The family of journalist James Foley revealed that a former prisoner of ISIS had smuggled out a letter from their son in June.
Because ISIS had been confiscating every letter that Foley tried to write, he asked his fellow hostage to memorize the letter and recite it to his mother, Diane, after being released.
The grisly video of Foley’s beheading was released last week by the Islamic State, with a warning to President Obama to stop airstrikes against the caliphate.
Foley wrote of remembering “so many great family times that take me away from this prison.”
“I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray,” he said.
“Eighteen of us have been held together in one cell, which has helped me. We have had each other to have endless long conversations about movies, trivia, sports. We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell…we have found ways to play checkers, chess, and Risk… and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture. The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension.”
Foley admitted having “weak and strong days.”
“We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year,” he said.
He then had specific messages for family members, including his grandmother.
“Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home,” Foley said. “Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.”
A Mass was held for Foley yesterday in Rochester, N.H. After his 2011 captivity in Libya, Foley wrote how his Catholic faith got him through that ordeal.