Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A day in my life on the row

1pm August 29th 2005

I woke up this morning and watched the news coverage of hurricane “Katrina”. My kids and ex-wife live in the Florida panhandle and have run from storm after storm. This one won’t hit them directly, but they’re on the east-side of the eye where all the rain and tornadoes are often the worst. It’s still less of a threat than the storm surge and the winds at the eye of the storm. But, with all that’s happened this month, I can’t help but worry. The last storm chased them to Alabama, and I’m hoping they stayed home this time, as this storm will dump major amounts of water and cause serious flooding in Alabama.
When I saw the video of Punta Gorda, Florida last year, I was in disbelief. I used to work for Charlotte County in Florida, and my cousin worked for the city of Punta Gorda. I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like to be there in person! Both sides of Charlotte Bay where demolished. Pt Charlotte and Punta Gorda. I wondered which of my friends were affected, and thought about the guys I worked with, and imagined what work was like as they’d be the ones to do all the cleaning up.
I wish I’d have stayed in Florida, instead of coming back to Ohio. I had a good job, nice condo and sun and surf. But who knows………………

Today is Monday……always grateful for the days when mail is delivered, but for whatever reason, very little is passed out on Mondays. Since they took away Saturday mail in Ohio prisons, you’d think there would be MORE mail on Mondays than any others.

I don’t get much of it these days…and I guess I don’t really want it from where it USED TO COME FROM anymore anyway. (*SIGH*)

I wonder if people have any idea of what it’s like to watch your whole identity disappear. They think death is the ultimate punishment, but they are wrong.
The punishment is the separation from your loved ones. Its seeing the heartache in the lives of those who love you. It's watching your children grow up in photos and letters, and wondering who they are as people/adults. Its watching your mum become manically depressed………addicted to prescribed drugs………..and die of massive heart failure. It’s getting a letter from her five days before she dies, and regretting not answering it that very day………knowing she’d have got it before she died.
It’s hearing about your 9 year old son running out of his classroom talking about killing himself, because of the news coverage of the Lucasville riot, and worrying about me. It’s thinking about your children and wives of the two victims in my case……….knowing one of those kids has to think about his father every time he had a birthday. It’s KNOWING what those kids lives must be like (to a certain extent) by seeing my own children growing up without a father in their daily lives. It’s knowing that I’m not a criminal, and I’m not like a lot of these guys here on the row………and I have nothing to prove it, except words.
It’s never getting a second chance to prove it. It’s not being able to show my son a better way to conduct himself, and then not being able to bury him or say goodbye when he kills himself.

NO……death is NOT the punishment!! Death will be the answer to my prayers, in which I pray to be released from captivity.

I try to find a bit of peace and contentment, until it all plays out. I look for that one special woman to share the rest of my life with, hoping against all odds that it is actually possible to truly love a man in my situation…….only to have new wounds torn into my battered heart.

I believe Jesus was the Son of God….God incarnate as man…..and He suffered much more, being innocent of any crime, for the forgiveness of all man kind’s sins. Peter was festering in prison and never gave up hope and faith.

Who am I to expect special treatment? I’m responsible for the taking of two men’s lives. I’m unable to change that fact……….but, I can pray for their souls, and for their families.

I am not an “act” that took place 16 and half years ago. It doesn’t define who I am….nor will I ever allow it to! I can only be who I am, and define myself by the way I conduct my life. I SAY who I am, and I DO what I SAY!

I’m not a saint….nor am I a criminal. I’m just a man..no more, no less.
I was convicted of MORE than the truth, so they could secure a death sentence against me. But, “truth” and “justice” are separate entities in the US, and one has little to do with the other.
All I can do is try to be a better man for no other reason that to be the best person I am capable of being. What others think of me is none of my business. People who judge me define themselves through their words and actions.
They cannot MAKE me to be who they THINK or SAY that I am.
It would be much easier for them if I WERE that!! Well, “I’m sorry to make your life so uneasy”!
People who have taken the time to get to know me often ask, “How does a guy like you end up in prison?
How do I answer that? Do they really want to know I couldn’t deal with heartache, buried myself in drugs and booze, and snapped one day because I was drunk? I guess the answer to the question is, “I WASN’T a guy “like me” the day I shot 2 men”!
Because “a guy like me” has learned how to live life in a better way. But, I still get angry….and I still have faults. I’m just a man. A BETTER man………….but, just a man.!!

Well, no mail today. All I received were receipts for overseas postage ($4.06 US) for three envelopes.
They say writing is good therapy. I guess therapy is expensive in ALL of its forms. (smile)

Well, I have recreation in 40 minutes. I think I’ll take a nap for 20 minutes, then go to rec and call “Scotland” to see where my kids are, or if she’s heard from them. Then I’ll call “OHIO” and see if she has received my painting which she’s framing and sending to “Scotland” for me. What would this month have been like without THEM? How can I NOT believe in the power of love?

“If I do not have love, I am nothing.” Corinthians 13:2

6pm August 29th 2005

Just came back from rec at 5.30pm………sold my food tray for a stamped envelope (40c). Need to keep my writing costs to a minimum. Besides, I NEED to start skipping some meals.
Called “Scotland” and let her know what had been posted to her, and asked if she’d try to call my daughter to find out if she is okay, and where she is. We talked about putting up a website for these letters and using a painting for a logo/insignia for the site.
“OHIO” didn’t get back home until late and I only got to talk to her for five minutes or so. But, she did get the painting, and was surprised that it was so unlike my other paintings. But, she could feel the emotion in it, and understand WHY it is WHAT it is. I explained why I wanted to put it up as the logo for “Ohio death row inmate”. How it (literally) paints the picture of my feelings, and expresses what I’ve been writing about in these letters.
She thinks I should continue to paint like that.
But, I explained that flowers and landscapes where comfortable, and I never had to worry about it not turning out right, and the other painting was an emotion, and just happened. If I mess up, make a mistake, I have to toss the canvas out!!
But, she’ll email a photo, or scan of it and send it to “Scotland, and she’ll frame it and post it to her.

It sucks that I only got to talk to her for five mins!!! I’m hoping to get at least 2 calls in to her tomorrow. (2-15 min timed calls) before she has to leave the house.
Well that’s my day in a nutshell. Now I’ll watch “prison Break” (a new series on TV), then I’ll turn the radio (on my TV) and take a shower. I’ll sit and write a letter………..then go to bed….or just sit and listen to the radio and enjoy my own company.

Nite ya'll


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