Based on letters shared with Sonni Quick
December 15, 2009
PURE PAIN by Sonni Quick copyright 2015
(Sonni’s note: Will Jamie be able to get out of prison some day and be able to put this experience behind him? Will he be able to adjust to a “normal” life he has never experienced? Will the damage be too great? Will he be able to adjust? Chances are not in his favor if he doesn’t have enough support. My thanks again to everyone who sent him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org when I asked about a week go. I’ve sent off to him.)
How are you? Blessed as well I pray. As for me I’m doing okay. The property man brought me my things to me today. I have everything, except I still have no mattress. I’m sorry to have worried you, mom. It’s just things are hard in here. I’ve been stressing myself to a point. There’s a dude telling me I love Megan too much and that later down the line she will turn on me. I don’t pay him no mind because of the stories he’s told me about how he’s treated women. However, this is what hurt mom. Later that day the deputy called me and gave me child support papers. So I’ve been stressing on that. Not hearing from Megan haven’t made it no better. I wrote to her grandmother’s address and asked why. Nothing, I’m still waiting. I’m just going to have to write again. All I can do is pay she writes back.
Then on top all that I just got a letter telling me my great grandmother passed. I’m holdin up but I was upset because my family hides a lot of things from me. It’s like they don’t want to tell me anything until it’s all over. It hurts me that Megan isn’t writing me. I’m sure is because of this man she’s with. He’s the kind of man that uses a woman. I can tell. Me and him will cross one day. As for the new little one he’ll have a birthday in a few days. One year old. It’s good that you’re able to talk to little Jamie. I wish I could call and talk to the kids again. We had fun together at that one visit we had. I wish I could get a visit for Christmas our my birthday next month. Ill be 27 mom.
It’s hard to believe Megan got laid off. I couldn’t see it happening to her. It’s good she filled an appeal. Mom this is all my fault. Megan and the kids shouldn’t be going this. I blame myself for everything. I messed up her life and the kids lives by leaving them alone. As for her anniversary, I didn’t know she was still married. She told me she had gotten a divorce. How can that be? The same goes for BJ. She choose to have a life with him, and that didn’t work. Now, if he’s not trying to have a relationship with his son then he’s no good. I remember you said you cried when she got pregnant again. Oh I know you love little Ben, but since it didn’t work out it was just so much harder for her. I know one thing mom. Mine or not, Ill keep a relationship with them. I love them just like I love their mom. Even if they aren’t all mine. So you see, it really worries me about not hearing from her. And I don’t understand the child support papers. It would have been different if she did that when I came home. Well, I guess there is a reason for everything.
I have to go for now. Take care, mom
Love you, your son
P.S. Thank you for the present you are sending Jamie for me. And Merry Christmas!
(When I think of my life and the many twists and turns I’ve gone through and I look at those same years Jamie has gone through I can almost interchange the dates of his prison letters no matter how many years apart they are. Nothing changed except Megan’s letters began to get further apart. All he has is his memories because anything else is not something he wants to remember. All he can do is escape into his mind. He still loves a woman that in his mind never changed – never went on without him, although she is on her third or fourth “serious” relationship since he went in. She cried so sincerely she would wait for him. She meant it at the time but there was no way she could continue to raise her children by herself with her income potential. She went on with her life looking for elusive man who would be a good father for her children and good to her, as well. She even got married again and she had another child. Four children with four fathers and another one is in San Quentin.
Jamie is not responsible for her happiness or her unhappiness. He should not be carrying the guilt by himself. Megan’s life was set in motion long before she met Jamie, and so was his. Their lives collided. Because of the way they made their decisions is the reason for the outcome. Many different choices could have been made along the way. But when there is no thought of the consequences life just slaps you around and you spend more time running around picking up the pieces instead of moving forward. it doesn’t mean they would not have ended up in the same place. It means another path would have gotten them there. Megan would have met someone else to have a baby with, just like she met yet another man and did have a fourth child. Her causes for her life were made long ago. And Jamie, just because he might not have met Megan, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be in prison right now, but it could be for a different reason.
Things don’t happen by accident. But unless you have a way to learn these lessons about life you don’t realize the power you have to change the things that cause you unhappiness. That is why, some years ago I started to teach him the principles of Nichiren Buddhism – the law of cause and effect. Where you are today is the effect of previous causes and where you will be tomorrow comes from the causes you make today. Simple. A plan is not laid out for you for mysterious reasons – you make your own plan. It’s just easier to think you didn’t make that plan. God did. When you think like that, life just keeps knocking you sideways, until learn to make a different cause This is why many people really don’t start searching for answers until their life is a mess and you are willing to listen. For some people – inmates in this case – they find God. There is chaplain in every prison. There are many good things to learn through Christianity. This is not a slam on Christians. I grew us in the church, but I didn’t see people living what they were being taught. It was easy. Do what you want and ask for forgiveness. That didn’t work for me. I wanted better answers, so decades ago I started searching. Christianity does teach you how to be a good person and the reward is heaven. If the lessons are applied they will be in a better place. Buddhism teaches a lot of the same lessons, but it also explains the real consequences in your life today as you live it. Some inmates find the Islamic faith, which Jamie tried for awhile. That faith in prison teaches peace, not violence, but in the end it still didn’t have the answers he needed. He grew up knowing Christianity, but even that never explained the law of cause and effect even though it teaches – you reap what you sow – but it doesn’t teach why.
My purpose here is not to get into a religious discussion.. But what I see in society is a lot of very judgmental Christians who aren’t good people to people who don’t think like them. I do NOT see that in the Buddhist community. I have used Buddhist teachings to show Jamie how to understand why his life is the way it is and to apply them to his life so it makes sense. Then he can work on changing it.. What he knows now he didn’t know before. Even so, it doesn’t make the struggles go away. Things don’t change just because you want them to. And nothing “out there” is going to give you a benefit without you first making a cause for it – you reap what you sow – period. Buddhism has helped him keep his head on straight and to be able to pick himself up when he falls. There will always be obstacles – because that is how you learn and grow, All of us needs to respect others choice of faith. That alone will make this world a better place to live. Respect.
Megan has been with someone now for a year and a half and so far she seems to be happy. But she is still in the “getting to know you” phase. The work hasn’t even started. But while Jamie still loves her like time stopped, she doesn’t care about him anymore and gets angry if I mention his name. She won’t take “their” son to see him so the last time was when I visited him at the prison 2 years ago. Some men don’t want to be a father. Jamie does. How will their son feel when he grows up knowing she could have made the 3 hour drive to the prison, but won’t. I can see the possible effect of that, but she isn’t thinking of that. I’m not saying it should be all the time, but maybe his dad’s birthday? Father’s Day? I think this will have unintended consequences – a word I tried to teach many times.)