I took our little dudes to see uncle Noah a few weeks back, and it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.
Who would have known going to a prison would be one of my new “favorite” kinds of weekends?!
In all honesty…leading up I was not looking forward to the weekend. Jamie was supposed to come with me and I love getting away, just the four of us. But work crept up for Jamie and with a short week around the corner because of Thanksgiving, he couldn’t go, so I decided to take the trip solo.
Man, was that a good decision.
What’s super creepy is that the weeks leading up to that weekend, I had dreams that I just got to sit down with Noah alone and dive deep. That’s all I remember from those dreams and I never thought twice about it, but then on my drive home Sunday, I realized, holy man! That is exactly what had happened.
Noah asked me to write him a letter months prior to this visitation, which took me months to write, and I finally mailed it to him the week before my visitation.
He’s asked for more of these same letters from family and he hasn’t taken them lightly. It’s been one of the biggest transformations I’ve seen from him. One of the things he said to me when I asked him if there is anyone that he wishes would come see him that hasn’t was…
“Bottom line is I hurt our family. I was stupid. They don’t owe me one thing. I know they’re cautious about what will happen when I get out. And I know I have to earn it back, and it’s not going to be easy. But I promise I will.”
I have no idea the detail of what my brother Jesse wrote to him, he touched on it briefly, but I didn’t push. Noah said he tried to read it in front of his group and broke down. He couldn’t even get past the first few sentences, and someone else had to read it to him. He said he hasn’t cried that hard in a long time. Broke my heart, yet at the same time, I know all of this is so healthy and is what needs to happen for our family to heal.
Headed to this visitation I shared on Instagram Noah’s story and where I was headed that weekend.
The amount of messages I’ve received were incredibly moving. And to those that shared with me, thank you. I know it’s not an easy thing to share.
From complete strangers that haven’t even shared these feelings with others and they shared them with me.
…where they see it happening but don’t know what to do…
…where they’ve had to leave their husband with three kids in tow to say no that toxic life…
…where they didn’t get the same outcome and their wife is now buried…
…where their brother got out of rehab and had all the support and committed suicide…
…I could go on and on…
It left me in tears.
I loved sharing these stories with Noah that weekend and talking through them and all the what if’s. We also got a lot of questions. So as many as I could remember the questions too, I asked Noah and wanted to finally answer them for you.
Q & A with Noah
Q: First meal you want to eat when you get out?
Q: First person you want to hug when you get out?
A: Mom, Melrose, and Auntie Anne. Because I’m assuming that is who is coming to get me, and the one’s that dropped me off on September 3rd, 2013.
Q: What is your biggest regret?
A: Biggest regret is a tough one because it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I went wrong. I think about what would have happened if I didn’t ever start selling drugs…would I still have went and hung out in Grand Forks? Would I still have met Dacotah? Would I still have had Melrose? If not, then I don’t regret that. I stole from somebody when I was younger and it eats me up to this day, it wasn’t a lot but it was enough and until I ask for forgiveness I won’t be over it.
Q: Scariest moment in prison?
A: I was in Milan, and I had only been there about 5-6 months and this big scary guy, he looked like Mike Tyson except he was 6’5″, asked me to come out into the hallway and told me I can’t sit in people chairs or something might happen to me, I think he was just testing me, and I failed. But it was pretty scary. 🙂
Q: What do you miss the most?
Q: What can we do to help you when we get out?
A: Holding me accountable, would help the most.
Q: What has someone done for you that has meant the most while in prison?
A: Nate smith, my old bunkie, sends my daughter and mom birthday and christmas presents now that he’s out.
Q: What would you tell your younger self?
A: Family always before friends.
There was a lot more questions but I couldn’t remember them all, so if you have more leave a comment and I’ll have him answer.
Prison has always fascinated me and I’m continuously amazed, even five years later, about what goes on inside those walls. So Noah and I also wanted to share some fun facts that probably not a lot of you realize about life in prison.
Funny Prison Facts
- A prisoner (Noah) works 154 hours a month (in the kitchen) and makes $44.85, that’s .29 per hour.
- Noah pays an FRP (financial responsibility payment) which is $50, that is by choice
a 15 minute phone call is $3.15
- Noah pays $0.30 per minute to type an email on a federal monitored email system.
- You can’t put a return “label” on a letter you mail in. It has to be hand written. And it can’t be a colored envelope.
- You can only send 20 pictures at one time in one envelope. But you can send multiple envelopes within one day.
- Inmates are germ-a-fobes.
- Money in prison for the inmates is physical stamps.
- When visiting a prison the only thing you can bring in is $20 worth in quarters that has to be in a plastic ziplock.
- It’s very racial divided inside those walls… which is so sad to me.
And because of all of your moving messages, Noah is going to start writing on the blog regularly.
One of the stories that was shared with me was from someone who had been robbed at gun point in their very own home from an addict who is now serving time. This person prays everyday that once he is released that he won’t come back for revenge and is mentally right.
This story literally took my breath away….I had no words. So I asked Noah.
And him and I talked a lot about this story so we’re going to kick it off with a series talking about the mentality of an addict. And we’re starting at the beginning from where he was to where he’s at today and how his mindset has shifted.
His first letter is currently in route in the mail. He said it’s seven pages…and I can hardly wait to read and share.
This is crazy, and super interesting. Thank you for sharing! Looking forward to his series 🙂
Thanks Tim! I’m fascinated by it too and can’t wait to chat in person with you. XO
I can’t wait to read it!
Thanks, Holly!! The 1st letter can’t come fast enough! 🙂
I love this, and I adore your brother! I have so many memories with him! Thank you for sharing this part of your life, it’s hard and you do it with such grace. Of course when I think of you, grace always comes to mind: you’re full of kindness, love, and beauty it really shines through. ????
Gah, and we love you Rondi! I told Noah that weekend how you had left a comment and he goes… Rooondi, man, I loved that girl. 🙂 Brought back happy memories for him. 🙂 Thanks for always being such a support to us all. XO
You are an incredible sister. Truly showing the pure and raw meaning of unconditionally loving your brother. There’s so much we all can learn from both sides of this story; yours and Noah’s. Thank you for sharing
You are so sweet. Thank you, Emma! One step at a time and through the good and bad… we can always learn something. I’m a firm believer in- so much good comes from pain. And to get through the pain and in order to heal- you gotta be raw and truthful with not only yourself but others. XOXO
Thanks Morgan. Love this idea of blogging. Very therapeutic for all of us.
Of course! That’s so happy to hear. Thank you for sharing that and reading. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
So thrilled to hear about Noah’s healthy mindset and ownership of responsibility for his decisions. Here’s my question for Noah: How has your view of God been affected by your circumstances?
YEEES! We talked a lot about this last visit too. I’ll send the question for a post his way. Love you!
Thank you for sharing!
Thanks Cole! 🙂
I love how honest you are Morgs! Very insightful, I love the you take the boys to visit him and are not trying to hide it from them. love you!
Thanks boo! It wasn’t an easy decision but it’s our family and I don’t want to hide them from this big bad scary world but open their eyes up to the changes we can help make.
Thank you for this, Morgan and Noah. This is important work. We all need to look closely at what we think about criminal “justice,” about addiction and about healing and forgiveness. <3
Thank you for reading and always supporting, auntie! YES! Our minds are being opened up to a whole lot of work we can be doing with not only us but others within the world. Hope these upcoming letters can change one life at a time. Love you!
This is amazing the love and bond you to have still!! Yes family before friends! My brother was also an addict for 16+ years
Finally got sober( tough road) for both him and me, and passed away about 2 years after from heart related, most likely from his addiction past! Not a day goes by that I wish I could ask these questions to Him! The whys? So many questions Can’t wait to follow this! And keep that bond together!!! It’s amazing you guys get great visits! How
Often are you able to go and do you get long visits with each other!
Oh my word, this just took my breath away. Ohhh the pain you must have but thankfully you got 2 clean years with him. That is one thing I’m grateful for… it’s very rare to actually sit with someone and talk with no distractions now-a-days. The one good thing about prison anyways. 🙂 Sending you all my love this Christmas! Thank you for reading. XO
Yesterday, I met a man whose daughter is a probation officer. After talking to him about her work, my question for Noah is — what will you need / are you setting up / can we help you set up to give yourself accountability and support when you are out?
I love that! Mailing him all the questions tomorrow. Thanks, auntie! XO