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I’m now very considerate and learning a lot from these classes on how to be a good man with integrity. I want my freedom after I get these skills. I have a lot to live for. I have a lot of self-worth and dignity that I haven’t had before.

Incarcerated: 2 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison

She’s the most generous and loving woman in my life. It’s a privilege to call her my mom. She struggled, but kept a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. She worked in the food service industry for 36 years. She’s my best friend, but on August 24, 2021 she left us. She passed away. I wasn’t there to be with her and that was really hard. I was in San Quentin. She went to see her other son and daughter before she passed, but I know she wanted to see me. I got to talk to her every single day before she passed. She was my angel. She struggled with her own habits. It was really hard losing her.

My son is Christopher Jr and he’s eight. He’s about a year old in this picture. It’s one of three photos I have of him. It’s the last time I was with him before I came to prison. He’s with his mother now. Between my son and my mom, they are my anchor. I thought if I lost either one of them, I’d lose control. But, I’ve lost both and stayed balanced. I try to call my son all the time, but only get through about once a month. When he was one year old, he had more toys than a ten-year-old. I try to spoil him as much as I can. He was getting spoiled before he knew what being spoiled is.

Freya is my dog, she’s half Pomeranian and Chihuahua and was the size of my fist when I got her. Freya would put her head on Chris’s stomach and lay there like she was protecting him. Ever since she was a puppy, she’d lay in this position and plop back. She was spoiled too – getting her nails and hair done. I spoiled all my family. I did the best to support them and make a better life, because it was a real struggle for me growing up.

We went to a dog adoption in Stockton and got Baldur. He’s a purebred American Bulldog, raised as a fighter and rescued from a raid. We were walking around and Baldur was just staring at us with that same sad face in this picture. I knew he was the dog for us. You’d never know that he was a fighter until you saw the scars on his head. We were worried at first, having little Christopher. But when Baldur was with him, he got attached just like Freya. They’d be on either side of him, protecting him. For a long time, we were a normal family going out, going to movies, the beach, San Francisco, peaceful and happy. Now both dogs went to a rescue. I don’t have my wife or mom. But it’s the memories I hold on to. I’m learning day by day to come to terms with the passing of my mom as well as losing things. Even though I’ve lost all these things while being in here I respond in a positive way, not negative. I think it’s my mom’s spirit driving me. I’m in the GED program getting 98s and 99s in science and reading and social studies. I didn’t apply myself in high school, but I attribute what I’m doing now to my mom, because that’s what she’d want me to do. All the programs I’m taking I hope that it’ll keep me doing right. I’m done doing wrong. While I was doing wrong, I was missing my family and everything that makes these pictures meaningful. I don’t want to go through that again. I don’t want to be in a place like this when a loved one is passing. I don’t want to ever hurt anyone or hurt myself from being selfish. I’m now very considerate and learning a lot in school on how to be a good man with integrity. I want my freedom after I get these skills. I have a lot to live for. I have a lot of self-worth and dignity that I didn’t have before.

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