Our Stories

THEY NEED TO TALK…

My life was like everyone else, or so I thought. I will never forget the pain I felt on reading the report in the paper. But like all mothers, I was the last to know. I will never forget going to the prison for the first visit. It was the hardest thing I ever did but looking around I realised I was not alone. There are many parents in my position. I have come a long way since this happened to me. I feel like a stronger person. I realise it is not my fault. I can only look after myself. I would ask anyone who reads about a neighbour or a friends trouble in the paper – approach them, support them. They need to talk, not be talked about.

FOR THE PARENTS…

No one can see the beauty of his darkened life now

His image has closed like a shadow

When people look at him – he has become the mirror

Of the damage he has done.

But he is yours: and you have different eyes

That hold his yesterdays in pictures no one else can remember.

Waiting for him to be born, not knowing who he would be,

The moments of his childhood, first steps, first words,

Smiles and cries, and all the big thresholds

Of his journey since.

He is yours in a way no words can ever tell

And you can see through the stranger his deed has made him

And still find the countenance of your son.

Despite all the disappointment and shame

May you find in your belonging to him

A kind of place where your spirit will rest.

May new words come alive between you

To build small bridges of understanding.

May the serenity lead you beyond guilt and shame

To find that bright field of the heart

Where he can begin to feel your love.

Until it heals whatever darkness drove him

And he can see what he has done

And seek forgiveness and bring healing.

May this dark door open a path

That brightens constantly with new promise.

 

 

…I NEVER IMAGINED…

My partner had left earlier for work. The children were in bed and I sat down to watch Law and Order. And then – law knocked on my door and order as I knew it left my life. The Gardaí informed me that my partner had been arrested; something I never imagined would have happened as he had never been in trouble before. Then the final court date approached when he received a prison sentence. There and then he was taken away and I walked out of court in a blur. It was very difficult at the start and my first visit to the prison was horrible but like everything else you become used to it. I had the extra worry of my children finding out the truth. I told them he was working away as I did not want to bring them into the prison. I cannot say that it is not difficult to live with my situation but with time it does get a bit easier. Emotions that were so raw at the beginning become more bearable and with time the tears that flowed so easily start to dry up. …I have to believe that this too will pass and then life as we knew it will return to normal. I believe We will be much better, stronger people for having gone through this horrible experience.

I LOVE YOU DAD

“On the night it happened I was in my Nan’s house. Gardai came to my Nan’s house. My Mam collected me and took me to my auntie’s house. I heard one of them saying my dad was in prison. I was very sad. I was heartbroken. I will always remember that night. They said my Dad might be on the news. I was very upset. I am still heart broken five years later. I want my dad to come home because I miss him very much. I want him to come home so I can cuddle him and tell him I love him very much. I love you Dad.”

SEVEN YEARS…

It was very hard to understand what was being said between the solicitors and the DPP. The judge sentenced my son to seven years. There was uproar in the court: all the family were screaming and crying. The judge then suspended three years and my son was led away. I couldn’t look at him being taken down. I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live. We weren’t even able to see him for a few minutes after he was sentenced which made it even harder. …..We felt so helpless and didn’t know who to speak to to find out how he was coping with prison. That evening there was a call from the prison. He was so worried about us that he asked someone to ring on his behalf to find out how we were and to tell us he was OK. …..It’s so hard to see your son locked up and be unable even to touch him.

MY WORLD FELL…

Three years ago I was the happiest woman alive. My partner and I were expecting our first baby. We were so excited. We discusses how we would raise our baby together… I literally fell off cloud nine when I discovered that my partner had been caught carrying drugs. It was a time of complete devastation. Our beautiful baby was born and my partner was a wonderful father. When she was ten months he started his prison sentence. My world fell apart when he received four years…Now I am alone with our baby. My partner is missing these important years of her life and I am doing my best to maintain her relationship with him. It is very hard and lonely to manage everything alone. I go through periods of being angry with him and feeling sorry for him. He is a good person and I want to keep our family together. I bring the baby to visit him each week. I sometimes feel that people judge me harshly for doing this. But I believe it is important for all of us to maintain our relationships for the sake of the future. The harsh reality is that there are many families in my situation. I believe that the families of offenders can be victims too.