Alicia was my first.
Four years ago, unsure of anything having to do with prison, I reached out to Alicia, who had been incarcerated for a few years at that point, since her early 20s. She was my first pen pal, and opened me to a friendship I never expected and, eventually, a book I never knew I'd write.
She turns 30 in two weeks and will receive a parole decision around the same time. She has been denied parole several times, but she's finally been moved to a work-release prison, so we're praying this time is finally THE time.
Along the way, I've shared my journey with Alicia with my mom. While my mom rarely talks about it, she has taken up the mantle, too, and sent "motherly love," as she often writes, to several of my pen pals, which she has taken on as her own.
One of those pen pals is Alicia, who my mom has been quietly writing to for years.
My mom finds peace in her garden. It is where she lets go of any tension from the day and feels at home, rooted in the earth. Years ago, she shared this with Alicia, who said she also loves to garden and misses it. Since then, my mom has had a handmade plaque hanging above one of her gardens. It says, "Alicia's Garden."
So I wanted to share a recent card Alicia sent my mom, to celebrate both of them and the way my mom, with her gentle and unconditional love, has nourished others more than she knows.
Inside a card that says, "Friendships are like flowers whose seeds develop and grow," Alicia wrote,
"This card is perfect for you. As you spend time in your garden know that I'm spiritually with you. I hope you're enjoying your summer and watching your garden blossom. You have been amazing to me and I appreciate all your love, motivation, and motherly love."
"With love and great energy, Alicia."