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A Black mother in a gray top hugs her daughter in a pink shirt
Illustration by nnfotograf on Depositphotos

“Mommy, where are you? I need you here.
Daddy, where are you?”

“Here I am, my dear. Mommy has gone away
for a while to get herself together. Remember
she loves you and didn’t mean to leave.”

“Did she really think without her
my life would be better? I need
to see her, please. I don’t care
what she did, or what happened,
I want her back.”

“Matter of fact, she wrote you and
told you how much she missed and
loved you.”

“But what’s love if she chose her
demons over me? Tell me, what good
does love do? She can’t even see
my birthday cake.”

“Yes, baby, I know how you feel.
It hurts so bad, still. The pain of her absence
may never go away. Guess what — we
are going to see her today.”

“Hey Mom, how are you doing in there?
I miss you, there’ve been so many things I
have to tell you.”

So I started at the beginning — now
realizing our time was ending,
I saw the pain in her eyes. The tears
she shed held no lies.

It was nice to get things off my chest.
Now I have to let her go again
back to being alone to rest,
but before I left I told her, “Be strong —
I love you, Mom. It won’t be long.”

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.

Whitney Turner Tyson

Whitney Turner Tyson is a writer incarcerated in Arkansas.