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Old 06-08-2018, 05:24 PM
ThopterMom ThopterMom is offline
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Default What do you do on their birthday?

I been lurking here for a while, but this is my first actual post. My younger son has been gone for just over a year with 29 to go.
Today is his 22nd birthday.
Today is hitting me harder than I thought it would. It really started yesterday on the way back from my husband's birthday dinner. I mostly want to curl up in a ball and stay in bed. Unfortunately (or probably fortunately - so I had to get up and get moving) today is a tournament day at work (we own a book and gaming store).
Tonight I will be surrounded by people having fun - probably loudly. It's what's good for my business, but it's really hard to handle listening to
it - especially since my first exposure to this game was through my son. He even wrote his final paper for school on the subject.
So here I am. Sitting here typing trying not to look like I'm falling apart inside. It took me three tries to get out the door this morning without tear tracks down my face.

Last year his birthday was only a month after he was arrested so I was still in shock mode. Meaning I was either sitting around frozen or crying pretty much any time I was alone. I sent him pencils and paper through the commissary and a book through our supplier. This year I didn't know where he was for sure soon enough to send anything - I finally got a letter this week after about two months of not knowing. I did send some money yesterday, but he said in the letter that he can't use the email yet so I don't know if he will even know it's there.
I kept busy on Mother's day by going down to the farm to see my mother. And my older son took over the store for the day on Monday so his wife could whisk me off on adventure. I actually cried when they told me. (That seems to be my go to reaction now - whether I'm happy or sad.)

Visiting is not an option - he's 14 hours away (his choice). He can't/won't call - in a year's time he's called once and if he doesn't know he has money on his account... plus he said he hasn't figured out the phone system there. I started a letter yesterday. I will probably write some more later and send it tomorrow.
So what do you do?
I know I just have to get through and tomorrow will be better.
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:41 PM
Kimimi Kimimi is offline
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I sent several cards his birthday week and then bought him a pair of running shoes that he ordered. He should know when his money hits the books. Best of luck it’s not an easy journey. I’m sorry for all of your pain
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThopterMom View Post
I been lurking here for a while, but this is my first actual post. My younger son has been gone for just over a year with 29 to go.
Today is his 22nd birthday.
Today is hitting me harder than I thought it would. It really started yesterday on the way back from my husband's birthday dinner. I mostly want to curl up in a ball and stay in bed. Unfortunately (or probably fortunately - so I had to get up and get moving) today is a tournament day at work (we own a book and gaming store).
Tonight I will be surrounded by people having fun - probably loudly. It's what's good for my business, but it's really hard to handle listening to
it - especially since my first exposure to this game was through my son. He even wrote his final paper for school on the subject.
So here I am. Sitting here typing trying not to look like I'm falling apart inside. It took me three tries to get out the door this morning without tear tracks down my face.

Last year his birthday was only a month after he was arrested so I was still in shock mode. Meaning I was either sitting around frozen or crying pretty much any time I was alone. I sent him pencils and paper through the commissary and a book through our supplier. This year I didn't know where he was for sure soon enough to send anything - I finally got a letter this week after about two months of not knowing. I did send some money yesterday, but he said in the letter that he can't use the email yet so I don't know if he will even know it's there.
I kept busy on Mother's day by going down to the farm to see my mother. And my older son took over the store for the day on Monday so his wife could whisk me off on adventure. I actually cried when they told me. (That seems to be my go to reaction now - whether I'm happy or sad.)

Visiting is not an option - he's 14 hours away (his choice). He can't/won't call - in a year's time he's called once and if he doesn't know he has money on his account... plus he said he hasn't figured out the phone system there. I started a letter yesterday. I will probably write some more later and send it tomorrow.
So what do you do?
I know I just have to get through and tomorrow will be better.
I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. My 22 year old son was just sentenced to 14 years at 80%. My heart has been broken over this ordeal and I completely understand what you are going through. I too, have shed so many tears.

It's going to take time for you to heal, but slowly it does get better. You are not alone, many of us on this site have gone through the same thing. I found solace in going back and reading the posts of others. It helped me to know that I was not alone and that what I was feeling is normal.

Keep writing to your son and send pictures and books and gift packs. It sounds like he is having a difficult time getting his head around his sentence. I have read where some imprisoned people don't want to see or hear from their families because it makes it harder for them to face where they are. I don't know how others handled this, maybe some will weigh in. But maybe in time he will come around. He has a very heavy burden he is facing and he is so young.

Please feel free to reach out to me whenever you would like. Praying for you and your son. ♡
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:56 PM
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Thanks for the uplifting messages. It really was just a DAY. I know I'll have those from time to time. I'm back to my regular of being able to distance myself most of the time and only let it get to me when I have time for it.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:53 AM
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It is really hard when they are far away & you can't share any of life's events with them. My son was 8 hours away from us so visiting was difficult. He missed his favorite Great Aunt's last days & funeral, birthdays & holidays. We tried to go there around his birthday & Christmas. Luckily it was only 2 years but so much can happen in that time.


I can imagine he is trying to deal with the changes in his life. It is a form of grieving for all of us. Almost like a death because it is a death of life as we know it. The same stages of grief that occur for a death is similar to what we experience with incarceration. Only there is a lot less support & sympathy for those going through incarceration loss. That's why this group is so important.


Give your son time. Take care of yourself & focus on being strong. He is going to need your support when he finally comes to where he can function again. His basic needs are being met so you need to make sure yours are too. If you need medication to help you get through this, don't be afraid to check into it. See if there are any support groups near you. They don't have to be just focused on incarceration, stress support groups can offer advice on how to deal with things you're experiencing too.


I sent my son magazines through the inmatemagazine.com site. That helped him keep in touch with the things he liked. I also wrote him weekly. If you have a concern you might try reaching out to his counselor or the chaplain at his location. The hardest thing to do is wait but sometimes that's all you can do.


Please visit here & share when you need to. We have all been down the same road & understand.
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:10 AM
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Agree with what others have said.
He will come around in time.


And for sure those days are hard to deal with. Just know that they too will pass.
Allow yourself to have those down days but dont stay down.
Get out. Talk to people. Try to find the good things.....a birds song, a smelly good rose, anything like that.


And write. Write to him. Send him cards. He will respond at some point.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:42 AM
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I am lucky enough to be able to go and visit (providing it is a weekend) and I also start undulating him with cards, letters and silly stuff like, taking pages out of a word search book and adding them to my letter, or we like to take a blank page and one of us starts a picture and sends it and the other adds to it and re-sends it, stuff like that. I might send him a book that he has been wanting or extra money for canteen as he and several other inmates make birthday meals to share. My son will be 24 this year with two left after this birthday. Things will get easier for you and we are all here to give support to you. Hang tough!
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:47 AM
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My son's birthday is 5 days before Christmas. The first year he was still in jail. The 2nd year he was the opposite end of the state and I couldn't make that drive in the winter, so I have not visited him in December since he was assigned to a prison. He was moved closer recently, so I can visit this year in December.

1) I try to find a really emotional card that says how important he is to me. The 2nd year I had sent one that he shared with others who liked what it said so much they were copying it. I have yet to match that. I then send him a funny card because he hates it when mom is mushy.
2) I create a collage of pictures of me, his sister and her baby,his grandma, his dad (we are divorced).
3) My ex (his stepdad) contributes to a securepak and I order anything that looks like a birthday party (special candy or cakes that are not Christmas colors, like the pastel MMs), along with his favorite items, like coffee, but the more expensive brands as a treat.
4) One year, I purchased him phone time to call his sister.
5) I put $25 in his savings account as a birthday present to keep it active.
6) This year, I am putting $10 a month in his account so in December I will send him a bank balance with his birthday card. It is his last Birthday in prison (I hope never again). Aside from an active bank account making life a bit easier when he gets out, I want him to feel like he has some small bit of independence so that he can buy something without mom standing over him.

My son has an 8 year sentence at 85%. We are down to 11 months. I hope my ex mother-in-law makes it until he gets out so he can see his grandma again. She will be 103 next February. My mom died a little over a year ago. His dad has never written or sent him a card. Birthdays and Holidays are hard.

Your son has a long road ahead of him. I hope he gets to the place where he wants to call and visit. Being able to visit really helped me adjust and emotionally to feel better. For the first two years, I sent him really long letters. I was recovering from surgery on my arms, wrists, and hands, so I would dictate into my tablet. I was still working full time the first year, so on my breaks I would add a paragraph, or in the night when I couldn't sleep. The topics were all over the place. it was therapeutic for me and probably a lot like a diary of what had happened that day and what i was thinking about. Because the dictation to text wasn't so great in those days and I was physically unable to spend time editing it, and it would be a week's worth so 8 to 10 pages typed, he would have to guess at what i meant. Some parts he said he never figured out. But it became a game for him of trying to guess what mom meant to say. I also sent a lot of postcards because then he had a new picture of the outside world to look at every few weeks. My suggestion is that regardless of the current status of him communicating with you, send him lots of letters about the every day things and with love because it will make you feel better and keep him connected to family and real life.

Slowly, the shock wears off for him and you. There are days that always bring tears, like birthdays, but the sudden tears down your face at work, or the daily cry at bedtime will stop. For me, learning more about the prison system, where he was, and support groups like this helped immensely. Counseling can help feel like a weight is lifted or at least shared. Keeping yourself busy and having things to do does help. Read old posts in this forum (PCIP). There are moms here who have dealt with everything imaginable and doing so helped me through a lot of long nights and made me feel less alone.

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Old 06-21-2018, 06:27 AM
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I can't imagine the pain you're going through, but it sounds like what you (and everyone else) is doing is perfect. Making sure your son knows you're there for him and not leaving or turning your back on him will mean a lot. Love should be unconditional. It doesn't mean you condone his actions that got him there in the first place, but that doesn't take away the fact that he's your son and you still love him.

My oldest son just turned 21 and I've often wondered what I would do if he got into some sort of trouble. I can support and love him even if that means I would not understand why he may have acted in a way he did. I would send him birthday cards/letters and let him know just how much I love him and that I'm always here for him. Now or in 20 years.

Don't turn your back on him. He needs to hear that you are there. Positive reinforcement. Perhaps he feels you won't be there, hence he does not reach out. Perhaps he is embarrassed or trying to save you pain. Also, if he does become receptive down the line, engage with him, find out how he is, and be understanding and compassionate for what he has gone through, even though he put himself there.

I obviously can't speak from the parent perspective since I'm not there, but I wouldn't give up. Having said that though, I do know about the dynamics of my husband and his mother and how he feels about that and why I'm telling you to not give up. My husband is 59, his mother is 88. He is an only child and has no other relatives. His 2 adult kids are essentially deadbeats and don't do anything for his mother. I'm his second wife and the first wife had a great relationship with her but it was cut off when his mom didn't take her side (instead of taking no sides and staying out of it as she should have) in their divorce. So I'm stuck being her guardian, raising my kids, working and dealing with my husband's incarceration (which fortunately is short). My mother in law is very bitter. She is very well taken care of in an independent living facility, has few health issues, and self sufficient for the most part. He dutifully calls her about once/week, but the entire 15 mins (that's the max phone call in Fed) is spent with her complaining how awful everything is, her building, the people, and she had the nerve a few months ago to say her life is so much worse than his! Yes, correct. He's sitting in prison and her life is worse than his! Narcissist to the nth degree. She has also told me her life is a living hell. Not sure why, it is not like he doted on her. My point really is that from the son perspective, he of course is not going to stop calling her, but I think just once he would just like to hear something encouraging, an I miss you, I'm thinking about you, instead of her pretending like she's dying. She went a whole week waiting for him to call and then when he called complained how ill she had been, yet she didn't contact me once to take her to the Dr. nor did she contact me to let him know she was sick. She has also made no effort to learn the corrlinks email system, which I've offered to show her and is easy - yes she is capable of email at her age. My husband admits he had a shitty childhood, his father was abusive. I think his mother is dealing with some of those demons now and in some ways taking it out on him because she gets very defensive about him being in prison constantly saying she didn't put him there. No one has ever accused her of such and he has taken full accountability, (white collar crime), but enough is enough. It would be nice if she just said, I love you, I'm here for you, and I support you. I don't like what you did, but let's move on and asked about and acted like she cared about him. You sound like you do care about your son, so please do NOT give up. I wish my husband had a mother like you that did want to actually do something for him as opposed to making it all about her!!

So again, please don't give up. Trust me, he needs you. Even if he won't say it! Send a letter or a card, or books! Whatever you can do, but keep doing it.
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:57 AM
BearsLadyBear BearsLadyBear is offline
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I sent cards, took a pic of an actual birthday cake I bought for him with ballons in the background.

Maybe you can buy him a big banner that spells out Happy Birthday His Name and take a pic with the family under the banner.

Even if/when he doesn't call/write. You Continue to stay in touch.. It will mean so much to him. He may not see it now but he will.

Last edited by BearsLadyBear; 06-21-2018 at 07:00 AM..
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThopterMom View Post
I been lurking here for a while, but this is my first actual post. My younger son has been gone for just over a year with 29 to go.
Today is his 22nd birthday.
Today is hitting me harder than I thought it would. It really started yesterday on the way back from my husband's birthday dinner. I mostly want to curl up in a ball and stay in bed. Unfortunately (or probably fortunately - so I had to get up and get moving) today is a tournament day at work (we own a book and gaming store).
Tonight I will be surrounded by people having fun - probably loudly. It's what's good for my business, but it's really hard to handle listening to
it - especially since my first exposure to this game was through my son. He even wrote his final paper for school on the subject.
So here I am. Sitting here typing trying not to look like I'm falling apart inside. It took me three tries to get out the door this morning without tear tracks down my face.

Last year his birthday was only a month after he was arrested so I was still in shock mode. Meaning I was either sitting around frozen or crying pretty much any time I was alone. I sent him pencils and paper through the commissary and a book through our supplier. This year I didn't know where he was for sure soon enough to send anything - I finally got a letter this week after about two months of not knowing. I did send some money yesterday, but he said in the letter that he can't use the email yet so I don't know if he will even know it's there.
I kept busy on Mother's day by going down to the farm to see my mother. And my older son took over the store for the day on Monday so his wife could whisk me off on adventure. I actually cried when they told me. (That seems to be my go to reaction now - whether I'm happy or sad.)

Visiting is not an option - he's 14 hours away (his choice). He can't/won't call - in a year's time he's called once and if he doesn't know he has money on his account... plus he said he hasn't figured out the phone system there. I started a letter yesterday. I will probably write some more later and send it tomorrow.
So what do you do?
I know I just have to get through and tomorrow will be better.
ThopterMom,

I'm very sorry for what you are going through. My son is a year older than yours, and as I'm sure you know from other parents here, our particular circumstances might be different, but we generally all feel the same pain. It is indescribable to parents who don't have incarcerated children.

I'm sure you have a mix of emotions as we all do. And your son does too. I agree with other posters, that he may be still trying to acclimate to the time ahead of him. My son has 11 more years until he's eligible for parole, and it still hurts when I think of it. He's been in almost 4 1/2 years now. The beginning was very rough, I cried all the time. I was in pain, too, I think from the stress, it made every ache in my body worse.

I don't know your son, but could it be that he is distancing himself from you, partly, because he can't deal with the pain of seeing you, and seeing you hurt because he's not home? If that is true, I think that time will change that. He's still so young (their brains don't fully mature until they are 25 or so, that's proven science). It is a lot to process. Even after the sentencing, my son was so dazed that when he was able to call me he asked me how much time he got. He didn't know. It was such an emotional day.

Unconditional love is what we parents have for our children. Its so hard to realize what that really means. I tell my son often (as I did before he went to prison) that out of all of his friends, I'm so glad I got him as a son. He's the best son I could have asked for....faults, mistakes, and all. I never let him forget that! I feel honored to get to be his mother. Some people might say that is going overboard, or is cheesy, but I don't think so.

You asked about what other parents do for their kids birthdays. My son's birthday is 3 days after Christmas. I started a birthday ritual when he was still in county. I bring his friends to see him on his birthday. For the first 2 years, 2 of his friends came with me. For the last 2, it was his best friend and me, and then last year his best friend and his fiance. I wasn't able to go last year, but I made sure his best friend had money to go. (Its a 4 hour drive from here.) His best friend has been to visit every birthday for the last four years. (my son was 19 when he went in). My son is sad because he wanted to be the best man at his best friend's wedding. I told him not to be sad, because he can have his friend be his own best man when he is married someday.

I do send a birthday card as well. I send it at the same time as his Christmas card. Last year, I signed Happy Birthday on the Christmas card and Merry Christmas on the birthday card by mistake. lol I think he got a laugh over that.

What I have learned through this experience so far, is that there are no shortcuts. We can't go over, we can't go under........we must go THROUGH it. As painful as it is....take it one day at a time. Be forgiving of others when they say hurtful things to you out of ignorance (or worse). Be forgiving of yourself when you feel you should be able to do more and can't. Stress takes a toll.....it zaps us of energy. Find a way to put that energy back into yourself. Whatever it takes....be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a best friend who is going through a painful time.

I will say a prayer for you and your son tonight. Take a deep breath, you will get through this...

Tatonkawia
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tatonkawia View Post
ThopterMom,

I'm very sorry for what you are going through. My son is a year older than yours, and as I'm sure you know from other parents here, our particular circumstances might be different, but we generally all feel the same pain. It is indescribable to parents who don't have incarcerated children.

I'm sure you have a mix of emotions as we all do. And your son does too. I agree with other posters, that he may be still trying to acclimate to the time ahead of him. My son has 11 more years until he's eligible for parole, and it still hurts when I think of it. He's been in almost 4 1/2 years now. The beginning was very rough, I cried all the time. I was in pain, too, I think from the stress, it made every ache in my body worse.

I don't know your son, but could it be that he is distancing himself from you, partly, because he can't deal with the pain of seeing you, and seeing you hurt because he's not home? If that is true, I think that time will change that. He's still so young (their brains don't fully mature until they are 25 or so, that's proven science). It is a lot to process. Even after the sentencing, my son was so dazed that when he was able to call me he asked me how much time he got. He didn't know. It was such an emotional day.

Unconditional love is what we parents have for our children. Its so hard to realize what that really means. I tell my son often (as I did before he went to prison) that out of all of his friends, I'm so glad I got him as a son. He's the best son I could have asked for....faults, mistakes, and all. I never let him forget that! I feel honored to get to be his mother. Some people might say that is going overboard, or is cheesy, but I don't think so.

You asked about what other parents do for their kids birthdays. My son's birthday is 3 days after Christmas. I started a birthday ritual when he was still in county. I bring his friends to see him on his birthday. For the first 2 years, 2 of his friends came with me. For the last 2, it was his best friend and me, and then last year his best friend and his fiance. I wasn't able to go last year, but I made sure his best friend had money to go. (Its a 4 hour drive from here.) His best friend has been to visit every birthday for the last four years. (my son was 19 when he went in). My son is sad because he wanted to be the best man at his best friend's wedding. I told him not to be sad, because he can have his friend be his own best man when he is married someday.

I do send a birthday card as well. I send it at the same time as his Christmas card. Last year, I signed Happy Birthday on the Christmas card and Merry Christmas on the birthday card by mistake. lol I think he got a laugh over that.

What I have learned through this experience so far, is that there are no shortcuts. We can't go over, we can't go under........we must go THROUGH it. As painful as it is....take it one day at a time. Be forgiving of others when they say hurtful things to you out of ignorance (or worse). Be forgiving of yourself when you feel you should be able to do more and can't. Stress takes a toll.....it zaps us of energy. Find a way to put that energy back into yourself. Whatever it takes....be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a best friend who is going through a painful time.

I will say a prayer for you and your son tonight. Take a deep breath, you will get through this...

Tatonkawia
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:10 PM
Lookatyou2 Lookatyou2 is offline
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What I did was I visited of course on his birthday , he didn't know I was coming. But I made a shirt with a photo of me, on the front of shirt holding a cupcake with a candle in it, I was waving saying Happy Birthday.Then on the back of shirt i was me waving good Bye to him. when I walked away to leave he saw the back and started laughing. . . Have u ever thought of doing OPEN WHEN LETTERS,? Look them up on Pinterest. and

Last edited by Lookatyou2; 07-09-2018 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 07-19-2018, 05:41 PM
mommatrip mommatrip is offline
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My youngest son turned 30 in May. In Federal Prison. Hearts are cracked, but NOT broken, here. My oldest turned 21 in an Oregon Prison. These are NOT the birthdays we planned, dreamed of, or hoped for. But, they are what we have. I put $300.00 on my son's account in Oregon so he could buy a guitar. That was 2005. He's out now, still playing that same guitar, has cut a CD & he is finishing his 1st tour tomorrow. He has taken his prison time & written songs from his heart of hearts, he shares his story about his journey & brings hope to others. Who knew? Our younger, who just turned 30, well...it's still pretty fresh & he has a LONG way to go, but we did not make a huge deal out of his birthday. We put extra $ on his books, since he had just arrived at his new "home", so that he could get a lot of the necessities. I told him I have stopped wishing people "Happy Birthday", and now I just say things like I wish you Joy, or some other thing...but Happy Birthday just does not fit anymore.

We have a rather warped sense of humor in our home, so we have talked about a line of greeting cards that are more suitable for people going through these things...there would be some that are loving, gentle, kind & then...the twisted humor that tends to be lost on our friends who cannot grasp the level of unconditional love required here!
Whatever you do, however you choose to approach a holiday or a day of special remembrance, it only has to be TRUE for YOU. Honest, sincere and real. Love is the Key, the goal, the purpose. Many blessings to you & prayers for your son as you move forward. You have found a wonderful resource here, I am so grateful for the folks I have met here.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:29 PM
ThopterMom ThopterMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommatrip View Post
. I told him I have stopped wishing people "Happy Birthday", and now I just say things like I wish you Joy, or some other thing...but Happy Birthday just does not fit anymore.

We have a rather warped sense of humor in our home, so we have talked about a line of greeting cards that are more suitable for people going through these things...there would be some that are loving, gentle, kind & then...the twisted humor that tends to be lost on our friends who cannot grasp the level of unconditional love required here!
I agree. Happy birthday, merry Christmas, and especially happy mothers day just don't work for me either. "How are you doing?" from people who don't know, is another one that doesn't feel the same any more.

I'd be interested in your twisted greeting cards. We have always been a little warped here too. Though I never needed it as much as I have this last year. You and I could both use one that sings "Momma Tried" by Merle Haggard when you open it.
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:53 PM
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lizlizzie2 lizlizzie2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommatrip View Post

We have a rather warped sense of humor in our home, so we have talked about a line of greeting cards that are more suitable for people going through these things...there would be some that are loving, gentle, kind & then...the twisted humor that tends to be lost on our friends who cannot grasp the level of unconditional love required here!
\
They have holiday cards to pet and from pets, but it is so hard to find ones that are appropriate when a loved one, especially a child, is in prison. I have complained about that to my daughter who told me I should create some. I am not the creative type - so I hope someone does do it. I have less than 10 months to go, so the search to find a card that does NOT talk about great meals, or doing what you want, or enjoying your family time, etc. will soon be over. But, considering the number of inmates in our country, a line of cards is a need.
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:40 PM
shellh37 shellh37 is offline
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Last yrs bday I sent him a card and some money into his account. This year I sent him cards and a couple letters.
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