“A moment of sunshine” — return blog by my son Pablo Torres, #AP04646, Tehachapi State Prison, CA [in response to my blog “Paradoxical Joy”]

me and pablo

A visit from my mom means everything to me because she was the first person in this world who loved me. It’s like time stops and my heart is finally able to beat again.

Ya, I messed up in the past, but her love is unconditional. Finally I can breathe again and give this person a hug, who I have loved forever.

I want to look my best so I make sure to find some new clothes on the yard for my visit. For eight ramen noodle soups, two dollars, I can buy a new pair of state blue pants, for four soups I can get a shirt.

I count the days for my visit, work out and do my best to be healthy and look good for my Mom. My mom has always been there for me when others have not. Not my homies (buddies) not my so called friends, not even most of the women I’ve dated. Yes, my mom is the one. The number one person in my life, my angel. Thank you mom.

A lot of people in prison or jail take their visit very seriously. I’ve seen people pace in a cell measured 9′ x 5′ all day waiting to be called to see the person they love. Ninety percent of the time I’ve seen the “hardest criminals” come back with a smile on their face, and all the homies asking “how was your visit dog?” or “how’d it go homie?” because we all care.

A bad visit could mean, and almost always does mean to stay away from the homie. Believe me, a visit means the world.

Nowadays, being in prison and not in the county jail any more, I get little “real” food. I eat so much ramen noodles in here, and dehydrated refried beans, you’d think I’m going to school on a budget to be an astronaut. So when I get a carne asada burrito on a real flour tortilla, I am so grateful. (we get them out of vending machines on a visit — but they are homemade in the local town — KP). I truly believe gratitude is the true happiness.

When you are so grateful, you feel spoiled by God, and spoiled by the person who is next to you. Whether it’s your other half standing by you watching a beautiful sunset, or your mom playing Scrabble with you on a small table in a prison visiting room, your heart just glows and is filled with warmth, and love, and joy, and every good feeling in the world.

Thank you, mom.


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I am a political theorist, oblate in the Order of St.Benedict, and advocate for universal rational access to essential controlled medicines for pain and palliative care in the lower and middle income countries. I work a lot in Vienna at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and in Geneva at the World Health Organisation, and the Human Rights Council representing the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care.

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