All aboard!

Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed


By: Caitlin Adams

I've been talking with Papa (aka God, Great Spirit, Goddess, Higher Power, Allah, Yahweh, Cosmic Mystery) about when I shed this bodily cocoon and I've been asking, well actually, telling him/her (Papa, from Paul Young's The Shack—I simply adore that Papa is a woman in his story!) that first thing on my new journey I'd like to take a little detour to death row to hang with Rodney for a while, get my Grizz (Rodney's second nickname that I gave him when we first met) hug, etc. I also told Papa I'd be just fine to see him at home, in Yellowstone, base camp at Mt. Everest/Chomolungma, Alpe Du Huez during the Tour de France.

So, the other morning I said to Rodney’s mom, Sandra, who so graciously comes each morning to help me and to visit, in my garbled, gnarled kind of speech with some help from Heather (my speech assistive app), "When I get to the other side, my first stop is death row." All of a sudden the irony of what I said hit us, and we were hysterical in five seconds, Sandra repeating it with varied emphasis and adding some story line. Me, trying desperately to do a train whistle—“Woot! Woot! All aboard! Train for heaven leaves in five minutes. First stop: death row. All aboard! Woot, Woot!” She's laughing so hard she's crying. I'm laughing so hard, I'm practically choking, hastening my  journey.  We laughed and I kept feebly “Woot Wooting” for 15 minutes. In that joyous, spontaneous, blissful moment this blog began percolating in my heart.

My blogs come directly from my heart. Unbeknownst to me, I'd been following some sound, solid writing advice, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” William Wordsworth.  (Thanks Julie G). Scientists have now identified our fifth brain, which is located, yep—in our hearts. The neuronal connections, hormones and neurotransmitters are all there.  We can and do think with our hearts. Oh, how incredibly magnificent!

It's been several months now since I've been able to visit Rodney.  I miss his smile.  I miss how he can just burst into a belly laugh.  I miss soaking up the strength he so freely shares when he looks at you.  I miss watching the grin creep across his face whenever he finds a banana in his food sack.  I miss how he would automatically always stand up with me when I simply couldn't sit another second.  And stand as long as I did.  I miss how he teases Jewels about marrying him.  I even miss how he and his mom would tussle.  Oh, they are so much alike!  I miss seeing the pall of death row evaporate from his being with each passing second during a visit.  I miss watching him spruce up on photo days. I miss talking about his case, other cases, court rulings together in real time.  I miss how he would turn around as we left and watch and wave until we were out of sight.  And I miss about a thousand other things.  It really is the ordinary, little, everyday things that make life so very precious, splendid and worth living, no matter what the hardships.

I hope Papa will be very patient because it could be a long detour!  Grizz and I have a lot of catching up to do!  As always, this is for you Grizz, from my heart.  Namaste.  Wildflower