A Raven 23 Update: “A Hard Pill to Swallow” Dustin Heard’s Letter
Hard pill to swallow and with pride in it.
I don’t remember the occasion exactly—but I was talking to my daughter—I was apologizing for not being there for something like a birthday or an important event in my children’s lives. My daughter is 14, going on 15 and my son will be 9 in a few days or just turned 9 depending on when you get this. When I was incarcerated they were 9 and 3.
I’ve spoken to other men that are in prison with me and I’ve heard time and time again, that your children can go from understanding to resentment for imprisonment and missing important things in their lives. This is one thing I’ve always worried about, with me being gone now 5 ½ years.
I know that my situation is considered different than most, going from fighting for our great country to being locked up for political gain. Going from war to a prison cell is not a easy transition for my family, especially my children, not being able to provide for my family now. With birthdays, Christmas and first day of school, it is tough being gone.
My daughter and I had a conversation about one of her friends whose father took his own life. My heart wen out to this little girl. I couldn’t imagine losing a parent or a child to something like suicide or just an accident. Well I was apologizing for missing something and my daughter said look Daddy, I know that you are not here for anything and have been gone for a long time, but you are still alive and we are still able to speak to you on the phone and visit you. I was speechless and she said it’s not your fault and it was more than some can say.
I was in a dark place in my life. I had just gone through a divorce and was feeling sorry for myself. I knew that I had a special little girl and was prouder than I can say.
So, I knew I had to put one foot in front of the other, pick my head up, hold it high, march on and fight this fight this fight until it’s over or I am dead.
I will say this has been a very humbling experience and a hard pill to swallow. Just know that things could always be worst and there is always something for you to keep fighting for so don’t give up.