I wanted to write something about this being my 30th Christmas in prison. I had enjoyed just twenty-three Christmas celebrations before coming to Jail. I’ve talked about this time of year before and I wanted to recall a different aspect of it to share with you here.
Firstly, and I find this very hard to even admit, as each year passes I’m finding it harder to recall emotional memories of how it was outside during this festive period. I’d always believed those feelings of such intense happiness that I had experienced celebrating Christmas at home would remain with me, but sadly, as I grow old in prison so the memories have begun to fade.
Secondly, these fading memories make me feel ashamed as if I’m letting down my deceased family in some way. It seems odd to say this, and I’m not sure if I can put this into words properly—It’s as if somehow my fading memories of Christmas can be explained by saying they cannot have been as happy as I have portrayed them to be. Yet they really were happy times. Especially so when Daniel and Nicholas reached the age of two. The boys loved being at the farm at Christmas, we’d all sit around the kitchen table and make decorations. Colin and Sheila were both artistic so they out shone the rest of us by a country mile. But we’d spray paint pine cones with cans of gold and silver, and put together long lengths of paper chains whilst testing the quality of each batch of freshly made mince pies that mum kept taking out of the oven. The game was to distract mum’s attention in some way so that dad could palm a couple of mince pies off the cooling rack without being noticed, then pass them to each of us out of sight under the table. It seemed such great fun, and they did taste all the better for being obtained by stealth. I don’t doubt that mum knew exactly what was going on but played along because it was such fun.
Christmas celebrations in prison were once upon a time quite jolly affairs with the wings being decorated and a tree would go up too. The food from the hotplate/server would be a bit different and appropriately festive. We’d even be given little treats like a chocolate bar, a can of pop and a tangerine. Perhaps we’d put on a play and there would be various Christmas competitions where small prizes could be won. This sort of Christmas fun had almost completely disappeared by the end of the 1990’s for various reasons including cost cutting.
Christmas is now seen as just another day in prison, a milestone to be ticked as one less Christmas to do before the sentence is over. That does not apply to me.
I just feel blessed that I’ve stayed alive to see another Christmas pass knowing that this Christmas day I’m about to spend in jail could and should be the last one that I have to endure in here. It is such an odd feeling to think that I’ve endured 30 Christmas days but the facts now show that I should not have spent a single Christmas in prison.
I would like to wish all of my friends and supporters a happy Christmas in person and maybe next year I will be in a position to do this, I hope so. I’m going to stop here as it’s making me a bit depressed.
All the best for Christmas and New Year.