Tag Archives: prisoners

Post media reflection

There have definitely been moments lately, where I`ve paused and thought to myself “Where is my place in this mess?” These thoughts have flooded my head daily, especially after the articles in the Las Vegas Review Journal came out. I’ve spent my time, half maintaining a “normal” schedule, and the other half lost in thought over what is going to happen next, sometimes holding my breath without meaning to.

After the articles came out, I avoided the loose lipped comment section of Facebook for self-preservation. Some of my friends looked at the comments after the newspaper repeatedly posted the story with catchy, sensationalized headlines, hoping to appeal to folks with pitchforks in hand. My friends let me know to avoid the comment section if I could and I did.  I did however happen to see a comment on the actual newspaper’s website, where one reader asked “What SANE woman would marry a murderer?” or something to that effect. I reflected on my own state of mind, my life, what brought me here, my marriage, where I was when all of this happened with Jeremy, my moral radar, and my own personal truth.

I`m not sure that insane psychopaths really take the time out to their days to reflect on life and morality, so I don`t know that I am insane at all, but maybe just a person who believes in the power of the human spirit, second chances, and a person who believes that not everything as is it seems? Question mark intended because I pose the question to myself and anyone really.

I received no “hate mail” after the articles came out. Jeremy has received one piece of direct hate mail (which you can read about on his blog) and oddly enough, his mother received a nasty message on Facebook. I`m not sure what  the purpose of lashing out at one’s mother is, but I guess this person felt it necessary to feel like he or she did their duty by lashing out at someone related to Jeremy. We all want someone, anyone to blame and point the finger at. It’s easy to blame someone and think to ourselves “I’ve spoken my ‘peace’ and did my part”. Oftentimes our “peace” speaking and lashing out is misdirected, but outrage, pain and a need to do something have a way of making people blind to the misdirection of their actions.

I have actually received way more positive encouragement after the articles than I expected. Jeremy and I both wrote blog posts about our thoughts on the articles and I noticed a flood of activity on our blogs and have received messages from friends and strangers alike. Anytime I open a Facebook message from someone I don`t know, I hesitate for a moment and brace myself for what it is going to say but…it has turned out being like waiting for a bomb to go off and nothing happening. While I had received some awful blog comments in the past, the aftermath of the newspaper articles and follow-up blog posts on our end about it, has been surprisingly favorable.

My friends have been incredibly encouraging, taking the time to read mine and Jeremy’s blog posts and provide feedback or open a platform to discuss the posts from an open minded and understanding place. I’ve even had a couple of them ask if they could visit with Jeremy in the future.  So, thank you friends. On the unexpected front, I have had people I do not know reading my blog and some of those people have reached out to me personally on Facebook with their own stories of tragedy and ties to the prison system, their own understanding, and their own thoughts on life and redemption. I am grateful for these people who think before they speak, who make space for a story other than what is portrayed in the media, and who are genuinely people who recognize pain and loss but who also have an open heart.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve found myself questioning my place in this situation, questioning my place as Jeremy’s wife and sometimes worldly representative to those who do not know him. Sometimes I even think to myself, “What right do I have to be here, to talk about Jeremy and prison and the case?” I entered stage right later in Jeremy’s story, when he was already in prison. I used to think it was by chance, but more and more I`m starting to believe that it was just meant to be part of my journey and that we are two people who came together to build something worthwhile after a terrible event. Even though we have known each other for almost 17 years, I still question my sense of belonging and my right to belong in this story.

So, where is my place? Do I belong here? I read this quote by one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, today and the timing was almost eerie as I write this blog post.

“No one belongs here more than you” – Brene Brown

 


An unwanted spotlight

I really hate having attention drawn to me. I REALLY do. I’ve always been that way. I`m uncomfortable being the center of attention and you never need to worry about me stealing the spotlight because it has never been my desire in life. I prefer privacy, quiet, low key. I even get ridiculously embarrassed if I laugh too loud sometimes in public. So, it’s a bit comical that I should end up with someone who is infamous, with someone I have to talk about my life with in order to change perspective from what the media portrayed at one time. I have to talk about what real life is like with this person, being with this person, loving this person, and ultimately painting a brighter picture of who this person is.

In school, I was the kid who hated giving presentations, hated talking in front of a large group (and still do), and hated divulging facts about myself. I`m a listener in most instances and I’d rather not talk at length about my life. It makes me uncomfortable, vulnerable, and open to criticism. The truth is that people are going to criticize you no matter what. You could be doing the best job you possibly can in life, helping people, obeying all the laws like a good citizen, and you will still be criticized. That is just the way humans are.  Instead of hiding in the shadows and letting people talk about how mysteriously absent I am in talking about my husband, I choose to talk about my life and all of the ups and downs, how a person sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole can be an amazing person if you just look beyond the headlines of his case, how everything is not as it seems, because it isn’t.

Starting this blog was a leap. It is incredibly difficult for me to talk about certain aspects of my life with Jeremy, but I do it for the sake of planting seeds that will grow into something more worthy of watering than some sensationalized news story from almost 20 years ago. There is part of me that believes that it is my duty as Jeremy’s wife to do this public presentation because if I let people look up my name behind my back and never bother to talk about what a wonderful relationship I have with a really genuinely good natured person, they will only walk in the direction of “she is married to an evil murderer” and never know the actual story behind it all.

People will always, talk, though, and there will always be an unwanted spotlight on me. At the prison, I have officers and other visitors alike, surprised that I`ve spent the last 14 years visiting Jeremy at prisons and they try to wrap their heads around why Jeremy’s back number is 5 digits and everyone else has a 7 digit number, or why his visiting file dates back to 1998. I feel like sometimes people look at me funny when they hear my last name called out, but it could just be my paranoia because no one has ever said anything to me. There have also been times when I have gotten  private messages on Facebook or at work, from people who are curious about my involvement with Jeremy and at this point I just say “Yes he is in prison and yes we are married and no I`m not crazy”.  When journalists approach me, I act with caution, but I still believe in truth and telling the untold story. So while I absolutely cringe talking about my personal life on this blog some days, it is something that comes with the territory.

If we do not speak our truth, no one gets to hear it.

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Sunday January 22nd, 2017

I’m not going to lie. I never imagined that being the wife of an inmate was going to be this hard. I used to watch shows about prison romances and I thought to myself “This is great! I get tons of time to myself and I get to be married to someone amazing who won’t steal the covers”. You see, before Jeremy I never wanted to marry. I didn’t. I told my mom I didn’t want to get married. I didn’t think it was in my cards to be with anyone for many reasons. Mostly because I thought I was too difficult, or too damaged, or too much. I needed someone who was everything I needed them to be without question and I knew I wasn’t going to find that, so I didn’t want anything.

Last night I was paging through this book I got on Palmistry(read: Palmistry. Not fortune telling, but an art that CAN tell about a person. Did I lose you? Am I nuts? I prefer open minded to life’s mysteries) and it explains that your non dominant hand(for me, my left) is the hand you look to see what was there at birth for you and your dominant hand is the hand of “now” and the path you’re on(there is a whole explanation of why, but you can read the book if you want to know). Anyway, my birth hand does not have a heart line. I compared my hands and just looked at them for a long time. No heart line. My “now” hand has a strong heart line and I believe wholeheartedly that it is because of Jeremy. We found each other by chance. By the chance of me being some strange teenage girl who wanted to write people in prison. By the chance that someone I talked to online told me Jeremy was a nice person and that I should write him. By the chance that I wrote that letter and I mailed it 17 years ago. By chance. Or by design?

Back to the present, though. The last few years have been difficult for me. I have felt more depressed, more lonely, and more lost than I ever have. Being in Nevada and away from my shore of home(I don’t know what home even is anymore. I guess it’s Jeremy but I still miss…somewhere)has taken a lot out of me. Sometimes it destroys my spirit to ashes and I am left with some form of myself that I don’t recognize. This all sounds dramatic, I know, but I’m a person who feels a lot, all the time, and I know my story and my relationship and the trials we go through are powerful beyond measure and I think it’s important to share that. Anyway. What rises from the ashes? The Phoenix. It sort of feels like that, all the time, and it is emotionally painful, and then I’m rising. Funny how that works. Life pushes us to the very brink and then backs off so we can repair. Or does it not back off and we just get so much stronger?

I keep thinking of this quote I read somewhere, “The greater the affliction, the greater the reward”. Now, that really sounds strange, doesn’t it? But…this quote. It gets me through sometimes because I have to believe in my cause and if I’m suffering, I have to believe that it is for a reason because I’m still here, still doing, still waking up and working my way to the end of the tunnel where the light is.

Which brings me to present life. I’m looking for a new place to live that has a bit more space and I went to see one yesterday and for some reason I just blurted out “I like this place. It feels safe and I want to feel safe because it’s just kitty and I. My husband is incarcerated”. I told the realtor that. This realtor I had only met once before, briefly, for about 5 minutes. I usually try to get a better read on people before I drop that bomb, but I dropped it right there in the kitchen of that rental.

There is always a moment, where I’m sure someone is going to verbally crucify me with their words or give me a look that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My mouth got super dry waiting for her to say something. I was so nervous. Her response? “I get it. It happens”. She proceeded to tell me a story about how someone she knows is in prison and that things happen sometimes and humans make mistakes and she is not judging me.

After the showing, on the walk out to the parking lot, she commended me for sticking by my husband and let me know how “cool, strong, and sweet” she thought I was. She offered a friendly ear if I ever wanted to talk and she said she had to hug me and she did.

While my life feels like an uphill climb somedays and I am absolutely battered emotionally by the missing parts of “us” right now, there always seems to be a little nudge, a little sign, a little voice that tells me “the greater the affliction, the greater the reward. Keep going, you’re almost there”.


Trading sleep for thinking

Insomnia and I are well acquainted and have been well before the days of Jeremy. Anytime any new information is fed to my brain I tend to want to sleep on it, and by sleep I mean lay in bed all night thinking about it until the alarm goes off. Last night was one of those nights. I tossed and turned, feeling overwhelmed and upset and trying to calm the panic in my head. 6 a.m. came too soon and coffee is my savior this morning.

I talked to my husband last night and he informed that they’ve placed him back in an administrative segregation cell and that he has not heard back from his caseworker about his transfer. I let words crush me before I even know what they really mean and I could feel the world slip away and I got quiet. He assured me that he is sure he is going to transfer next week and if not he is going to find out why he is being blocked and get to the bottom of it. I trust my husband, I really do, but I also know how the DOC works, how they don`t give a shit about inmates and their families, how dangling a transfer in front of him, like a carrot, is some game. I get enraged because it isn`t a game, this is our life.

I had requested Monday and Tuesday of next week off, initially to see him, but upon learning of the transfer I had planned on waiting for him to move closer to me and taking those days for myself. Wow. Myself. Me. What a concept. Well, he asked if I could come see him and initially I was angry that he asked me, not because I`m mad at him or that I don`t want to see him, but because I am mentally, emotionally, and physically tired. I told him I didn`t want to make the drive and he didn`t get upset, but simply left me with the sentiment that he would really like to see me.

I immediately reached out to several friends to try to stop the spinning in my head before I crashed myself into some emotional wall. It was nice to connect with a few people, get their thoughts, and settle my mind. I laid in bed for a couple hours and then it happened. I just jumped up, got online to write my husband a quick note(Jpay.com offers families a way to “email” an inmate; the mail is printed at the prison and hand delivered to the inmate, most times quicker than an actual mailed letter) letting him know I was coming to see him, booked my hotel, and mentally settled on a visit.

Now that I`ve put that thought in my head, I am more at peace with my detoured “me weekend”. I DO want to see my husband, desperately, I just tire of being the wind up toy that constantly has to soldier on when I`ve got nothing left. I hope to find strength in connecting with my husband in person. I am way stronger than I give myself credit for and I need to dig deep in this time of uncertainty.

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What’s a little corruption swept under the rug?

It’s strange to go from enraged to happy and back to enraged again all in a matter of minutes. I feel like there are ants crawling all over me with anticipation and anxiety, yet there is nothing I can do about it right this second but breathe, see the light at the end of the tunnel, trust that my husband has a plan, and hold on to my love and faith.

After a whole lot of waiting to hear back about my husband’s disciplinary appeal result they have given him the paperwork stating that his appeal has been DENIED but because of his disciplinary history(which has been nothing for the past 15 years)that his hole/disciplinary time has been reduced to one year which means that on September 24th, with good time credit, he will be off disciplinary segregation and be officially classified as administrative segregation. What does this mean? This means he can have contact visits again once a week instead of once a month, we can talk on the phone once a week instead of once a month, he can order food from canteen and not depend on the disgusting state food to satiate him, and he can start the process of getting back to the prison that is 100 miles from me(he is currently 300+ miles from me).

This is a bittersweet relief for so many reasons. I am, under the surface, crazy with joy that I`ll be able to hold my husband’s hands again in less than two months and that we can actually have real time communication more than once a month. We have had an open ended wait leading up to our reinstatement of contact visits for the last 9 months and I don`t know whether to laugh or cry that we have survived this non contact mess. I am still an anxious mess despite my excitement and anticipation of our first contact visit together.

I am angry that the prison will not just admit that they are wrong and fire the involved parties for conspiring against my husband. I`m laughing now because expecting them to own up to mistakes and false statements is something that I know will not come easy, if at all. If my husband is so dangerous, and he stabbed someone like they are stating(actually, as just one very bitter guard is stating), then why would you reduce his time? He did not stab anyone, they realize this “correctional” officer has falsified her statement and they are trying to clean it up by reducing his time. They know damn well that my husband will battle this false charge to the highest level he is allowed. He is nowhere near done yet and I am completely backing the exposure of prison corruption in Nevada. Yes, it happens all the time, and most people are comfortable turning the other cheek, but there are cases like these that cannot be overlooked, underexposed, or swept under the rug.

I am damn proud of my husband for the amount of time and effort he put into his appeals to get some sort of outcome, and I am confident in his ability to cast doubt on the word of the Nevada Department of Corrections.

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