Home at Last


Tracy Brumfield

Author, Founder of RISE

The holidays are usually a time when families get together to celebrate, catch up, share gifts and eat a special meal. When my mom was alive, we would always gather at her house — mostly because she was such a great cook. But since she has been gone, my sisters have done their best to preserve her memory through her special recipes. It’s been one of the best things about the holidays: a hint of mom’s cooking. Being away from family, for any reason, is hard. But not being with them during the holidays is especially hard.

In 2012 I was sentenced to 6 months in prison, just before my October birthday. I was locked up for my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, and I felt extremely lonely and isolated. Now I do my best to remember that feeling, so I never forget how much being with my family matters.

For the first time in years I will be spending the holidays with them. It’s not that we live in different cities or that I never see them. It’s just taken years in recovery to earn back their trust, one at a time.

If you are reading this from the inside, I know that this time of incarceration, away from your family, is tough. However, I hope you see it as an opportunity to understand that feeling and remember it, because this time next year you don’t have to be away during the holidays. You can choose to rise up, work hard and spend it celebrating, and sharing with your family.

This, too, shall pass.