Almost mid-month, and HFP contributions coming in slowly.
Then, a heart-breaking letter arrived yesterday. Here is the message, in part:
Dear Mr. Tjapkes:
A few months ago I wrote to you regarding my son Andrew, and the difficult time he was having at Pugsley receiving medical attention. Today is his birthday. My son had back problems and suffered from depression. I have wanted to write to you many times, but was unable to do so because it was too painful. My son took his own life on January 30 of this year. I am inconsolable. Those are the only words I know when someone asks me how I am. I am raising my grandson, who will now never have a relationship with his father. My son was 28 years old and spent the last 10 years struggling with so many demons, and trying so hard to hold on. I ask myself over and over "what will I do without him? What will I do without him?" I am destroyed daily thinking about his last moments and that I could not be with him.
There is no one to be angry with because there are so many to be angry with. The system that failed him for so many years. The way we run our mental health and drug rehab in this country. My son's inability to reach out for real help. Our justice and prison system which is so seriously flawed that prison is somewhere where we just throw our citizens away instead of rehabilitating them, taking away their basic human rights. The fact that unless you have money in this country you are basically just thrown to the wolves.
The day my son died a man from the prison called me, and he didn't even get my son's first name right. Then they literally threw all of his belongings in a box, taped it up and sent it to me---loose salt shakers spilling all over photographs. I called the deputy warden and told him they should be ashamed of themselves to do this to me. I told him that Andrew was someone's child, and they had no right to disrespect him or me in this way.
Every day I receive the emails from you with news from the prisons and prayers, and I read every one. But I am so angry and feel so powerless that with each one I tell myself I will unsubscribe because I can't take anymore of the pain and humiliation these people are being subjected to. I pray every day and I ask for guidance. I ask for strength. I am writing this letter because I know you are someone who understands, and who fights so hard for prisoners rights. I have no money, sir. But I know that I need to do something to help change things. I need to do something in my son's name, to change anything that I can. But I don't know what to do.
I thank you for the advice you tried to give us. I thank you for what you do each day to help people who can't help themselves. I have no more words. God Bless,
Well, I know what to do, Kim. It won't bring Andrew back, but it will help us to assist more mothers and more sons facing similar problems. We'll invite HFP supporters to make a one-time donation in memory of Andrew to keep this ministry alive. It founders every month, almost never meeting budget.
In June, 2014, perhaps we can hit our goal, in the name of your son.
Matt will post a separate figure each day showing Andrew Memorial Contributions.
May God be near this hurting mother, and all the other prison moms.