When someone else is facing hardships or enduring a tragic situation; we may at times find ourselves thinking, “I wonder how she/he is handling that situation, it has to be hard.” Yet we believe or perhaps hope that it will never happen to us.
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to a young lady who had a story she wanted to share and wanted it to be made public. While speaking to her, I noticed that she used Biblical expressions often throughout her conversation. She was clever and selective in her words; I was impressed. She proceeded by telling me about a bad past experience she had with one of her sons.
In 2012 her second to the youngest son, Tony Harris was sentenced to 55 years in Menard State Prison following an incident involving a police officer that occurred here in Peoria. The Mother of this young man is Demetria Williams who now lives in Decatur, Illinois. Though it was her son who was incarcerated, she felt that she also was imprisoned. Losing her child to the Justice System had left her feeling lost. She indicated that we may prepare our children to go out into the real world or prepare them for college, but how do we prepare them to go to prison?
There was not a day that passed that she did not think of her son and how much she loved him. She hoped and prayed that he would someday come home. Though Tony also felt lost and alone in this world, he confessed to his mother that his being In Prison saved his life. He went on to say that had he not gone to Prison he may have been killed in the streets.” Psychologically, although he was incarcerated, in his mindset he was free. Demetria states she felt her life was turned upside down during this difficult time and being without Tony placed her in very dark place. Nevertheless, she held on to God’s unchanging hand. She became more involved in the church and the Word of God and as a result found herself becoming stronger. Then she was able to talk to others about where freedom starts and also remind them that mistakes do not have to hold you down forever.
When asked if there was anything that she gained from this negative experience; she stated that she learned to trust God and to know that He is her strength in the times of trouble. In addition, it taught her how not to judge or misjudge her children as well as others, but to make them aware of their mistakes. She stated that she would never turn her back on her children, no matter the circumstance.
Tony has been locked up since 2012. He has spent six long years incarcerated only to be declared innocent, states Demetria. On August 1st of 2018 he was found “not guilty” of attempted murder but yet still charged with the gun, according to his mother. It is an awful experience for her to be separated from Tony this long, but what’s worse is that the “not guilty verdict” was never made public.
Demetria has written a book in regards to this incident entitled, “Prison Mom” and it can be purchased at Barnes & Noble Book store. Pick up your copy today and share in the reflections of Demetria’s true inner feelings.