I watched this documentary, and I thought it would be interesting, but what was just a peek into the rabbit hole ended up being a roller coaster of emotions. The basic premise is these inmates, some doing various crimes, regardless of the circumstances, are all serving life or very long sentences. The warden started a program where volunteers who qualify can help care for other inmates serving life in the prison hospice. So in serving them, they find redemption, and change, in themselves, and it was very touching. It made everyone realize that family, and those bonds are very important, and if they had the care that they had and the love that they had in their last days on Earth, as they did growing up, maybe half of the people in prison wouldn’t have committed their crimes.
The volunteers do not know what the people they are taken care of are in for. It isn’t for people to judge. When you meet your maker, or make you lonely journey into the void, you make it alone. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you did, we all have to go sometime. The most touching I think was the two brothers. The younger brother following the older one always, and they each got into trouble, both doing time. The younger one, who know’s he is dying implores his older one to make a change. Just open up his heart and make a change, and it’s tough to see these large grown men break down and cry. But I watched these people take care of each other, and I was reminded of when we were taking care of my dad. The water swabs to keep the mouth dry, the potential bed sores. It all brought back a lot of memories, and I think three years after his passing, I thought I could handle it. Turns out, I was partially right. It did make me want to volunteer more though and give back. I remember the mantra growing up in high school during our volunteer days. “Make a Difference”. I think back then we did it to earn credit and get recognition to pad our resumes to get into college. It is not until later that you really want to do it for altruistic reasons. And as it turns out, regardless of who you are or what you’ve done, it’s never to late to help others, and make a change.
It is a good documentary, and if you are up for some good old fashioned depressing, yet hopeful exploration of the human spirit, then it would be something I recommend.