Holidays in Prison Missing the Gift of Presence
A friend of mine outside of prison asked me how I feel about the holidays since coming to prison. It’s a good question, and one that I’ve addressed before on this blog. The fact is that the holidays are very difficult for many prisoners. It is a time of year where many of us are especially reminded of all we are missing out on, and of the families we have disappointed and left without us. That makes some prisoners real scrooges who get mad if you wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Merry Christmas. And don’t wish them a Happy New Year, or you might just hear, “What’s so happy about it?!”

During the holidays, the regular schedule of movement and activities in prison is interrupted, too. Sometimes the interruptions are because of special activities, like holiday games that are designed to help people take their minds off of their deep disappointment. But the very disruption of their schedule upsets some prisoners, who just want to work off their frustration in the weight pit, or run off a little steam. Another frustration of the holidays is that although it is a time where prisoners have even more time to watch television, the networks are dominated with Christmas themed shows and movies. For many prisoners, including me, these shows and movies only worsen the holiday blues. Normally, I’d love holiday movies, but they often remind me too much of my children whom I haven’t seen in a decade, or of the love I used to share with their mother. It can be quite lonely and depressing. 

I imagine that the holidays are sometimes just as difficult for the loved ones we left behind. For some families, the absence of their father, brother, son, or husband is a real damper on the Christmas spirit. Whether it is good memories shared in years past that cause a depressing nostalgia, or the pain of knowing the memories are all you have left to share, the families of prisoners also struggle during the holidays. I remember buying Christmas gifts for children of prisoners through the “Angel Tree” ministry at our church. It was rewarding to help those children have a better holiday when they had a loved one locked up. But presents pale in comparison to the gift of presence. 

Yes, the holidays are hard, for prisoners and their loved ones. The separation from those you love is the hardest part. But I’m grateful for those who have faithfully sent me Christmas cards and letters over the years, who have given me a word of cheer and shared the joys in their lives with me. I’m also grateful for my mother who has faithfully visited me in prison, especially during the holidays. If nothing else, experiencing the holidays in prison has reminded me of what is the most important part of the holiday, and that is being surrounded by those you love. 

May you, my readers, have a joyous Christmas, and may you remember that the gift of your presence is the best give you can give the ones you love.

Go to Source
Author: Bryan Noonan
The opinions expressed within posts and comments are solely those of each author, and are not necessarily those of Women Against Registry.

The opinions expressed within posts and comments are solely those of each author, and are not necessarily those of Women Against Registry.
Leave a comment.