reconnecting family

My blog post of 9/7, pulling the jail card, sparked a moving response from a sibling of one of the ‘inside’ women writers.  Within the writing circle, JL wrote about the “marvelous error” it has been to land at Chittenden Correctional Facility to provide her with necessary reflection and regrouping time.  Her family member writes:

 “…a very interesting piece my sister wrote.  Although I have not had direct communication with her since her ‘card was pulled,’ my hope for her grows as I see an acceptance that had not existed even 6 months ago.  I would like to thank you for posting this piece.  And thanks for giving my sister a voice and for helping me see that it is time to reach out to her once again.”

The writinginsideVT blog was envisioned as a vehicle for connecting imprisoned women’s words to the larger society and educating the public about incarceration issues.  I must say we did not anticipate the possibility of providing a reconnection point for individual families.  Wow.  A most humbling revelation this day.

On another note, I decided to expand upon my 8/29 blog post, mom’s in jail, and craft a commentary for Vermont Public Radio about children of the incarcerated returning to school.  Back to School aired yesterday morning.  Click “Listen” and enjoy!

grieving together

Grief by Tessa Maurer

We learned of the death of one of our former writers last evening.  K had been released from Chittenden Correctional Facility a short time ago.  Her central aims were to beat her addiction and be reunited with her children.  Tragically, her addiction won out.

Last evening’s circle of 13 writers provided a life-affirming, sacred space in which the women could process the loss of their friend and write about their own addiction fears.

By happenstance, three of K’s longtime fellow writers were back ‘inside’ due to probation violations, so they too were able to process her death in the healthiest of ways–within the womb of supportive community.  It was a rich session in which one woman gave thanks that K was now free of this great burden.

K was wide-eyed that addiction was her downfall.  She wrote about this on more than one occasion.  Here is the last piece she wrote with writinginsideVT:

BEAUTIFUL BABIES

It’s hard to believe I have two beautiful babies. Who would ever know considering that I, their mother, do not care for them the way mothers do. I, a selfish, rotten, junky, drug-addicted mother, care more for drugs than my children. I know what you’re thinking, “How can a mother be so heartless?” And I can’t answer you! I know it’s a awful thing, but at least I can admit it. I wish it were not true. I have lost everything and didn’t care, but I tell you now–there is only time left to care about my children and not myself, and that means doing what it takes to keep my family together.

Our prayers and positive energy go out to her children.