By J'son M. Lee


Grandmamma reminisces about the way her two sons turned out. One committed suicide, and the other is dying of AIDS.


Based on the Parable “Build on the Rock” (Matthew 7:24 – 27)




Life has a funny way of workin’ out different from what you expected, don’t it.
I always kept my churen’ in church.  My oldest boy, Robert, always did what I said.  He read the Bible, did his studies, and never talked back.  You know the Good Book says if you build your  house on rock, storm clouds may rise and strong winds may blow,  but your foundation will still stand.  That’s exactly what Robert did – just like I taught him.  I’m still amazed at how much trouble that boy missed just by staying in the word.  Robert didn’t mess up ‘til he got married.  The Bible says that a man and a woman should be equally yoked. You know, I don’t hate nobody, but  I never liked that wife of his.  I believe she is what drove him to kill himself.  My baby boy, Gene, found him hangin’ by a necktie from the clothes bar in his closet.  I still don’t believe Robert committed suicide…somebody was behind that.
My son Gene…he’s another story…I call him the Prodigal Son.  He always did what he wanted to do, but he was smart as a whip and loved his Grandmamma.  Gene kept to himself a lot when he was growing up…after he went off to college he started opening up to me more.  I guess it was all that education.  He started using these big words and what not.  I had to say, “Wait baby…break it down for grandma so she can understand.”  That’s when he told me about his lifestyle.  . .I said, “Baby, I already knew that…tell me something I don’t know.”  Mothers always know…Nothing could change my love for my baby.  All I’ve ever wanted is for him to be happy.
My baby now has AIDS…I really didn’t know what AIDS was 'til my Gene got it.  All I know is that he got real sick…he lost all this weight…his hair got thin…and his skin was real dry all the time on his face….so when I asked him bout it, he told me he had AIDS.
I love my two boys.  I always thought they would suffer my death.  Instead, it looks like its going to be the other way around.  I raised Gene since he was 4 years old.  When he told me he had AIDS, I knew he was going to die…maybe not the next day, but I knew he was going to die.  I’ve learned a lot about AIDS, as much as an old lady like me can learn.  I’m not afraid of hugging or touching my son.  But I don’t take any chances with bodily fluids.  Gene makes sure of that.  I remember one time I was shaving him and nicked his face.  I reached for a Kleenex to dab the blood and he shouted, “Georgia, (that’s what he calls me when he’s mad) I’ll do that.  Don’t ever touch my blood!”   (sad) It’s hard watching your child die.  I watch him when he’s asleep just like I used to do when he was a little boy and he looks the same.  Its not until he opens his eyes that reality hits me in the face.  His eyes look sunken and sometimes they seem so distant.  In the hospital he began to talk out of his head.  I think it was the medication.  When I walked in his room I said, “Hey there…how’s my favorite son?”  He said, “I’m fine…Niecey just left.”  “Was it a nice visit?”, I asked.  “Yes mam”, he said.  Niecey was this little girl he used to play with who lived next door when he was a little boy.  (laughing)  We ain’t heard from that girl in over 15 years.  Then one time he was talkin' 'bout he had to change his clothes so that he could go and milk the cow.  (laughing)  That boy don’t know nothing bout milkin’ no cows.  He was always too “nice” for that.  Gene was always different.  He wasn’t like the other boys.  He didn’t work in the field and didn’t believe in getting dirty.  Like I said, he was too “nice” for all that.  (proud) But that’s my baby.  (giving up)  I could talk for three days and all you would hear are words upon words…none of which would make any difference.  They won’t help my Gene.  They won’t stop him from suffering…from dying…And from me having to help him die….watch him die…helplessly…
I thought I’d be gone.  But I was wrong…
(sings as lights fade) “When I was in trouble, my way was dark as night.  Jesus gave me comfort and brought me to the light.  He took away my trouble and made my burden light.  He is er’rythang to me…. He is water in dry places, and bread in starving lands.  He’s my rock and shelter; he’ll hold me in his hand.  When all the world forsake me, close by my side he’ll stand.  He is er’rythang to me.”
Copyright J’son M. Lee 2002, all rights reserved.
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