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Visitation Day

For many of us when a loved one is convicted it feels like a part of us get’s locked up too. We find ourselves thinking about them constantly. We wonder if they’re safe. We wonder if anyone showed them an act of kindness today. Have they have a reason to smile lately?


When we’re finally able to visit; the corrections officers are often rude and dismissive of our questions. They bark orders about which line to stand next to, which side of the hallway to stand on and are sometimes more aggressive than necessary with their physical search of you. Then you enter through the sally port. Hearing that god awful metal screech to an undeniable close is a sound that dances in my ears as if it needed to augment the other sights and smells as an audio reminder that this is prison. Even after we leave to go home that sound refuses to give us grace and attempts to take up permanent residence in our heads. “Pull yourself together” you warn yourself in an effort to be strong for him. You remind yourself how much you hate this place then almost immediately feel a strange sense of guilt knowing in an hour or two you’ll be free to leave while having to leave him behind…again.


What can you do? Unfortunately the experience described above is both real and common for over two million families in America. There are no easy answers but I think I may have learned a secret to coping in a song I recently heard. The artist sang:


I don’t always know the right way

I don’t always know what to say

But all I know is something happens

When…I…Pray.”


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