We Grow Old Just To... Die
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Rhinestone Cowboy... I just felt a terrible pain in the pit of my stomach, instant hot tears filled my eyes ... just like that! I hear it on the tv... in the background.
I see a little strawberry-blonde headed boy in my mind ... who instantly began to move his little boy body, little boy head.... to the rhythm of that song... begin to sing. He couldn't sing as a little boy, either :))) "Tommy, you knew I'd say that!"
Tommy couldn't sing, but... he did sing. He had more nerve than I ever did... because, I can't sing... so, I don't ever let anyone hear my 'singing voice'. :))) I loved listening to him sing... it didn't matter that it was out of tune... it was fun listening to him 'rub it in' that he could sing.... knowing full-well that I 'knew' he couldn't. He would say, "mama, you are just jealous because you can't sing, and I can. I can sing, mama, I can sing."
No, Son... you really couldn't sing. No... Simon Cowell wouldn't have thought you could sing if you auditoned for American Idol.
Simon Cowell would have asked you if you came there for a joke! He would have never appreciated your singing voice. In fact, I think I was your... only fan! I knew you couldn't sing, but... I loved hearing you sing. It meant ... you were feeling happiness for at least a little while. Your voice... your 'Tommy' voice.......
It was the most beautiful sound in the world to this mother. Mothers don't care if their child can 'carry a tune', or not. They just love the sounds of their children.... sing, talk, laugh with their 'own sounds'... unique sounds that are only our children's sounds.
Tapping eggs on the countertop, rolling them to crack the shell in a 'million places', putting them under the cold water.... to make them shell easier. The shells come right off....
Standing there for a moment ... no one says "hey, mom... can I have one?" Every time I made boiled eggs ... Tommy would appear. Now, he doesn't. I've tried quite a few times to 'see if he would'. Yeah, I really have... I know... kind of dumb, isn't it? I told you... I'm not perfect.
Truthfully... I turn around ... I mean all the way around ... just to 'see' if Tommy has somehow, miraculously .... appeared. He never does... he just never does. I thought deep down.. that if 'anyone could'... Tommy could, would. He was so strong...
I have seen 'things'... but, not when shelling boiled eggs. I have written about them in my past posts.
I hear his voice in my mind when I drink iced tea.... I can hear him saying "give me a glass of that good ole sweet tea!' I can see that Tommy smile 'inside', as I look outwards... to look in.
I just 'looked at myself' sitting here at my desk by the window. I was resting my right elbow on my desk, feeling the wood beneath. My right cheek rests in my right hand, my head is tilted to the right side.... my eyes stare up into the sky, as I look out the window.
I see the treetops reaching to the gray sky... I wish the sun was shining... to brighten up my thoughts. I am the type of person who finds gray, rainy days depressing for any length of time. I am a 'sunshine' person...
I love rainy days only when I'm with Skip. He loves rainy days. We really love ... snowy days! We wish for them! We... used to chase the snow... no matter how far we had to drive!
We've driven as far as five hundred miles to be in a snow storm, got a hotel room with a fireplace, sliding doors.... sit, drink hot chocolate, coffee... while watching the snow fall! Those were the good old days.... :))) I truly loved doing that ... we don't do it now.
My moods switch from happy one moment to sad the next. Everything influences how I feel... the weather, the sounds around me, the.... colors, weather, people's moods.
People influence my feelings. If I like them, I feel happiness... sometimes, people I 'don't like' make me feel happiness... depending on what they are doing, saying at the particular moment.
Since Tommy has died ... it doesn't take much to pull me into the darkness .... I try to come back quickly. I'm afraid of the darkness, I've never like to be in the dark.
I just thought of ... George. Just like that! The darkness reminded me of George, the only grandfather I ever knew in my life. He was blind, in darkness ... all the time. I would try as a little girl to tell him what I could see with my eyes... so, he could see, too.
He would smile, and if he didn't 'see what I would describe to him with my words'.... he made me feel like he did. I would feel happiness inside... so, maybe... he really did.
Sometimes, all through the years I 'find myself' doing things in the dark ... it comes from being little, living with... watching George as he would hold his hands out ... to feel his way to where he wanted to go, to do what he wanted to do.
I would follow him, watch him. He would sometimes, use a hammer, nails. I would watch him hold a nail with one hand, take the hammer hand to feel the hand holding the nail to 'know where it was'... then, begin hammering. Most of the time, he hit the nail. Oh, the times he didn't.... George would bellow out .... 'G_____ it!'
Well, when he did that... remember ... I was little... I would try to not laugh... my mouth would close tight trying to hold a laugh. I would hold it as long as I could.
George didn't seem to ever cared that I would laugh, he knew it was just I thought it was funny when he said an 'ugly word'. He never got mad.
The pain would cause him to cuss... it's something I wish I'd never learned to do ... but, sadly ... I will sometimes, even now.
I'm not perfect... I really try not to, and I feel guilty... afterwards. Pain will make me say an ugly word..... oh well. I'm not a 'perfect granny'... at all. I can say this, mean it... I try to be as good as I can be ... under the circumstances. :)))))))))))))))
Sometimes, I can hear my mama 'in the sound of the wind', or in the sound of a wild animal. I know you wonder 'how can she do that?'
The evening I knew something was wrong with my mother was when we got home from Sam's Club. I played the messages on the answering machine... there was an 'unearthly sound' that I couldn't understand when the message began playing.... it was like a 'keening' sound.... one that horrified me as I listened to her voice, what she was trying to say....
I can't bear to think about that ... even now. My mom needed me, and I wasn't there for her to tell me. My mom died a short time 'before' the time on her message. I called 911, that's how I learned this.....
When I hear 'that sound'... I can't bear it. I just can't bear it. She was begging me to please help her. There's more on it, I can't bear to go back, play it. I've hidden it from myself... I have to... it could cause me to go to a 'dark place'. Skip doesn't want me to play it at all.
Everybody I have ever loved .... with the exception of just a handful of people ... have died. I have never been without a grieving period of time in my adult life since 1998. 'Perpetual Grief' .... is a story I wrote telling about this.
I've never known so much grief ...in my life. The very people 'I loved' ... died. I almost died, Skip almost died... some of our precious Pups during that time, died.
Just like that.... I can hear, see, feel something to make me remember the loved ones who are gone. I can think of Tommy... just like that. The grief is never gone... no matter what. I know, I've been in grieving for 12 years so far... this year beginning the thirteenth year.
Not only has all my loved ones died, a lot of 'bad things' have happened to us in our life. The strange thing is.... that we still 'know everything is going to be all right'.... we never give up hope.
The only time that I 'gave up', didn't care anymore, didn't know I was in the world is ... when Tommy died. It took so long to 'come back' from his death. I ... didn't know that I would. It really didn't matter, I didn't know the difference for so long.
I look back in my mind to 'see me'... during that time... I was lost in darkness... that's 'why in my mind I can't see 'me', then'. I was gone, in my mind, I see only blackness, dark.
There was a two year or more, period of time ... I didn't know the difference, I was 'dead inside'.
If it hadn't been for Skip, the Pups.......................... my blog would have never been written..... my fingers wouldn't have had any life in them to type my words.
My spirit would have been soaring around in the heavens looking for my only child, my son.... Tommy. I would have never looked back, I wouldn't have thought to.
Grieving ... is the worst thing I've ever had to do in my life. You can see the toll it's taken on my face, my body, my mind. You can hear it in my voice, my words.
You can see it reflected in the way I express myself... you'll see that I no longer take things for granted.... I know better. You'll see that I will tell you things I feel now... when I wouldn't 'before'.... that way if 'something were to happen to me'.... you would know.
In my way of thinking 'now'... I am sorry for things I've said, done in the past down to the smallest thing. Sometimes, 'small things' can be 'big' things when someone is hurt... I know.
That's 'why' I say ... it's a shame for people to become older, wiser, know how to make things right ... only to die. Doesn't that seem such a waste? We just grow old ... to die.