There is so much material out there, preparing people who are about to surrender, but what about the family that essentially, too, is surrendering? It is the night before I am driving my father to Canaan Federal Prison Camp.

As you can imagine, the night was filled with calls and visits from relatives who wanted to give advice to my father on “how to be strong.” This coming from those who have never been in this position, which is why I find that having Justin Paperny as our prison consultant, so was crucial for all of us.

My mother prepared a big meal for dinner. I actually called it “the last supper” when I returned from work. Just as any other night, we sat and ate at the table with minimal conversation; this was the norm ever since he received his sentence.

As we cleaned up dinner the doorbell rang. My sister, 7 months pregnant, her husband, and my 6 year old nephew were at the door. While my sister, who handles things worse than everyone else, was in complete uncontrollable tears, my nephew represented the innocence of the world. He came in smiling and laughing as he would on any other day. This, I feel, brought a sense of hope to everyone in the room as it reminds us of the fact that life moves on and there is so much to live for.

The night went on and my father had his final call with his prison consultant. He spoke to him about programs that he may be able to get into and prepared him for what the first day and the few days after may be like. We all listened intently, as we wanted to make sure that no detail was missed. My father looked at the computer, but I am not sure that he absorbed it or looked through the computer. The reality is he still couldn’t believe what was happening and with that, neither could any of us.

As the night progressed, we talked a little more, but the words seemed less and less as the time came closer. I began to ask questions regarding the things I knew that he should know such as; who should you speak to when you feel uncomfortable because you have been a substance abuser? I thought, he wouldn’t know the answer, but he did! This opened the door for a quick Q & A about tomorrow. For this first time he also opened up about the issues he has had with his father. How absent he has been from his life and has always been. He mentioned the fact that he learned to weld pipe at 13 while other children were playing ball.

As irony would have it, at about 9:30pm prior to my dad surrendering the phone rang from my grandfather. I thought strangely, that is my dad’s name how can he be calling; this is how infrequently we would hear from my grandfather. With that being said, I brought the phone up to him and my father sprung up out of bed as if it were Christmas morning. They spoke briefly, my grandfather made it like he hadn’t known of what was going on and he offered little advice, then again he is 91. I believe this brought some sort of peace to my father tonight.

We all handle things differently. For my dad he was anxious and at the same time treated it as it were any other night, but for all of us it was our last day with the patriarch of our family for a while. For as long as I know he is the person that will fix things and make everything better- so for us while we worry about how he will adjust, I also think about how will we all adjust?

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Justin Paperny is the cofounder of White Collar Advice (@whitecollaradviceofficial), a Calabasas company that well-heeled convicts facing prison hire to help them deal with the experience. His past clients reportedly include Martha Stewart and Bernie Madoff. “Let Us Take The Confusion and Headache Out Of Preparing For Sentencing, Prison and Probation,” the company’s website cheerily states. Paperny, whose fees can run into the six figures, says he’s already been hired by one person caught up in the college admissions scandal and been contacted by a half dozen others. Visit the link in bio for more information and advice (or maybe this only applies to Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman). ⠀⠀

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The night before going to federal prison
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Last Day In Federal Prison Camp

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