Family: One of the definitions according to Webster’s Dictionary says “a group or class of like things.” Another says “the members of a household.” As you may know, I’m in prison and have been for 22 years. I’m not insane but this is where I live. It’s really just a big house. It has 1000 rooms, 404 bathrooms and one kitchen. I don’t worry about burglaries. No one has ever tried to break in, a few have tried to break out though. Living here makes us family for a different reason. I have been around the people in longer than I have been around my biological family. Like my biological brothers, my brothers inside treat me like they love me. We argue at times and have fought and made up. We have gone through joy and so much disappointment and have supported each other through grief, sorrow, heartache and the pain of losing loved ones in society whose funeral we can’t attend either because we have life without parole or can’t afford it. We have lost friends in here to violence, drugs or old age and through it all we have supported each other emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially.
We don’t do it because we have to, we do it because that’s what families do. We are a group of men that tries to encourage the younger guys to go to school, learn a trade so they will have something to offer society when they are released, and to avoid trouble and negative people while they are here. My biological family loves to me to life and I love them to life. Death is not in the equation.
I was taught by my mother to treat people as though they have 24 hours to live. Not to worry about people who don’t like you land to find a reason to smile when you don’t feel like it. Since I’ve been inside I have lived that way and my life has not been bad. I’m in prison but I can walk, talk, see, hear and form rational thoughts so I’m OK. It’s often said you can’t choose your family. That’s a lie. You can. I choose to associate myself with positive people and they accept me as family. I have hundreds of ‘lil’ brothers and nephews and uncles in here with me and they are my family.