By Tony Casson
(Note from Anthony: My dad asked me to put this one up before the pile of posts still on my desk. I should also say that my dad finally uses some of his real writing ability…we’re good at emotional stuff haha)
Climbing out of the funk that was Father’s Day has proven more difficult than I would—or could—have imagined.
Perhaps it was the pervading sense of personal failure that I felt in relation to my own two children. I do love my children very much, and I pray for their forgiveness, understanding, and love every day.
But it’s more than my own personal feelings. I look around me, and I realize that most of the faces I am looking at are not just the faces of felons, but many, many of them are the faces of fathers as well, and while I am convinced—as I have said—that there is some degree of darkness in everyone’s soul, I am equally convinced that there is also some degree of light.
The light of goodness and love, compassion and concern, happiness and joy.
I look at those in my own “circle”, if you will: Michael, Allen, Pete, Aaron, Stan, John, Frank—the rest. All are people I speak with daily, people I have come to like, and to know a little. Individuals who, for all of their faults, are also FATHERS. Each has a child or children—a son, or sons, a daughter, or daughters, or some mixture. Children whom they love and they miss. Children whom they shed tears for, if not with their eyes, then surely with their hearts.
And I look at all of the others as well! Hispanics, blacks, whites—many who share a common thread beyond incarceration that transcends all other differences—type of charge, length of sentence, race, creed, religion, socio-economic status—regardless of the differences we have, we are all fathers who have disappointed our children through our behavior, and have deprived them of our presence on OUR day as a result.
Prison life is about posturing. It’s about being tough—being stronger, meaner, more threatening and more dangerous than anyone else.
Words like caring and compassion are not spoken here.
However, it is impossible to believe other then, on a day children honor their fathers, there are a lot of hearts that are hurting, even if owners can’t quite find the words—or the courage to SPEAK the words—to express that pain.
A day that used to be filled with a tremendous amount of pride and happiness suddenly has become a day I will dread, each time it arrives, for as long as I am here.
To those children out there who may harbor anger, or hurt, towards their father for depriving them of this day, I pray for your pain.
However, if it is any consolation to you, at least you can probably find someone to give you a hug. In prison, that simply isn’t going to happen.
We are, each one, alone in a crowded room.