All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Monday, July 11, 2011

That's gotta be hard

Those were Marcia's words when I hung up the telephone. I had been speaking with the mother of a prisoner and didn't realize my wife was overhearing my half of the conversation.

A wave of empathy goes out over the telephone line every time I speak with the parent of a prisoner. It never fails. And that's because you can ALWAYS hear and feel the pain in their voice. Always.

I have often thought that if criminals knew how much their bad decisions hurt their mothers, there would be a lot less crime. Don't you agree? Think about it. For the most part, people love their mothers. Granted, some kids have hated their moms much of their lives. While I have no statistics to back me up, I think the majority of people love their moms. How I loved my mother. And, my mother-in-law. How I miss both of them.

I can truthfully say that anything and everything I did that hurt my mom REALLY hurt me.

Well, back to the telephone conversation, the mother who spoke to me today was hurting. Her son has been in prison for some 15 years. He was in a group of unruly kids abusing substances and misbehaving until a fight broke out. The fight ended when one young man was killed. More bad decisions, including dragging the body into a nearby body of water.

When the dust settled, criminal charges. Unfortunately for this young man, everyone called him the ring leader and a zealous prosecutor decided he could get away with first degree murder for that one. I don't agree with that stuff. You and I both know how these fights get started after kids drink and smoke, but it's really a stretch to say that the death of a victim was the result of premeditation.

Today, his mom is hurting, and there's a good chance he'll never see freedom again. I encouraged them to try various legal angles to get a reduced sentence and/or to try to get a commutation of the sentence. There's every reason to believe this young man won't reoffend. But, these are long shots, and I would be a liar if I didn't level with the parents.

But, back to my claim, I'll bet money the kid is sick about how much pain he has caused his mom, let alone the mother of the victim of a senseless fight.

Empathy is the least I can offer.

HFP stands ready to help. And to listen.

We invite you to stand next to us.

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