By: Tracy Lee Kendall, Contributing Writer
Editor’s Note: Tracy Lee Kendall gave us permission to print this personal letter to his long-lost son, Kaleb, in hopes he will someday read it.
I hope this finds everyone there doing well.
I am your father and I have been writing to you for the last sixteen years with no idea if you have been receiving my letters. The last thing I received from you was a crayon drawing of me you sent when I was lacked up. I still have it.
The reason I am in prison is because I was convicted of first-degree murder due to an altercation during which a man lost his life around two years before you were born. I was sentenced to sixty years aggravated. While I did not set out to kill anyone, the decisions I made put me in that position.
Why did I live a life involved in drugs and crime? It was a combination of things. I thought I wanted to, but in actuality, I didn’t really know what I wanted in life. I also refused to grow up and take responsibility in a lot of ways I should have. None of this is how I wanted things to end up, but for some insane reason, I did not foresee the results of the lifestyle I was leading.
I was a very selfish person who could barely see outside of myself and I justified so many things that my judgment between right and wrong was blurred. And from that, I hurt a lot of people. By the time I realized the impact of my actions upon others and myself, it was too late to da anything to take back the things I had done.
It is hard to know what to talk to you about because I have not heard from you, nor has anyone told me anything about you in so long. I have never given up trying to find out anything I could about you. I have always loved you and wanted the best for you. I hope you are on your way to living your dreams and I know you are more than capable of achieving whatever you set your heart to do.
I do not feel you are obligated to communicate with me and I understand if you do not wish to. I will always wonder why you decided not to respond to my letters, but I understand how things can be complicated. I want you to know that I have never stopped trying to reach you in sixteen years of incarceration. I also want you to know that I really want to be a part of your life in whatever way I can.
I’m not going to try justifying anything and there’s nothing I would refuse to answer and if you wish to confirm anything, I can tell you who to speak with or the public records to review. Even if you care nothing for me, I hope you base your decision upon the truth about me and I am extending an invitation for you to get to know who I really am.
If you do not wish to communicate with me, I understand and will not bother you anymore. Just know that I love and believe in you.