TOMMY...My Very Real Child
He Tried To Shield Me From The Pain... But, It Was Inside Me
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Yesterday evening, I became overwhelmed by such deep grief. I was in the kitchen when it happened. I felt it happening inside myself... the familiar 'fluttering of butterflies' in my stomach... I tried to pretend it 'wasn't there'.
Then... the sensation became like birds trapped in a cage, desperate to escape. Their wings fluttered wildly as I... began to feel that 'panicky' feeling. I put my hands to cover my eyes as tears began to fall... my heart felt like it was breaking.
I began to cry softly... I felt Skip's arms go around me... trying to shield me from the pain... but, the pain was 'inside me'.
For a few moments... all the protection I had built around myself 'slipped away'. I stood there in the middle of the floor with nothing to buffer the pain... I cried quietly... like a child, while Skip held me. I never do this in front of Skip... nor anyone else.
My grief is very private... something I try not to let touch other people's lives. I didn't mean to let Skip see me... I 'shut it off' as quickly as I could... he can't bear to see me hurting... and I can't bear to cause him pain.
The trigger for this was earlier when we were in Walmart... a young father was pushing a child in the shopping cart, and trying to keep his young daughter from running off. He was scolding her, trying to get her to follow him.
During all this, I could see just his back... that blonde hair, and as he turned his head, I could 'see Tommy'. The shape of his head... his skin...
When this happens to me... it's when I realize that all I do is 'pretend everything's alright'... when the pain is still there; will be there always. I walk around like a 'happy-colored' bottle of bubbly champagne, tightly corked.... always happy, no sadness... doing just fine.
No one knows how fragile I am... the only thing that separates me from my pain, grief... is the cork. All it has to do is to pop out from the pressure... there the grief comes bubbling, pouring out... but, not in a happy way... it hurts so bad. I forget what's around me; I don't see, hear anyone around me.
It's like 'for a little while' I can be alright... until the next time... deal with it until the next time.... pretend again that it's alright again. I will do this repeatedly until the day I die... if you've never lost a child... there's no way you can possibly understand.
This is one of the games of Life... when a loved one dies... see how long you can go before you break down again. Hey, world... see how good I'm taking the death of my child... everything is going to be alright. Hey... look at me, I am the model of a grieving mother who is taking the death of her son... so good! It's not so...
Then, it happens again.... and yet... again. I keep trying to cope with it... this is a never-ending cycle. Pain, grief... cry, panic... to finally reach the point of accepting 'all over again' that I won't ever see my 'very real' child again.
I have to 'find that damn cork' again... 'fight like hell' to seal the bottle of bubbly champagne back up. Hold that pain, grief back before it destroys me. Sometimes, I feel like crying to the heavens, and just say 'I give up, it hurts too bad; I just can't accept Tommy's death'...
I don't go around screaming, weeping, making a scene, it's never been 'my way'. But... I feel like it... I don't. I feel like it... I just don't.
I become so weary, tired from my burden of pain... the only thing to help it is to go to sleep... wake up to a new day. I'm always much better when I wake up... I'm stronger. I can ...begin again.
Reaching the point knowing everything is going to be alright... until the next time... only to come to this point again... and again... again. Over and over... over and over... the pure grief never ends.
Skip happened to be close by when it happened this time... he tried to shield me from the pain... but, it was 'inside' me.