Journal – December 20th, 2019

It’s been a few days since I sat down to write. I have been taking a little time off and reading and resting a lot. This past Monday I woke to a bunch of noise and activity at 5 am. As we were suddenly informed we were being allowed to go to commissary.

Friday 20th December 2019 at 10 pm.

Songs : “Breakdown” and “Freefalling” by Tom PETTY)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsKsFU766Io

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lWJXDG2i0A

“You are changing in beautiful ways. You are not who you used to be. You are growing wiser every day. You are stronger than you think”. Morgan Harper Nichols.

It’s been a few days since I sat down to write. I have been taking a little time off and reading and resting a lot. This past Monday I woke to a bunch of noise and activity at 5 am. As we were suddenly informed we were being allowed to go to commissary. We had about 20 minutes to write our lists and give them to the guard. At about noon we got our purchases that Monday. So things got better for us after a month of no commissary. It felt like Santa Claus had come and delivered big fat sacks of goodies.: coffee, chips, ramen noodles, cookies, and more. If you had money to buy it! Haha! I think everyone was blessed and we all got a bag. It’s nice to have some extra snacks, plenty of soap and coffee. I worked at switching my mindset back to “Christmas mode” and I am feeling good again- even grateful for my blessings in life. We are still confined to our cells and on lockdown as the guards are completing their shakedown in the general population part of the prison unit. But getting commissary this week was a blessing and helped us all feel better about our situation. I went to visit today at 11 am to see Glenna and when I got out there, I learnt that 2 of my attorneys are also here to visit with me separately. So I proceeded to stay out in the visit room until 4:30 pm. I was happy to see everyone and have my Christmas visit with Glenna and laugh and enjoy my time with her. And my legal team keeps working and continues to find things that will be of use later on. I went 18 years with terrible legal representation and now I have an amazing team. For me, that is a huge blessing and I am so very grateful for that. Everyone feels that it’s just a matter of time before great news comes our way. I cannot wait. It is amazing to have a group of legal professionals working for my freedom and rest easy knowing they got my back. So now, another weekend and I will do some writing and reading. I smile when I think that I am on Christmas holiday. Newt week, this place will be shut down for Christmas and I intend to enjoy that as much as possible.

Saturday 21st December 2019 at 12:00 (Noon)

song: “Better” by Khalid

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3bfa3DZ8JM

“If there is at least one person you’ve helped in your life, then your life has been worthwhile”. Lawrence Sydney ABEL

This morning we woke up to the guards asking guys if they were going to recreation! Meaning we are off lockdown and will get recreation and showers as is the normal routine. And Saturdays are my days to go outside. After a month in this cage I am so ready to get out. Well about 11 am they stopped everything. I don’t know why but that is what has come to be expected here. Good thing is they have run out of excuses to lounge around and do nothing, and sooner or later I will get out of this cell. So that is a little blessing that will eventually get to me and I’ll enjoy it.

So, Christmas week will essentially shut this place down. I have heard most employees will work Monday and Friday. I’m sure mail will be non-existent here during this period. And then before we know it it will be 2020! Now that is rather difficult to believe. I once read that the reason time seems to pass by faster as we grow older is because we do not pay as much attention to what is going on in life. When we were kids, everything is new and we are amazed by it all. But when we’re old, we’ve seen it all over and over and we ceased to be amazed. So days, weeks, months seem to slide by, but in some regards, the days seem to last forever. I think it’s like that when you love someone and they are gone.

Sunday 22nd December 2019 at 9 am

songs: “When I was your man” and “Just the way you are” by Bruno Mars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekzHIouo8Q4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhCEhWiKXk

“After all, there are no mistakes ion life, only lessons!” Lynda Renham.

Sometimes it’s very hard to not feel like our lives are not filled with a million mistakes. Especially when you’re in a cell on Texas death row, dealing with all that life chooses to throw at you. I was up at 6 am this morning to listen to my favourite NPR (National Public Radio) program: “On being with Krista Tippet”. It was a rerun of an interview with Fr Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest who runs “Homeboy industries” in Los Angeles, California. It’s so good I listened to it again, for the 4th time I think! So, Father Greg was sharing about some desert people somewhere and how when it gets difficult for them they have a mantra and it is “Today!” That’s it. No worries or thoughts of anything else except getting through today. And man, that’s how I deal with so much here, because it’s not getting better for us here. It’s getting worse and that fact can be overwhelming, but when I feel the anxiety and stress building, I take deep breaths and tell myself: “Today. Now. Here. This.” Because that’s all that matters and experiencing this moment this day is what I need to focus on. At 1 pm I just got back from outside recreation. This sky was blue and the sun was shining, and it was a cool 45° F (7,22 ° Celsius). I loved it. In this bizarre world called Texas death row, where I am, we are not scheduled to go and don’t go when we’re supposed to go. After 21 days locked in a cage that’s 9 X 12 feet in size, getting out felt wonderful. I went out with a friend, and it feels like we are stuck in a comedy/reality program on TV here all we do is laugh at the insanity of all that’s happening around us. I am grateful I can laugh and not be raging about it. Laughing is acceptable and anger is not. I still ask myself what the difference is going from a 9 X 12 feet cage to a 30 X 40 feet one? Why does it feel different? I don’t have an answer for that other than it just does and I am grateful for my blessings, even the small ones like that. And to be honest, I expect no one who is not in a cage like I am, to really understand. I made that big mistake this past summer, thinking a close friend could understand that, and take it into consideration, when I get off balance. But no, it does not work like that and they quit on you instead. But that’s life, sometimes, and we just have to keep on pushing forward.

Tuesday 24th December 2019 at 6pm

song: “Santa and his old lady” by Cheech an Chong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nwIYXqH3RQ

“Happiness is only real when shared” Jon Krakaver.

Ready or not, Christmas is here! I find myself at my table with pen and paper in hand. I have a hot cup of coffee with cream and sweetener and my radio playing Christmas music. For those who don’t know, Elvis is my N°1 singer of Christmas music. I think I got that from my father Catarino. He loved the old school Christmas songs. They sure do sound goo, and they remind me of home. Home was my parents house, one that when you enter it, smells of the Christmas feast being prepared would greet you. Tamales, turkey and dressing, baked ham and sweet smells of pies and cakes too. There was always a 6ft tall Christmas tree with lights and decorations in the living room. Dad was a big fan of Christmas, so there was always a big production, music, lights inside the house and outside too. I loved the lights and he would have the lights put up for me and I loved it. By Christmas eve, the family was near and would meet at our parents house. And family was what Christmas was all about. My superhero attorney Gretchen tells me I was given unconditional love by my parents and this is why I give such love in return. And while Mum and Dad are gone, they continue to live inside me. I like that thought. I am grateful that “Wreaths across America” placed a wreath on every grave site in the Veterans cemetery in Dallas, where Mum and Dad rest. They are loved and remembered by many. Especially me! Merry Christmas everybody! I love you all.

Wednesday 25th December 2019 at 9 am

song: “White Christmas” by Elvis Presley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_AdqNDrdbI

“The best gift you can give is your presence, your time, your love. A gift from the heart with no thought of reward.” Rachel Ridder.

Christmas morning. The big day is here and I hope everyone is happy and warm and with family and friends, sharing good food and drink and enjoying each others company. I am grateful that I have seen another Christmas and I remain healthy and whole and have so many friends who care for me and I for them. In my world, it is 70° F today (21° Celsius) today and we have not been allowed to get out of our cells for recreation. And it would have been nice to get outside and breathe fresh air. Another day, another day. We were able to shower, so that is good and I am grateful for my blessings, even the small ones too. It’s afternoon now and we have had lunch (which was not very impressive, that’s why I do not mention it!) I have listened to Christmas stories on NPR and enjoyed that a great deal. I remember telling my mother about a lesson this place has taught me. We have to go out of our way and make time for our family and loved ones. Because one day, that person will not be here to spend time with. One day we’ll all be gone from this earth. At times, Mum could hold a grudge and not let a slight go and I am just like her. that’s something I have to work on. I am thankful my parents knew I loved them and I know they loved me. So, Christmas 2019 has been a peaceful one and I am grateful for that. And one last time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2020 to all!

One thought on “Journal – December 20th, 2019”

  1. Charlie, your words are very uplifting. I’m so thankful that you have learned to accept each day there and make the best of it, and try to be positive. I was sorry to hear that Lily had passed. She was a good neighbor. I remember going over to watch her make tamales at Christmas time. Never realized till then how much went into it.
    My family is doing well. My husband Roy has memory loss which is progressive. We experienced the loss of our granddaughter Amy, in November 14 of 2018. She left behind three boys 21, 14, and 13. She lived in ND. We are learning to cope with loss as well. With Gods help we continue to go forward.
    I’m praying that in the near future you will be given your freedom and gound not guilty. You will always be
    (in my mind) that cute sweet little boy that I use to keep when you were probably around 4 years old. (and couldn’t speak Spanish!!) May God continue to bless and keep you in His care. With love.

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