Today is my grandmother’s 90th birthday. My mother scheduled a video visit so that I could participate in her birthday party and wish her a happy 90th birthday. It wasn’t easy to see my grandmother; she’s getting weaker and weaker. Now, even her speech is being affected to the point where I could hardly understand her words. Before coming to prison, my grandma seemed just fine, healthy for an 85 year old woman. The last time my grandmother came to visit me, she was walking with a cane and she appeared weaker than I had ever seen her. Since then she’s continued to get worse, and now I’m afraid I might lose her before I get out of prison. I don’t say all this to bring anybody down, I say this to bring awareness to the harsh realities one must face when coming to prison. Outside of prison, life goes on, loved ones get older, some get ill and pass from this earth, and it’s just the natural order of things. What’s unnatural is being removed from the lives of our loved ones, unable to be a part of and witnesses Father Time slowly take hold of our lives. Instead, as inmates, we’re forced to witness life outside of here in picture frames. I accept my circumstances and lives I’ve affected through my criminal choices. But to be separated from the people I love continues to hurt, unable to be a part of any mourning process, not going through the motions makes everything seem so surreal. I love my grandmother deeply; she helped my single mother raise me, growing up with a young, single parent. Many of my better qualities and personal traits stem from the morals and values that my good Christian grandmother raised me on. If she passes from this earth before I come home, I’ll do my best to celebrate the legacy she left behind for so many people in my family, remembering the good times, mourning for her loss and trying to move on. In the meantime, I’ll continue to pray for her strength and healing, sticking around for another few good quality years.