Life In Prison

Beauty for Ashes

I talked to my lawyer yesterday, and got some really disappointing news.  On the 23rd of December (which is Chad’s birthday) judge Shelby ruled not to grant me a hearing, and ruled against the petition to have my plea vacated.  My lawyer was kind enough to wait until after Christmas to give me the news, and I’m grateful for that. I will be appealing that decision, and think it’s disappointing that judge Shelby took 10 months to decide not to give me a hearing? When I first filed the motion I assumed he would deny it, but I didn’t expect him to delay the way he did.  After taking so long I was hopeful that he would at least grant a hearing? I was really sad when I got the news, and immediately went to talk to my room mate Sonia and she said to me, “Ms. Portia you can’t give up. You are strong, and you have to keep fighting! What happened to you wasn’t right, you have to fight!” I told her I would file an appeal, but I’m a bit tired of fighting.  Prior to filing the motion to vacate my plea I reached out to my former lawyer and asked her to contact the prosecutors in my case. I said: ” Would you please talk to my prosecutors to see if they would be willing to work with me? What happened to me was wrong, surely they can see that!” My attorney wrote me back and said: “I talked to the prosecutors on your case, and they told me to go ahead and file the paperwork, they are confident the judge will rule in their favor anyway.”  They were right! I read a quote a while back written by Harper Lee that said:  “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”  That quote gave me some comfort this morning.

 

I am so grateful my family will be out here next weekend! I’m grateful for a God who knew my heart would be broken today, and prepared a way for me to hold my little ones next week. Last night after I got the news I went to the Career Resource Center to talk to a co-worker of mine. I have a new co-worker, and we have become fast friends. I told her how disappointed I was, and how much my heart hurt. She said, “Portia, God will give you beauty for ashes. Don’t let what you know in your heart get confused by what you can’t see with your eyes right now. You are special, and there is something amazing in front of you! Maybe you can’t see it, but others take notice of the light you have.” She made me feel better, and I thanked her. I decided to go back to the unit to be alone for a little while, but before I left my friend said: “Don’t forget you’re the girl that’s going to leave prison amazing!” Then she said: “No, I want to rephrase that, your amazing in prison, and I have no doubt you will continue to be amazing!” We hugged, and I walked back to the unit. When I got back I pulled out my mission statement and read: “I will face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility! ” As I said the words out loud tears filled my eyes; disappointment with cheerfulness can be hard sometimes.

I laid in bed last night and prayed. I told my Father in Heaven that I needed to be comforted. I told Him,”This is bigger than me. This hurts too much! I don’t want to focus on the unfairness, please help me?” This morning I woke up at 4:30 am and prayed again asking for comfort and peace; then I decided to focus on all the things I have to be grateful for. I thought about Chad’s mother, who fought cancer with all the grace and dignity of a queen. How hard it must have been to know she would be leaving a family she so dearly loved, yet she made her time on earth count to the very end. I thought about all the brave parents who have faced the devastating news that a child of theirs has cancer; a pain I can’t imagine! I thought about the women I know who have lost a child to suicide or other tragic events, and I thanked my Father in Heaven that my struggle is easy! As I thought about all the things I have to be grateful for I realized how grateful I am to be able to share this journey with you. Writing helps me heal! Thank you for being part of my story. I got some mail yesterday, and a sweet woman from Idaho sent me a picture of her family. I haven’t ever met this woman but she sent me the whole walk series written by Richard Paul Evans. When I looked at her family I felt a special connection to her, and was humbled by her kindness. Her gift reminded me when things get hard maybe all I can do is put one foot in front of another and go for a walk, and that’s enough. I am so grateful for the Christmas cards, and greetings that came from places as far away as France:)

I taught a large group of woman an Explaining Your Conviction class today; there I found a reprieve for my hurting heart. In the class I explained that we’ve all been through trauma, weather we made mistakes and deserve to be here, or were treated unfairly we have suffered. We need each other you guys, we can’t do this alone. I can’t do this alone! If we take responsibility for our mistakes, and forgive ourselves I know every one of us will leave prison amazing!” As I left the class I was reminded that I am never alone. God is with me, and I feel loved by so many good people. I am so blessed!  All of you are my friends, and every one of us has suffered. Many of you have suffered in ways I can’t comprehend, and now you are helping me carry my burdens. I hope you had someone that was as kind to you as you have been to me when you were hurting. Thank you all for reading today; there aren’t ‘t words to describe the love and comfort I feel just writing this post:)

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