My son turns 21 today. Behind Bars.
The photo above is a picture of my son when he was just under a year old. He loved to look out of the sliding glass door of our apartment which faced the forest. He loved to hear the birds sing. Today he is surrounded by cement walls and barbed wire. He cannot hear the birds nor see the forest. Instead, he is trapped inside a living hell filled with screaming inmates banging on bars and fights breaking out randomly all around him. This is the reality of his life now.
He has been incarcerated since March 28 and it still hasn't completely sunk in. Not to me. Especially when I look at these pictures of my baby. When I think of the days, weeks, months, years that led up to his incarceration, I have to remind myself that he made choices. He chose not to accept his Bipolar Disorder diagnosis and seek treatment. He chose to act impulsively, self-medicate with alcohol, and surround himself with people who didn't care about him or perhaps themselves.
I have to remind myself that this baby boy has grown into a man. And this man has to face the consequences of his actions. We still are awaiting the sentencing of his charges. We still don't know what he will need to do to pay his debts to society for his foolish acts. And everyday his reality is nothing like what he dreamed of staring out that sliding glass window. There are no birds singing. There is no forest to view. Only cement and isolation.
Happy 21st Birthday my beautiful baby boy. I love you.