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Over the next few years we became the closest we have ever been. We talked almost every day and wrote all the time. We even made plans for her to come visit me. I finally got my mother back. It took a very long time, she eventually got her son back. She became my best friend. Our relationship turned into something I wish all mothers and sons had.

Gerald, 40
Incarcerated: 15 years
Housed: Osborn Correctional Institution, Somers, Connecticut

It was like I was seeing my future flash in front of my face. I was walking home from second grade. My mom was waiting on the front porch. She was sweating, her eyes were wide open and she was breathing heavily. She said somebody got into the house (got into, not broke into) and stole your Nintendo. I rushed up the stairs and it was gone. Then I noticed the TV, the stereo and many other things a burglar would want to steal. I just started crying, not because I was without my precious Mario brothers, it was because I knew my mom was addicted to drugs and life as I knew it was about to change. Within a few years, my mom’s addiction was in full swing. My living situation was so crazy, sometimes there would be no heat, no hot water, no food or clean clothes. Sometimes there was no one in the house. I was homeless a few times because of her addiction.

Over the years our relationship became strained. I disappeared for months at a time. To survive I started hustling. I knew I could make money selling drugs because I saw how my mom would go crazy just to get drugs. I blamed her for all my problems, even the ones that were not her fault. Over the years she tried to get clean but it was always because somebody else told her to do it, the social worker, her parole officer, her probation officer or even the judge. She would stop for a while, then go back to doing the same things all over again, and me and my siblings would struggle again. In school I was the dirty kid, the smelly kid that everybody talked about. Over the years things got worse, me and my mom’s relationship got worse. 

One day we got into an argument because she wanted money to buy drugs. I told her NO, she got mad and kicked me out of her house at three in the morning. As I was leaving the house I said I HATE YOU, three words you should never say to your parent. A few years later I went to jail for a robbery I did not commit. The whole time, my mom didn’t write, visit or send money. So when I came home I didn’t go see her, she was still on drugs and I wanted nothing to do with her. My friends and family would tell me, the disease of addiction is crazy once it gets a hold of you, so I shouldn’t blame her, but I wasn’t trying to hear that. I was on the streets doing stupid shit and ended up getting locked up. I was fighting for my life, it was crazy. At every court date I would look into the stands, but my mother was never sitting there. I was up against the State of Connecticut and I had no one to show me they had my back. I lost that battle with the state and they gave me thirty years.

I went to jail and started doing my time. For the first couple of years I didn’t hear from my mom. Then one day I was in my cell with my boy Squeeze. We were talking when a letter slid under the door. When I saw who wrote it, I was shocked. She was checking on her baby boy. She said she was trying to get clean. I didn’t believe her. She started writing once or twice a week. She even sent money for a TV and trimmers to keep a good edge-up. I spoke to my Nana and she said she was clean, that was when I started to believe. We started talking on the phone, she said she just got tired of living that lifestyle and didn’t wanna do drugs anymore. That was the first time she quit without somebody forcing her.

Over the next few years we became the closest we have ever been. We talked almost every day and wrote all the time. We even made plans for her to come visit me. I finally got my mother back. It took a very long time, she eventually got her son back. She became my best friend. Our relationship turned into something I wish all mothers and sons had.

November 2, 2021 at 3:11pm my mom passed and she took a piece of me with her. I still have not gotten over the loss of my mom. This is a story of redemption not only for my mom, but for us. If you’re reading this – call or go hug your mom and tell her you love her, because you will miss her when she is gone.

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