Journal Entry: Melinda Bixler-08/21/2023-One More Day

Journal Entry

Tomorrow, I surrender to federal prison, FDC Philadelphia. In a million years, I never
would’ve thought I’d be someone who’d go to jail, much less federal prison. I’m feeling
every emotion possible and I’m trying to remain strong. To whatever extent possible, I’m
trying to minimize the further grief this is causing my family. In some ways, I know we all
feel a sense of relief as we enter this next chapter.
As I’ve attempted to navigate this past 3 ½ years, my family has endured every moment
of uncertainty that I have. Although I’m the convicted criminal they’re also being
punished and it isn’t fair. While I’m all too familiar with the phrase “Life isn’t fair,” this
level of unfairness far exceeds the weight and meaning it’s previously had. Of every life
regret, this is by far the greatest.
Not a day has passed when I don’t reflect on the decisions that I made five and six
years ago that led me to this point. In so many ways that woman is unrecognizable. I
can only hope that someday I find peace and stop asking myself, who was I? – How did
I get here? At what point did I lose myself? – And, why? Despite going to live in
deplorable conditions where all liberty and dignity is lost, I can’t imagine there being any
punishment greater than self-inflicted punishment. I’m sorry for things I’ve done in my
past. Not just my crime, but the disappointment others have felt as a result of me.
It saddens me that anyone would feel joy over someone else’s pain, yet I know there
are people who believe I deserve it. While I’ve wished they’d consider that all of us are
the sum total of the things we do in our lives, and aren’t defined by only our poor
decisions, I fully realize that not everyone shares my beliefs. This reality will not deter
me from pursuing further enlightenment In some ways, it only strengthens my drive.
Yesterday, I spent time talking with each of my kids. It’s remarkable how loving they are
when it would be so easy to justify hate. Each one is grieving, and it breaks my heart.
I’ve always considered myself to be the mom who loves and supports her children
unconditionally. I never considered that I would be the cause of the hardest times in
their lives. There are no words.
Intertwined with all the emotion is a sense of optimism. I’m looking forward to beginning
this sentence so I am closer to the end. I look forward to putting this behind me and
becoming a more valuable member of society. I’m not comfortable being idle or
stagnant so I plan to keep busy while inside.
I’m hopeful that I can tutor women who are pursuing education. I respect that they
continue pushing forward when quitting would require less effort. I hope I can offer
inspiration to even one woman, so she leaves and never returns to prison. Before she
leaves, I’ll her create a plan for success after prison. I pray she makes more of her life
than she ever believed was possible.