How Incarceration Impacts Friendship

The other day I was on a date and I was talking about my best friend. My date asked me “What makes y’all best friends? I told him, “That’s a loaded question, and we don’t have time to cover it right now.”

My BFF has been my best friend for over 25 years. We were best friends in Junior High School. We used to dress alike, and hold hands while we walked from the bus stop after school. We were inseparable.

God proved his love when he placed her in my life. She is my daughter’s God Mother and I am her daughter’s God Mother. We are more like sisters than friends.

During the 18 years of my incarceration we never allowed our bond to suffer. I often felt sad, lonely and abandoned, but I always knew my BFF was in my corner.

I asked her to talk about what it was like for her when I went to prison. She sighed and said:

When you went to jail I lost a sister and a friend. I had to start all over with trusting and establishing friendships. It has been over 20 years, and I never found a friend. None of the people I met ever made the cut. Our childhood experiences bonded us. We didn’t have a perfect relationship, but we always knew we had to put differences aside and put our bond first. We learned how to work through adversities.

I asked her if she ever thought my sentence would come to an end. She replied:

I always knew. I always had hope that you would come home. I was hoping for your freedom thinking about your children, family and friends. It impacted us as a whole. You were not the only one going through it in there. I was frustrated and worried for your safety.

Many of nights I tried to imagine what you were doing, what survival mode you were in, and whether or not you were at peace. I handled it by talking to people. There was never much I could do because I was young with two kids. I was in my own struggle. I thank God that we always maintained communication and you always knew where I was. You always knew I was a phone call away.

I couldn’t send you lots of money, but I was there. Now I’m just so happy to have my best friend home. It’s like being a kid again. It’s a miracle. I’m at a happy place in my life and it feels good to have my BFF in a happy state in her life. I always say, “It’s not how the book begins, but how the book ends.”

Life is good for me because you are home now, my children are well, my career is blossoming and I’m living to the fullest. To God be the Glory. Forever More!!!

You may be interested in  Needing, Making, and Keeping Friends

How to Survive Prison: Making friends with prison staff and handling it right




About Lashonia Etheridge-Bey

Lashonia Etheridge-Bey is a Public Speaker who can candidly and articulately speak to the consequences of youth violence, the effects of incarceration and the challenges of reentry into society. Read Lashonia's Full BIO Here 

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