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Mother's Day: An Unearned Good Bye Essay

1351 words - 6 pages

Mother’s Day if you ask anyone is a heartfelt day to express gratitude and loving

expressions to our mothers however, could you imagine instead exchanging unpleasantries or

good-byes? Amanda Coyne, author of the article “The Long Good-Bye: Mother’s Day in Federal

Prison,” shares her observation of incarcerated women, dealing with the difficult relationships

between them and their children. Coyne describes not only the emotions these women feel when

they are separated from their family’s, but also the thoughts and actions that provoke powerful

emotions from their family. She takes a first person experience, observing and studying the

difficult relationships present that day in the prison, and emphasizing with detail on a few inmates

with the common problem her sister faces.After reading the article, I could not be more

empathetic of the terrible circumstances these women face, their should be some kind of

exception for the children they have left behind. In the process of reading Coyne’s article I have

discovered a newfound appreciation for spending mothers day with my mother, nowhere near a

federal prison camp.
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The author shares a personal observation in the beginning of her article, that has to do with

the women wearing a gift of a flower received by their children. “ You can spot the convict-moms

here in the visiting room by the way they hold and touch their children and by the single flower

that is perched in front of them” (Coyne75). She describes how the convicted women graciously

accept the gifts from their children with no hesitation, how eager they are to compliment and

highlight the gifts they receive, and how they sniff their children more than the flowers they

receive. The reason why these women do this is clear, they have spent so much time separated

from their children that they need to use this emotional and short lived slice of time, to rekindle

their lost emotions in hopes that the feeling does not become nostalgia.

Through a brief interaction with another individual, Coyne describes the awkward

challenge the inmates and their family face of creating normal conversation:

We ask one another where we are from, how long a drive we had. An occasional

whistle through the teeth, a shake of the head. “My, my, long way from home, huh?”

“Staying at the Super 8 right up the road. Not a bad place.” “ Stayed at the Econo

Lodge last time. Wasn’t a good place at all” Never asking the questions we really

want to ask: “ Whats she in for?” “How much time’s she got left?” You never in the

waiting room of a doctor’s office either. (Coyne75)

The author then explains the different worlds between the outside world and the prison, allow for
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conversation that attempt to diverge from what they really want to ask. The author is greeted by

another inmate who describes to her how horrible prison conditions are...

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