Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Christmas Day

Today Jon posted a blog he wrote last Christmas, a stark reminder of prison life. Far from his jailers, in the warmth of his family home he remembered the friends he’d left behind. When I read how listening to the carollers made him feel: Briefly we weren’t prisoners any more. We were someone’s son, brother, father – we were human again. I cried. I cried for Jon and all he’d been through, I cried for myself and Dan and Kathryn, but I cried mostly for the men, some who I’d caught glimpses of walking across the rec field, others I’d waved to through the wire fence or had snatched conversations with in the visitation room, when we were visiting Jon. Whatever past deeds had brought them to that place, they are human beings.

Shutting out the cold,
inside, the scented warmth,
gifts with shiny wrappings,
smells of veg and roast,
family arriving,
eating smiling laughing,
wearing silly hats,
pulling Christmas crackers,
drinking to the future,
acknowledging the past.

Dan made a short speech before we ate our Christmas dinner. Close to tears he welcomed Jon back.

The first Christmas the four of us, Dan, Jon, Kathryn and myself had been together in sixteen years was a success. Dinner was shared with my sister Lizzy and Dan’s brother-in-law, Michael, who had both lost their other halves in 2006. Michael’s daughter, Jenny and her three year old daughter Corynne, and our son-in-law, Aaron made up to nine around the table. Jon ate his nut cutlet, veggies and roast, joining in the joviality. There were moments when the old Jon re-appeared, chatting confidently as though unmarked by the experience of six years incarceration.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even though you have Jon back with you the prison experience is still very much with you all. It will take time for you to get over it. Tell Jon to take his time. Each day he'll get better and feel stronger and it will become a distant memory. It will always be part of him, but with time it won't be so bad.

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