The loss of a child is unarguably devastating, but what happens when a mother loses a child to the prison system? While the incarceration of a loved one is devastating for all members of a family, mothers in particular bear the responsibility and blame for their child’s behaviour. Unconditional is a multimedia project that explores the complicated feelings of grief, shame, and helplessness that mothers go through when their child is incarcerated. Unconditional demonstrates the incredible bond between mother and child that remains unshaken, even in the most extreme of circumstances.
“I was worried, at 77, that I would never see my son again. I figured I would be going to my grave and not see him no more.”
“The depth of the sorrow you feel when your child has done something very wrong— I mean, it’s not a little thing, it’s not like he’s taken someone’s pail in the sandbox.”
“When you were younger I could always stand in front of you and protect you. I may not be able to protect you anymore because you’re an adult, but I’m not going anywhere.”
“It seemed he would disappear inside himself. I just put it down to, 19-years-old, baby, no job, living with your parents. I didn’t realize there was other things happening up there. I had no idea.”
“He had the perfect life. I thought everything was perfect. How could he do this?”
“It’s like a dream– it’s like a nightmare. It was behind glass, he came in that orange suit…”