Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22 - Jocelynn's Birthday

Monday, June 22nd

The weekend of June 20th through the 22nd proved to be one of the hardest weekends of the year thus far for the Allison family.  Sunday, June 21st was Father's Day, and much of the weekend was spent celebrating that holiday as much as possible between family.  Monday, June 22nd would have been Jocelynn Renee's 8th birthday, and would have been a struggle all on its own.

Father's Day

Clayton's wife spent much of the weekend with her father and father-in-law, celebrating Father's Day to the best of her ability despite circumstances.  Clayton was not able to celebrate these events with them, but was able to get phone calls out to family instead.  Since Jocelynn's passing, both Mother's Day and Father's Day have been a struggle for Clayton and his wife for many years.  It is difficult for others to understand what it is like for bereaved parents on such holidays; especially when the parents have no living children.  Fortunately, the Allison's family members are very supportive and helpful in taking time to remember Jocelynn with Clayton and his wife each year.

This year, however, brought an entirely new meaning to the day's sorrow.  The word Bereaved is known by most as implying the loss of a loved on through death.  It can also mean to be deprived of the presence of a loved one through extended absence and/or by force, even if death is not the cause.  Today, Clayton's wife struggled with her bereavement for him and Jocelynn both; Jocelynn having been taken by death, and Clayton taken unjustly by force.  Family and friends have often commented since Clayton was remanded in February that the time period immediately following the trial felt like a funeral, but oddly felt as if Jocelynn herself had died again after her memory had been so terribly corrupted by the injustice of the trial.  Father's Day this year proved to bring that feeling back to the surface once again for many.

Clayton's wife was not able to visit him on Saturday, as the K Mod is not afforded a Saturday visitation time as standard policy.  On Father's Day itself, she was able to visit, but struggled to be an encouragement.  She found herself beginning to cry in the waiting room (something she does not do in public easily) before the visit even began.  Fortunately, the staff at the facility recognized her struggle, and allowed her to keep tissue in her hand for the visitation time.  Clayton also struggled, acknowledging that he had spent most of the day in his cell reading and listening to music, and declining most invitations to games and social interaction.

Jocelynn's Birthday

On Monday, June 22nd, Jocelynn Renee Allison would have been 8 years old.  It is difficult for both Clayton and his wife to imagine what she would have been like at this age, but impossible to avoid imagining.  In prior years, they would spend the day together; retelling old memories and holding each other against the pain.  This year those habits would no longer be an option.

Clayton's wife spent the day reviewing old footage of Jocelynn that was taken during her life by family and friends, and compiling it into a remembrance and awareness video to share with the rest of the world.  The video is available at, and incorporates both who Jocelynn was and what has been done against her family in her name.  Clayton's wife also was able to visit Jocelynn's grave, and carry out her tradition of placing fresh flowers from their home.

Clayton began his day with his morning bible study, during which he decided to share his struggle with others in the group.  When he first announced that it was his daughter's birthday, he was congratulated by many.  When he explained that she would have been 8 this year, a profound silence fell upon the room before condolences were offered in their place.  Clayton explained that this was why he had been keeping to himself over the last couple of days, and a couple members mentioned noticing his change from his continuously positive demeanor.

However, during bible study the group read from 2 different devotionals, and Clayton found them both to be very encouraging.  He asked his wife to share both of them, from Our Daily Bread and In Touch, with friends and family online in hopes that they would find encouragement in them as well.  Later in the day, Clayton was offered several invitations to play various games with other inmates (both those who knew of Jocelynn's birthday and who did not) and this time he decided to join them.  It proved to lift his spirits as well.

At the day's end, during his visitation time, Clayton was able to visit with his wife and three additional family members.  Clayton met them with a smile and said the "extra hugs" were helpful in ending his day.  They spent the visitation time retelling old stories of Jocelynn and some of their favorite memories with her.  Many memories brought laughter and smiles, and the family could only hope that other families could hear each other as they struggled to keep their spirits lifted but their voices as quiet as possible.

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