These Letters Spell H-O-P-E

January 13, 2014

If writing is conveying important thoughts and feelings using words, and words are created by rearranging letters into different configurations, then letters convey important thoughts and feelings when they've been configured accurately. Right?

Letters, when crafted with care and honesty, can spell hope.

My son's attorney suggested that I ask some family and friends of my son to write letters to the judge who will be sentencing him. The purpose of the letters is for the judge to get to know my son through the eyes of those who know him best, before deciding his sentence.

Over the last week or so, several letters have arrived. Each time I read one, I cry.

Not only am I awestruck by the incredible love that envelopes my son from his friends and family,  I am astounded at the accuracy with which each person has described him.  From his gift for working with children and older adults to his talents as a visual artist, writer, musician, and actor, these letters verify what I've known for the past 21 years. My son is a wonderful, caring, gifted human being. My son is not a criminal.

Most letters mention that my son has struggled with mental illness, but not one uses it as an excuse for his behavior. Most letters emphasize his geniune contrition about the events that led him to prison and his 100% cooperation since the moment of his arrest. But all the letters convey the overarching message that my son has amazing potential and, when released, is determined to use his gifts in meaningful ways. 

These letters have served as validation for me as a mother too. I read them over and over again. I just want to be reminded that it's not just me who sees my son as a kind, talented, bright young man just waiting to be given a chance to begin his life as a productive adult. There are others who do too.

I am (still)hopeful that the judge will read these letters and view my son through a compassionate lens, recognizing what kind of man my son will be once he is allowed back into society.

For me, these letters spell H-O-P-E.

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