes... threaten to drown me, my soul
To pull me down forever so, that I'll be a mother 'who has never been right since her child's death'
I'm not going to let it... because as you can see.. you are in fact, 'witnessing a battle of colors' as you read
Dark colors, bright colors... which will win? Which colors will dominate my life?
Why, bright colors will be the focus of my life, distracting and taking me away to the light
The light of happiness, sunshine on my path while I grieve for Tommy, this will make it better
For me to stay alright even while I feel the saddest feelings in my life
While grieving, missing my son, my only child.. a part of my very heart.... TOMMY