Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Loneliness a Convict's Wife:

I was asked by the author of Letters For The Lord, if I would be willing to write an article for her about the loneliness that the convicts wives & families endure & the effect of prison on the family.
When you are use to doing most everything with your loved one; a spouse, a wife, a brother, a sister or even a mother or father; it is difficult when they are gone.When it comes down to 140 phone minutes per month, when you can hear that precious voice on the phone, it is hard. You find so much to say when you have such a short amount of time to say it. When you wait for the mail to be delivered to find a letter from your loved one; when you visit your loved one, getting up when it is still dark outside to make the two hour drive to wait in line, to be searched & get in to see your loved one, when your relationship comes down to the phone, letters & visits, they all become precious. And going to that from being use to being together all of the time & doing the little things you use to do; like grocery shopping together, attending church, going to concerts or dinner or even the movies, going on trips together or just coming home from work to find your loved one there, then the loneliness is CRUSHING!
Our families were not that understanding about what we were going through! His mother turned her back on her son; his brother & sister too! No one has been to visit him in the past 27 months, but me! My family is a bit more understanding, but they are in California. I have had to shoulder all of this alone!
What is tragic, what is so terrible about this, is he does not belong in that Texas prison! We have some cases in Federal Court right now, trying to get him out & find justice, but it is an uphill battle & it is really bad when the authorities ( the administration) wants to lie to you & make up stuff! I am wondering just what the criteria is for hiring these folks!
The lonliness is EXCRUCIATING! The walls close in on you, you eat your meals alone & sleep alone. On the holidays & even on the weekends, they were sad. When I first moved, I did not know anyone there, so I spent a lot of time alone! Falling asleep at night was extremely difficult for me, because I was used to falling asleep with my husband's arms around me & my puppies at my feet! I needed my night noise & that had gone away. And you find you go out less because the one you want to have fun with is not there- at least felt that way; because I was afraid to have fun, because I knew he was not having any fun.
When I go & visit my husband early on Saturday mornings, it is like a child looking forward to Christmas or a birthday, I am all excited! I get prettied up with make-up, earrings & a nice outfit. I plan the night before what to wear, I make a snack & drinks for the trip. I fill the car with gas & check the fluids & tires. I go by the bank to get a $10 roll of quarters (for his snacks). I really plan ahead!
I get there to the gate & they search my car thoroughly, sometimes there is a line of a dozen cars ahead of me, waiting to see their loved ones too! When I am cleared, I drive to the guard shack area & park my car & walk. I wait my turn in line to be searched, they go over me with a wand, up the front & down the back. Then the female guard frisks me & makes me lift my feet up one at a time, & then my shoes. I receive my little blue sheet & my drivers license back & I walk up to the camera on the gate & flash my ID & my face, then the gate opens. I walk up to the second gate & they open that one too. Depending on whether it is my week for a regular visit or a contact visit I walk to the door & hand the guard my blue sheet & she seats me. But instead of sitting down, I walk over to the regular visit room to get my husband his snacks & sandwiches (we heat them in the microwave there, waiting in line for our turn). When I have his food, then I go where they assigned me & wait for him to come out. The excitement builds & then there he is! I walk up to him & latch on to him & he kisses me dizzy! The guard may or may not say break it up but if we are lucky, they understand. We sit down. We pray together & talk; we cannot get enough of each other! We hold hands & talk quietly. The visit is over, my heart CRACKS just a bit! I have to leave, we stand up & he walks around the table to me; we kiss again sadly. The take cares & the be carefuls & then I love yous are said & then I am walking out of the door, looking backwards, until I cannot see him anymore. My heart goes into its cave again, it will be another long week! The loneliness comes back again, like an old comfortable blanket!
My husband was the breadwinner, as most men are, of our family; he is a Senior Engineer & much, much more, he made a good living for us! When he was arrested, we lost our support. I was a stay at home wife. My husband had promised me when we got married, that since I raised a daughter by myself & have worked hard all of my life, that he now wanted to take care of me. Not only has self-esteem suffered from the situation, because he cannot provide for me, I have had to go into myself & find the woman who worked all of those years! I found a secretary job & I found a sense of independence, a pride & a nurturing for my husband, that I did not have before! Not only that, my husband met JESUS & became saved, & that was a blessing to me, as I had prayed so hard for him to become friends with JESUS! But it has not been easy, I have placed my trust in JESUS & He has helped us through some really hard times! We have had a few major setbacks & three parole setoffs, but through prayer & faith, together my husband & I are working our way through this storm & we will get through it & be together having fun again! Be blessed...Deborah L.