#175 Mother’s Day In Prison (pt 1)

May 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm 1 comment

Mother’s Day in Prison
(A short story)

I didn’t want her to come see me.

But I knew she was coming.

Mom was going to drive 300 miles to come see my wretched soul, on a day she could have easily spent anywhere else in the world, especially on a special day like this. I got her card early Monday after the officers distributed the inmate mail. Although I was hoping for some money, I did get some, but inside the card was a note that sent shocks through my body.

Mom was coming for a visit…on Mother’s Day.

How could she do this to me?

Just when I was getting the hang of this damn sentence, just as I was finding my marks, now I have to face the one person on this planet that I feared to disappoint the most. I have no problem facing God; He already knows my sins anyway. But mom was different. This was much harder.

I had wished that the week would come to a stop, as if I could stop time and keep mom from coming. Why would she want to see me? Why now, of all days? Was this a mockery of my incarceration? Was she trying to “rub it in” that my failure has hurt her and she wanted me to see that pain on the one day we are supposed to honor our moms?

I walked back to my locker and tossed the card inside, almost forgetting that mom put $100 in my inmate account; certainly that would come in handy, I was getting the munchies more and more, but with no money it was getting tough. Mom was always on time making sure I had a few dollars, but I also knew she had bills to pay too. I never asked her to send me money, even if I wanted to. I knew were not rich, and I also reasoned that maybe me being broke in prison should also be part of my punishment. No need pulling mom into debt for my sorry butt.

“What’s up kid?” said Joe.

Joe was one of the elder inmates, who worked on road squad. Strangely enough, he was one of the guys that helped me break the stigma that “all inmates are animals”. I could swear that if he was on the street, he might be a pretty decent guy to talk with. He was bigger than I was, and liked to lift weights when he could. By no means would he ever be confused as a weightlifter, but you could tell that he was no softie.

“Nothin much, just hangin in there.” I said to him as I closed my locker door.
“You ever get any word from your folks?”

“Yeah…got a card today.” I said, as Joe seemed to pick up the tone.

“Something wrong?”

“Nah, I finally got a few dollars in my account, but she wants to come on Mother’s Day.”

“And your problem is?”

“I…I don’t want mom to see me like this… you know.”

“Man, you momma don’t give a damn what you look like, to her you are always gonna be her baby, and she needs to know that you are doing ok.”

“I tell her I’m fine every time we talk, and every letter I send. I mean, I know I screwed up, and I know lots of people out there are disappointed in me, hell I don’t need to be reminded by the one person I really care about.”

“Kid, let me ask you something…” said Joe as he seemed more serious than normal.

“Yeah?” I said, looking sincerely at Joe.

“Don’t be offended, but what if your mom died today?”

“What the hell is that…”

“Hold up, here me out kid,” said Joe as he held his hand in gesture of peace.

“I am saying that what if you never got to see your mom again. What would be the last thing you would remember of her?”

I couldn’t answer for awhile, because the idea of my mom dying was foolish. Mom is supposed to live forever, at least longer than me. She is in good health, and she does a bit of exercise. Why would she die…why now? God can’t be THAT cruel.

But then I started to think…what IF she did die before I got to see her this weekend? That would mean that the last time I saw her was…the day I was carried out the courtroom in shackles…

The saddest day of my life.

I was too afraid to look back to mom; it would have clearly broken my heart to see my mother crying, as well as my family, as I was taken away from them. I would have gladly shot myself in the head instead of bearing that kind of emotional pain.

It was then I started to understand what Joe was trying to get across, and looked back at him.

“I…I get your point.” I said apologetically.

“Kid, you are one of them short timers, so you haven’t been in here as long as a lot of us, and I’m gonna tell you something. Some of us in here would do anything to get a visit from our moms…especially on Mother’s Day. But some of us have been in too long, some of us burned our bridges so when Mother’s Day comes along, it’s just a day to us.”

“I…know. It’s just that…”

“Are you ashamed of your mom?”

“No…I’m ashamed of ME.” I said as I sat down on my bunk.

It was a good thing there wasn’t a lot of guys in the dorm, because I am very guarded on what I say in the dorms, but Joe was one of the guys that I could talk a little to. He wasn’t too “high and mighty” and he also wasn’t institutionalized, even though he has been down for 13 years.

I took a deep sigh as I looked down to my boots. I did NOT want mom to visit me, not here, not now. But it was almost like she was forcing me to relive the pain of my failure by seeing her in the visitation room. I had not yet gotten a full handle on my prison sentence, and this was not the time for mom to visit. She was making my life a hell.

“So, whatcha gonna do, deny her visit?”

“Hell no, I can’t tell mom she can’t come visit!”

“Then that means you gotta see her.”


Joe seemed to find some humor in my problem as he snickered and turned to open his locker and grab a pack of single-serve coffee and a small Styrofoam cup, before turning back to me.

“Do me a favor when you see her”

“Huh?” I said, curious at this request.

“When she comes to see you, I want you to remember that she needs to see that you are ok. You kept telling her that you are ok, now prove it. She does NOT need to see a sad faced inmate who looks like he lost his puppy. Your mom needs to know that you are gonna make it, so give her that reason. You go to that visit, and you carry yourself as best as you can.”

“Why, what’s the difference?” I asked

“The difference, kid, is that your momma needs your strength just as much as you need hers. You said you got some money today, and you told me she looks out for you a lot; this is your chance to show her how much you appreciate her. It’s not much, but trust me, it’s the world to her…otherwise she would not be coming here on Mother’s Day to see you.”

Joe made sense, although I still didn’t want mom to come. I took his words with value and told him I would try. From that day through the week, I thought about some of the things Joe said, but at the same time I was hoping that mom would send a card saying that “something came up” and she could not come to see me. I mean, there is no real value in driving all that way just for a one hour visit with a criminal…I am not worth that…

At least that’s how I felt.

Monday jumped to Friday almost too fast, as my heart started to race…mom was coming to see me this weekend…and I was afraid.

The day of the visit, I bargained with a couple of guys in the clothes house to get me the newest pair of pants, t-shirt and inmate jacket that they could find. I knew it was against the rules, but DOC can go to hell as far as I cared. I got a nice shave and haircut and looked almost brand new as I paced the yard, waiting for my name…and when I heard it, my heart jumped into my throat.

Mom was here.

My God, what do I do?

I don’t think I was ever as nervous as I was that second, but I had to collect myself immediately. I have an hour for visit, so I made a fast-paced walk to the visitation area. Once there, I was patted down by the officers as I looked out across the large room. I saw mom and my heart nearly stopped.

She came.

My mom came.

My mom came…to see me.

And suddenly the restraints of my mom coming to see this wretched soul in prison were evicted and replaced by the love for this courageous woman who would clearly walk through the depths of hell to see her son.

At that moment mom saw me, and I saw her, and a very familiar smile opened on both our faces…no doubt we were related; the smiles were identical.

I was allowed a hug, watched from afar by officers, but not so much that we had to be too careful. The hug might have been about 10 seconds, but it felt like 10 minutes. For those special moments, it was like I was home, in mom’s arms, the safest place in the entire world.

In those moments, I felt that nothing could go wrong, mom was here. I looked at her, and she looked at me with eyes of pure love, not conviction, not of condemnation. She looked at me as her son.

We sat down and began to talk, lots of stuff about how I looked, how she looked and how we were doing. She asked to see if I got the money she sent, and I told here that I did, and what I was doing with it. Lots of the talk were generic, but ever so soothing to just be there, to hear mom AND see here, instead of hearing her over the phone.

“Mom, why did you want to see me on Mother’s Day?”

“Because I wanted to see how you were doing?”

“But mom, I know there were lots of other things going on out there, you said that the church was having a dinner for moms, and you said some of the family was going to be in town for the weekend. You could have done that instead of seeing me.”

“No I couldn’t.” mom said with a smile that almost disarmed me of my attempt to remember what Joe told me, to keep myself positive to give her strength.

“Why? Is something wrong?” I said, starting to worry.

“No, and don’t start getting all worked up baby,” reassured mom.

Mom reached over and grasped my hands warmly, as I started to feel like I was going to school for the first time. I remember that day when mom walked me to the steps of the school as I held on tightly to her.

“Honey, I didn’t come here to make you feel bad, I came because I miss my baby.”

“I know mom, it’s just, you know…”

“You think I’m ashamed of you?” asked mom gently.

“Well, you’d have every right to be.”


Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#174 Prison Works Now Available #176 Mother’s Day in Prison, pt 2

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. chelleco1  |  May 10, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Great writing! Had me on the edge of my seat. (I haven’t been able to see my son in almost 4 years…due to distance and finances). I’m anxious to read part 2!


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