By A. Hosack, P. Berman & K. Hecht
We are going to be talking about Larry again. Can I tell them everything? Can I let myself remember it all?
Claire knew this session was going to be hard like the last one. There would be so much pain in the room. Not the physical kind she had learned to endure as a child. The inside emotional kind of pain that she was still learning to recognize and reflect on. It was so hard to consider everyone’s welfare at the same time. She wanted Larry in her life so much but what about Larry’s impact on Davy? What about his impact on the Carsons? She was part of a family now and she finally knew what this meant. Whatever she did, it affected everyone else. Could Larry learn to think this way? To consider everyone and not just himself?
The session stared red hot. Mrs. Carson started with, “Claire, I just can’t stop thinking about it myself and I don’t know the answer, but maybe you do. Does Larry care about Davy, really care about him. I am afraid he only mentioned Davy in his letter in order to get on your good side.” Did Larry mean it when he praised Davy in the letter? That part hadn’t really sounded like Larry. Claire had been wondering a lot about whether the letter had been Larry’s idea at all; he had always hated to write anything.
Larry never wanted to be a father. He told me that over and over. Could he have changed his mind?
Claire let out a huge sigh and looked at Mrs. Carson. “I want him to care so much Mrs. Carson. I do,” Claire said, “all I really know is that Larry got very mad at me when I told him I was pregnant. He ignored me most of the time after that and didn’t come to the hospital when Davy was born. I don’t know if he even knew when I was in the hospital. (1-minute pause) But, he must have been investigating what was going on because he suddenly showed up at the Carsons. He had to have done a lot of work to find me because I know Ms. Alexandra would never have told anyone.”
“He worked hard to find you. (1-minute pause) What about Davy?” Dr. Berman asked Claire. “He came to get me, but he took Davy along with us when I showed up at the door with him. He didn’t tell Davy that he was his dad. He seemed to be ignoring Davy most of the time. He hit me because I was talking about Davy and this made him angry. (2-minute silence) Couldn’t he be thinking now, that he is in prison, that he made a mistake not wanting us to be a family?”
Dr. Berman asked, “Are there any signs, that this might be true?” (2-minute silence) “I might have believed he was interested, if instead of ending his letter with how hot Claire was, he had said something like, tell Davy I love him,” Mr. Carson said while looking intently at Claire. She nodded, “yes, that would have been good. Even if he had asked me a question about Davy.” (2-minute silence) Claire sobbed, “Couldn’t he be really missing me but still wondering how he feels about Davy? He did mentioned Davy in a nice way in the letter,” Claire said looking hopelessly at Mrs. Carson.
Mr. Carson was shaking his head back and forth, “Claire, when I first heard I was about to be a father, I was scared about whether I was ready, but I was so excited. I would have thrown myself in front of a bus to protect Mrs. Carson when she was pregnant. When the kids arrived, I fell in love with each one the first time I held them; each one was another miracle in my life. You and Davy are miracles in my life. Is that what you mean to Larry?
Claire was remembering her Davy as a baby; tears began coursing down her face. Mrs. Carson had moved her chair so she could pat Claire’s hand, “I want you to find someone like Mr. Carson. Someone you can develop a history with, but not a history that includes him hitting you or yelling and shoving Davy.” Mr. Carson took a deep breath and said, “When I heard you read that letter from Larry, I became so angry I could barely contain myself. His last words were that you were so hot. He didn’t say he was sorry he hit you. He didn’t say he was sorry he scared Davy. There was no sign in that letter he realized he deserved to be in prison.” Mr. Carson looked so angry, Claire was startled and disturbed. Her Mr. Carson was such a mild tempered person. He didn’t look like himself.
This is all my fault. I am hurting Mr. Carson. He has a heart condition- what if he dies because I have caused him so much stress!
“Your right Mr. Carson. He didn’t say he was sorry. I don’t know if he ever has said this to anyone in his life.” Claire said tearfully, “he had parents like mine. He didn’t have a father who considered him a miracle. He didn’t have a father who helped him learn what was the right way to be a man, like you are helping Davy.”
Mr. Carson could take a personal advocacy step and learn more about men like Larry. There are many ways people from the community can decrease the likelihood that men in prison will re-offend once they are released. For example, Mr. Carson could help men pass the high school equivalency test so when they are released, they have a better chance of getting a job. Every state has their own website for investigating volunteer opportunities in prisons. In Pennsylvania the site is: