My Daddy's Up There!
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Photo owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee ... Tommy died on this beach near the lifeguard chair ... which is located to the left in the photo ...
I can see it in my mind
Bare feet walking ... picking up speed
In the excitement of being at the beach!
A son and his little boy together
For the first time to play at the beach
Never knowing ... it was the last time
They ran ... played, laughed ... squealed with delight
What a beautiful day!
Blonde hair ... blue eyes ... smiles so big
Look, daddy! Come see, daddy! Run with me, daddy!
Both standing on the shore to look out at the sea
The Little guy wanting to be like his daddy ... a big guy
The daddy sent a video on his phone to his mother
Two hundred miles away ... she smiled watching
Her grandson as he stood there with his little hat on
The little boy had begun wanting to be just like daddy
Their bond was becoming very strong
He was becoming his daddy's boy
I want to be like you, Daddy
I want to drive a big truck like you, daddy
The little boy loved his daddy with his heart
Seagulls sang a beautiful song as the two ran ... played
Puffy white clouds floated in the very blue sky
The sea breeze caressed their faces, arms ... legs
Oh, what a beautiful day! It was a perfect day
To go home ... walk into Heaven
Beautiful as much as sad to leave a little boy
The moment came ... Tommy knew and ... maybe he didn't know
When he grabbed his little boy's hand
They ran to the beach to play
They hadn't been there long
When the seagulls began to sing
It's time to come home, Tommy ...
He looked with sadness at the little boy
Who looked so much like him
I don't want to leave you, son
It's time for me to go
Remember this beautiful moment
Your daddy's last wish
To play with his little son for the first time
At the beach
Never knowing it would be the last time
You see ... Tommy had changed his mind
To go on this vacation at the last minute
He was going to stay behind
When the thoughts of playing at the ocean
With Taban ... his little son came into his mind
He became excited like a little boy himself
Tommy had been through a tragic event
Only one year before
A man was accidentally killed
When his car broke down on the interstate
On a bridge in Tennessee
The man opened his door, stepped out
He stepped out as Tommy's truck went by
Tommy never recovered from this awful tragedy
Mama, I killed a man! he cried
Tommy couldn't find any happiness for the grief
Survivor's grief they called it
Until the night before he ... himself died
The moment he changed his mind to go to the beach
To play with his little son for the first time
Exactly one year later when his truck killed the man
Almost to the date in the month of May
May 17, 2009 ... when the accident occurred
Tommy died May 29, 2010
Tommy never got over what happened
He had such a kind heart ... it became broken
Knowing he'd killed someone never meaning to
No matter what the law enforcement told him
Tommy ... that's why they call such things ... an accident
He never coped with being responsible
How do you stop a moving truck
At the last moment when a car door opens
A man steps into your path ...
Tommy's mind told him a million ways
He could have prevented it ... no way he could have
In 3 lanes of traffic ... nowhere to go
In the next lane ... a mother drove
With 3 children ... a family
Tommy tried to squeeze between them and the man
If only ... oh God, if only
The man had stayed in his car
If only, oh if only he hadn't stepped out
My son died inside that day
He was never the same ... it broke my heart
My son, my only child ... my baby
He had just begun showing signs of happiness
Just before he died ... he was going back to school
He was staying home to be with his little son instead of on the road
The night before ... Tommy came to me
To me and Skip ... Mama! I'm going to the beach
To play with my little son for the first time ever!
His sunshine smile was the brightest
I think I'd ever seen it
Oh, thank you, God! Thank you!
Thank you for sending him to me
The evening before his death ... to spend time
With Skip and I
Skip came home early from work that day
Something he'd never done
We still don't remember why
The important thing is ... he came home
Never knowing this was the last time
He'd see Tommy ... someone he loved dearly, was close to
Tommy power-washed the house
Saying ... Mama, I want to do this before ... I go
I remember watching him as he worked
When he finished ... he power-washed our vehicles
He worked very hard
When he finished ... he and Skip sat at the picnic table
I made sandwiches with Boar's Head cold cuts
I'll never forget ... oh my!
You should have heard Tommy when he bit into one
Oh, mama! This is the best sandwich I've ever had
Oh, Tommy, you know it isn't
You are just saying that!
No, Mama ... this IS the best sandwich I've ever had
The whole time ... he lit up my world
With his beautiful ... sunshine smile
My son ... my golden child ... my only child
We shared a deep bond
A forever bond between mother and son
We laughed, talked happily until ...
Mama, I have to go
I hugged him with my very Heart
I love you, Son ... I wish you didn't have to go
Just always remember your Ole Mom loves you
He smiled so big ... looking down at me
The love I felt for my son made my Heart squeeze
I can't put that love into mere words
It's a feeling ... a mother's feeling for her child
I watched my beautiful son ... a man of 6' 2" walked away
Get into his big, white pickup ... begin to drive away
Bye Tommy! Bye Son! I love you, I love you!
The last words I heard my son say were ... I love you, Mama!
It was the last time I saw his beautiful sunshine smile
See his twinkling eyes of blue
The sun was shining brightly as I stood in that moment
Never knowing my world was getting ready to end
I waved happily ... I loved my son so
I don't think he wanted to leave that evening
He stayed as long as he could
Maybe he had a feeling ... I think we all do
That's because why do moments such as these
Stand out the way they do
Unusual things happen that normally ... don't happen
In my life ... I thank God over and over
For giving me this special last time with my son
It was the only comfort I hung onto after his death
The comfort of knowing I told Tommy over and over
Your Ole Mom loves you, Son
I didn't care how many times I told him
You are most special to me, Son
He'd smile his sunshine smile
Oh, Mama! I love you too!
It was like we always had to tell each other
We lost each other for 3 years never knowing where ...
The other was ... we suffered such heartache
When we found each other our mother-son
Bond went so deep as to never be broken
We knew then ... how it felt to lose someone special
How thankful we were to have each other back
I'll never forget when my son disappeared ... I never knew I'd see him
When we were reunited ... I never knew I'd lose him again
Now ... he can't come back ... I don't have to wonder
Where he was taken ... what is he doing ... where's my baby!
I know because I saw ... my son in that ... wooden box
The box that sat under the bright light
The box a little boy ran up to ... climbed on
Daddy! That's my daddy!
My mind is numb to that time ... some moments
Stand out to me ... such as the moment my hand
Touched a ... scar on the back of his head... from the autopsy
The moment I forever floated in a sea of people
Maybe smiling ... I don't know
The medicine I was given ... mercifully numbed me
I floated like a leaf on a current of water
Here ... there ... everywhere
I don't know ... just anywhere
The moment I walked up to the wooden box
Looked down at ... my ... baby
My son ... for the last time
Tommy! Tommy! Tommy!
I cried inside my Heart
Deep inside my soul ... I never made a sound for anyone to hear
The moment ... Skip took me outside the funeral home
Tommy was going to be cremated
I'd never see him again
The moment Skip said ... Look!
My eyes followed his finger as he pointed
My gaze settled on a beautiful rainbow!
A beautiful rainbow in the sky!
Tommy ... oh Tommy, did you do that?
Tommy, please don't go!
I cried myself into a darkness
I didn't want to ever come out of
I stayed there for 3 years
I tried to see the light
I couldn't bear it ... the knowledge
Of my son dying was bigger than I
Tommy's gone ... my sunshine went away
I was in the darkest of dark
A grieving mother ... on a road I didn't know
Somehow ... this mother was on a road
She'd never traveled ... a road to Hell
Darkness ... crying ... grieving like no one knows
She'll never recover from this
She heard them say over and over
She might even go crazy ... some mothers do
Oh ... she should get over her grief in 2 weeks
Tommy's dead and gone
He's in a better place
Tommy's gone to eat in the sky
The biggest ... best meal he's ever had
He is in a better place
Do you know ... in the darkness I heard these things
Never commenting ... listening to such
I realized people talk ... never 'knowing' the things they say
Never realizing what they say
Never thinking ... what they are saying
To a grieving person when they say these things
They aren't true ... no one KNOWS these things personally
We all tell ourselves ... our loved ones these things
Thinking they comfort ... ease the pain, the grief
No, they don't ... maybe some people they do
They didn't me ... I have to face the truth head-on
Tommy died ... he wasn't in a better place
Why would I think my child was in a ... better place
When I knew ... he was coming to a better place
In his life after a tragedy?
Why would I think he was going to go eat the best meal
When ... the sandwich I made for Tommy
Was ... 'Mama, that was the best sandwich in the world!'
No ... no one can convince me Tommy's in a ... better place
That may comfort others ... not me
I don't need anything ... sugar-coated in my life
I meet life head-on ... fall down ... get up
When Tommy died ... that was the longest it ever took
For me to get back up ... I truly didn't know I would
I got up ... I crawled ... kept falling back into
The sea of grief ... I choked on the darkness
Trying to breathe ... to come back
The lifesavers thrown to me were words ... sounds
From Skip ... our Pups ... they were always ... there
I heard but ... couldn't respond
I kept grabbing at them ... to hold on
I was dying inside ... no ... I had died
I didn't know the difference
How does one know anything in darkness
I couldn't find my way to come back
Skip ... our Pups ... their sounds ... words
Led me through the tunnels of grief
Once in a while, I would see a splash of light
Light ... life ... light ... life ... I wanted to live!
I began to cope ... I began to live
It took so long ... to bring 'ME' back
Years ... months ... weeks
If my tears were diamonds I would be the richest
Richest woman in this world
Someday I would like to have a ring ... of diamonds in a waterfall
A waterfall to represent my tears of a grieving mother
Cascading into a ... pool ... sparkling, clean ... with
With a hint of sunshine ... blue sky ... puffy white clouds and a seagull
Silly ... but if I were rich ... I would design a special ring
For grieving mothers ... to represent their pain
Like a waterfall of tears cascading into the deepest pool ...
Tommy ... Taban ran on the beach that evening
Sunshine kissed their shiny, blonde hair ... lit their blue-blue eyes
As they ran, played ... calling to each other
I can see it in my mind ... Tommy ... Taban
My eyes look up to see the white seagulls as they flew overhead
I can hear the most beautiful song as they sang
Tommy ... it's time to come home ... Tommy, come home
My heart cries ... please don't take him before I go
In my mind ... I can think anything I want to
I see Tommy look around him ... at his son
Maybe he had time to show a sadness in his eyes
To leave this world ... his son ... family behind
Maybe he had just a tiny moment to remember these words
Tommy ... your Ole Mom loves you
Maybe ... maybe ... maybe
I can see him look down at a little golden boy just like him
Maybe put his big hand on his head
I love you, son ...
Maybe ... he didn't have time to say
I ... have to go
It's time for me to go home
I wanted to come to the beach to play with you for the first time
Never knowing it would be my last time with you
We barely made it time! Just long enough to do what I wanted to do most!
Maybe ... Tommy felt such a happiness as the angels
Gently guided his body to the soft ... soft sand
Happiness soared with his soul as it flew with the seagulls
I did what I wanted to do ... most of all
I came to the beach ... barely made it to the beach in time
To play with my son for the first time ever ... never knowing it was my last
How can my son ever know this?
Through the words of Ole Mom ... as she writes them
Leaves them ... everywhere
Taban, your father loved you ... thought of you
Until his last moment on earth
He died a beautiful death ...though sad ... but doing what he wanted to do most
I can tell his story over and over
Someday ... you and your sister will read your Granny Gee's words
To know ... the 'whys?' I can't see you ... I can think of you
Someday ... you'll realize through the years
You didn't think of me ... but ... Granny Gee thought of you every day
It's okay ... it doesn't matter ... one day you'll know you weren't ever forgotten
Taban ... I remember after your daddy's death
You would point to the sky
My eyes would follow your little finger ... my daddy's up there!
Note by this Author:
I will write about my son until my last breath. He will always be remembered. Tommy lived just like you ... he laughed, cried, ran, walked, worked, all the things you ... I ... do, did.
I won't let him be forgotten. I leave my words that will always float on the air ... hoping one day Tommy's children ... Taban and Taylor McKenzie read them.
I know his daughter never knew how much he loved her ... he was blocked from seeing her ... when he fought hard to have her in his life ... her mother did things she shouldn't ... to turn Tommy's child against him to cause her not to come spend time with him ... it broke Tommy's heart.
I saw Tommy cry ... have you ever watched a big, strong, 'invincible' man cry? Your son cry? It's the saddest of sad feelings for a mother ... she cries with him. Just as the day the accident happened to Tommy and the man ... as Tommy's mother ... I felt I was there ... I felt his pain ... I cried as if I were the one who drove the truck ... when the man stepped out in front of Tommy. Mothers ... are like that when they love their children.
To this day ... I hold no anger, hate ... bad feelings toward my grandchildren's mothers. You see ... the way I grew up I watched this sort of thing play over and over in my life ... I was a part of it. I know ... things happen ... it takes many years to learn that you should have done this ... done that. By that time ... it's too late.
That's okay ... sad, painful but ... okay. I understand ... I know there'll be regrets in the mothers' hearts. If they ever read this ... they will know I was the best friend they could ever had ... I forgave a long time ago ... I understand life ... we all do the things we think is best ... even if wrong. I love them just as I do my grandchildren ... my child's children ... Tommy's son and daughter. I'm always there ...
Tommy's mother ... Taban and McKenzie's grandmother ... me ... Gloria ... Granny Gee ... is like a redwood tree ... standing tall as possible even after weathering storm after storm. I will remain this way until the day ... I also ... die.
In the meantime ... I've coped with the loss of my only child ... my son, Tommy. I'll make golden dragonflies with their colors in memory of Tommy ... place them for others to find a little piece of happiness, hope, love through my love, pain for my son. I'll always remember ... Tommy.
Photos ... true story/poem are owned ... written by me ... Gloria Faye Brown Bates/ aka Granny Gee (Tommy named me 'Granny Gee' for grandchildren I'd never know).