Christmas In Prison
Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as predicted in the Bible. It was inside of a lovely stable that the Christ child was born. Although the month and date of Jesus’ birth are unknown, the church in the early 4th century fixed the date as December 25th. For Christians, knowing the exact birthdate is not considered to be of importance. What is important is believing that God came into the world in the form of a man (Jesus) to atone (make up) for the sins of humanity. So, the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas is to honor the birth of the Son of God.
Unfortunately when you are incarcerated many holidays like Christmas are painful and challenging times of the year. Through my 3 years behind bars I have noticed that the women here get closer; it’s as if they are finding comfort in one another. They go around and decorate our dorms. This year the theme is “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, last year the theme was “Frozen”. But sometimes as humans we forget, what works for us may not work for someone else.
For instance, some people would rather not be reminded that it is that time of year. Seeing the decorations, hearing the Christmas music is a constant reminder that it is Christmas and another year you won’t be home with your family, friends and children.
Many others find comfort in spreading the joy, decorating, making home made cards for family at home and friends in here, giving gifts to one another within these walls. There is a woman that lives near me that went through our bay and made everyone’s bed tag some kind of a holiday based tag. For example…a reindeer, snowman, candy cane with our bed numbers and names on them. Mine is a puppy with a bow for Christmas. There’s also some colorful snowflakes hanging throughout our dorm. The Sgt. let us put up a small Christmas tree with a few decorations that accumulated over the years.
This year Ohio Reformatory for Women had a few things up their sleeves. With the help of a couple of different churches that come out and spread the word of Jesus Christ and our Lord, they gave each and every one of us 2 pairs of colorful socks, and cookies that were absolutely delicious. A big special thank you to Kairos, Gospel Echos Team Prison ministry, and Tyndale Prison Ministries. Thank you for thinking of us through the holiday season and your wonderful services through the year. We look forward to when things open back up and you can come back to see us.
Also the unit staff set up a few games with prizes to be won. This year was Bingo and Jeopardy within the dorms. We had a chance to win a 2 liter of soda or hygiene items. I played bingo and won a bottle of shampoo, considering my hair is long, it will go to good use. You can never have enough hygiene. Thank you ORW.
Now I would like to speak about the memories and feelings that Christmas brings me.
I was arrested on january 24, 2018, a month after Christmas. One of the last holidays I had with my children and family within arms reach. I hold this memory very close to my heart and will try very hard to remember every detail. From the time the kids woke us up because Santa had made his rounds, watching them opening their gifts and absolutely filled with excitement because they got the one thing they asked for. It was also one of the last meals I got to cook for my family. My daughters ages 10 and 5, were in the kitchen helping me cook, and set the table. I remember we made ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, stuffing, fried cabbage, green bean caserole, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, a veggie tray with veggie dip, and desserts such as pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies. Remembering the smiles on everyones’ face as they were eating, laughing and talking is what helps me get through this time of year. I hope I never lose these memories. I look forward to my first Christmas home and pray to God that I get to spend it with my 3 children and the families they’ve created of their own while I was away.
I also sit and think about how my family feels knowing that there will be one missing from the dinner table for the next 14 years. It is a constant reminder to them of where I am. My Mom told me it was one of the hardest times for her (my first year being locked up). She tells me she had adjusted to it but it shouldn’t have to be that way. What hurts me is knowing that we lost my twin brother on Christmas eve 32 years ago. He passed within minutes of being born prematurely. I’ve had to watch my Mom cry and see the sadness in her eyes every year. My mother would cling to me every year, and I think that was her way of feeling close to my brother that never had a chance. But now my mistakes adds insult to injury and has led to my mother losing yet another child, just not necessarily in the same manner. It saddens me knowing that my actions has caused her even more grief and misery through the holidays. When it’s supposed to be a season of joy, laughter, family gatherings, and festivities it’s a day of sadness, grief and loss for my family.