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“I have heard stories like this from several men in prison over the years, how great it was and that they have grown close, shared many visiting days together, and built wonderful relationships with their children and grandchildren. This, however, would not be my story.”

Incarcerated: 26 years

I don’t remember how many years ago it was, more than 15 I believe. I received a letter from my sister with a screen shot of a Facebook page. At the top, Taylor wrote “After 15 years I got a letter from him! In his very own handwriting…I cried.” A few minutes later, it set in who this young lady was.

My daughter that I haven’t seen or heard anything about since she was two years old. My attorney said that Taylor had no idea that the man she knew as her dad was not her biological father, that her real dad was serving a life sentence in a California state prison for murder. One day when Taylor was in high school, her dad picked her up from school, took her to a park and told her he wasn’t her biological father.

I asked my sister to please find her and let her know she had another family and they love her. A few years later Taylor came to visit me at San Quentin. She was several months pregnant with her son. I was scared to death but happy at the same time. I had heard stories like this over the years from several men in prison. How great it was and that they grew close, shared many visiting days and built wonderful relationships with their children and grandchildren.

This, however, is not my story. On our first and last visit, Taylor and I didn’t get to talk much. I asked her how she was and she said “Fine” then awkward silence. I tried again, so you probably have a bunch of questions? She said “No.” Again awkward silence. I asked her why she came here.  “I just wanted to see what I was a part of.” For three hours we sat there with my sister and my Dad. I listened to the three of them talk as I sat in silence. I got a hug and a goodbye and never heard from her again. I wrote, sent cards, asked for pictures of my grandson and I’ve heard nothing.

Some stories don’t have happy endings. This is a part of the journey. I am responsible for my own happiness. I do miss her very much. I am sorry I wasn’t there for her. 📸 Scott’s & Peter Mertz

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