In this special one-hour show, Annette Januzzi Wick hosts Jeff Smith in The Podcast Edition. Jeff is a writer, professor, German translator and father of Whit Smith, who became an inmate at the Terre Haute Penitentiary following a burglary conviction.
Through letters exchanged with his son, Jeff offers a glimpse into Whit’s world while in prison. Though Whit had been silenced via solitary confinement, Jeff’s authenticity in his relationship with his son, helped form Whit’s voice, a voice growing through wisdom, humor, learnings, and hopes for a future vocation and relationship.
Following Whit's additional charge of assault while in prison, which Whit denied involvement, Jeff received the news that his son, deciding he could no longer tolerate his present conditions, had committed suicide. Whit’s prescient words from a Father’s Day letter, and the response of family friends, left Jeff with a comforting message – “Be kind to yourself. Take joy in who your son is.”
The words of Jeff and Whitney Smith will be staged as a play produced by the Cincinnati Ensemble Theatre (www.cincyetc.com ) for the 2011-2012 season.
Podcast music provided by Kristina Stykos, (www.kristinastykos.com ) with Philip Aaberg, from Raven, “He Will Be Free”, dedicated to Whitney Smith.
For additional information on grief resources, visit www.compassionatefriends.org .
Pictured at right, Jeff and Whit, 1993.