By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter
My son, Tommy ... and I ... he was 11 years old in this photo. I was so proud of my son, and he was proud of his Mama.
Today has been a strange day ... one of sorrow, grief appearing from nowhere. That's how grief does ... it comes ... out of the blue. What triggered it?
Rainy days can trigger my grief. I'll speak for myself. As it rains ... my teardrops flow inside my Heart. Standing, looking through the window at the rain ... I forget which are teardrops ... raindrops.
Looking at me ... you wouldn't see a thing. I hide my grief ... so you don't have to see ... I smile brighter if I see you looking. All the while, the teardrops fall ... in my Heart to my Soul.
Thankfully ... the times this happens isn't as often as before. Before when my every waking minute was nothing but, pure grief. Pure torture to wake up to remember my Son was gone ... pure torture to have to live with myself. Such knowledge was too big for me ... yet, I had to find a way to live with it ... if I wanted to live.
If you've never lost a child ... you can't possibly understand. I know you try to ... you try to offer advice, kind words. Sometimes ... no words are needed.
When I write my grief ... I share it with all my followers just as I promised I would. I tell you exactly how it feels ... it's not pleasant. When talking about fear ... fear and death ... it's scary ... one becomes afraid.
When I write my grief ... and you read it ... you don't have to say anything to me. You don't have to feel sorry for me. You just read, go your way ... I'm very strong now. I've made it this far. Everything is going to be all right.
When grief appears in my everyday unexpectedly ... my outlet is my writing. I write my grief until it goes away. I'm like a river ... my words flow forever. You have something to read ... I get relief from something bigger than I ... before it consumes me. Like a dam ... water has to be released so, it doesn't burst.
My son, Tommy ... and I (Gloria Faye Brown Bates)
Ever so often I let my new friends, followers, readers know why I write about grief. They aren't aware ... that writing is my outlet. They aren't aware of my promise to all of my oldest, faithful followers that I keep a promise to always share, describe such grief when it happens. I've done this for almost five years ... I've kept my promise. Grief, pain is what I know best in my life. One writes about what they know best.
My readers/followers/friends can come read about pure grief, pain. What they take away with them afterwards may help them with someone who is experiencing such. They do get to see what it's really like to be a grieving mother. I don't sugar-coat it. If you feel my pain ... you are feeling only a tiny fraction of real grief. When you see a grieving mother in your own life ... your Heart will have compassion. Not pity ... compassion.
I hope you never lose a child. Parents should never lose their children. They are supposed to die before them. We bring our children into the world ... we have hope, dreams of what they'll become ... dreams of grandchildren one day. This is what we as humans do ... when that chain is broken ... the pain is unlike any you've ever felt.
My son, Tommy ... his only son was born on March 16, 2007. He was so happy ... proud.
I've lost most all my family on both sides. I know what it feels like to lose mother, brother, father, grandmothers, aunts ... cousins. I've been on this path in life for at least 15 years. I can't tell you how many times I have suffered shock, pain ... pure grief. I can tell you that no matter how many times it happens ... it still hurts so bad.
When I lost my child ... I almost lost my own life. If I had died, I wouldn't have known it. I was too-far gone ... I was lost. I still can't remember so much for the first 3 years after my son died ... nor do I care to. I can't bear it. If it hadn't been for Skip and our Pups ... my online friends, readers, followers ... I couldn't have found my way to ... today. I had no one else. No one was ... there. They are all gone.
My Precious Son, Tommy. See how his smile can compete with the sunshine? As bright as can be!
Can you imagine losing a child at the age of 40? Never knowing he had 3 blockages to his heart? Never knowing he was standing there so alive, so happy ... looking forward to going to the beach to play with his little son ... never knowing that would be the last time your eyes ... saw your child. The last time ... your ears heard his soft voice, his laughter ... say ... "Mama". The last time you saw his twinkling eyes that smiled, competed with the sunshine.
The evening before he died ... I did 'many last things' ... never knowing it. I made for my son his last sandwiches ... the strange thing is I'll never forget that moment when I gave them to him. We were sitting outside at the picnic table ... I had made him several sandwiches with cold cuts from Sam's Club.
He looked up at me, smiling his beautiful son smile ... he said, "Mama, these are the best sandwiches I have ever eaten!" I remember noticing that a lot, and I said, "Son ... you know they aren't the best sandwiches you've ever eaten." I was smiling at him. He began nodding his head ... "Yes, they are, Mama". I watched as he enjoyed those sandwiches. My Heart felt such love for my child, my son ... such warmth like being cold and standing close to a fireplace.
Tommy ... getting ready to go into the Army. He was so happy that day. My Beloved Son.
Those were the ... last ... sandwiches I ever made for Tommy. Boar's Head cold-cuts from Sam's Club. I had my ... last ... hug from my son when he left. I heard him say for the ... last ... time ... "I love you, Mama." So many ... last times ... in a short time ... just before he left ... leaving only what my eyes saw that evening ... my precious son.
Grief has many layers ... I've just went down to a deeper layer I usually don't think about, much less speak about. I want to tell you honestly what I think, feel while I am experiencing this bout of grief. It really hurts ... it makes me cry quietly ... inside.
Normally ... one thinks someone's child is dead ... that's as far as their mind goes. They don't think about the mother ... how she thinks about the ... last things she saw, heard from her child. Maybe you will if you have a grieving mother somewhere in your life. Maybe my grief can be a 'good' thing in your life, to help somewhere along your life's journey.
My handsome Son, Tommy. From the time he was a little boy ... older girls loved him. He was just as nice as handsome.
After being sad all day ... since the rain began this morning ... I can see I'm like the weather ... I'm clearing up ... the sun is going to shine ... no more clouds for a while. I'm going to be all right.
Thank you for being here through time for me. You all know who you are ... I know who my followers are who have been here since Tommy died. You mean the world to me even though we don't talk often. My new followers/readers/friends, you mean the world to me, also. I need all of you ... you are a huge part of my life.
Now, you can see that I'm not all of a sudden sinking into grief, going crazy, all sorts of things. I smile here ... this is where I let water out of the dam ... so, it won't burst wide open. Writing about my grief is my outlet. You get to see as you read ... what it's like.
My son, Tommy and his little son, Taban. I loved them with my very Heart. Date is wrong on this photo.
Oh ... don't even feel sorry for me. I'm very strong from all the pain, grief in my life. Like a redwood tree, I've weathered many storms ... I'm still standing. I can still cry easily, hurt easily ... but, that's because I have a big Heart. I love, I care, I feel. Grief is pure love ... pure raw pain at the loss of someone close to your Heart.
For now, I've survived another storm ... like a brief summer storm that clears the air ... the sun is shining once again ... I feel a rainbow coming on in my Heart.
My son, Tommy and his only daughter, McKenzie. I loved them both with my Heart.
My son, Tommy and his son, Taban. I miss you, Tommy ... I miss my Grandchildren.
Last photo taken of Tommy on May 29, 2010 ... he died shortly after this photo was taken. So strong, so alive ... no one knew Tommy was sick ... 3 blockages to his heart. He collapsed on the beach where he was playing for the first, last time with his little 3 year old son. He made it just in time to do what he wanted to do ... then, the angels called him home.
Note by this Author:
This is a photo of me after Tommy died ... you see the face of a grieving mother. I was fighting to come back ... at that time I couldn't. Grief would overtake me, pull me back down into darkness.
It seems this day has been one of great sadness for me. The rain that began this morning ... triggered grief in my Heart. I began missing my son very much ... I began 'feeling the birds in the birdcage struggling to get out, wings beating wildly against the bars'. (This is my description when I feel grief).
Tonight I can see the sunshine once again ... I am all right. I realize this will happen ever so often ... it's how I cope with grief that's most important. I prefer to cope in a positive way.
Photos/story are both owned by me ... Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee. In this photo, I had a brace on from accident on October 3, 2015 (broke my kneecap, spiral fracture in fibula on my left leg).