I had a busy Thanksgiving. I went to work at 7 in the morning and didn’t leave until 7:30 that night. I did everything but celebrate. 

Holidays are rough for most inmates because they represent what’s good about our American culture. 

My son turns 13 today, without me. I tried and tried to not think about it, but at 2:30 a.m. last night I was wide awake and never really went back to sleep. I am so angry at myself. The reason I missed it is because of me and my selfishness and I have to say, it hurts. What hurts even more is I know he hurts too. He misses me.

I have work to do. Depression is something most in here fight and our best defense is to get around people, and fast. The longer you isolate yourself the deeper you go. 

So I said my “Happy Thanksgivings” to all my friends and it was a mutual head nod from all of us. Then we got to work, because thinking about our mistakes is just painful, but thinking about what we gave up to be here is torturous. So we made 70 gallons of gravy, mixed 150 gallons of stuffing, had chocolate creme pie and more coffee then any person should drink. When we were done we kept busy and did our best to not think about it.

At the end of the night before we went home, I sat down with all my LGBT friends and we just stared at one another for a good minute or so, last night there was five of us. Then we said “I love you, thank you for bringing joy into my life” Words we all needed. Then we went home. I felt lucky to have friends that I didn’t have to explain any of this to, they all already knew. 

With Love

Jeff Utnage