I chose that title for today's Christmas blog because I do believe it is a wonderful life, and it's much too short. The Frank Capra Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" was a reminder to: 1) never underestimate the good you have done and the good you can do in the world, 2) be grateful for the love you have, and 3) be grateful for whatever you do have, it could be much worse!
Every day I get letters written by strangers whom I have never met reminding me I am loved, and I am blessed. I have an incredible wife who loves me, and wonderful friends, some well known, many others I have never met. I've had an incredible life, and as I approach the half-way mark of my sentence in 14 days, I am full optimism and joy inside.
I am also blessed to know others who care for me, and in their letters with their heartfelt sympathy for me, they reveal without complaint, just how challenging life can be.
I've included selections of letters I've received in recent weeks. These are only just snippets of longer messages; much of their letter that expresses sympathy for my situation is not included, because that's not what my message for this Christmas is about. I am grateful for the 3,500+ letters I have received in my nearly two years in jail now, and especially appreciative of the intimate and sincere real life stories that people all over America, Canada and the world share with me. I am honored to be considered such a friend as to be privy to such experiences.
From Catherine & Hector in Ontario, Canada:
"I frequently visit and shop on the CC site and have read up on yours and your wife's fight. I have been moved to tears reading your blogs and admire and am inspired by the love that is so evident between you & Jodie. In a world filled with so much injustice, I cling to the most positive thing I have — the unconditional & unwavering love and loyalty of my spouse. I am the sole caregiver to my husband Hector who is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Please know in your darkest moments that there are strangers (like us) who keep you in our prayers and are sending you moments of comfort and good chi. You are an inspiration to many and your fight is not in vain. We are counting down the days to your release.
Cat & Hector
P.S. Hector is wearing your t-shirt right now."
From Samantha in Texas, with a darling photo of children Marley (4) and Emery (1 1/2):
"I think you are inspirational and I love reading your blog seeing how positive you remain in your circumstances. I sent you a picture of my two boys Marley who is four and Emery who is 20 months. Emery is named after you. When I was pregnant with Emery my husband and i battled over his name. He wanted to name him Young and I went everywhere from Geddy to Raine to Elwood. anything but Young. About a week or so before i went into labor he brought up your name "Emery". Finally we agreed! Well, almost.. He wanted Young Emery Hott. I wanted Emery Raine Hott. A few days after that decision was made I was woke up in the morning by a phone call telling me my husband was in an accident on his way home from working overnight and had been taken to a hospital downtown. Not having another car I finally got hold of my Mom at work to drive me to the hospital with Marley who was 2 1/2 at the time. We sat in the waiting room forever. They would send in a Chaplain to talk to me then a doctor spoke to me. I couldn't understand a word the doctor said. They took me to see my husband and it wasn't what I expected. Breathing tubes. A nurse had closed his eyes so they wouldn't get dry. I refused to leave his side. I sat up all night jumping at every noise thinking he was going to come out of where he was. He was in a coma. Two days later I'm still in the room and a nurse rolls a wheelchair into the room. She said it was for me, in case I needed it. I wobbled out to the waiting room. I was exhausted. I went into labor then. I was forced into the wheelchair and downstairs to delivery. The baby arrived and I chose Emery Young Hott. My husband remained in a coma for 100 days before he passed. This isn't a story that is meant to make anyone sad. I am more resilient than I thought. My car was totalled. My family moved me out of my duplex and into their house because I wouldn't be able to pay rent now that I couldn't go back to work, what with having a baby and being at the hospital so often. Not all was lost though, I still had my two boys… I hope both my boys grow up with a strong will to follow their hearts and always fight for what's right. I hope your sentence goes quickly. I know Jodie will miss you terribly. I sure love watching her interviews. She handles every interview with so much grace. I hope your holidays are as good as they can possibly be, and thank you again for all your hard work for this cause."
From Shannon, in San Jose, California:
"…It must be hard to be away from family in there. This past February my cousin found me on the internet after 25 years. My Dad went into a coma when I was one year old. Shortly after that, my mother was accused of being the cause. So I lost contact with Dad's side of the family. I must say, since I have met my cousins and one of my aunts from my father's side of the family recently I know where I get a lot of my personality from. I finally got to see my Dad recently in the hospital. It was a very awkward moment to see my Dad alive and hooked up to machines to keep him alive. I realized looking at him that I looked a lot like him. I don't know if he could hear me, but I told him he was a grandfather of a beautiful grand-daughter. I must say it was hard growing up with just my mother. Mom was always busy with work just to make ends meet. We lived with my grandma until she passed away when I was 16. She was more of a mother to me than my own Mom. I feel I made a good choice in life with the man I chose to be with and have a family with, considering I didn't have a father in all that time. I always get mixed emotions on how I feel about seeing others with both parents around…"
From Cathy in Rio Linda, California:
"All of you who have fought for patients' rights are my heroes. I have a disease called Von Hipple-Lindau. This disease creates tumors throughout my body. I have lost both of my kidneys, my thyroid glands, half my pancreas, my right eye and my uterus. I did get a kidney transplant so I have one now. Now hows that, for Pete's sake. After all that, authorities in California are telling me I can't use marijuana. Go figure! Well, I am sure you know I am not listening to those authorities… In your band, please sing a song for me. I too think that Mrs. Emery is pretty incredible. I hope to meet her one day soon.
Take care & Peace to you,
From Tom in Covington, Washington:
"The most recent chapter of my service was in the military, the US Army, in Alaska. I was in a high speed airborne recon outfit, and a 14-month tour of Iraq. I was honorably discharged in 2009 with a nagging low back pain and Post-traumatic stress Disorder. Today, like so many veterans, I have mixed thoughts on my service. I think I joined up partly to escape rocky family situations. My Dad was having trouble dealing with, at age 42, Huntington's Disease; its a horrible genetic disease that took the joy from his father's latter years, and was now profoundly affecting Dad. The last few years I've become a cannabis activist like you! But its strange how life is. In a few hours after putting these words on paper to you, I am taking a medical test to find out if I have Huntington's Disease. I'm scared, but I feel I must know. Any well-trained paratrooper keeps a steady hand on his reserve parachute. My reserve parachute is my cannabis oil medicine research. Whatever the test result, I believe it is paramount to our family that we search for any possible cures to Huntington's Disease. My Dad didn't express views on cannabis, and sadly he deteriorated until he took his own life 6 months ago in May. So this medical marijuana issue fuels a fiery passion for justice to a degree most people can't fathom. I'm grateful for the sacrifice you make on a daily basis and pray for similar courage in the next chapter of my life. Since I get medical care from the VA, I will take this opportunity to reform the VA's drug policy. I'm so sick and tired of the crappy opiates I'm hooked on for my pain. I'm hoping strong quantities of cannabis will end up helping me clear the big hurdle of ditching these pills they so readily give me. I was at Seattle Hempfest when I ran into Jodie. We walked and talked for a few minutes before she took the main stage to big applause and a great speech. I told her I watched her show, she thanked me for the "Free Marc" pin on my hat. I can't wait to see you (fingers crossed), Marc, next year, a free man."
From Craig in Portland, Maine:
"My name is Craig. I love POT.TV and the Jodie Emery Show. I respect your wife so much. From my own experience, I know she is doing time right along with you. I did three years in a Florida prison in the 90's, so I feel your loss of family. I hope to be an activist one day, any advice you have would be great. I am a medical marijuana patient. I am 37. I have several conditions; neuro-endocrine pancreatic cancer, type-two diabetes due to the cancer, and a condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasma Type One which makes it so I pass 20-30 kidney stones every month."
And from Cindy in North Vancouver, British Columbia:
"It has been a difficult month here. Mum passed on in her sleep early on October 18. She was mentally vital but her heart was damaged from two heart attacks which she had while travelling in England 12 years ago. I'd been looking after Mum and Dad for the last year, doing the daily care for them, prepping meals, keeping the place straight, and living in the guest cottage they had in the backyard… On the morning of October 18, about 4:30 in the morning, my Dad got up and noticed Mum's breathing was noisy. By 5:30 she was gone from this world. He came to my door and banged on it, I thought he had to go to the hospital but he was inconsolable and told me what had happened. The rest is a blur… We sat for a long time and he kept going in and looking at her and crying, it was so sad. "She was the love of my life!" he said amidst the sobs. Mom wanted to have her body donated to science so after calling the coroner, police, I looked that up on the internet and arranged to have her body taken to the UBC medical school for use in their anatomy classes. She was a hard-core atheist, and I must say, few people get to continue to live their convictions, but she will. The medical school will keep her body preserved so she can be used for 3 years training new medical students, and she will get positively affect thousands of lives as a result. We should all be so selfless. So life at this household has been in complete upheaval. Our precious matriarch is gone and the loss is tremendous. She was a brilliant and incredible woman. I had hoped that at some point you would get to meet her. She has read everything written by Dawkins, Ron Paul, and she was a champion for human rights before it was fashionable or even labeled. We have lost a good one here and my heart is heavy. The day she passed we had planned to go to Long & McQuade Music Store to buy some music books for you. For the funeral Mom wanted the orchestra which she conducted for 18 years to play at her service, but the only place big enough is the local Anglican church. Mom was an atheist, and Dad and all the kids are atheists, so we are amused to see how the Reverend will handle it. My concerns are about the music and food for the guests, so we'll overlook the religion inherent in the venue…"
I hope these letters I've shared with you can give you pause to appreciate your life, your health (such as it may be), your friends, your privileges, your children, and the many little wonders of our existence.
May you be filled with love and compassion over these holidays, and in the years 2012 ahead, make every effort to spread love and kindness at home, at work, in your politics and in your pleasure.
As I write this not on Christmas eve, far away from home, I would just like to tell my incomparable wife, "Jodie I am so grateful to have you as my everything. I'm honored to be your husband, and am so thankful for my great fortune in meeting you. Your love is inspiring, it certainly is…"
There are hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug war prisoners in federal prisons across the United States. Ron Paul has promised, if elected President, to pardon all who currently languish in jail and all of us with a criminal record for non-violent drug offenses. Millions of Americans have a federal criminal record for non-violent drug offenses.
2012 is the year in our history we can put an end to prohibition, free all the drug war prisoners, have all of us with convictions for cannabis and other substances pardoned, returned to our families and freed from our criminal record, at long last.
May God and the People Bless and Protect Ron Paul. Join his campaign in your state and make history happen in the next 12 months.
Merry Christmas, and a Ron Paul New Year!
Yazoo Medium Security Federal Prison
Write to Marc:
Marc Emery #40252-086 Unit E-1
Yazoo Medium FCC
PO Box 5888
Yazoo City, MS
Address and guidelines at www.FreeMarc.ca