Every time any sort of "holiday" or "special day" comes around, I think about last year. It's Mother's Day this time. My Wife was at CIW / Fire Camp. Living her new life on her Unwanted Vacation. At least at CIW we could still talk and visit a couple of times a month. I can remember Kelly telling me about all the women she met there that were just like her. Some of the first time offenders . Drugs, DUI, stealing. The ones that always hit me hard were the Mom's that were doing anything they could to help their families. Even it were stealing. Yes, it was against the law. But, they felt there was no other place to turn. There are those people who refuse to listen to the real reason why some of these crimes were being committed. Being in the courtroom as the Prosecutor paints a picture of a monster that cares about no one and only stole to steal. These women that were caught are really paying the ultimate price. For Kelly, she kept a low profile. She wasn't involved in any violent incidences. But, for her and the other Mom's in there, it was being away from their families. That, is the punishment and it is a tough one. I can remember visiting and just watching other inmates interact with their kids. It got to me so bad. Tears would flow. There are those people out there that still just feel that if you have committed a crime, you're almost sub-human to them. If they could see what I have seen on those visiting days, maybe, just maybe a small percentage would think differently. I am not asking for a change in the "law" or reduced sentences. But, maybe for "kid friendly" programs. When Kelly was in receiving (Classification) for 4 months, there was NO contact. No, phone calls or visits. It was torture for all of us, but especially for our kids. It was a very pivotable year for them. We did get her letters, but not hearing her voice or letting them feel that hug from their Mama was so hard. Even though her receiving was 6 hours away, we would have made the drive. I just don't understand why it has to be that way. I tried to ask questions to the DOC, but "That's the way it is". I will continue to ask those questions and will never stop either.
It's crazy how similar a lot of these women are. Made that one mistake that changed everything in their lives. But, it was awesome to hear how they gravitated towards each other. Making drawings for their kids and mailing them to make sure they got there on the right date. Or at least trying. Sharing pictures with each other. Giving them hope. Making the best of a tough situation.
Mother's Day 2016 is very different than a year ago. But, the memories are still there. The hurt is still there, but fading. I will always be grateful for those "Mom's" that helped Kelly and I know she will never forget them. Happy Mother's Day.