This week’s show revisits my 2014 interview with Bobby Payzant, an inmate at the Maine State Prison. We discuss the crime for which he is serving time, and his work as a hospice volunteer, giving care to inmates dying in prison. Bobby’s insights about the power of presence and open-hearted caregiving upended my notions of what it would be like to talk to someone convicted of a violent crime, and challenge the stigma our society places upon those with criminal records.
In this interview from 2011, I speak with Catharine Murray about how writing poetry helped her heal from a loss that initially felt unspeakable – the death of her 6 year old son. She explains how sitting down to write allows her to create a new space to work with her sadness, and she shares three poems that illustrate the evolution of her grief and her ongoing healing. Her story offers a novel approach to healing from all kinds of losses.
We continue our series on hidden feelings this week with two stories about guilt, the kind we feel when we believe we didn’t do enough at the end of a parent’s life. We’ll hear from people who were troubled by the way they failed to show up for their parents, and discuss the process of finding relief from that guilt.
In the second half of our conversation, poet Richard Blanco talks and reads poems about how he navigates the homophobia in his family and in the world.
This is part two of my conversation with Bobby Payzant, a hospice volunteer and inmate at the Maine State Prison. In this interview Bobby talks more about the deep remorse he feels for the man he assaulted, and how he has had to face himself during the many years he has spent in prison. He describes the decision he made to stop blaming others for his circumstances, and to start taking responsibility for his decisions. He talks about the many ways he is interested in healing, both through victim-offender mediation, but also through working toward a college degree and taking care of the dying. He talks about the importance of all those things that reconnect a prisoner with their own humanity, including being able to attend the wake for their own family members or for fellow prisoners.