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November 8, 2012 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Letters from Prison

The letters from my children’s father are starting to come now every other day.  I am a mess after each one.  The light in my son’s eyes when he gets a letter from his dad is bright and hopeful.  How can I ever tell him his dad is never coming home?

I spend incredible amounts of energy plastering a smile on my face, encouraging both of my kids to write back and draw some pictures (photos aren’t allowed).  Then I take each letter after they have read it and place it in a box.  One day this box will be all they have of their once-great father.  Then my heart breaks for them again and again and again.

I know that children are strong, and that we will all be okay.  But I would have followed my own father to the ends of the earth as a child and there is a hole in my heart knowing that my kids will miss out on that.  Instead of undying love, there will be questions.  Missing pieces.  Wondering why they drew this bad hand.

The pressure I feel right now is out of control.  Some of it’s downright ridiculous.  I fight depression on a regular basis anyway; now my overactive imagination is ripe with all of the What Ifs.

What if I get cancer and die?

What if I get in a car accident and die?

What if my back finally gives out for good and I’m sent to live in a chair?

What good will I be to my kids if I am gone?

The pressure to not ever be allowed to even die until your kids have successfully reached adulthood is something I never worried about.  Though we were divorced, I knew that if something happened to me, the kids would be fine.  He’d marry his girlfriend, the kids would miss me but they’d have photos and memories and my writings.

Then he did what he did.

An awful, awful, awful thing.

And he is rightly locked up, probably forever…we don’t know yet.  If he is really lucky, when he gets out of prison my children will be older than I am now.  And they will not know their father.  They might even hate him.  I hope this is not the case.  But how could it not be?

How can I be a good enough mother to make up for this hole in their lives?  I’m so afraid and alone in ways I never thought I would be.  I can’t die.  I can’t get hurt.  I have to be positive, OH SO POSITIVE.  I have to make sure they do their homework.  I have to make sure they learn right from wrong.  I have to keep them safe from future internet trolls who find out the truth about their father.

I’m not ready for this.  I try every day, but every day ends in tears of what the hell do I do?



Leave a Comment
  1. cherikooka / Nov 19 2012 1:03 pm

    We may be far apart, but you and the kids are always, ALWAYS in my heart. You know that if anything happened to you, a number of people – including myself – would step up and fight to have the honor of raising your amazing kids for you! Of course, I worship you and i think you will live forever, so it’s kind of a moot point. Youi are an amazing person and an even more amazing mother, never forget that. Let’s not worry so much about the what if’s. I would rather worry about the landfills – seriously, I think our consumerism is going to turn our entire planet into one big landfill. Yeah, that’s me changing the subject.

    I love you and I can’t wait to see you!!!

  2. Anne Dryman / Nov 8 2012 10:35 pm

    Oh Maleesha … I sit here with a heavy heart as I read your blog. Please do not waste your energy on worrying about what if’s. Trust me when I say it only makes you crazy. When I met you at Denise’s, I immediately felt like you were an amazing, strong woman. Please continue to put your energy into your children and for your personal peace of mind, go to an Attorney and choose a guardian.

    On a personal note, my parents divorced when I was seven. We moved to Florida from Pennsylvania. I don’t remember much of my life before that. IF I heard from my Father, it was a late birthday card with an unsigned check. That is a big IF. I saw him twice before he died when I was 18. My point is that even though my Father was not in my life, I turned out ok and your kids will too.

    Head up … shoulders squared and find the strength to smile. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. Remember … if Momma is happy, everyone is happy. Find your happy .. it’s not going to be easy but that is the best gift you can give your children.

    Here’s a big hug from me.

  3. bluesuit12 / Nov 8 2012 9:28 pm

    I think you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing; making it through a day at a time and providing your kids with love. I echo the comments already made, especially ignore the buckles on my jacket, in that there are many of us that have gotten to know you over the years from various places and we are thinking of you and your family at this time.

  4. Brigit (@v6) / Nov 8 2012 9:11 pm

    My mom went through similarly tough things with my dad and the “what-ifs” and what she basically said she did was just kept going. You’re doing the absolute best that you can, and you’re doing right by them. Having been a little girl with a dad whose correspondence with her dad was sporadic at best for a multitude of reasons (and the subsequent lapses in communication would prompt increased and harder questions for my poor mother to answer) and who certainly couldn’t be counted on to raise me should something happen to my mother, all you can do is your best. You have an outlet, and you have people who are always here to listen and who’ve been in similar difficult situations (ones they aren’t willing to speak about publicly on the intertubes) and who can try to empathise to the best of their ability. Feel everything you’re feeling, because your feelings are valid and worth examining, but don’t let the worries and the what-ifs cripple you. And if there’s one thing I respect the most from my mother, throughout all the seemingly unfathomable and impossible situations in which we found ourselves, it’s that she was never dishonest with me. Obviously, the answers I got at 15 weren’t phrased the same as they were when I was 5, but they were never dishonest and they were enough. And when the “why?” questions come up, it’s okay to say you don’t know. All you can be is there to the best of your ability and do what you feel is best. Some days will be easier than others, but you’ll most definitely raise them right, and they’ll grow up to respect and love you for all the care you gave them.

  5. Sheri / Nov 8 2012 8:30 pm

    I like what Oregon Sunshine said above. I would like to add this. It seems like your ex is a bad man. (Understatement.) But maybe he is not rotten to the core. Maybe he can find some way of using his remarkable talents as a photographer to do something to redeem himself while he is in prison. From what I have read, it certainly seems that he deserves to be there. But your children do not deserve to hate him. I hope for everyone’s sake that he can still somehow find some way to do something to redeem some part of himself. I hope that will be the case for all of your sakes. Perhaps he can never be completely forgiven. But maybe there is a way to forgive enough to have respect, if not love.

  6. Andrea Smith / Nov 8 2012 7:35 pm

    I know I would feel exactly how you feel, Maleesha. I’d be terrified of dying, of even driving on a daily basis. But you will do it. When you are going through hell, you have to keep on going….

    I think of you often, usually with a little prayer sent out to you and your children. If you need our group, you know where to find us. 🙂

  7. David / Nov 8 2012 7:29 pm

    Good and true comments up above. What an intensely moving post!

    What do you do? You just keep going. There is no choice. It’s awfully hard. You know … You also know that children are amazingly strong and adaptable, right? They can grow in unimaginable ways even when such dark shadows fall over their young lives. I’ve seen that happen.

    It’s hard to imagine something worse, but sometimes that exercise helps to ground out the spiral of depression.

    Like buckle boy says, you’re in our thoughts.

  8. Lydia / Nov 8 2012 7:20 pm

    I don’t feel “right” replying with too many words, since I didn’t really get a chance to know you well while shared the same circle. But know that your words brought instant tears, but also admiration, for the strength you have. The fact that you are even able to talk or write about it speaks volumes beyond volumes. It shows that you are strong enough to process it bit by bit. Many of us (at least I think I would) shut down in a sense. But that would just cause more damage – especially since you have to be all you can for your kids – and it is oh so clear that you are doing exactly that, and more. They will be okay – and so will you. Just keep talking and reaching out. Anything you feel is okay…just know that you are not alone. People that you are not expecting to be there for you, will be. I have probably said too much – just wanted to make sure you know how much you are in my thoughts.

    • libbybestul / Nov 8 2012 10:01 pm

      I totally identify with what Lydia said, may I just say DITTO and please know myself and obviously many others are happy to “listen” through your blog and hopefully that will give you an outlet and away to seriously stay sane. Peace be with you.

  9. Katharine Coldiron / Nov 8 2012 7:18 pm

    Exactly what Oregon Sunshine said.

    You know better than most people that life is usually what happens, not what you plan to happen. If any of those what-ifs come to pass, something else will happen instead. Your family or your friends or both will open their hearts to your kids, and your kids will be okay.

    Even if none of the what-ifs happen, that last sentence will happen anyway. You have love and they have love. What will happen will be terrible, and no one will deserve what they get. Least of all the little ones, who deserve nothing terrible. But it’ll all move forward.

  10. Lynne Diligent / Nov 8 2012 7:04 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about all this. I think you are doing an amazing job.

  11. Ignorethebucklesonmyjacket / Nov 8 2012 7:02 pm

    Your survival instincts as a mother for her “cubs” will help steer you in the right direction. Trust those instincts. Find a network of support for yourself…that might not be as easy.

    There are many of us who have grown to know you from a distance and have you and your family in our thoughts.

  12. Oregon Sunshine / Nov 8 2012 6:53 pm

    You will march along, just as other mothers of children who have never known their fathers do. Because, you will do what is necessary, and the “what ifs” be damned. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and teaching your children by example, by how you continue to live life to it’s fullest.

    Peace be with you, my friend.

    Semper Fi

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