Dale, 56

Dale, 56

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Meet Dale…

My blood beats her name.

Dale, 56
Incarcerated: 17 years
Housed: McPherson Unit, Newport, Arkansas

I want to share my late son’s memory, for closure not only for me but his siblings as well, his name was Marshall.
Here is his last poem before he died in protective custody, he was also in prison, he was 32.

What makes me tick?
With my soul scraping the bottomless pit of hell prison while looking for a sign of peace, I manage to encounter an angel that oversees my future. It’s almost like a miracle sent from God. I’m facing what seems to be the most exciting part of my life: At the most damaging time of my world. My guardian angel knows my heart and intentions and wants the best for me. She knows and wants to please each and everyone of my lustful desires. I can’t stop thinking about her because without her, I’ll die spiritually, emotionally and possibly physically. The breath she exhales is the enacted air I need to be happy. She holds my heart in her hand and has the ability to crush it to pieces at any time. My mind is wrapped around her soul like a wedding ring. I pray to God she never takes it off. My blood beats her name. My life is helpless without her skin. When she looks at me my body gets hot and my hands want to touch her in the most delicate ways. Even though I’m bound, she sets me free. I promise never to leave her side. I promise never to let go of her grasp. Baby, don’t ever let go of me. You are my air and I can’t go on without you. You make me feel like a man. I won’t ever stop loving you. So will you guide me to heaven?

Charlie, 47

Meet Charlie…

I share these snippets to say, you never stop being a dad. My girls are grown now, but they will always be ‘daddy’s girls’. I may not be with them, but I’m always here for them.

Charlie, 47
Incarcerated: 15
Housed: Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, CA

There are some memories you don’t forget. Mine happens to be of my girls. They say you never stop being a dad and I follow that idea as best as I can. My babies are the only thing I wake up for, they are my reasons for pushing on, I may not be able to hold and kiss them, but I’m always here for them.

When I was 19, my oldest was still in her mother’s tummy. I was forced to make a decision in my hometown where there weren’t many jobs straight out of high school. Knowing I had this little one coming, I needed to do something. So I gave up my life to the US Army to give a life to my unborn daughter. I didn’t think twice and I didn’t blink, it was all for my daughter and my budding family. That choice paved the way for my oldest to see other states and countries. My sacrifice gave her clothes, food, and shelter. It also introduced her to different cultures, places, foods, and a whole score of experiences. On the other hand, she gave me motivation, strength, and desire to be all I could be. If I needed one more push to go one more mile, all I had to do was to think about my baby girl.

Fast forward a few years, I had left the army behind, and was in a new relationship and expecting my second child. When my youngest was born I wanted nothing more than to hold her and do better for her. I drove a cube van and delivered furniture from sun up to sun down in Toronto. I didn’t care if it was all for my little angel.

The two best memories I have are of my girls. I was a real big fan of the singer, Eminem. One day I had the song, My Dad’s Gone Crazy, playing. I noticed my daughter was smiling and singing along, so I turned down the radio and my daughter didn’t skip a beat. She kept singing, “I think my dad has gone crazy!” I smiled like a Cheshire cat that day.

The other memory is of my youngest, we were going to Walmart to get her picture taken in her first easter dress. She would sit there, but she wouldn’t smile. It didn’t matter if it was the photographer with her toys, her mother, or her brother making funny faces. She would only smile when I stood behind the camera after the picture was taken. Then, she jumped into my arms and wouldn’t let go. I still have that picture with me now.

I share these snippets to say, you never stop being a dad. My girls are grown now, but they will always be “daddy’s girls.” I may not be with them, but I’m always here for them. One day I’ll see them again and I just hope they can forgive me for not being there. They are my life.

Sequoyah, 28

Sequoyah, 28

Meet Sequoyah…

There have been many times in my life that the road forked and someone saved me before I went the wrong way. One person in particular was the director of the Robinson’s Scholars program.

Sequoyah, 28
Incarcerated: 3 years
Housed: Lexington, Kentucky

Do you ever wonder what your life might be like if you’d never crossed paths with certain people? I do. There have been many times in my life that the road forked and someone saved me before I went the wrong way. Some were just brush encounters, but there were others whose impact changed the entire course of my existence. One person in particular was the director of the Robinson’s Scholars program I was a part of. I met him when I was a sophomore in high school, during a time when I was lost within my trauma. I think he sensed that from our first conversation because every time we talked after that, he showed genuine interest and concern for me. Over time the fortress that I’d built around me for my protection gave way and a bond forged between us. I had never had an active father to nurture me and most of the men I’d been around were predators who made me feel very uncomfortable. He was different though. Kindness, safety, love, and support radiated off of him. He took me under his wings with the goal of seeing me fly on my own one day.

Despite his efforts, I stumbled many times before I began to find my footing. When everyone counted me out, he dug his cleats in and coached me through the storms. I was ready to give up on myself and probably would’ve without his unwavering encouragement. Very often, I found myself questioning why. Why did he care? Why did he try so hard? What was so special about me? I mean he was a stranger; he had no obligation to help me. My own family didn’t even do these things, so why was he? I could never understand what he saw in me that made him think I was worth investing in. But he did and never faltered in showing me how much he wanted me to succeed. When I graduated high school, he stood in those stands proudly like a father would for his daughter. His presence continued on when I went to college too. When I started making reckless decisions again, he swooped in and got me back in order. He was determined to keep me from self-destructing. After a while, he became the voice of reason and my most trusted confidant. Nearly seven years after we met, I walked across the graduate stage once more. The stadium was packed full. When it came time for me to receive my diploma, there he was standing with honor as my father.

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