Blog by Zach Part One
This is part one of a blog by a brave young man called Zach, who describes his experiences when his Dad was in prison
November 27th 2013 was the day my life changed for good. My Dad and I were in London for 6 days for his work. The day before he had gone to jail we were in Winter Wonderland, it was coming up to Christmas, this was one of my core life memories. I remember saying
to my Dad, “thank you, I never want to lose you” After that day we had gone home and started to watch TV, sometime later we went to bed. At 7:00am the police had stormed through the door, my heart was racing when they got my Dad and they escorted him outside to the car. After they had finished talking they put him into the car (me also). As we got to the police station, I remember feeling really unsafe as my Dad was taken away. My Dad had been in jail for 2 weeks when my Mum said that dad was going to be away for a while. When my Mum said this I cried my eyes out. I felt so sad that I could not eat or drink, I also had to have some days off school. As I got a little better my friends asked why I was so sad, I said that my dad had gone away.
My school gave me a letter explaining about Barnardo’s support for offenders families. I took it home to talk to my Mum about it. At first I thought, I don’t want to talk to a stranger, but I felt comfortable when I did meet her. This helped me so much through the rough times, when I felt I didn’t want to talk to anyone but my Mum. When I spoke to my Dad on the phone I felt like I wanted to talk to him for years. Every Monday was the best day; it was when I could share my emotions. Susi helped me by playing memory games, this helped me share my feelings and share how it made an impact on me. This was one of the best things that happened to me. Susie helped to build my confidence so that I could talk to others, not just her and my Mum.
We had been doing this for a while and it had helped me a lot but I still felt that I couldn’t talk about my feelings in detail with friends and even my family. One day Susie and I were in a session when she asked me if I would like to meet up and talk to a girl whose Dad was
in jail like mine. This helped so much as I had someone to refer to who felt what I felt. Dad told me in one of his letters that we could start family day visits. He had taken a 6 week course to make it happen with a member of prison staff called Claire. Claire had worked with lots of other Dad’s that didn’t want their sons and daughters to experience a normal prison visit. I felt so shocked when I first read this, I was excited to finally see him again after all this time. It was the day of our visit, I went up to the Prison to see him. My Mum and I had waited in the waiting room for 1 hour, it was worth the wait to finally see my Dad. I had to go through the metal scanner where I had to put all my metal belongings in a tray, it didn't beep for me when I walked through.
When my Mum and I had gone through, we were walking with a group of people that had family members in prison too. As we were walking to the door to the prison’s family area, I saw dogs with the officers from the second I walked through the door. My heart was racing what felt like millions of mph. I saw him across the room, my Mum, Dad and I all had massive smiles on our faces. I ran up to him and gave him the biggest hug I could.
(some names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy)