Mother's Day Rally Letters
children-of-prisoners personal-narrative poetry
Mother’s Day Rally Letters
I love you very much, even though we haven’t had the greatest relationship. I sometimes get angry when I think of all the years we have been separated. I love you very much and wouldn’t trade you for anything. I know it’s not your fault and I don’t blame you. I just hope and pray that I will be able to spend more time than once or twice a year with the mom I love and adore. Always remember I love you and never forget it. And when you are in rehab and you feel like no one cares and you are not going to make it just remember what I am writing in this letter and I love you.
Love, your daughter,
Latoya (age 16)
(From Her Son)
How I feel about my mom doing drugs and going to jail.
I feel lonely and sad. When I was young I used to cry a lot every time I would think about you never being there for me and knowing you will end up dead somewhere and when I cannot go to any thing that is fun, like when the school is doing something fun I can not go and nobody else would go. I still get scared when I go into a store. That just makes me so mad. Sometimes I wish I was dead. But when I think about you I know I can help you so if I was dead you will be sad and go back to drugs. I do not like you like that so that is how I feel and I mean that for real.
Michael James Henderson
April 22, 1999
Written for 1999 Mother’s Day Rally
Being a child with an incarcerated parent—the mother, is the worst experience possible. Usually, the parent that is not around is the father (and it is by choice); but my mother was not there by force. She was taken away from her parents, brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, and many friends. . . worst of all, she was taken away from me!
Forgive me for being selfish, but I needed her more than anyone. I needed someone to help me with my homework. . . to keep me out of gangs. . . basically, I needed someone to guide me in the right direction. And I found it difficult to be guided over the phone, because you can not see all the time where they are going!
During my life my mother missed my graduations from grammar school, high school, and the military, birthdays, holiday, and basically - everyday! Now at age 24, I realize that I have only spent half of my life with her - and the other half was spent visiting! A child should not have to visit his mother, but I had to. A child should not have to see his mother through a glass, but I had to. There were many things I had to do that a child my age should not have had to do.
But that was no excuse to let my life fall by the wayside. I forced myself to finish school, to stay drug, tobacco, and alcohol free. . . free from gangs, but most of all FREE! Statistics say a child of an incarcerated parent is more likely to wind up in jail than a child without incarcerated parents. My contribution, I will help the percentage to drop!
Now she’s home, and instead of reflecting on the past memories when I was alone—we are creating new moments to share twelve years later. . . together. This really is not a sad letter, but if you think it is, then read it twice—because I have a sister who went through the same thing!
(twelve years old. He was ten when mom returned to prison).
The worst part of my mom being gone was that I didn’t have anybody to talk to who really knew me. I stayed with my grandmother. It was hard for her to understand what was happening with me.
I did not get to visit my mom. Not having my mom in my life was very hard. I had no one to help me go through my problems. Me and my mom were very close before and now I had no one to talk to. I could talk to my grandma somewhat but not personally. My sister tried to help, but she missed our mother too.
It made me feel pretty bad. I was mad at my mom for a while because I was afraid she would come out and then go right back again.
My father was here and now he left too, so my mom is the most important person in my life.
Now my mom is out and I am real proud of her. I’m glad she is out now. I am glad she went to Grace House to take care of herself because at home it is not really a very good environment and stuff.
I want us to be a family.
I got to visit my mom every week when she was gone to jail. My dad took us. It was hard because I wanted to touch her but she was on the other side of a glass wall. The visits weren’t too long, we only had a certain amount of time before they told us it was time to leave. When the visit was over, I wanted to stay with her for a long time. I thought about it all day. I didn’t cry but I felt really bad. It stayed with me for a while after I went.
I didn’t tell my friends where my mom was, I told them she moved away. I could talk to my grandmother and my dad about it, but it was hard for them too. I missed my mom a lot, I missed watching movies with her, bike riding with her and I missed telling jokes.
My grades didn’t go down while she was gone, they got better. She used to give me spelling tests to help me with my schoolwork. When she was gone, we could do it over the phone some but it wasn’t the same.
My mom was gone for six months. Sometimes time goes really slow. My little brother didn’t cry when we left the visits, but when we got home he would cry and cry and say, “I want my mom.” It made me cry on the inside, but I wouldn’t cry outside.
My mom should have gone to treatment instead of jail. I am happy that she is at Grace House because she’s trying to get her education. She comes home on weekends and I visit her at Grace House. Not through a glass, we get to touch. My birthday is tomorrow, I’ll be 11, and we’ll get to see each other. That wouldn’t happen if she was still in jail.
Something For You
At night I sit awake contemplating, thinking, wishing
For another day when you can hold me in your arms again
And we would be more than just mother and daughter,
You, being the mother I never had but longed for
You, being the strong tower of my life
The backbone of my inspiration
Every thing that I accomplish in the past to the future is because of
You being you,
accepting you with all of your mistakes made me a stronger person
That is a reflection of you, but on the other side of the mirror.
God, blessed me with you, not me to you, because without you
I would not be able to maintain and be strong
So in return this is
Something for you, thank you.