I haven’t been writing as often since we were given access to the telephone, but there are some things I feel more comfortable putting on paper. As you know, I’ve always been able to express myself more clearly and easily in writing, and even more so now after so many years of having no other way to communicate my thoughts and feelings with the outside world.
So rather than talk on the phone, I put pen to paper. I put pen to paper because I have never felt more alone than right now and I’m absolutely miserable. I have been here for 17 years now, rotting away day by day, little by little. Although I’m sentenced to die I am doing a life sentence as I await the time when my death at the hands of the State may or may not be carried out. As time continues to pass, I find myself wondering how much longer this can possibly go on. How many more years of existing inside this crypt of concrete and steel before the State finally decides to grant me my final release? All I know is that I wake each morning beneath the ever-looming specter of death but have no idea when Death will claim me, or whether it will come at the end of a needle or some other way. This is torture. I’m not engaging in hyperbole and I don’t use this word lightly. No, the prison guards aren’t beating me; I’m not being shocked or waterboarded. This is a much more subtle and insidious form of torture. This is existing in a state of limbo day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, watching the face in the mirror slowly age as I fight to maintain some semblance of sanity here in this forsaken land of the insane. This is not torture of my body; this is torture of the mind, of the heart and of the soul.
During my time here I’ve tried hard to do the right thing. Sure, I’ve made some missteps along the way. I’ve had the minor disciplinary infraction here and there, but for the most part I’ve been as close to a “model prisoner” as one could expect. I don’t get into fights; I don’t assault fellow prisoners or staff. You don’t have to worry about that. Not because I’m trying to “game the system” as the prosecutor at my trial would surely claim – even after all these years—but because that’s not who I am. That’s not the man I’ve grown to be. I’m a flawed man, a bit screwed up in the head sometimes, but I do the best I can because I am better than my worst mistake.
Yet I feel alone and miserable. I’m depressed. I feel I have nothing to live for, nothing in this world to look forward to but death. Why do I feel this way?
I feel this way because I have virtually no support from the outside world, no one I can count on to stand by my side during this grave, life or death, situation. Over the past few years you have become increasingly distant. There have been more and more instances where you have told me you would do something and haven’t followed through. Despite repeated promises, visits from you have stopped almost completely. You tell me you want to order the quarterly care packages we are allowed to receive, but you don’t do it. You tell me you will put funds in my account so I can purchase hygiene items and phone time, but you don’t do it. Something always seems to come up. I receive no cards or letters and have all but given up on mail call. I’ve moved beyond the feelings of pain, letdown, and disappointment, and no longer even get my hopes up as I know no one will take the time to write me.
It is not my intention to seem demanding or accusatory. I fully understand that you have work, medical appointments, bills to pay, and other obligations and responsibilities to fulfill. Life out there isn’t easy and I don’t want to be another burden for you to carry. What I’m asking you to understand is that life in here isn’t easy either. It is a constant never-ending struggle, and I need your love and support now more than ever. I need to be able to count on you, to know that when nothing else is certain in my life, your love is rock solid.
I love you and hope you will think about what I’ve said here. Please write me soon.