My son Ramiro has enjoyed almost two months of freedom now. I took off for ten days in Chicago this past August to visit with him as well as my granddaughters, my daughter Andrea, older members of Youth Struggling for Survival, and my many friends in gang intervention work, among others. I miss him already and hope to get back there soon. Ramiro’s already entered the 3-G world—he has a fully-loaded cell phone and even a Facebook page. Last week, when I did an international webchat that involved more than 80 people in the US, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, and other countries, Ramiro took part, getting a couple of questions in Spanish through to the moderator. What a trip—I’m thankful he got in on this. When I last saw him, Ramiro gave me a short statement he wanted to share with all of you. I’ve typed it below. Presently he’s in a good space, in strong spirits, and joined by positive family and friends. I present this with many prayers for his safety and strength. And with gratitude for the ongoing support and love he’s getting from many of you.
"It took a while to finally write something down. I have been concerned with family, visits, programs. My mind has been so disorganized and cluttered. Sometimes things become overwhelming for me. Yet no matter how confused my mind may be, I’m just so happy to be free. I’ve had over thirteen years of psychological warfare. My mind has been a battlefield with so many casualties. Disconnections. Reconnections. Everything’s new. It feels good to see my kids, my family, and everyone who has supported me. It feels good to know that on this next journey of my life I don’t have to do it alone. This is a new journey for everybody. All the hardships, the struggles, were not just my own. While I did time, everyone else did life. The ups, the downs. The lefts, the rights. The forwards, the backwards. A life of chaos. So what have I come home to? What’s out there for me now? I am happy to say that I have come home to a lot of blessings. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what the next step was going to be. As I stepped out the prison door, and saw my family and friends standing in front of me, I didn’t want to look behind me. Behind me was desolation. In front of me was absolution. Now I’m just going forward. Taking advantage of all my support. Not afraid to ask for help when needed. For too long I was trying to do everything alone. I was selfish and weak. Full of pain and full of pride. Holding on to so much anger. Never knowing what I was truly angry at. That’s all over with. All that sadness and hurt, I want it to be gone. I look into my daughters’ eyes and all I can do is smile. I wake up with a smile. I walk everywhere with a smile. I smile because I finally made it home."c/s
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