Dark Skin is one of our incarcerated friends participating in our pen pal project. He is a regular blog contributor as well, giving insight to the impact of incarceration on himself and his family.
Part I "One of the worst crimes I ever committed was abandoning my children!"
I chose the streets over supporting, defending, and protecting my own children. Some may ask, why? To this day, I also inquire as to how another human being could leave their children for superficial activities, that will not benefit me. (crying)
At the age of 15, I experimented with illegal drugs; however, I refuse to use my drug abuse as a way out of the crime I have committed against my own children, who were too young to fend for themselves (not born, 2, 3, and 5 years old)
I must say that it was my way of thinking , and upbringing which shaped my choices, which was part of the cause of my decision making. I believe, after talking with many psychologists, that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- due to events I witnessed as a child, for example, my mother being physically abused by my step father. I watched my dad, and other men in my life, walk out on all of my siblings, which I felt was OK. So when I got angry at my children's mother, I walked out on them.
My distorted thinking did not allow me to advance to the level of what I was doing being wrong, believe it or not. Today, I know exactly what I was committing, against my children.
I remember the first visit I received from my children, all at different times, but I cried throughout those visits because I started understanding the magnitude of what I have done to them, and their mothers'. (crying)
When I looked into the eyes of my second oldest son, I saw disappointment, fear, anger, confusion, sorrow, happiness, and hurt. The pain, if I tried to describe it, is like watching a stranger snatch your babys right from your arms and being helpless to prevent the violence from happening.
When I speak with my children, I cry behind the receiver, without them knowing. Hearing their voices really takes a toll on me, because I know what I've done by leaving them alone, not being there for the first big moments of their lives like their junior and high school graduations.
Listening to my sons tell me about their activities growing up, I put my head down because I know I messed up bad!!!
I believe it is befitting that I give you (loyal readers) a glimpse of how I believe I my abandonment affected each of my children.
The last time I recall seeing and holding my son was in 1989. We were in my yard and I was twirling him around, which he loved. He was less than a year old. After that day, I delved into the world of the street life: drugs, guns, and women in my community. So I left my child to his mother; may Allah protect her, and grant her the best for raising our child, even though I abandoned her and left her all alone and struggling to raise a young boy, our fist child together. The depths of how deep I dived into the drug world is beyond my skills to express. If I were to try and give you an idea, it would be like a trained diver jumping hundreds of feet into the ocean into complete darkness.
My life consisted of abusing illegal drugs every day. I was an addict; all I wanted to do was get high. I know now, I was getting low.
When I first received a visit from my eldest son, who is now 30, it was 1998 and his beloved mother was kind enough to bring him to visit me after all the stress, pain, disrespect and burden I placed on her, she still had the heart of platinum to bring our child to see me. (crying) My eldest son was twelve when we had our first visit, and after the emotional visit, we kept in touch via his mother, whom I cannot express how much I greatly appreciate in my heart, by writing one another. He wrote about his life in the Bronx, his interest in working for a Barbershop near his home, and his plans for the future.
We hugged, cried, and attempted to play chess, but I did not know how to play. I promised my son I would learn to play chess, so when I am released, we can play together. To this day, I learned to play the game of chess and have not broken my promise to never play with anyone in prison, but wait for my release and play with my son. I love you son! (crying)
To be continued......