Belinda Parilla knows prison life first-hand.
It cost her time with her youngest child and years missed with her other three children. On Dec. 20, she had her children back together for the first time in six years. This year was a Christmas she will always remember.
Parilla served time in the Dr. Lane Murray Prison in Gatesville for prescription fraud. She had a degenerating disk disease and spinal fluid was leaking in her back, and Parilla took daily medication for the pain.
“Eventually, I got to the point that I couldn’t stop taking it and was taking more than I was supposed to,” Parilla said. “I took my doctor’s prescription pad and wrote my own prescriptions. I got away with it for at least 12 scripts before the last one when they caught me.”
Husband vanishes with son
Parilla went to jail for 45 days. But five days before her release, her husband disappeared with her youngest son, Dominic, and her mother was dying.
“I came home to an empty house. I didn’t hear any of my kids,” Parilla said. “I shut the door and went to sit with my mom until she passed. Mom was everything to me.”
Parilla stopped using medications but started using other things to kill the pain including alcohol. She kept trying to get her husband and her baby back. After sending her husband money so he could bring the baby back to Texas, Parilla was told she could not see or talk to her son until after the divorce.
“I took my neighbor’s truck and went to a bar to kill the pain. I wrecked the truck on the way home,” she said. “When police found me, I was on the passenger side and there was a perfectly round hole through the driver’s side window as if a limb had gone through. But there were no limbs there to make the break. A lady from the church said I was saved by God.”
Parilla said she was very depressed and felt her whole life was coming to an end. She had lost her kids, her mom, and her husband. She didn’t want to live anymore.
“I decided to end my life on the living room floor. I had a machete and I was going to fall on it. But I fell on my knees and cried out to God for help,” Parilla said. “As a person bound for depression who never found joy in anything, God saved me again that day.”
Parilla’s neighbors dropped the charges for her taking their truck, but she was prosecuted for violating her parole and was sent back to prison for another two years.
“When I went back to jail, I went back in as a different person. I sat in my cell with my Bible in hand and asked God to help me understand his word,” Parilla said. “I learned that alone time with God is always good.”
She was released from prison in February 2010 and became the resident manager of Cove House. Slowly, she got three of her children back. But she was still missing Dominic. Despite three years of court battles, Dominic was greeted at DFW airport by his siblings on Dec. 20 and jumped into his mother’s arms for the first time in six years. He will spend time with his mother, brothers and sisters until Jan. 5 when he will return to his father. But Parilla is grateful for every moment they have together.
“I am in awe. Words cannot describe...,” Parilla cried with her voice trailing off. Tears rolled down her face. Smiling she said, “These are tears of joy.”