Meet Vincent…

Mom, I am certain that you are disappointed in the path my life has taken, but you can ‘rest in heaven’ with the knowledge that it was no fault of yours. You once told me that it took you 32 years to control your attitude, and prayed that it wouldn’t take me as long to control mine. Well mom, it did. However, it came with an abundance of insight. It would tear at your core that I am in this situation – knowing my heart – but you would applaud the resolve. The strength of mind I maintain, while enduring this life sentence would amaze you. My only regret in life is not heeding your advice.

I want to pay tribute, with an apology letter to my mother Wilma, who passed away at the age of 39, when I was 23.

You were there for me through many twists and turns in my life, hoping that I would latch onto the best that you provided. But what you could not know before ‘going home to rest’ (or maybe you did), was that I was chasing ghosts in my mind that resembled an active dad—which I believe was the root cause of my detachment from reality.

I realize at 59, the lessons you were instilling in me so long ago, where to pave my path into manhood. I now see that your essence pervades my entire being. Your strength, your calmness, your beauty, your genuineness, your love for others consume my thoughts.

I think about your pains and your resolve – then I smile because I can pinpoint every one of your characteristics that I possessed as a child and young man. You gave me the strength to survive. Mom, I praise your name constantly. I look to your wisdom and guidance to see me through my days.

I wish you were here for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren that would bring you so much joy. I see you everywhere, in the mall, but mostly, I see you in me. You will forever be my hero mommy, and I will always credit my accomplishments to you. I wish I had more time with you, and I miss you so much.

Now, where I am – you will always be, in my heart! In closing, I want to say that you would probably tell me to apologize to my children and my grandchildren for not being there. But today mommy, I want my apology to go to you. The core of my world.

Receive more inspiring stories and news from incarcerated people around the world.