At the end of LLV I took possession of the stuff I had been ignoring from my youth and brought it back home to start ignoring it in a more local setting.

My softball picture, The precious stuffed dolls of my childhood, and the arms of a chair.

The chair had been a gift for my first marriage from my mom’s best friend. It was meant to last for generations, it was beautiful. A Shaker-ish rocking chair, it had a seat in a classic and versatile floral on a green background.

Our homes were decorated straight from the catalog of Random & Whatever, and it was part of the first real adult furniture we had (see also: the dressers from my grandmother and the couch of OMFG). It was important.

Then, after J had to move to wait for his heart transplant it became the place where he did his twice daily dressing changes. It has been 12 years, I could go to the store today and buy everything he would need, I could talk a stranger through it, I can tell you where he would flinch (except later, he didn’t anymore). Realistically, there were 500 dressing changes.

The chemicals wore the varnish off the ends of the arms of the chair.

My parents never faltered in my presence when it was time to pack up the apartment. Hell, they just never faltered. The chair went into storage because it became the physical embodiment of that time. Eventually I told my parents that the chair needed to be destroyed, save for the arms which were to be mine.

arms behind me

I had a special season of hell planned for the arms of that chair. Every moment of rage and helplessness were going to find a permanent refuge in their destruction. Then I would get really serious.

I knew that they would be in the stuff I brought back at the end of LLV, and a couple of weeks ago I found them.


I still remember the season of hell I had planned for them. More than that, now, I know that I learned a lot in those months about myself, about courage, about medicine, about death, about love, about living, about things that are precious and the shit that isn’t.

Now, I suspect I will cut them down so they are smaller and decades from now my son is going to have to try and figure out what to do with two chunks of wood he has never seen his mom without.

Bookends, maybe.