Although both mothers in the smaller passage and “A Prayer” have similar situations, I believe that they are two different stories. They’ll go to any extreme of finding out what’s happened to their sons; even trying certain superstitions they believe might help them find answers.
In my opinion the first passage gives off a setting of a very quiet and serious place. The images of a “spirit present in her body” and people watching intensely, seem to show that they’re dealing with some kind of card reader or fortune teller. Also by the way the two people are communicating. Her telling the person her problems and the way she responds, it sounds like a conversation someone would have with a fortune teller, hoping to get the type of answer they’ve been waiting for.
The way the mother talks about her son in “A Prayer” it sounds like they were very close. She still has many of his things and remembers much of when he was younger; she also talks a lot about his personality. This is probably why she is so devastated about him being away and not knowing how he’s doing. She’s almost trying to convince God by telling him of all the good her son has done and the type of person he’s been throughout his life. So when the mother says “…Here is my heart … I sacrifice my heart for his…” it sounds like she’s so desperate at this point that she’ll even make a deal with God.
That’s why I believe that they can’t be the same stories continuing each other. They both…