It’s that time of year again…Valentine’s Day is coming around and so are the many mixes of emotions that come from all these greetings card Holidays. You have those guys with wives or girlfriends, with kids, family or other loved ones…these are the fortunate percentage of men in prison who still truly look forward to these days.

They run out and spend a couple dollars, to have some other prisoner draw up some nice cards with pretty colors and glitter to show their people they are thought of. Loved and Missed. This is a practice that almost all in prison have been apart of at one time or another. The lucky ones are the guys who actually still can look forward to the mail run, when they look for those cards and letters from their loved ones. And as someone who’s been on both ends of that spectrum…let me tell you, it can have meaning some might now understand. Having them stop at your door with some mail or even now with the option of Jpay (our electronic mail option), to check your email and see a couple new messages in your inbox.

It is kind of a kick in the gut when that mail never comes or you see someone isn’t out there thinking of you the same as you are of them. But this is all part of the life we live in here…I won’t say its fair or unfair, because we weren’t thinking of that when we left our loved ones and family…they were given no option of the fairness! This is (almost) always just dropped on those we love and if by some Grace of God, they choose to continue to be by our sides, then they deserve more praise than any one of use for anything we may do!

We’re sentenced by the Court’s to serve the time we receive…no options! Now, when it comes to our friends or loved ones…all they have is that option. “Do I do on with my life, cuz I did nothing wrong and shouldn’t be punished for someone else’s actions or do I make the conscious decision to do this time with you?” This is the typical question asked, in whatever form or wording you may choose…and I commend any and all who maintain their position, standing by the side of anyone in this position!

So, for some these Hallmark Holidays are crucial to how they get through the time they’re serving…as well as to how their loved ones do it with them. These help strengthen the bonds, that we all build to help us all get through this time together. Allowing relationships to grow and flourish…keeping families strong and together, in a system that is deisnged to create difficulty and division, especially between a prisoner and their family! I won’t get into all of the financial burdens, that are created for families of prisoners or with the fact that REGIONAL prisons are not utilized, to keep prisons closer to family and their support, which was their entire purpose…to relieve some of the hardships that the families experience when trying to maintain visits and contact. This was their whole purpose, however, it is no longer a priority or consideration. This has created a lot of burden on families and unnecessary separation.  

Now these days can bring happiness and hope to our days…but, for others, these days can reange from the days that allow us to feel sadness or to feel alone, all things that can lead to depression…or they could just be an inconvenience that makes those days seen longer and slower, because the regular routines and call-outs  are disrupted or cancelled due to Holidays.

You see, some guys are really affected by the separation or from the loss of family, so these days become a very powerful influence on their emotional and mental state. Some may go through this, at one time or another…I know there have been more times than I care to admit, where I’ve gone and checked the Jpay just hoping ANY message would pop-up or went and gotten on the phone, with fingers crossed, that they might pick-up on their end?! Anxiously awaiting a surprise visit, some mail or a phone call to be answered…this is just another way of spending one or more of those Hallmark Holidays. It kinda blows, but I guess that over time…a few years of Holidays like this can start to kinda numb the whole emotional aspect of these days. Then, you look at these days as more of an inconvenience, that just slows down the regular week, like messing up the regular TV shows, cancelling call-outs and work assignments…depending on what Holiday it could be one or several factors that interrupt the normal daily routines. These all go to just mess up a rhythm we get into, when getting through our days.

Ya know, when I was out there in the streets, I loved ALL the Holidays, as a way to get family together, to do nice things and get them presents, to make them happy. This really fell into my own process of doing for others, to make myself feel better…that’s why Holidays, Birthdays and any excuse to celebrate and give some gifts were a good day for me and the days I looked forward to. But, in here all those man-made and greeting card based Holidays mean ver little. Who knows, given different circumstances or if I was still getting those surprise cards, visits, etc…maybe my outlook would be different and I would be singing these days their praises?!

But for now, I guess I’ll stick with just talking about how these days come and these days god…no matter how we celebrate or how we ignore these days…at the end of it all, that’s all its is …a day! Maybe we should take some more time to appreciate each other and show each other what we mean to one another, EVERYDAY…instead of waiting until some day a card company creates OR manipulates, for its own financial gains?!

Look, life is way too short and we fill it with things we regret and wish we could go back and change…one of the easiest correction we can make, is to simply express to our family & loved ones, that they are thought of, missed and loved! We can do this everyday, without prompt. I know it can mean a lot, on either side of these fences…but you’d be amazed at the affect it has on someone in here, where the smallest things can have the biggest impact!

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Source of Featured Image: Love in Prison

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