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By Anonymous Contributor

Currently I am incarcerated at FCI Ft Dix, NJ.  

I am about two and a half years into a 10-year sentence.  At home, waiting for me, is an amazing wife and two fantastic kids. My daughter is 14 and my son is 11.  They currently live over 200 miles from me, and the distance from the prison I am at makes regular visits difficult timewise and monetarily. So, we aren’t able to be together, in person, as a family very often. 3-4 short visits a year is not the best way to foster a strong relationship, especially with kids. Sitting in the visit room for hours, eating junk food, no privacy, no board games, no playing catch with my son, no drawing with my daughter is beyond difficult, and I can’t even imagine what is going through their little brains while they are there with me. I hate the idea of them being scared, which my wife has informed me that sometimes they are. We do our best, but I know it’s not enough and they all deserve so much more.

  As hard as it is being separated from my wife, who I love with all of my heart, it’s especially hard being separated from my kids. This is the time in their life’s when they need me the most. My parent’s divorced when I was young, about 8 or 9 years old, and eventually my father moved away. As a result, my sister and I rarely saw him.  We would keep in contact from time to time over the years, but we never had that typical father/child relationship. I always knew, while growing up, that I wanted to have kids and I wanted to be active in their lives as they grew up. I hoped to be the father to them that I never really had.  But, because of the bad choices I made, I am not in their lives like I should be, just as my father did to my sister and me. It breaks my heart thinking of them not having the father that they deserve. 

I do my best to keep in regular contact with my kids and wife through phone calls, email and the occasional visits.  But it’s just not the same.  My wife is now living as a single mother with 100% of the stress and responsibilities associated with parenthood and keeping our family together resting on her shoulders, and I know it’s a heavy burden to bear.  Almost on a daily basis there are situations that arise that I feel a father should be in charge of. I am unable to handle them, when I should be, and it is the responsibility of my wife to take care of it all. I tell her, EVERY DAY, that she is a rock star, she is a goddess and the driving force of our family. It kills me, inside, that there is nothing I can do within my family’s lives to help them.  I know I am extremely lucky that through this hard time, which I have caused, they have stuck by my side and support me now and plan to support me until the day we can be together again. 

The most important part of my current journey is knowing that it is not forever, and I absolutely have owned up to my mistakes. Now, I try to focus on what I can do to be a better man, a better husband and most importantly a better father. Even though I know there is nothing I can do to change the past I can work hard to have a better future. That is what keeps me going inside this hell, knowing that they are waiting for me, that they love me and that they are willing to give me a chance to make amends however I can. 

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