My hope is that everyone is well.
Although I recently sent Lisa some thoughts to post, I felt compelled to write again.
I have been asked why it had been so long between my June and October posts. If you go back and read my June post, you will see that I wrote about the many special people in my life that have their birthdays in June. Unfortunately, over the many years, birthdays, anniversaries, and other happy events often have an opposite effect on me. Sorry for the hiatus.
Also, now, summer can be a difficult time for me in general. I can remember, when I was home summer was my favorite time of the year. Ask anyone who knew me, I was most comfortable in shorts and bare feet, and I was always ready to head to the beach. I was a sun worshiper. Also, summer was when my birthday was, and when Amber was born. Summer was my symbol of life and happiness.
Once I got locked behind these walls, summer was merely a reminder of what I used to have; what was lost; what had been taken away. Over my many years in prison, I came to despise summer and what it reminds me of.
What made me want to write today is that I want to share what has been going on in my heart and mind now…
During the different times of the calendar year I have a vast array of memories and emotions. Some good; some bad. While I have been in prison; however, there has always been something psychological about the changing of the seasons that affects me in a profound way. Lisa and I have spoken at length about it. She feels it too. It may be the symbolic thought of change-the death of one season, and the birth of a new one. Or, it may merely be that the changing of the seasons marks the passage of time-time away from my family; time I’ve grown older in prison. I think it’s about the loss. In retrospect, perhaps it’s that I feel that my feelings of loss are magnified during the changing of the seasons.
Fall and November, in particular, is a symbol of loss for me because it was when I lost my cousin, John and my grandparents, vovó and vovô. I was already incarcerated and unable to be there when they passed. I could not be there to pay my respects, mourn with my family, or to physically or emotionally help. That is something I’ve always had difficulty and regret about.
My cousin John suddenly and tragically was taken from his young wife and two small girls. Everyone was devastated. John was loved by everyone who knew him. And years later my father especially took it hard when his parents passed within hours of each other. I was not able to be with them. It was difficult beyond words. I will always live with the pain and regret that I was unable to be there. I’m sorry.
Really, I guess at different times of the year I could find something negative to remind me of loss. I understand that it is all a matter of choosing to find the positive; to stay focused on faith, hope, and love. And I do. But I am human. I have many difficult times. More than I choose to admit. More than I choose to share with my family. There are days when I want to scream for the truth to finally come out. But, because I don’t want them to worry, I put on a brave face and tell them that I’m ok. But that’s not always true. The truth is it is difficult being away from them. It is difficult being in prison for something I did not do. It is hard when I’m alone and I miss Lisa and my family. It’s particularly hard when it comes to my daughter.
I guess my point is that I have good days and I have bad days. Sometimes I feel strong, like nothing can hurt me because I have the truth on my side. Then, there are times when heartbreak and despair creep in and get a foothold. That’s when I lean a little harder on Lisa and my family; they are always there to hold me up. For that I am thankful. They take care of me. They keep me strong. They remind me of what is waiting for me when I go home. I pull myself up and keep going. The alternative is to give up. With so many people who love and support me, that’s not an option. I’m reminded of a message I got one night when I was all alone: she said, “Everything is going to be okay.”
As I look back at what I’ve written, I realize how depressing I must sound. So, I want to end this post on a happier note. I received a wonderful visit from my cousin Josh and his girlfriend Dolores. They were visiting from Nevada and made time to visit me. In fact, they spent most of the day with me and Dancer. It was great to see them. Josh is like my little brother and he has always been there for me. It was great to talk, laugh and spend time with them. He shared with me a song that he likes called, “Brother,” by Needtobreathe. I found an acoustic version and it’s now one of my favorite songs. Thanks Josh.
Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts. And thank you to everyone for their continued love and kind words of support. Lisa reads them to me every day. She often reminds me how Jen and our legal team are fighting hard to bring me home. Lisa is my love and my life. She reminds me every day that we fight for our future and we fight because it brings us one day closer.