The Remorse and Regret of My Imprisonment

By · Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Makeda asked whether I ever regretted that I sold cocaine as a younger man, but she asked from an insightful perspective. Her question seemed philosophical, in observation that had I not sold cocaine, been convicted, and sentenced to a lengthy term in prison, I would not have had the experience of learning so much through my prison term.

Certainly, I value the learning experiences I have had over the past 21-plus years of my imprisonment. They have enriched my life in myriad ways. The growth I have made, however, does not diminish the remorse and shame I feel for the crimes I committed when I was in my early 20s.

As a consequence of the bad decisions I made as a younger man, I have brought great shame to my family. My parents had to endure the disgrace of reading that their son was a drug offender. My sisters had to answer questions about their brother who was convicted for having sold cocaine.

During my imprisonment my father died. My sisters have married, brought children into the world, and built families of their own. My mother has remarried, lived through both happiness and sadness. My grandfather died. I have lost touch with those I love, as I am no longer a full part of their lives.

As a consequence of my decisions, which led to a criminal conviction and lengthy imprisonment, I have imposed the burden of my sanction on others who love me. I feel badly about the shame others must feel when they have to explain that I’m in prison. How can my mother cope with questions about her children? Each time she is asked, I presume, she must relive the shame and sorrow.

I married an extraordinary woman whom I love very much. We married while I still had many years to serve in prison. Her coming into my life may have indicated an acceptance of my predicament, but that only meant that she had to serve the sentence with me. It meant she would live without physical intimacy. It meant that she would suffer all the indignities that accompany confinement. I ache for the pain that others suffer as a consequence of my imprisonment. I feel responsible for their suffering, and I deeply regret having committed the acts that caused it.

I can endure the many years of my incarceration. I expect to serve a few more years before release. Because of my decisions as a younger man, I will never know the joy of fatherhood, and I must live as a stranger to my own family. I can handle that punishment because I brought it upon myself. Forever, I must work to redeem the pain that others have suffered as a consequence of my crimes. As long as I live, I cannot repay that debt.

Be Sociable, Share!
Topics: Response to Readers · Tags:

Comments are closed.