He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother

 

Because of the book I’m writing about Jamie Cummings, “Inside The Forbidden Outside” I’ve been re reading many letters I’ve received from him over the years, separating them into different subjects. For instance: medical care he’s received, treatment from the guards, solitary confinement – and lack of caring, help and communication from his family.

The hardest thing for him, has been been wrapping his head around the fact that his family isn’t there for him. Maybe in their head they think they are, but the reality is different. They probably were in the beginning, I think. They aren’t bad people. Maybe when he gets out they think it will pick up where it left off and everything will be hunky dory, but I don’t think so. I know how much he loves he loves his family, but I don’t think he will forget how many unanswered letters he wrote. They have no idea how many he wrote and tore up because he was venting the fact that they haven’t been there for him. I think, over time, they went on with their lives. Jamie became, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Maybe they thought there was nothing they could do and life went on – for them. Communication became less and less, and even helping him financially, so he could buy any luxury we take for granted, like real soap, became a “so what, it’s only soap” item. So he would write me, “Mom, please, can you help me?” Who else was he going to turn to? No one else was going to help him, that was clear. One relative recently told me, “It’s his own fault he got into trouble and went to prison.” My goodness sake, is that the reason they still tell themselves for not helping him, it’s not their fault because ten years he got into trouble? And oh, I can’t forget this: I was told it’s not my concern. It certainly hasn’t been their concern.

Not my concern? He’s my family. He IS my concern. He’s the father of one of my grandsons. We are connected by blood. I might be white as snow and he’s black as the ace of spades, but both bloods run in my grandson’s veins. But even if it didn’t, and I know this because of my own family, being related doesn’t mean the people in your family are going to actually take time out of their life to show they care about you.

After thinking about what was said, I realized they didn’t know him anymore. They knew a much younger Jamie. They don’t know the Jamie I know. They also have no idea what the effect of this experience of abuse has had on him. They also have no idea where he is going next. How could they? There will come a day when they will regret that as they try to claim him as their own, and he will say, “And where were you when I needed you?”

Jamie never placed blame on anyone but himself. Whenever he wonders why no one cares, he always says it is his fault. He thinks it is because he caused his mom a lot of trouble growing up? I think most kids do. So is that a reason for not helping him now? Is he getting a needed payback for being a kid? My goodness. He’s 33 now. I think he’s done paying for those mistakes. What he is doing now is a cry for help, “Please don’t let me disappear from your lives. I need you. I’m lonely. I want to know you care what happens to me.” So he waits and waits. He gives them a deadline. If they don’t write back in say, two weeks, he’ll take them off his visitors list. At the end of two weeks he’ll set another ultimatum. “They are busy,” he tries to convince himself, because the thought of them not caring is more than he can handle.

I wrote to one of his family today. I said, “Jamie needs his family.” Thinking your family doesn’t love you is hard to bear. I know sometimes he’s depressed. There are enough articles published for anyone to know about the devastating effects on the brain that are produced by solitary confinement. So I asked, “Why does no one bother send a birthday card or Xmas card? Why can no one put a few dollars in his account to buy the absolute basic necessities for survival?” My answer? “Just because he got hisself in trouble doesn’t mean my life stopped.”I guess that means it’s Jamie’s own fault for getting into trouble ten years ago,  so the family is off the hook. Does that mean, when he gets out in seven years, the excuse, when he tries to get his life together and needs help, becomes, “It’s not my fault he got into trouble 17 years ago”? When does that mistake finally get paid?

This family member didn’t know Jamie was transferred to another prison 2 months ago. I said he had no paper, no stamps, and a guard destroyed his ID. I told him everything that happened he didn’t know about. I asked him why? Why won’t anyone help? I even asked for help. He has epilepsy. He has to be able to call medical when he has a seizure. Medical care is not free, contrary to popular opinion. When I asked his mother to help she conveniently evaded the question. I know she heard me ask. I’m on disability, but I still pull it together AND send books and letters and magazines and newspaper clippings and most of all I send him love so he isn’t alone sitting in a cell that resembles hell.

He answered me with, ” I’m not going to answer this because you’re really starting to piss me off.”
“My telling you the truth pisses you off?” I replied. “If I am wrong about any of this, please tell me where.”
“Really, it’s not your concern. Jamie lies a lot”
That’s a good one. It’s hard to keep a lie going for ten years, especially when there is no reason. “It is my concern,” I said. “Tell me what the lie is.”

Silence

Everyone makes mistakes. Do we stop loving people because of it, and make sure for ten years they never forget, by ignoring them? Does it keep us from supporting them emotionally? We can’t pick up a $2.99 card that says, “Thinking of you,”put a stamp on it and toss it into a mailbox? Can’t we say, “No matter what, I love you and I’m here for you. You ain’t heavy, you’re my brother.”

He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother
lyrics by the Hollies

The road is long
With many a winding turns
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another
It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy he’s my brother
He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

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By the I got done with this I was crying. I was feeling the pain I knew he felt

In Ad Seg How Can You Deal With Loss?

January 16, 2016

     Hello mom, How are you?  Fine and in the best of health I hope.  As for me, so far,no trouble.  I have been staying to myself.  It’s okay here, just a little weird.  I have a neighbor who is really coo-coo.  He talks to himself and when gets mad he goes off on everyone around him.  So guess who gets the first verbal ass whippin’?  Lol, yep, me.
As of right now the unit is on lockdown, so there is not much going on.  I’m waiting to see the doctor.  I should see him this Friday or Monday.  They have charged me with a new co-pay of $100 so they will taking half of the money you send me until it is paid.

cellRight now now I’m a level 3.  I’m only allowed to have one visit per month.  I’ll receive my level 2 in 30 days only if I do not get any major cases.  I don’t plan on getting any. Life is life and no one knows the outcome of the future.  However I do know the causes and effects.  Only I can stop myself from being who I really want to be.  I’m going to let the past be the past.  I am in control.  I have just been allowing my anger to get the better half of me.  However, I also knew that half the time the guards at the Wynne Unit I had to deal with were the same ones all the time and I knew what their routine was going to be every day. They would spend time talking shit at me to pass the time.  I knew it would not be long before I blew my top and put my hands on one of them.

     You have no idea of the suffering I went through the last few weeks there.  Before I was moved to Allred Unit I was sprayed two days in a row with a big ass can of pepper spray.  then they tossed me back in the same cell with no water because they turned it off.  I also had all my stuff taken away from me again.  This takes the cake: Then they rammed my head into a glass window.   Now I will say that half of that was my fault, but it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t taken my property.  All of this happened because I tried to help someone else.  they don’t like it when you do that.  I always end up in deep shit because I try to help someone.  It’s the risk I take. I try to help people who are new when they don’t know the rules.  The officers get mad when I do that so they lash out at me. When I tried to talk to them with respect they looked at me like I got shit on my face.  It’s crazy.

     That way was the past.  New unit, new year.  I should only be here until I get out of ad seg.  I will then go to a program.  I can make parole from here in seg.  It’s going to take a little time but it’s worth a shot.  It takes a year to get my line class yet.  I have to do a year anyway in seg.  Well, really it’s a little more than a year.  I’ll be okay so don’t worry. So far everything is okay, besides the nut next to me.

     I’ve been sleeping better lately, which is good, because I haven’t slept good in awhile.  At night I do some chanting, exercise, deep breathing and meditation that I learned from a prison magazine called “Turn it up”.  It’s pretty good.  There are some websites I wrote down that I wrote down from it.  One of them is on a woman named M. Alexander.  If it is possible, could you order me a book called “New Jim Crow Organizing?”

(Sonni’s note: I have written about Michele Alexander.  The full title of this book is: The New Jim Crow.  Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. http://newjimcrow.com/  I recommend going to this website and reading about it.)

     You have come to know me so well, so you know pretty much when something is wrong.  Please call Wynne Unit and ask again about my property.  I am so afraid they won’t send it all to me.  They have all my letters and books and all of my pictures.  They have everything I own that is my life and much of it can’t be replaced.

antie
Jamie’s older brother, Antie

     I have so much mixed emotions about the truth.  Sad but true.  I have come to realize that my communication with my family has run out.  I think of them and it hurts me.  However, when I am just going about my day, I am fine.  The last visit I got from my mother she told me my brother was outside, but that he wouldn’t come in and see me.  Did he not want to see me? Was my mother telling me the truth?  Telling the truth may not be what she does, thinking about others things she said.  I was hurt when she said my brother didn’t want to see me, but I got over it.  I try to put it behind me but it pops up here and there and I would say to myself, fuck him.  But I can’t be mad at him, because I’m here because of me, not him, but it would help if I had my family.  As far as my mom, I just can’t bring myself to say anything bad about her.  Yeah, it hurts like hell that I have not had her support while I’ve been here these last ten years.  But there is nothing I can about that in here.

(Sonni’s note:  I have reasons to believe that his mother wasn’t telling the truth about his brother being outside but not wanting to come in. He loves his brother and was hurt thinking he came so close – outside the building – and wouldn’t come in.  something sounds wrong with that.  His mother has said other things that weren’t true, like telling him who his father is – he has never known – and saying that they got married and that he is an x-cop.  Jamie started writing letters to him that were never answered.  He even sent him a birthday card, so was that made up, too? I asked her once to help pay his medical fee, which has to be paid every year, and she blew me off.  She told him this exactly a year ago during a rare visit.  But funny, she lives alone and recently moved again.  She never got married to anyone.  Would someone in his family told him his mother got married – and to his father no less?  Wasn’t that supposed to be a happy thing? She gave him hope and broke his heart with it.  Why do you think he calls me mom? )

This letter is to be continued . . .

Jamie’s facebook page . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Chapter List for the Book I’m writing: Inside The Forbidden Outside
A Message From Someone Who Cares
Everyday Dreams
I Love You Always, Daddy
Jamie’s Story
The Nightmare

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Tears For All The Years That Passed

Tears For All The Years  by Sonni Quick copyright 2016

I wrote this poem in 2012 and the music recently.  It was published on my other blog about and month and a half ago. Today I decided to re-blog it. During this time period in 2012, when I wrote this poem, there were many letters between Jamie and I. I had to type with one finger because I lost the ability to hold a pen. I had trouble holding a fork, too. With liver failure protein builds in the brain and motor skills don’t work and confusion sets in. I knew he was having trouble with me being so sick and not being able to do anything.

He and I have things in common and one of those things is a family who doesn’t know how to care. I had moved to Pa to have a liver transplant and I was close to losing the battle. I also had liver cancer and more infections than I thought possible for one person to have, but that is what happens when your body starts shutting down. I have a lot of family that live close but not one person ever called to even see if I was dead. As you can probably tell, I still have trouble dealing with it, because in the years since then nothing changed. I have better friends all over the world that I met through blogging and I am so grateful for that. I never could understand my family.

In a letter I got from Jamie yesterday he talks about the same thing – a family who never cared about him the past ten years who can’t bother to even send a birthday card, let alone send a book to read or money to buy a bar of soap. He writes about how hard it is, and that he tries to keep it out of his head because it brings him down. He loves his mother. He can’t bring himself to say anything bad about her, and I hope he finds a way some day to tell her how much she has hurt him. He says it’s hard to know he doesn’t have her support in any way. That is heartbreaking, too. It is one reason why I tried to fill the void. After ten years of filling that void it is much more than that, but I just don’t understand why people, who say they love you don’t ever do anything to actually show it. I had my transplant in 2012 soon after I wrote this poem. It really explains how I felt about my life because I thought I was losing it.

As a Nichiren Buddhist, I look at life different that most of you. I don’t think life begins when we are born or ends when we die and I don’t think we go to some magical place called heaven where all are problems are gone and all we do is worship a god. I believe the people in our lives we have been with before. Sometimes we feel a connection with people and sometimes we don’t, and those people you do, you’ve been with before, although not in the same context. How many times in our lives have we said to someone, “I feel like I’ve known you forever,” and you become instant friends?

We work through our problems in life, and we do it over and over until we get it right. We live in heaven on earth and we live in hell on earth. It isn’t somewhere we go when we die. Jamie is in my life for a reason and I am in his life for a reason. I wouldn’t want to imagine his life now had I NOT been in his life these past ten years. That was my purpose. He fell in love with my daughter and had a son he can’t be with, but that happened because he needed to meet me, because he needed me to teach him the things he needed to learn to get through these years. I may not be making much sense to some people, but when you learn what the meaning of cause and effect is, you gradually learn what the meaning of your life is. It learning the entire meaning of “You reap what you sow” instead of it just being a phrase you were taught.  You have to actually live it to understand it.  Why do you reap what you sow?  What happens when you don’t like what you reap?  What do you do about it?  Your faith should enable you to have a happy life, no matter where you are – in a prison cell or a hospital room. If you aren’t, then you have to examine what it is you actually believe.

Jamie is reaping what he sowed and so am I.  Different religion say the exact same thing but we don’t take it seriously.  We have to take responsibility to change what we sow because we are to blame for every single thing that happens to us – good and bad. No one is testing us. It is no one else’s will that we suffer or be happy.  Everything is our own fault.  We have to change things, not think something outside ourselves will change it, no matter what you were taught.  We have to take control of our lives.  When you understand that, your life opens to greater possibilities.

Please make sure you follow this to the other blog and finish reading the poem.

http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick

Sonni Quick

im crying, sonni quick. karma, liver transplant photo source: crazy4images.com

I’m crying
Why can’t the world hear my crying?
Tears for all the years that passed
seeing dreams that never last.
beyond the time you can see
and when you open up your eyes
the dream has passed
It’s now too late
to dream that dream again
my heart is torn it can not mend.
My dreams are dying
and I’m crying
for all I have that’s left is pain
I lost it all with none to gain
I look in the mirror, I see myself
hoping to see where the years have gone
I made the cause, I was so young
Sharp turns to the left
that way was wrong.
tears fall, say please
as they stream down your face.
a longing look at the piano keys
I wrap my arms around my knees,
Crying tears of loss
Crying tears of pain
No one takes a…

View original post 774 more words

NICIC.gov: Toolkit for Developing Family-Focused Jail Programs

parents in prison
photo source: abqjournal.com

Source: NICIC.gov: Toolkit for Developing Family-Focused Jail Programs

Through no fault of their own, millions of children have been exposed to and affected by the criminal justice system by witnessing their parent being arrested, by seeing their parent in court, or by visiting their parent in jail or prison. Indeed, many of the thousands of adult men and women who are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated each year leave behind minor children who must grapple with their parent’s absence for days, months, or years. Although such exposure does not always result in negative outcomes for children, the extant research does suggest that parental involvement in the criminal justice system can put children at risk of residential instability, economic strain and financial hardship, mental health problems, poor academic performance, and antisocial and delinquent behavior. Parental involvement in the system can be traumatic for children and can hinder the quality of the relationship they have with their parent … This toolkit and the strategies and experiences described herein are intended for people who are interested in developing family-focused jail programs in their own jurisdictions, such as jail practitioners and community-based organizations working with jail administrators and jail detainees” (p. 1). Sections cover: family-focused jail programs; Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights; considerations for developing a comprehensive family-focused jail program—identify goals, ensure that the process is collaborative, determine what components should be in the program (parenting classes, coached phone calls, contact visits, and others), and implement the program (program structure and sequence, eligibility, and staff training); challenges and lessons learned (have adequate and appropriate space for the various program components, strike a balance between having fun and providing a service, minimize the trauma associated with visiting a parent in jail, account for high population turnover in jails, and secure adequate, sustainable funding); and conclusion.

Go to the link at the top to read the rest of the article.

There is not enough consideration given to the children of inmates and how our broken system effects them.  I have recently dedicated other posts to the children.  I know, through my grandson, who is only 9 1/2 years old that not having his father and trying to understand this will affect him for the rest of his life.

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2015 in review

Many many thanks to everyone who has encouraged me to keep writing, and to those who have written words of encouragement to Jamie. Just a little reminder, a few posts ago I mentioned that his birthday is coming up on the tenth of January.  He said is still in solitary it will probably be another year before they let him out.  He thinks they are going to move him to a different prison.  I don’t know now, when I go to visit him hopefully in March, if I will be able to take his son to see him.  I will visit him anywhere, but picking up his son and taking him might be difficult.  Texas is a big state.  He hasn’t been moved yet.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

What About The Children of Incarcerated Parents?

KIMG01581
Jamie’s son, Jamie Jr.

“That’s a pretty big job, mom, can I get paid?” nine year old Jamie asked his mother.

She decided that $2.00 would be a fair amount, but she was curious what he wanted the money for.

“How much would it cost for my dad to buy a soda in prison?” Jamie asked. “I want to send the money to him for Christmas.”

My daughter told me this over the phone the other day. It made me smile that my grandson was thinking about his dad. Jamie also asked her, “How much money would it take to get my dad out of prison?” He told her he wanted to start saving his money to help.

There was no point in dashing his efforts and telling him he couldn’t do that.  He wanted to do something to help.  The biggest thing it was going to do was lift his father’s spirits, knowing his son was thinking abut him.  One of his fears is that his son won’t want him to be his father because he left him for so long.

What a Christmas present this will be, for Jamie to know, not only that his son was thinking about him, but that he was missing him in his life so much that he wanted to help get him out. I can see the smile on his face when he gets my letter. I can’t think of a better Christmas present.

Whenever I talk to my grandson I tell him about his dad and about how much I love him and how much his dad loves him. I tell him he is the most important person in his dad’s life and he misses him very much.

I ask my daughter for any little thing going on in my grandson’s life that I can pass on to Jamie. I fight to keep the connection there. For both of them to get through these years, they need to be constantly told how much they love each other.

For big Jamie, it is his anchor in the real world; the one thing of value he has done that is waiting for him to get out with open arms. For his son, it is finally having his father.

Karma repeats itself. When you look closely at your life you can find the patterns. Jamie, the father is the third oldest of 4 children. Each child has a different father. He was the only one who never knew his father so he was the only one who never was even allowed a relationship with a man he could call dad.  What a hole that creates in a life. He still has no idea who his father is.

On his last birthday, Jan 10th, his mother went to visit him. He was so happy she came bescause she visits so seldom. She told him she remarried – to his father! That made him very happy. He had a father! She told a story about who his dad was and why he wasn’t there when he was growing up. She said he was a cop and he didn’t tell her he was already married. She said she ended the relationship. She told me this, too,  when I talked to her on the phone when I was trying to get her to go visit Jamie.  She told him the same story. He wrote to his “father” more than once at his mother’s address and waited and waited to hear from him. Jamie wrote to me and said he didn’t understand why his father never wrote back. He even sent him a birthday card. Why didn’t he write back? He was disappointed.  But there was a reason why he never heard from him – his mother lied. There was no father – or marriage. He didn’t exist. How could she do that?

My daughter is pretty sure Jamie’s dad is in prison.  She met a man at Jamie’s mother’s apartment years back who had just gotten out of prison, who is now back inside.  She said he was the spitting image of Jamie, so maybe that is  another piece of the karma of why he had no father.

Cause and effect. It’s some pretty strong stuff. I hope, for my grandson’s sake, that he doesn’t have to learn the same lessons.

There are so many children who have one of their parents locked up.  The US incarcerates people for many years longer than the crime dictates, so the prison industrial complex that run the prisons have the opportunity to make more money. This affects  more people than the person locked up. The children don’t understand, and often get bullied by other children who make their lives hard because they have a parent in prison.  Is it necessary to lock people up for so long?  People think of those incarcerated as murderers and rapists. Even though there are people locked up for that reason, the majority of the people are not. Other countries don’t lock up people for the length of time we do in the United States. That is because this country looks at inmates as a way to make money, no matter the other lives it destroys and no matter how many children are affected by losing their parent.

Here is the karma. His son Jamie is the third oldest of four children and each child also has a different father. He is the only one who hasn’t been able to know his father. He has seen him a few times but there has been plexi-glass between them. Not once has Jamie and his son ever been able to touch. If you have children can you imagine what that would do to you to never be able to touch them or hold them in your arms.

My grandson is but one of millions of kids and grand kids who are affected by having a parent in prison. When the sentences are absurdly long, beyond necessity, it ruins more lives than just one. Children don’t have the capacity to understand why they are gone, they only know there is a hole in their life where a father or mother should be. 

I wrote a piece of music called, “For The Children”   When I recorded a piece of music in the past I added a media player so you can hear it.  Instead, my music is now in new location.  Please go there to hear it.  My other recordings are there are well. I can keep track of my stats this way so anytime you also like, share or comment, it helps me, especially when others find my music.  People listen to what other people have listened to, so any time you do any of these things you help me. Thank you.

As an added note, the music, Life Interrupted, was recorded for my niece, who just recently passed away unexpectedly, the day before her 43rd birthday.  She wasn’t sick.  It was just her time.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Jamie Cummings – Wynne Unit – Huntsville, Tx

Jamie Cummings
Jamie and his son July 7, 2013

This is Jamie and my grandson Jamie. This photo is two years old now, the last time I visited. Since this blog is for him, the picture used to be near the top. I realized it is on the bottom now in a slideshow. So I thought I’d give him a dedicated post so anyone new to the blog can see who I’m writing about.

He used to have some meat on his bones but you can see what prison food does to you. I hope I’m making a difference in his life so when he does get out he has the confidence to build a life for himself and his son. The only legacy we can ever leave behind is the effect we have on other people.

“We have to make ourselves heard. We have to speak out for what we believe in. When we, the people, boldly state our true convictions – never losing our optimism or sense of humor – the times will change. When it comes to speaking out for justice, there isn’t any need for restraint On the contrary, to be reserved or hesitant under such circumstances is wrong.”

Daily Guidance
SGI President – Daisaku Ikeda
Nichiren Buddhism

http://sgi-usa.org

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Sonni Quick piano music complete list

A Busted Foot and Roaches in My Cell. Help!

July 28, 2015

Hello mom,
Good evening little lady. ‘I had to go to the hospital on the 20th. I got a big cut on my foot. They gave me stitches. However they busted open and these folks won’t stitch it back up. They left it open. The 31st is the last day they’ll clean it. Then they’ll leave it open. I need you to call and talk to the head nurse and tell her I need correct medical attention. They don’t want to mess with it because they say it’s in a difficult position. It’s between two toes on my right foot. I’m in pain and I have to deal with it because medical closes at 6:00. Please call. I’ve gotten two cases written up trying to get them to treat me. The roaches are so bad. The run around everywhere. How can I walk around with an open cut?They got me on seven days of food loaf again. These people don’t care about nothing but their checks.

And you are getting ready for your surgery, too. Who am I Kidding? Hell yeah, you are. You know I’m here for you, so don’t worry okay.
Hurricain Carter

On another matter, my visit with Melvin went pretty good. He ordered me a book on Rubin Hurricane Carter. It’s good as far as speaking on the law and the problems he had with them. The way he explains about the system and the officers and it’s pretty much the same as things are in here. He has another book I’d like to read called, “The Eye of The Hurricane. My Pain From Darkness To Freedom”. Also, the assassination of Fred Hampton. I’ve heard a lot of dudes talk about this man. It’s at http://lawrencehillbooks.com

Happy Birthday- Spiderman

I was hoping I’d get to see Jamie on his 9th birthday on the 12th, since it was also a Sunday, but as you know, nothing. I sent him something. I sent him a Spiderman board and it says Happy Birthday. Did anyone send you a photo it? I’m out of paper after this but I get to go to commissary on Thursday.

I gotta go for now. Be sure to get your rest. Love you always. Hugs, hugs and more hugs.

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There Is No Way To Be A Dad In Prison

Jamie Cummings jr
Jamie jr age 9

(Sonni’s note: Today, July 2015, little Jamie has dyslexia and is making it hard for him in school. It’s easy for other kids to think he’s stupid because he can’t read but he’s actually very bright – if you read the question to him. He finished third grade and needs to repeat it because to be able to go into fourth grade he has to be able to read the question the math question. I don’t know that holding him back. A year solves anything. Reading other subjects will just continue to get harder. He has qualified for a teachers aide, but it doesn’t change the fact he has dyslexia. Jamie, the dad, feels helpless not being able to be there to help)

April 4th, 2014

It seems he’s got a bad case of it. He’s having a hard time learning how to read and make his letters. Megan has it, too, but nobody knew it when she was young. They never picked up on it. They found out when she went to college and then they had to give her textbooks on CD’s and gave her tests orally. She still has a problem with numbers and letters. But it seems like Jamie’s is worse because they noticed when he was only in the first grade because he had trouble making the letters in his name. Megan had to take him through a lot of testing and appointments with the school to get him a tutor. Hopefully, with the extra attention he will get better. It’s been hard, though. You see, when you are a little boy and your dad is not around it hurts bad.

Even though Megan is with another man, he accepts that man because he is little. But it isn’t the same as having your own dad. When Megan and I were together, her other kids, Alex and Alyssa accepted me, not just because I was with Megan, but because I loved her, and them. When I was young my dad wasn’t there, but I didn’t accept anyone else even though there were other men in my mom’s life. Do you see where I’m going? Some dads have a chance, but not many. Some men try to be a dad and some don’t. Some don’t care about other men’s kids. They don’t feel any responsibility to them and they don’t love them. But I love all Megan’s kids. I think of all of them as mine. I wish I knew more about how they are doing. I want Jamie to know that even though I can’t be there every day I love him so much. I care how he is doing in school. I wish I could know more about how his school day is and what he is learning. I hope his writing gets better so he can write to me, even if it is only a sentence or two. That would make me happy. But I can tell you, I could never accept my son bonding with another man. I am his father, his only father.

I should be able to see Jamie once or twice a month. What’s twice a month? Is that too much to ask? I have seen him so little. I want to be able to talk to him. I want him to see me. I want to tell him how important he is to me. I understand we have to get to know each other through letters, but the thing is, he’s only seven. You and I understand the rough road in life and we can explain things in letters. Jamie can’t do that. But he is important so I have to find a way to get through to him. I need to change things for him so he never goes through what I’m going through. I can start that by changing who I am. Change the karma. That will affect his life, too.

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Prison Medical – We’re Lucky They Don’t Kill Us

 

May 2013

I think my head is screwed on better these days, but it doesn’t take much to send it in another direction. It’s easy to get a thought in my head that I can’t get out and it just goes round and round. Many times I write letters and send them but nobody answers. Then I try to figure out why and it usually isn’t good. This is how

I wrote to an address I have for my mother and it was a “return to sender”. It wasn’t the only one. I sent one to my brother and one to my sister. I got both of them back, too. I don’t understand. Things are crazy. I’ve also been trying to stay away from trouble, however it follows me no matter what I do. I feel I won’t be coming home anytime soon. I’m being pressured and I can only take so much. Stress is building up on me and it hurts. My head inside just wants to explode. I had two more seizures back to back due to all the worrying. I have had so many seizures in here. I feel like I’ve been backed into a corner. I think the stress brings them on. I don’t trust the mess they give me. Sometimes I think they use inmates as guinea pigs trying out different meds to see how they work. I’m never sure what I’m taking.

I don’t think anyone in here would really care if the seizures killed me or turned me into a vegetable. If it was someone in their own family they would rush them to a hospital. But we don’t matter. We’re just convicts. Just because I got railroaded into taking a plea bargain doesn’t mean that I deserve to be treated like this.

Epilepsy,epileptic seizure
Photo credit:
stemcellmd.org

I don’t usually have seizures close together. I saw the doctor once and he took some blood and my level was in the toxic range. He took my meds down to 500 mg. It didn’t help so she put me on a different med. So now I’m on two different meds. So now I’m not having the seizures quite as often. It’s not unusual, though, to have one or two a week. I had one today and I when I got to see medical they told me my sugar was real low, 66. It’s supposed to be at least 70-100. It used to cost $3 to see someone but they changed all that. Now it costs $100 a year and when you send money they will take half of that until it’s paid for and then next year it starts all over. Some people think we get medical care for free in here but that’s not true. $3 might not seem like much to some people but when you don’t have money it’s a lot.

I know you told me that I have choices. I could let this place turn me in to bitter person. I could become a hardened criminal. But I have tried so hard. I have. It seems no one cares.  I told my real mom about you a few years ago. I told her about all the letters we wrote, but I don’t think she knows how close we have become. You have been there for me. Thank you so much. It’s not supposed to be that way, but I am really grateful that. I gave my mom a hard time as a teenager. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to see me now. And I can’t see my son. Megan doesn’t keep me up with him. I don’t understand that, either. He is my son, too. It wouldn’t take much effort and it would make me happy and would make it easier to go on. Sometimes, though, I feel like I want to give up. Since I don’t have any answers to these things, it just goes round and round in my head, and I think that is what is causing the seizures.

I need some help this month. I don’t have any toothpaste and only one bar of soap. I don’t have any deodorant, either. I hate to have to ask, but I need a little money. I know your money is tight because of your medical bills and I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you do for me. I don’t know what I would do without you. The books and magazines you send help me get through my day. I love you very much for that. Thank you. There are so many people in here who don’t have anyone.

I got a new cellie. I’m glad my old one got moved because all he did was cry and whine. That got a little hard to take after a while. But my new cellie. He’s gay. I don’t have any problem with him being my cellie, but I let him know, don’t play no crazy games with me! I told him I didn’t have any problem with him and what he chooses to do. Bad thing is, he got into a fight and got his head split open. The thing about that is I can get in trouble for it. I can get blamed. They will say that I have been beating on him and extorting him for his things. That happens a lot in here. I told him he needed to tell on the dude who did it to him if the officers ask how his head got split open. I sure don’t need to get blamed for something I didn’t do, and it would be easy for that to happen.

The road I’ve lived on has been hard. Only because I chose to make it that way most of the time. My life has had sharp turns in it. Quite a story it is. However, I’m trying to turn that story around. More stuff will happen Life can be hard for anybody. There are good days and bad days. I have a lot of bad days because of what I put myself in. I hate this shit. But I know I can make it, no matter how long it takes to get up that hill and over a mountain. Being unhappy is my setback. I wish I could say I’ve been better at fixing that. The things that happen that make me unhappy? Well, it just hurts my mind.

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