Tag Archives: faith


About a week and a half ago, I was on Facebook and I commented on a post by Damien Echols, a former death row inmate. Damien’s post was about something to do with freedom and the anxiety of being on the outside after so many years in prison. Anyway, I follow him because I like his photography and his posts are mainly about the joy of living on the outside and the hope that comes with being in the world after all that he has been through.

So, this post was one of a few I had randomly commented on. I usually don`t comment on “page posts” because, well, I just don`t, but every once in a while I like to express a thought I have about something or a feeling that I can identify with or even a hope that I share. I believe my comment was about my hope for Jeremy’s eventual freedom and how his post made me feel like there can be a life after prison, especially when you were sentenced to a life sentence when you were just 18. I made no mention of Jeremy’s name or details because really it was just a comment on the expressed emotion, not on the specifics of my life or who I am married to. I don`t know why I commented on it. I guess partly because I just wanted to put my words somewhere and another part of me wanted to connect with others who were maybe open minded and could be supportive and who I could support. I think that is part of being a human being, right?

One woman, in a short comment, shared her story about her son being incarcerated and expressed her own hope. “Okay, off to a good start. Rad.”, I thought to myself. I then put my phone away and went about my daily errands. Shortly after that I noticed the familiar red bubble near the Facebook app that indicates that you have a new notification. I opened up Facebook right away, like the slave to social media that I can be sometimes, and it said that so and so has commented on my comment on the Damien Echols’ post. I thought maybe there was more on my thread about people identifying with me or my feelings or someone sharing their story as well. I got excited, but I was very quickly deflated when I noticed that it was someone who is trying to “out” me and isolate me in the thread by posting a news story about Jeremy and the person asked me if I knew what my husband is in prison for. There was more to the comment, that I honestly cannot even remember now because I got tunnel vision and deleted my original comment and put a stop to the entire witch hunt before it started. I just could not deal with it at that moment. Not right then, not that day. I seriously thought to myself “Fuck! Am I not even allowed to share in a positive post without having someone shit all over me?”

I started to question whether or not I had the right to post without people ganging up on me. I started to become irate because there I was, just trying to connect and someone took time out of their day to cyber stalk me, find an article, and post it in the thread I was in. “Am I a pariah?”, I asked myself. Maybe I am, but then what does that make anyone who is willing to go against the grain in regards to their life choices and open up about them? Are they pariahs as well? Well, maybe they are. Do I deserve to follow my own path but not be allowed to talk about? Am I allowed to exist in this space that I’ve created? Is this just part of the landscape that I live in?

SO much introspection from one less than stellar comment from some person I do not know and who does not know me and ultimately does not really even know what they are talking about.  I believe in evaluation, though, no matter how painful or unfair it seems. Suddenly I felt alone and targeted and like I was on an island by myself and….I just flashed on the Carrie scene where the mom says “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” for some reason. No one is laughing but when I experience comments like this, which is rare, I feel like Carrie, who is getting her period in the girl’s locker room and she is on the floor being pelted by tampons and maxi pads by a mob that relishes in the pain and embarrassment of others.

Public Pariah. Prison Pariah. The word pariah makes me think of piranha. No relation.

Of course, this public presentation has me thinking about my inner circle and what those people think about me. Anyone who has ever had anything negative to express about myself or Jeremy in my inner circle has either never said anything to me directly or they have just blocked me and disappeared. My brain goes to dark places, though, and I imagine people feeling silent contempt for me. I imagine all of this because sometimes being a human being means that although there are a thousand positive comments, the negative few are the ones that evoke the most in us.



Shades of freedom

There is so much hesitation when talking about Jeremy’s potential for freedom, for release into the world and into my embrace. There is so much hesitation and so much trepidation that are at war with my hope and the vision that I have in my head of a life with my life partner. So much that I normally don`t even want to talk about it. I cannot talk about it some days. The thoughts and the feelings that those thoughts own sit on a shelf in the back of my mind, there for accessing but not for showing. What is the truth? That I`m terrified of my husband never getting a second chance and I feel a sense of overwhelming nervousness that he will, that we will be able to build a life after so many years of being apart the majority of the time. I live in this space between crying while laughing and laughing while crying and sometimes I`m not sure which one is which. There are days when I`m not sure if my life is very empty or very full. All I know is that I have a faint glimmer of hope and sometimes that is all you need to get out of bed in the morning, committed to your cause, ready to give it all you’ve got even though you are tired.

Jeremy and I have never known each other outside of prison walls. We have never eaten a meal at our dining room table together or held hands in the rain or been able to leave each other silly notes that are part smart ass, part madly in love. We have never shopped for groceries together, embraced in sadness beyond the barb wire. We have never shared immense joy the moment it happens out in the world, far from the confines of the prison and its rules, its walls. But…it feels like we have done all of those things and more. These last 15 years have felt like anything real is supposed to feel, complete with its ups and downs, two steps forward and ten steps back. No crazy imagination necessary. We built our own version of freedom ourselves and have sustained each other with the restraint breaking completeness that unconditional love provides. Him and I in our little bubble in the middle of a visiting room, on the phone with our louder than life laughter and the passionate affirming silence of two people who don`t need to say a word to know. We know each other better than we know ourselves and I never thought I would have that with another person.

The other day Jeremy told me that his friend Mike was rolling up and transferring to a prison up north, that he was giving up on his appeals and wanted the freedom of being at a prison that allows more time outside of the cell, but not one that inmates are really releasing from. This prison up north is where he is going to get comfortable, to settle into his sentence and maybe where he is going to leave this world. This news was unexpected and caught me off guard. “I didn’t know he was leaving. You didn’t tell me” I said​. I like Mike quite a bit and in fact, I just saw him the last time I visited. When he saw me, he lit up and gifted me a huge goofy grin and a wave. Upon my departure, he wished me a safe drive. I wish I would have paid attention to that moment a little better now.

I hate endings and I hate not knowing if I’ll ever see someone again. Knowing that he is relocating to come to terms with giving up on life on the outside pains me in a way that I cannot describe, but Jeremy explained to me that Mike wanted to be happy and he knew that he could be happy somewhere else, that as a habitual criminal in the past who has caught a serious sentence, that he knew he would probably never get out and didn`t want to pursue freedom to the outside world further.

Freedom is available in shades, in levels that are so personal to a person and a circumstance. Although I am sad about Mike, I have to think of his choice as liberation for him, one that he is choosing. How can I argue with that? I cannot. I can only wish him well and focus my attention on grasping my hope for my husband’s shade of freedom that involves a life beyond the prison gate.


Headphones for the heart

“If we can make it through another day
With you believing in my innocence
And we can make it through another year
‘Cause we both need it to forget this fear” – White Lie by The Lumineers

Listening to music through headphones changes the music. It changes how you feel about the music, the lyrics. It changes the story, the intensity. Mild fascination with words sung become a life line, a soundtrack to your deepest emotional crevices. The songs become your heartbeat. The music becomes you and you become the music. At least, that’s what happens to me. It must be said that I am absolutely a person who depends on music for survival.

I’ve recently become smitten with the Lumineers and although I heard their first popular song, “Ho Hey”, some time ago, I didn’t pay the band much attention. I actually heard “Ho Hey” initially on a road trip out to visit Jeremy, when visiting was an entire trip away. I remember thinking to myself how appropriate the line “I’ve been trying to do it right. I’ve been living a lonely life” was on my solo journey out into the desert to hold hands with a man I have never brushed skin with outside in the sunshine. Those lyrics stuck with me. The loneliness of that line stuck with me and I found myself singing it over and over again on that car ride.

I recently got hooked on The Lumineers and have even persuaded Jeremy to download some of their songs on his MP3 player. Yes, sometimes prisoners get MP3 players, though definitely not for free. I apply parts of each song I hear  to my life with Jeremy. I read an article about the band recently, where the lead singer referred to his brother(another band member), Jeremy, as “Jer” and it made me raise an eyebrow and laugh and sort of cry at the same time because we call my Jeremy, “Jer”. It’s funny how common things become magic when you allow them to.

I believe in unseen life connections. I often have trouble having faith in those connections because the patterns are woven in such a delicate manner that they are tough to see on especially dark nights. I get so frustrated with the kingdom of love that we have built because it is so unbelievably beautiful and vulnerable and it feels, fragile even though it’s strong.  On the surface we are two kids in love who happened to stumble upon each other, maybe by a happy accident, maybe by divine intervention. What do I know? I know that I love someone who lives in a prison in Nevada who came to know, and eventually marry, through a single letter I sent so long ago. I know that what we have is the truest life experience I have ever known. I know that I need to start fucking believing in this path I chose to walk on again. I am going to listen to life with my headphones on from here on out. The situation isn’t ideal, obviously, but I often feel like I’m taking “the music” for granted. I feel like I stopped looking at this adventure with Jer in an exciting light. I replaced “adventure” with “fear” and “hurt” and “the end”.

I’m going to dig deep, open my ears and my heart. I’m going into this next area of the path with the feeling that this is the beginning. This IS where the magic happens. It’s like when you’re listening to an especially long intro to a song. You’re waiting for the intro to “break”. You’re waiting, waiting, waiting, and when the lyrics begin and beat changes, you realize there can be no song without the intro.

“It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference”- Stubborn Love by The Lumineers


He’s my person

My person will soon be closer to me again, hopefully. The inmate that attacked my husband over a year ago has been granted parole and is now back out on the street. His record indicates that he is a repeat offender so I`m sure he will be back in custody at some point. What is important right now is that my husband can now request to be transferred back to where he was before this entire mess happened. 100 miles of driving is far, far better than over 300 miles. My overriding hopes are that this works out, that he is transferred back to Lovelock, and that it happens swiftly. I am one very tired woman and wife and I need some good news.

Being so far away from my husband for the better part of a year has taken me through some serious ups and downs. There have been moments of absolute stillness, where I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I have cried, screamed, meditated, slept, and autopiloted my way through the last year and I`m ready for a rest. I`m ready to have my person back.

Although I have found a fountain of strength inside of myself that I didn`t know existed, it will be nice to rest my weary mind with regular visits and daily phone calls with Jeremy again. I`ve clung to my limited visits, phone calls, and countless letters the last year like my life depended on it and in some ways it has. When you find your best friend and your confidant in life you need that person. That person becomes your temple, your truth, yourself. That person may not be your sole reason for living but they sure make being alive a better experience.

I miss my person.