Looking Back by Fifi

IMG_1899

 

(The final of four new reflections from a Dutch women in a São Paulo prison.  We call her Fifi.  In this reflection, she keeps alive the memory of her son, Mikai who died within a week of his birth.  Please pray for the Fifi and her son Mikai.  Please also keep the incarcerated women in São Paulo’s prisons in your prayers.  Fifi has given her permission to share her reflection via this blog post although her name has been changed.)

Sometimes I am looking back to the worst moment (of my life) the death of my son and depression.  Then I start thinking; Wow, was I in my depression.

It is hard to lose your child and keep asking “Why?” and “Why me?”

I know now that he is healthy/happy and being taking care of.  Even if he is not here anymore, he is with me every moment of the day.  He is watching over me in my dreams, at work, everywhere I am.  One day I will be together with him and we will be a family again.

Him and God give me the power to get out of my depression.  I am thankful for that

Now I am only thinking about the nice moments we had together.  Today I am laughing and not crying.

Dear Mikai,

I am proud to be your mommy and to be called mommy (by you.)  Thank you Mikai, my beautiful son.  I love you!

Fifi

Advertisements

Stairs to Heaven by Fifi

 

IMG_1882

(The third of four new reflections from a Dutch women in a São Paulo prison.  We call her Fifi.  In this reflection, she sends a short note to her son, Mikai who died within a week of his birth.  Please think about and pray for the Fifi and her son Mikai.  Please also keep the incarcerated women in São Paulo’s prisons in your thoughts and prayers.  Fifi has given her permission to share her reflection via this blog post although her name has been changed.)

Everyone goes one day to heaven.  Some sooner than the others.

Children are meant to survive their parents.  They are not meant to go first.  Unfortunately, the Lord sometimes has other plans for the children. They go up the stairs of heaven first; before the parents.

One day they will all be together again when the Lord wants it.  When that happens, the parents go up the stairs of heaven and the child is waiting behind the gate.

Dear Mikai,

One day I will have you in my arms again when the Lord wants it. I love you.

Fifi

Just to Scream by Fifi

IMG_1793

The Meeting of the Rivers near Manaus Brazil.

(I received four reflections from Fifi (a Dutch woman) this week so I will post them over the next several days.  This is the 9th in a series of refections by foreign women prisoners in Brazil and the fifth by Fifi.  In this reflection, Fifi SCREAMS and then feels a little calmer.  I hope by writing her reflections she feels a little calmer too.  Please think about and pray for the author “Fifi” and all the incarcerated women in São Paulo’s prisons.  Fifi has given her permission to share her reflection via this blog post although her name has been changed.)

Anger/aggression/sadness and frustration; where is it coming from?  I have no idea but sometimes I just don’t wanna feel it.

Just to feel nothing for a short while, feel complete peace.

Only me in a place and to scream all the feelings out, letting myself go for one time.

To cry/laugh/scream, to throw everything out.  And to be calm again and to go to a fresh place in the world.

Fifi

Life Behind Bars by Fifi

 

IMG_1425

(This is the 8th in a series of refections by women prisoners in Brazil and the fourth by Fifi.  In this reflection, Fifi shares her feelings on her life in the Brazilian Prison and how prison life has made her more thankful for the small things inlife.  Please think about and pray for the author “Fifi” and all the incarcerated women in São Paulo’s prisons.  Fifi has given her permission to share her reflection via this blog post although her name has been changed.  Additionally, I have made some small edits for readably and added my own words in parentheses.

If you are inspired to comment on Fifi’s reflections, please add a supportive note in the comment section below and I will ensure she gets your comment.)

In the night I am thinking about my life.  I miss Holland.

The freedom to do what you want and go where you want.  Here you can only leave your cell when there is prison yard time, when you go to work or if you have to transit somewhere (like the medical unit or administration offices.)

That is when you are thankful for your life at home and for the luxury (of home) compared to prison

Here you learn to live differently.  You are thankful (for the small things on the outside), what you have, to go shopping when you want, and eat what you want.

Prison has helped me to think of my life, what I will change, and what to be really thankful for.  But everything happens for a reason.

Open (Prison) Doors

 

Prison Door 2.jpg

Photo taken in different prison and different time from the story below.

A recent post on one of my favorite blogs Inmate Blogger reminded me of an interesting story I would like to share with you.  The Inmate Blogger post provided important prison quotes/verses and asked its readers to share others with its audience.  Here is my favorite quote taken from one of the prisoners I met with last year and I shared via a comment on the post.

We were finishing up one of our religious visits to a Sao Paulo prison in the north of the city.  This particular prison is extremely overcrowded with 30-50 prisoners in cells meant for 10-15.  All the doors of the cells open to a large football field-sized courtyard where the prisoners can congregate and exercise outside of their cells. Unfortunately, the cell doors (of bars) are only open for roughly 10 minutes in the morning to let the prisoners out.  If the men do not leave their cells during this “open period,” the cell doors close again quickly and they are locked in their cells for the rest of the morning.  So roughly half of the men, those who left their cells during the “open period,” are in the prison courtyard while the others are locked in their cells.

We spent about an hour in the cellblock reading the Gospel, reflecting on its powerful message and praying with the men in the courtyard and any others locked in their cell who could watch and listen to the liturgy through the cell bars.  As we were making our way to the exit after our visit, one of the prisoners who we were praying and visiting with, looked at me with his eyes firmly planted on mine and said, “Thank you for coming. Our doors are always open for you.”

Wow!  I was immediately stunned and noted the irony.  Here is a man locked up everyday for most of his 24 hours and he was telling me his doors were always open to us.  I thanked him for the very warm response to our visit and shook his hand before the guards closed the cellblock doors behind us.

Its hard to describe the hospitality and welcome we receive when we make our visits to the prisons, but this one quote is still the most beautiful thing any prisoner has ever said to me.

Depression by Fifi

IMG_0304

(This is the 7th in a series of refections by women prisoners in Brazil and the third by Fifi.  In this reflection, Fifi shares her feelings on depression and more importantly how she can help others with their own depression.  Please think about and pray for the author “Fifi” and all the depressed women in São Paulo’s prisons.  Fifi has given her permission to share her reflection via this blog post although her name has been changed.

If you are inspired to comment on Fifi’s reflections, please add a supportive note in the comment section below and I will ensure she gets your comment.  

What is depression?  I have no idea but I experience it with a lot of “ups and downs.”

One moment I am happy and the next moment angry…and sad.  There are many feelings of pressure on both my body and mind; sadness, anger, frustration, happiness, disappointment…all in my mind as well.

The only way to handle it is to find a way to stay calm and talk to somebody.  Other ways to stay calm are by writing and coloring.  Everyone has their own way. And a lot of people (in prison) don’t dare to come out of their depression, because there is no need.

Also, here you can come out from your depression, but it takes some time.  And once you are out of it, and you are your “old self” again, you can be proud of yourself.  And you must be stronger!

So I want to tell everyone who has the same depression, “Don’t be ashamed of yourself.  You are not alone.”

I wannna ask those people to write something about their depression and their experience so we can share together and (work) to achieve to be better in life.

The Loss of a Loved One by Fifi

IMG_0031

(Tiago’s note–This is the sixth in a series of refections by women prisoners in Brazil and the second by Fifi.  The women have given their permission for this blog post although their names have been changed.  In this reflection, Fifi shares the feeling of loss after losing her one-week old son shortly before coming to prison.  Please think about and pray for the author “Fifi” and her angel.  Pray for the thousands of women in prisons who also desperately miss their loved ones.)

When you lose a loved one, it is very painful.  It is like they take a piece away from your life.  For some, its easier to get over than another; everyone is different.  The pain will never go away, but you will learn to live with and handle it.

The moment the person you lose is going to heaven, it is better but still very painful for the loved ones left behind.  Everybody handles the grieving process differently.

In your mind, you know its better that your loved one has gone to heaven, but in your heart you want something else.  Your loved one has no more pain and can be happy in heaven; away from your life they are actually nearer.  I know that I will always have the new angel with me and he will watch over me.