Character Voice: Mrs. Stowe

Tomorrow Never Comes

Mrs. Stowe is Bernice’s personal assistant in “Tomorrow Never Comes.”

I was born Eloise Douglas. Today, however, I’m known as Eloise Stowe, or Mrs. Stowe as people often call me, out of respect for my age. I’m 60+ years old. I stopped keeping track of my age when I got pass 60. I figured I’m just blessed to be alive regardless of my age.

Because Lord knows, I’ve been through some times that made me feel like life wasn’t worth living.

Such time was when I lost my son … my only child. Ed Jr. – my baby – had a problem with drugs; heroin to be exact. He got hooked on it right after his dad died. I spent a many nights praying for him to get off that mess, and he did for a while; a while being no longer than a month. He always got back on it. He just couldn’t leave it alone to save his own life.

Sadly, he overdosed at a rundown drug house in Birmingham. My baby died with his eyes wide open while lying on a filthy floor covered with syringes, bloody needles, and burned spoons.

He had his whole life ahead him, but with the poke of a needle, he was gone at 18. That was 30 years ago. The years haven’t faded my pain. I can never forget the joy and unconditional love I always felt holding my son in my arms – something I can’t do anymore.

Despite my never-ending pain, I go on living because in the end, I have to.

I hurt too from the loss of my husband, Ed Stowe, Sr. He was my high school sweetheart; the love of my life. I loved that man so much that I married him three days after he proposed to me.

It didn’t matter that we were only 18 and three months out of high school when we married. All that mattered was that we were deeply in love.

Out of love for my husband, I followed him to Birmingham when he got a job in a steel plant. We were both 19. Neither one of us had ever been outside of Selma, where we were born and raised. But we moved forward in life because we had each other … and we were so much in love.

We had so much love that we created our son, Ed, in 1965. Though I brokenheartedly suffered two miscarriages during the late 1960s, our family was still complete … until that fateful day on September 5, 1978.

That’s the day when my husband was hit by a drunken truck driver and killed. He was just 33 years old.

I felt like my world had turned into darkness when he died. We had so many plans and were still so much in love after 15 years of marriage.

I actually wanted to stop living, but at that time, I had a son to raise. So, I managed to live through my pain.

Even to this day, my heart longs for my beloved husband and son. I move forward though because, in the end, life gives you no other choice but to do so.

And that’s what I try to help Bernice do: live through the pain. I know exactly what she’s going through – the addicted relative, the death of a loved one. I lived through it.

And I survived. I know she can too because she’s a strong woman.

I’ve been working for her for five years. She hired me based on a friend’s recommendation. I’ve grown to love her and her family as if they were my own. They’re actually all I’ve got since I didn’t have much family to begin with: no siblings, nieces or nephews; my parents are deceased.

Because Bernice feels like family to me, I can’t help but worry about her, for she’s starting to lean on something that’s not good. I worry about her siblings too, but Bernice was undoubtedly the strong one.

But now she’s using a crutch called Blue Wave Vodka. There are days when she drinks as many as three glasses. This worries me a lot. It worries me just as much as she worries about her own family.

Read about Mrs. Stowe in “Tomorrow Never Comes,” available at Amazon. To download it, click here.

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