Two Stools; Two States

Every night in my head, I write. The next morning, I have forgotten. I do not want to forget the memories I have of my son. 

I see the black colorful stool in the kitchen. I see him sitting there, one foot on the rung, one on the floor. He has on his brown leather jacket watching me walk into the kitchen. He looks at me so sad; I wondered why but did not ask him. I was always afraid to ask. Perhaps he was waiting for me to ask. I will never know.

Switch to CA and he is sitting on the stool in his kitchen with all his medicine in front of him, hating to give himself that shot that helped to keep the cancer at bay. He looks at me sadly. I wish I could have had his courage and given it to him. Why did I not ask to try? He could have talked me through it.

Two stools; two houses so far apart. Why did I not go more often? He was right when he told his wife that we did not come because of her. I never felt wanted and did not want to intrude.

I never saw his christmas trees; his birthday celebrations; his easter celebrations. We never went to church while I wa their the last six months of his ife. He was to sick to go.He loved music but we never played any music. We watched television at night. Sometimes he would ask: “Mom, will you watch television with me?” and I did until I could not hold my eyes open any longer. Had I known how close to death he was; had I known that he was probably afraid; I would have stayed awake for the entire six months. I did not.

I could not remember the stories to tell him. My memory had not fully retured and the only prayer I could remember was:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take.


Did I ever pray this prayer with him which I had taught him as a child? No, I would go to bed on the couch in the living room and cry, so afraid he was dying yet hoping he could be saved. Always that hope that tomorrow would bring that cure for him; that miracle.

I see him everywhere. I hear his voice in my head. He talks to me or my brain thinks he is talking to me. Every cardinal is him; every feather; every raindrop.

I ask him where I should live. I promised to move back to that little green house where I could walk down and sit on my tombstone bench and read to him and my parents.

Two steps forward; one step back. Two stools; two houses; two thousand thoughts pushing, shoving, sometimes snarling at each other…

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

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