I have a friend who is serving a life sentence in the state of Michigan. Her case is one of tragedy, and her punishment is severe, but she doesn’t spend her time in self-defeating thoughts or thinking of what might have been. Instead, she focuses on her future. She spends her days going to college since at her prison there’s two local community colleges offering bachelor degrees in various disciplines. In her case it’s business management. This is what she has been studying and working toward for several years.
Today, 6 June 2022, my brother John will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. It will be a big affair, and I wish I could be there.
John is my younger brother, twin to his brother Jim. Though John’s younger than me, he loomed larger than life. He led a distinguished military career achieving the rank of colonel and was on the front line of our nation’s cyber ops. If anyone knew the true depth of the threats we face from adversaries it was him.
I looked up to John and I learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from him. He taught me forgiveness through his example, and I lived life vicariously through him from behind these walls. He was always happy to run with me no matter what hair brained journey I took us on. He believed in me when I didn’t, and always helped me when I couldn’t help myself. He took my sadness and unselfishly lifted me until I could smile and believe in a future again.
Today I salute you brother. You did well and I am proud of the life you lived. You’ve given me the strength I need to grab ahold of the future and make it my own. Every memory I have of you is fond and I am thankful god gave us the time we had. There’s a song by Brantley Gilbert called “We’re Gonna Ride Again” and brother it’s true. We’re gonna ride again and I need you to hold things down until then. In the mean time I’ll finish what we started.
I Love You Bro’,
I’ve heard guys say that incarceration is a young man’s game. I’ve never liked that saying because it implies that prison is somehow a game. The loss of your freedom, life and liberty could never be a game. Those that look at it that way spend a lifetime returning again and again to prison.
Doing time is hard and there’s constant struggle, but it’s not impossible. Each of us has our own difficulties, and it’s how we choose to view things. There’s wisdom here, and it exists in the words, deeds, and actions of the older crowd. Therefore listen.
“Would you like a blue star or a gold star?” Ten words spoken to me earlier today by a stranger that I didn’t know but will never forget.
I was standing in the commissary line, a snaking tail of sweating men in what was half functioning air-conditioning. It’s always like this. The air-conditioning I mean. Every year. On the first hot week of the year the air-conditioning is turned on in the commissary building and it NEVER works. And every year there’s surprise and amazement by the very same guys in maintenance that shut it down for the winter and start it back in the Spring.
This is the first fictional work Lettersfromchristopher has ever posted and until it’s arrival into my hands I never really thought about it. About what you ask? About the fact that no one, not a single soul since I created this blog over 3 years ago, chose to take me up on submitting a fictional work. It’s not that those that are