By, Ahmarr Melton (Guest Blogger)
The right letter at the right time, can make all the difference in a person's life. I know this because in 1994 when I was just 2 years old, my father was sentenced to 14 years in prison. This event sent ripples through our family and changed our lives forever.
Even before I could read, my father made sure to write me. He sent letters throughout his entire sentence. This was his way of engaging with me as we both embarked on this unfortunate journey. He sent letters on my birthday. He sent letters about school. He sent letters to teach me and letters to guide me. It was letters galore. To many’s surprise, I rarely sent any back. I was so young when he left that it would’ve been hard to write and connect with someone whom I knew so little about other than the basics.
Although I visited him in prison, and we talked on the phone occasionally, there was still more to be desired especially as I got older. All of this took place in a time before the popularity of email and apps like Fikshop were a common way to connect with incarcerated loved ones.
Upon his release, we began the slow and delicate process of strengthening our father-son relationship that was impacted by such trauma. In time, we grew a close and unique bond, one that from the outside looking in seemed normal. You couldn’t tell that we’ve been through such a devastating but not uncommon story.
According to Vera.org, an organization that is fighting to end mass incarceration, over 5 million children have had an incarcerated parent. With stats like those and my own unique experience, we felt compelled to create Out Of The Ashes, LLC. We use our story to help parents who’ve been incarcerated strengthen their bond with their children. We also help children with current or formerly incarcerated parents build resiliency. This service has continued to remain relevant to families across America.
This real-life 3 act drama therapy-inspired presentation based on our lives has touched the lives of children and adults across the nation. During the 2nd act, I make it a point to read one of the hundreds of letters my father sent me.
These letters carried me through and helped connect me and give insight into this man that I love but haven’t had the chance to get to know, my father.
would’ve allowed me to send a quick postcard or letter. I truly believe that this would’ve made a difference in our relationship and how I processed what took place. As we continue to share our story, companies that help children stay connected with their incarcerated loved ones like Flikshop will continue to be at the forefront of our thoughts.
Note from Flikshop:
We enjoy collaborating with organizations like Out of The Ashes, LLC, and while the views of any organization that we collaborate with do not necessarily reflect the views and/or mission of Flikshop, we always believe that family connections are one of the pillars of success after incarceration.
Do you want to be a guest blogger for Flikshop, or have any questions for our guests bloggers? Email us at email@example.com.