One year ago my Wife started a nightmare of a journey into the world of incarceration. Amazing how people can change in that amount of time. You either sink or swim. You either choose to live or curl up, give up, and die. The first week she was gone, I really had no clue how I even felt. Numb. As time went on, to say it was a roller coaster of emotions would be a a massive understatement. My kids and I have been through a crazy, emotional, difficult, lonely year. But, you know what ? We also changed for the better. We became self sufficient. We relied on each other. We became a better family. While it certainly wasn't easy and we had real battles trying to adjust, we chose to survive.
Honestly, I had no idea the things my Wife did for our family. That's my fault. I live with that guilt. I learned what she did very quickly. It was a tidal wave. Dealing with the onslaught of bills, loss of medical insurance, taxes, legal issues, and the kids school to just name a few. I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself. Lord knows some days I wanted to, but I didn't. I asked a ton of questions to family. They were a big help. That was the number one thing I learned. To ask. Ask for help. I was not used to that at all. But, this situation changes you. Humility will change you.
I think it took us 6 months at least to start getting a little more comfortable in our situation. My Son (12 years old) was settled in school. I made sure he was surrounded by positive people. Whether it be teachers or coaches. No negativity. I did tell those teachers or coaches closest to to him about his Mom. I was expecting some sort of meltdown or lash out with him. But, it never happened (so far). His counseling, along with keeping him very busy, really helped. He would slip up here and there, but what 12 year old doesn't.
My Daughter was a little different. This was her first year in college. This hit her extremely hard. She was very close with her Mom. She basically lost her best friend. The first couple of months of school were very tough. No motivation to be there. I don't blame her. I just tried to be as positive as I could, even though that probably irritated her ! I wanted to show her I will never give up and will always believe in her. She was at school to obviously learn but to also play softball. Softball played a huge role in getting her on track. Very thankful for her coach and her teammates. It was different for my Daughter. I didn't tell anyone around her about her Mom. I left that up to her. I will say, my Sister in Law played a huge role in getting her on track with her studies. Again, very grateful.
My Daughter and I became closer than we ever have been. It was touch and go for a while, but it really came together for us. We love and respect each other. I love talking with her. She's a great kid that has gone through hell. All her hard work was rewarded in late May. A full scholarship to play softball in NY. So proud of her. She left for NY in early September. It was one of the harder things I've been through. Letting go. I miss her. I am very thankful for my Mother in law for actually taking her to NY. She was an enormous help.
Here we are, one year down. The news is good. My Wife should be home soon. We are very excited, but a little nervous too. She will come home to a "stronger" family. A more self sufficient family. One that she won't have to feel like she has to do it all by herself. While we know we aren't finished with this nightmare yet, we know we have the strength together to get through it.