While in prison, Suzy was one of a couple dozen prisoners who received a mentor through the Friend-2-Friend program. It was there that she met a remarkable woman, Sam (we wrote about Sam here), who would become one of Suzy’s staunchest supporters.

Each year, the woman in the program are treated to a holiday dinner, with “real food.”  As Suzy get ready to enjoy her first Christmas in 17 years with her family, she has not forgotten those she left behind.  Sam read this letter from Suzy at the holiday dinner.

Dec. 9, 2014

Dear Friend 2 Friend Members, My Sisters in Prison, and Prison Fellowship Members:

I want to say a special thank you to the Friend-2-Friend Mentors who volunteer their time to visit once a month and write once a week.  My mentor was a lady named “Sam” and she visited me once a month for 8 years.  She even came twice in one month one time when she thought I was having a difficult time.  For her efforts I am most grateful.  And to the mentors here tonight, a special thank you for what you do for these ladies, it means a great deal to them. 

As this letter is read to you, know that I am here, with you in spirit, giving each one of you a big hug! 

Going to the Christmas dinner every year gave me such a freedom, just being there and having real food was such a blessing. 

I want everyone to know that I always felt one day God would set me free, and now that I am free, I miss you, my Sisters in prison, for you were my strength and my family.  You all were my Angels.  You helped me get through the hard times, while keeping love and joy in my heart.  You gave to me through through your loving spirits.  You helped me!   Remember, life is not worth living unless you reach out and help someone.

In 2012, God put another angel in my life, Deirdre O’Connor, who is the Founder and CEO of Innocence Matters.  Deirdre is an amazing woman, an outstanding attorney, and her sense of caring and justice along with her intense investigative abilities helped God get me out of prison.

So now I get to experience my first Christmas as a free person.  I can’t do that without thinking of each of you.  My Christmas message to each of you is, never give up; and keep your faith and hope alive with God’s love.  His love is the answer to everything. His love is the greatest gift.  So this Christmas, open your hearts to Him and accept it.

I want to wish you all a blessed Christmas. Remember, it is all about Jesus and we could never make it through our trials without His love.  Keep your “attitude of gratitude, have a happy heart, and love on purpose!”.  I love each of you very much and ask that God bless you abundantly!

All my love,

Suzy Mellen