Saturday, May 01, 2010

Visitation and White Letter Day

May 1, 2010

I need to jump back in the saddle with some resolve and keep writing. We had a visitation two weeks ago, the first in 5 months. Time just sort of arranged itself that way, but it was long, too long in between. We are approaching parole eligibility (July will put us with one more year), so I know I have to keep up the energy and keep encouraging my son. But he did speak of the 5 year mark as being significant for him. He feels old and realizes the passage of time in a more significant way. Brandon rarely writes about his own feelings on his friend and what happened, but he sent a letter that contained this paragraph, and gave me a launch point to share back with him some of my own thoughts as we contemplate his being home again:

"This week something seemingly insignificant sort of hit me in a bad way. I came back to the cell after work on Thursday, XM Liquid Metal was on Channel 11, and my cellie tells me that Peter Steele from the band Type O Negative died of heart failure. It always sucks when the frontman of a good rock band dies, but it's not as if you knew the guy. You're not deeply effected emotionally. This was different. Type O Negative has become the thing most closely associated with the brother I never had, Steve, our experiences together as friends, and his death. I'm not sure why. The music itself is this bundle of heart-suffering: pain, resentment, anger, nostalgia, past joys stale with age, and some irreverent humor. Hearing it on occasion (as "October Rust" may pop up during between-movie breaks on the jail channel 10) would make me fondly sad thinking of what I really shouldn't call "better times". I was destroying myself and throwing away my youth, etc, but I wasn't alone. With 2010 marking my 5th year in jail and parole on the horizon, I've been in a weird place. I'm a little more isolated, less tolerant of people here, and maybe that is just paranoia talking, but...showing the preliminaries of age. All of that, Pete Steele's death, listening to his music as his requiem, and recalling a flood of sad memories shook me. It came and went, but for a couple days I wasn't all there."

When I read things like that, a knife goes through my heart, and yet the mind behind it shows itself clear-thinking and mature. I must trust that all will be well and I have to hear the truth from my son. It took me several days to feel better after our visitation-even under the most joyful of circumstances and the best possible outcome, it knocks the emotional stuffing out of a body. Yet I agree with what my daughter Rebecca told me-that she grew tired of being sad and just won't let herself go there any more. One day this will be over and a new life will start. I thought about ditching work on the Monday after our Sunday visit, but I couldn't face the kindness of a co-worker who I knew would ask me what's going on. I just didn't want to talk about it.


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