Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Surprise For Myself

I don't know if I ever shared this with any of my friends in blog world. When I was a therapist in the security unit of juvenile hall, there was a particular young man whom I had grown fond of. He was a young boy who had been through some great losses in his life. When he was 5 years old, walking to the store with his father, his father was shot by a stray bullet and fell dead in front of him.

This young man is not a violent young man. His mom really wasn't there for him in a way he needed her to be. Often times, when they were very young, she would leave him and his brother home for days all alone. They'd only have cereal and milk to eat and were responsible for getting themselves up for school each morning. They were in elementary school at the time.

When the cereal and milk ran out, they had learned to steal in order to get more food. From there, they began stealing bigger things from clothes to cars. Then, he began to rob people and to sell drugs in a major way. He was only 17 when I met him in juvenile hall. He was not in a gang, but had learned to hussle in an extremely illegal fashion.

As a therapist working with high offense young men, you find that at one time they were good boys just like our own sons. Some are remorseful such as this young man. Once he took a walk back into his childhood, he began to see how and why is life went so wrong. Now he's paying a high price for it. He got 9 years in prison.

He was transfer to state prison about a month before I was terminated from the job. He has been on my mind since then. I remember him being so afraid to go alone. He said he's be ok if I were to go and still be his therapist. Unfortunately, that's not how life works. He did develop some coping skills to take with him, but without reinforcement, how well has he done? He had become like a son to me.

Well, good news is, I found him today, or should I say, I found out what prison he is in. I just want to drop him a few lines to see how he is doing. His family wasn't very supportive and made promises to visit him in juvenile hall but never showed up. Often times, he would sadly say, "Ms. Lori, I wish you were my mom."

So, I took the time to write him a letter. It can take a while before I receive a letter back. Prison may have changed him and he may not want to have any contact with me or he may not remember me. It's been two years. A lot can happen in that length of time.

We will see....positive thoughts.


lori vliegen said...

oh, lori, i loved reading this story! i think that you are probably the closest thing to a mom this boy has ever had....what a blessing that he met you!! i hope that your letter reaches him soon....he will love hearing from you! :))

Betty said...

I loved that story.It was so touching. I hope that your letter as lori vliegen said,reaches you soon.
Thank you for sharing .
Happy weekend!

Polly said...

Pres I hope that you blog about his reply. I think he will really appreciate hearing from you and knowing that someone cares enough to want to know of his progress. His story is so similar to many of the children in my town. We see them in the system simply as a matter of survival and because alot of the time, the system cares more than home. It is so sad isn't it.

KT said...

I bet he remembers you. It's hard to forget about people who care.