I had dreams for my daughter and none of these dreams had us separated by bars.
When you’re incarcerated for a length of time, you see you’re child growing up through pictures. Watching my daughter mature from behind these walls has caused great pain. Pain felt by her. Pain felt by me. Missing parent-teacher conferences, graduations, and something as simple as meeting her friends are compromised while doing time. My daughter and I did everything together. I helped deliver her. I bathed her. I fed her. I dressed her. I shopped for her clothes. I took her out on family outings. I combed her hair — which wasn’t easy for me to do. Of course her mother was present, but my daughter and I had our own bond. Missing out on birthdays are often thought about. Not to mention doctor’s appointments. Being a father in prison damages your relationship and my bond with my daughter has taken a beating. I’ve felt my daughter’s disappointment grow. I had to hear painful things over the phone - things that weren’t necessarily meant to be painful — they just were. The moments expressed by her joy bought tears to my eyes. I missed out on all of those joyous occasions and felt the joy be replaced with pain. The love for my daughter is so strong that I see her face in every child that I’m near. I miss her terribly.
I had dreams for my daughter and none of these dreams had us separated by bars. - John Dukes