Now and then I hear a parent in a meeting talk about the collect calls they receive from jail. In fact, tonight at my meeting a woman was speaking about the recent collect calls her son had been making from the county jail. She mentioned that there really isn't a lot to talk about when he calls and that sometimes she just feels depressed after speaking with him. I remember all too vividly the overwhelming sadness I felt the first time I accepted a collect call from my son who was locked up. He was frightened and begged me to get him out. It was heartbreaking but I knew he needed to stay where he was. When I hung up the phone that day I vowed to never again accept a call from a correctional facility.
Today as I walked into a public restroom I heard a mother accepting a collect call from her son. I am not sure she realized that she was on speaker phone but I could hear both sides of the conversation. The young man sounded cheerful and happy to hear his mother's voice, the mother on the other hand seemed surprised and a bit weary. She told him she had expected him to call this evening. She then went on to say that she would put money on his books later this afternoon.
Only a parent who has been through the minefields of addiction would understand what was behind that brief encounter between a mother and her child. I walked out of that restroom and said a silent prayer for that mother and her son.