I hadn't told mom about Jeffrey. I was afraid of her reaction, and assumed she would judge him, and my decision to be with him. I don't know why I always expect the worst reaction from her. I got completely the opposite. Her compassion for mistakes in youth, believing in second chances and redemption shouldn't have surprised me, but they did. She listened to why I love him, and said "He reminds you of dad, doesn't he?" He does. Very, very much.
I had been tormented about it for months, and wanted to tell her and dad when I came home in July this year for dad's birthday. I didn't get to tell dad about him, and I will always regret having that secret from him, especially because Jeffrey brings me so much joy. I may have gotten a quiet head shake of disbelief in the beginning, but he always believed in me, and I would hope he knew that he raised a person that learns from her mistakes, and that this wasn't going to be one of them. They would have had so much to talk about, had they been given the chance to meet. I know dad would have been so happy to see me so in love.
Spending time with Jeffrey always makes my heart grow to 10 times it's size, and then breaks when I have to leave him. He is the hardest working person I know, who is continually learning and curious, and also always improving who he is as a human in this world. if there is a story about redemption and rehabilitation out there better than his, I'd be floored. He is the first person to see me in the way I see myself. He challenges me to always be my best, and he is continually setting that example for me. He truly has my heart, and I hope to always have his. I don't believe in forevers, but he is making me love the right now, more than I ever thought I would.
*Photos taken by his fellow inmates, over the last two years.*