After completing the novel, I truly felt like the journey was over. A person cannot imagine how difficult it is to be knocked back down continuously – recreate yourself in the process and then keep going. Like I figured before, I thought my release was happening once I made my first parole hearing. Due to Covid-19 I did not see anyone. I submitted a 80 page parole package with all my accomplishments inside. Since my mother was the ”per se victim’, she submitted a formal letter to parole.
Mr. Doelas, Johanna, Shapheka, Tray and others felt assured that I would be released. That did not happen. In fact I received a five year set off without any notice from anyone other than the same slip many others received: 2D nature of the offense and 3D continual criminal behavior. Ironically the first option can never change – in fact it’s actually a constitutional violation to be tried twice for the same crime a’la Double Jeopardy. The second is strange considering the only major case I received in 25 years was a possession of smoking tobacco- self consumption in 2007. I have not smoked since. The other infractions were minor and they were all spread apart by years. For instance, having a clothes line hanging up, not wearing a mask and so on. So the fight continues!
Sapheka, my daughter had become a powerful force. She doesn’t just talk, she walks the walk. In her excitement, that part of me is displayed. On the other end of the phone, she can’t see the tears rolling down my face. She is tough and I love her dearly. Trey, my son is a good guy and I love him as well. He has put forth a tremendous amount of efforts. Him and his wife.
My pastor and mentor
My pastor and mentor mr. Doelas is as passionate as ever. He has offered his entire family and resources to move the case forward as well as my writing career. Without his support the crawl up this mountain, would be insurmountable.
I reserved Johanna for last but not least. To have a true friend, a real warrior, has made all the difference. I met Johanna over twenty years ago and for a brief moment, I felt the brunt of loss which was due to her seeking a deeper religious understanding. In those few years, I felt real instability. This was ‘pre-children, pre-mr. Doelas, pre-anything’. In those moments I had to dig deeper than ever. Along the way I unloaded some broken furniture, dislodged myself from many other things. Then Johanna dislodged from religion and our friendship has flourished. I have never encountered magnificence in motion, almost poetry without words. It takes an incredible amount of patience to endure seeing someone you care about, endure the pains of prison life. She has through letters, cards, my family, endured without ever uttering a word of negative energy. Trying to replace her once before because I wanted something like her was nothing, a sort of a disaster. Her words to me after receiving the long set off were: ‘I’m hoping to live for twenty five more years so I can be there for you upon your release’. I melted.
True friendship, real friendship are rare – God has given me a few and I cherish them dearly. The rap group Whodini made a very popular rap song in the eighties entitled: ‘Friends’. The chorus was:
‘Friends, how many of us have them, friends, ones we can depend on … Friends.
Derrick L. Griffin, 13-01-2021