Tag Archives: hardship

Holiday Blog 2016

I’ve been trying to come up with a prison holiday themed blog entry for the last couple of weeks now and I have deleted more drafts than I ever have before. I gave my lack of a completed entry the title of “writer’s block”, but maybe sometimes  what you’re feeling doesn’t translate to the written word and you have to be okay with that. So, I’ll stick with this: yesterday I had one of the last visits with my husband this year and it felt bittersweet and comfortably uncomfortable. His mom, dad, and sister drove out to see him, so it was a nice family visit. The visiting room was packed with people, smells, microwaveable food, watchful eyes, kids excited to see their papas, crying spouses, holiday decorations at the front desk and us.

Prison sucks. Prison sucks big time around the holidays and sometimes my heart feels full and empty all at the same time and I wonder how that can be. I know that it feels that way because each holiday season I am left almost empty by what the year has taken from me but I am also replenished by the love I am given by a person I never thought I could find in this life and by a family that has taken such good care of me in Jeremy’s absence.
So, yes, prison is shitty and heartbreaking, but it’s also where I found my light and purpose in life after I sent a letter to a stranger 16 years ago. Each holiday, I dig deep for more strength to go on and continue to open my heart and seek freedom and love in a place that thrives on anything but.
PRISONERS

The senses

Yesterday I returned from my trip out to see my husband for our monthly visit.  I drove this time and I definitely feel that the drive was both a positive and a negative for me. Driving 5 hours, twice, through mostly empty desert is exhausting yet liberating. By the time I arrived back home yesterday I was emotionally and physically spent from the long ride out, the rollercoaster of anxiety and feelings that come from visiting, and the long difficult drive back. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone you love, especially when you are denied the closeness with them you want so desperately.

I haven’t gotten to hug my husband in over 6 months since we’ve had these behind glass visits and that absolutely blows my mind and frustrates me at the same time. Trying to sustain a marriage on letters and visits that consist of only two of the senses is taxing. Sight and sound and a sheet of glass between our tastes, our smells, and our touches. Being so close but so far makes me want to cry and kick in the glass to get to my husband. I try to compensate by smelling clothes that belong to him, and creating the warmth of his skin in my mind but I`m anxious to have my contact visits back.

Yesterday I was looking as closely as I could at my husband’s face, I had my face right up against the glass, and he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was studying his face. Really studying it. Every line, every grey hair in his beard, his eyes, his nose, his ears, his hair. I wanted to create a map in my mind that I could travel to simulate using my other senses with him. I have never wanted to simply hold hands so badly in my life

At the end of the visit, I exited that little booth I was in for 5 hours, and immediately the guards walked over and tightly closed the curtains to the booth so visitors can’t have a lingering look or goodbye. At the end, they cut off even my sight of my husband, ripping away what little contact I do have.

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Not me. Not you. Us.

It is 3 days until I can see Jeremy again and I`m anxious, heartsick, and so ready to be able to talk to my husband again for a few minutes in real time. I feel so tense right now between work, my emotions, my upcoming visit, and just life in general. It got me really thinking how much I am focused on myself and my emotions a lot. I don`t disregard my husband’s emotions, but I never think I have to cradle his state of mind in my hands. At least I thought I didn`t until yesterday when I realized just how selfish I have become during this separation.

Yesterday, I took my normal drive over to the post office to check my PO box after work. As usual, there was a letter from Jeremy and I immediately took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of him on the envelope over the miles, and held it close to my heart just for a moment. When I got back to my car, I couldn`t wait to rip it open, so I stayed parked and decided to read the letter right then and there. I didn’t want to go home yet and something told me I needed to open it. Just open it. NOW! So I did. It started pretty normal with the “Hi. I miss you. I love you. I need you. I`m HERE”. The letter took a pretty quick turn into emotional instability which surprised me. I found myself facing some tough questions that I can barely bring myself to ask, well, myself. Words strung together that looked something like this: “If I can`t keep my promise to get home to you, where does that leave us?” and “Do you ever feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew or that you’re in too deep?”.  The worst was “Do you wish you had never met me?”.  My heart ached something fierce, not only for myself, but for my husband.

I realize that I have been so focused on MY feelings in this entire mess, that I haven’t been taking the time to look after my husband’s emotions, his fears. I haven’t quieted his insecurities, and I haven’t been as uplifting as I could be. I get so caught up in ME, ME, ME and MY, MY, MY emotions that I forget that there is a WE, there is an US,  that needs some tending to, and most importantly there is a him.

I started to cry behind my glasses, sitting in my car in that parking lot, and I could feel my stomach start to knot up and I felt like my emotional letter rollercoaster had taken me from happy, to devastated, to relieved all within 7 pages. Towards the end of this letter he assured me that he was okay, that he just had a mini pity party, and that he has this under control. I feel like my entire equilibrium is off center now, thinking of the doubts in my husband’s mind, realizing how gut wrenchingly tough this entire separation has been on him as well. I felt, and feel guilty for being so self centered and focused on myself. I`m so used to Jeremy being there for me, that when the tables turned quickly, I never caught up. I pride myself on being an adaptable person, but I don`t feel very adaptable right now . I feel like I`ve kicked my husband while he has been down, and I want to fix that.

I wrote him back as soon as I got home, trying to be as positive as possible, while not betraying my own feelings over everything. The least I can do for someone who has given me everything I need, emotionally and mentally, is to be supportive, to be stable, and to not get sidetracked by my own selfish nature.

 

 

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Home or something like it

Days like today make me miss home. Then I start to wonder what the word home really means to me. Jeremy is my home in the embodiment of a person but where is my geographical home? There are days I miss a place I haven’t even been to but that I know is out there. I think I know where that place is but I won’t say it now.

Before I made my journey to be closer to Jeremy in 2009, I lived in San Diego, California which is both a frustrating place and a beautiful place. It is crowded, expensive, and many things I am not. It is also wonderful, feels comfortable, and is where I grew up. I was born in Los Angeles, moved around a lot during my childhood, and had been in San Diego for 15 years before I left everything that was familiar, with no safety net, to be with Jeremy. This was before I even agreed to be his wife. I just knew I needed to come to Nevada. I don`t love it. I have gotten used to it, I can sometimes call it home, but it isn`t where my desire to be is.

Today, I am missing my San Diego home. Mostly I miss my mom, rolled tacos, the beach on a cool day, Mt. Soledad and looking out at all the twinkling lights. I miss my  friends back in San Diego, Balboa Park, all the fun little places that no one knows about, and today I`m thinking about the sights, sounds, and smells that only Southern California has to offer. It is a strange feeling to be alone in a place where there is no one comforting for miles and miles. I can pick up the phone and call my mom to chat for a little while but it isn`t the same as going out for ice cream. My heart feels a crack so deep that it feels like it is breaking. That sounds incredibly emo and overly dramatic but it’s true.

Jeremy is my foundation and I moved here to be closer to that foundation. That foundation has been moved across the state from me now and I couldn`t feel more alone. I keep looking at my phone, waiting for it to ring and for it to be him so I can get back a piece of the home that I moved here for, but I know that call may or may not come tonight, or tomorrow, or next week. The situation is precarious and uncomfortable.

Tonight I`m wondering if the people responsible for lying and getting my home moved so far away from me are relaxing tonight and if they’re happy. I wonder if they’ve ever dropped all their defenses and let go of all security for something that they loved. Then I wonder what they would do if someone, like themselves, ripped that security away from them. My inclination is to believe that people who would lie, and otherwise take pleasure in attempting to break up a strong bond, have no sense of home and never will. Home isn`t just a place. It is a heartbeat, and it exists wherever you make it.

Home is where the heart is and that is hundreds of miles away right now.

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