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The moment any inmate dreads the most is when he is unexpectedly called to the chapel during opening hours or to the office of the officer-in-charge at night. During the walk there, all kinds of thoughts go through a person’s mind. Often the name of God, Yahweh, Allah or any Superior being is called as we beg, ”Please, don’t let it be true!”

How many times have we heard someone say, ”I know how you feel.” As well intended as it might be, no other person knows how I feel. As an inmate we often have no place we can retreat to and grieve our loss. We feel so alone with no one to really talk to. We can’t cry or show tears because it’s looked upon as being weak.

My outlet when dealing with grief is writing. And during these difficult times wherein many of us have lost a loved one, I’m certain that anyone can relate to the following ode of honoring those we lost.

Grandma was there when I was born, took me in her arms and raised me,
Grandma was there when I took my first talk, my first walk, my first day at school and got my first report card,
Grandma was there when I scored my first goal in a soccer game,
Grandma was there when the world was a beautiful place where I fell in love for the first time, She was there when the world turned dark, mean and unforgiven, because the love of my life ran to someone else,
I still feel the spot on my behind when Grandma caught me smoking my first cigarette,
Grandma was there when I came home for the first time in my Air Force uniform,
and Grandma was there when I was arrested, convicted and sentenced,
I was NOT there when Grandma displayed the first signs of dementia,
I was NOT there when the neighbors called my mom to say that Grandma could no longer live by herself,
I was NOT there when Grandma was placed in a home,
and I was NOT there on the last day of her life when she passed all alone, with no one to hold her hand,
Grandma, I am so sorry!

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Rudy Vandenborre is a writer incarcerated at in Florida. He was born and raised in Belgium and was a member of the Belgian Armed Forces. His story “Sheet Wappering in the Wind” was published in Exchange For Change’s “Don’t Shake the Spoon” anthology.