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Welcome to PJP’s newest special project, “Love, Mom.” For this collection, we have invited mothers to share their perspectives and experiences surrounding incarceration. We hope that this project will give you, our reader, a better understanding of the impacts of incarceration on families across the country. To view more pieces from the “Love, Mom” collection, please click here.

To my mother,

Thank you for raising me right, the best you knew how.

I appreciate the tough love, the long talks, and the hugs and kisses when they were needed. You were always there for me no matter what, and I could count on you when I had no else. You showed me how to love and take care of myself.

I was so blessed to have a mother like you, so I want to let you know how much you mean to me. I also want to let you know that the mistakes and the bad things that have happened in my life have not been your fault.

You did nothing wrong. You raised me well. Just know that I wouldn’t change a thing about my life that you gave me.

As an adult, I realize that I wish I would have done so many things differently. I wish that I wouldn’t have grown up so fast. I wish that I would have enjoyed life the way you told me to. I’m so sorry for the tears and for the pain that I may have caused you.

I know that I can’t get the time back that I’ve lost by being incarcerated, but I was taught to pray and go to God for any and everything. So I pray that I get to hug and kiss you again, and apologize for leaving you for so long.

I want the world to know that I couldn’t ask for a better mother. I would like the world to know that my mother has had my back throughout my incarceration.

So many people that I’ve come across have expressed strongly how they wished they had their mother. So if I have ever taken you for granted mom, then now is the time to say that I’m so sorry. When I get a chance to hug you again, I’m never letting you go!

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.

Keshia Freeman is a writer incarcerated in Virginia.