"_________________" by A.J. Rasmussen
Normally, I start with a title, or at least know what I want to write about. Today, however, I'm at a loss for a title or a topic to discuss. So, I'm going into this blind, with no direction. I just feel the need to write because I'm having a difficult time.
So . . . First of all, I am currently doing A LOT to better myself. I've spent a lot of the last 4 1/2 years worrying about other people, helping other people, trying to guide people to success based on the failed route I'd taken myself. My wish in life today is that nobody returns to prison, and most important, people not end up in prison for life such as myself. If you want to experience hell, go to prison for life, no light at the end of the tunnel, no glimpse of hope, and carnage left behind of hurt people, victims, and secondary victims, both family and friends, as well as a damaged community as a whole. That is a huge load to bare on one's shoulders, so much damage, so much hurt. So to look back, is a shame. To look forward, awaiting death. That is the bare brass truth of having a life sentence in prison.
I continue to do all I can to help others as I attempt to 'fix' me. Some days are just . . . Heavy, for lack of a better word. I'm tired, I'm tired of prison, I'm tired of the people I'm surrounded by, I'm tired of being micromanaged, I'm tired of waking up. I often think, man, can I just go to sleep, peaceful, and not wake up? And when I wake up, pardon my French, I just say, FxxK.
Beings I wake up, I then just hope to sleep an entire day, do absolutely nothing. Most would think, 'well then, why don't you just sleep all day? You're in prison, what is there to do that you can't sleep all day?' Well, I have infused myself into a number of things, where if I slept for an entire day, I'd wake up feeling even more stressed and depressed. I'd feel, and be, behind. People would be disappointed. I would be disappointed in me. And, you just can't sleep an entire day, because when they count, you have to be awake, so they know you're still alive. They want to keep you alive, because they don't get money for a dead body. Aside from making sure you're still in prison, they also want to be sure to keep you alive, "(knock knock) Move for count!" And if you aren't upright at the 4pm count, they will infract you, punish you for being asleep.
Anyhow, life in prison. . . It comes with so much that a person would never think of, if a person knew what it entailed, I think they would work extra hard to not end up in prison for life.
I have a grandma still, the last of my grandparents, who is pushing 91 y.o., and thanks be to God, she is still healthy, but, she is not getting any younger. That is gutt wrenching to think of losing her, and not being out there to help take care of her, or even be there at her funeral.
My mom, she isn't old, but she's also no longer young. At 68, it is a very real possibility I will also lose her, a loss I don't think I could survive. I joke with her that she must outlive me, but I am serious as well. She is out of town this week, and it is almost a taste of what my life would be like if she passed, it is impossible to imagine her declining in any way, she and my grandma are superhuman in my mind, and they shouldn't age. I've never had to think of them aging, it just wasn't a thing. But now I have to, somehow prepare myself for this.
I have a friend, who is going to be going home fairly soon. I am sad to lose my closest friend, but also, I am worried. I want to guarantee he will never get into trouble again, and never return. If he does, he will also be in for life, that would crush my heart. As it gets closer, I worry more and more. I also feel like he is making poor choices as it gets closer. It is anxiety inducing, and frustrating. I want to guarantee his success, but that is out of my control, but easier said than done. People just can't understand it though, unless they have been given life in prison, and how horrible it is. I go to extremes to try to give people the best possible chance at success, but I at times feel like I care more, that they succeed, than they do themselves. I care a lot about the people we help, and I invest my heart into them. Some days I feel like I need to quit the work that we as a ministry do, because I am killing myself mentally and emotionally. Kinda interesting, sometimes I wish I'd not wake from my sleep, other times I feel I need to back away from something, because I feel it is slowly killing me, hmm. . .
Most people would likely say, "You're getting what you deserve", and maybe they are right, but that doesn't change the fact we are human beings behind these walls, bars, and fences. Is warehousing people, for life, the only option? I know one thing, after the hell I've faced since the day of my arrest, my life would look a lot different if given another chance. I am not the only one in the prison system whose life looks much different than the day we were arrested. There is so much more to the story than an act, an arrest, a trial, the sentencing, and being locked away. My hope is that people would start to look more into our penal system, and look more into rehabilitation, than strictly punishing. A program I just began, I believe has this goal in mind, to bridge that gap from the inside to the outside, from the offender to the victims. This is one of the things I am doing to better myself, Bridges to Life, it isn't going to be an easy 14 weeks.
I wish I could express the sorrow I have, to my family and friends whose trust I betrayed by my actions which led me here, and also to the victims of my crimes.
This is where I will conclude this. I just ask that whoever reads this would not take anything or anyone for granted. Make sure people know you love them. Make sure you love yourself. Know that you matter, and make sure those around you know that they matter.
I love you,