The warmth of spring was beginning to elevate my nerves. I couldn’t wait for June 28th to come. I could go out on the yard and smoke cigarettes with the other inmates and talk of all the things I was going to do when I got out of prison. My sentence was short, just some shock time for a non violent charge that I was already on probation for, but had unfortunately violated. The whole experience of this is something that I, in my 30 years, never thought I’d live first hand. Considering the first time I was ever arrested was when I was 28. Needless to say, by the time I was 29 and facing my 30th birthday, I was no where close to where I wanted to be at the age of 30 and went into utter and complete self sabotage. This is just scratching the surface, in-a-nut-shell, quick rundown of what I was even doing on a prison yard. (More on this to come)
The weather was hot. Really hot for May and the beginning of June. I had decided not to hold resentments, but to move on, move forward, and serve productive time. I truly believed in my heart that in the grand paradox of this world as we know it… there was a significant reason that I was there. So that’s how I embraced each and every day. Positively speaking, it helped me through this tough time of my life, serving time, but truthfully, the inside of a prison killed a little part of my soul everyday, and I couldn’t wait to get out.
I spoke to my husband, Jake, everyday, and also my parents who were all supportive, loving, and just as excited to have me home as I was to be there. I had a job in the prison that I worked at about 30 hours a week. I also attended classes in the drug treatment program, as I am a recovering heroin addict. I stayed busy and I felt better than I had in years… mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was teaching a little and giving lectures toward the end of my sentence and I really enjoyed speaking and connecting with the others, hoping only to make a difference in at least one persons life. If I accomplished at least that, I was fulfilled and satisfied.
The afternoon of June 8th was a thursday. I was a mere 14 days to freedom and I was all lost up in my mind with thoughts of seeing Jake for the first time in over five months, and my brother, Dave, Mom and Dad. (Oh and my puppies too.. I have two dogs. The best two dogs in the whole world) I was planning out my summer of freedom to be the best summer I’ve seen in a long time! I had new appreciation for life. I had been extremely humbled by this experience. I was more patient, thoughtful, and aware of myself, and all of these things felt amazing to me. Also, I was able to fall asleep at night naturally and get through each day with out the use of heroin, and that in itself, is completely priceless to me. It had been years since I felt this healthy, normal, and put together all in one piece. I was alive again, and I was days from being reunited with my loved ones!
So it was thursday afternoon, on June 8th, when D.O.C (Department of Corrections) officers came to my housing unit and pulled me into a conference room. I had no idea what was going on. I thought maybe there is news from the Probation officer, the state? What..had no clue. I certainly had no clue that I was about to feel the worst pain I had ever felt, after receiving the worst news I could have ever imagined.
The conference room had a handful of people in it, all sitting around a white table with these solemn looks painted on their faces. My intuition knew that something, something was wrong, something was bad, and that I wasn’t there to receive happy news. There was a phone on the table, and the receiver was detached from the base and it was sitting on the table, waiting for me to pick it up. All eyes were on me, as I stared, suddenly introverted and scared, at the phone. I heard someone one say, “Jen, your father is on the phone…”
I picked the phone up. Dad’s voice came through like warm sunshine after a cold storm. It is his familiar tone, the deep, strong voice that had raised me and I had always looked up to and felt safe from anything, anything in this world that might hurt or frighten me. It was my Dad. I remember his words verbatim, but that’s where I keep them, in my memory, in my mind. My dad called the prison in Vandalia, Missouri to tell his daughter that our family of four was now just three. My brother, my little brother just two years younger than I, had been shot and killed in Kansas City just the day before.
The room turned white. My knees hit the floor and I dropped the phone. I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t see and I don’t remember much except not being able to breathe and feeling claustrophobic beyond alleviation. I could not go to my family. I could not run…. anywhere. I was trapped, in prison, with the tragic news that broke my heart.
My whole world fell apart in that conference room. I thought of many things. The last time I saw Dave. The last time we spoke on the phone. The last letters I wrote to him from there. And the tears never stopped because through all my thinking, I was slapped with the reality that I never get to see him or talk to him again. Ever. This still makes me fall apart, and probably always will. My brother and I were best friends. We were as tight as any two siblings could be, and always were, always would have been.
I remember what it felt like inside. What it felt like to be me all of a sudden. Like part of me had died, because that’s actually what happened. Dave was my other half, my blood, best friend, we knew each other better than anyone. The best way I can describe it is like a yin~yang. There is no yin without the yang. It has always been Jen and Dave, not just Jen. I went to prison with a brother and came out without one. I was, I am still, I will always be devastated.
I have been waiting to write about this since I got home. Hesitant to put pen to paper, to even type these words. I guess the reality of Dave being gone will never ever get easier, so now is as good as any time to write. Honestly, it’s hard to see in black and white. It is quite draining to write about this, but there is more to come.. It’s good for my soul to get these words out –
Dave ~ Bro.. I miss you more than words can describe. I would do anything… anything to bring you back. I. Miss. You. Everyday. ~Sis
My brother, my best friend, one of the smartest, funniest, and kindest people I have ever known.
David Lawrence Lefever
August 25, 1983-June 7, 2012