The Days we want to forget….
It’s been a few months now that my Wife has been home from prison and my family has been put back together. As expected, it’s been tough. But, not anything close as when she went in. The heartache and fear we had when she was sentenced was beyond anything we have ever felt. Being a Father of two kids and trying to be there mentally as much as I could for them was very difficult. It was very hard to keep them strong when I was so devastated. But, as parents, we learn to do anything for our kids. The way I looked at it, my kids kept me strong. Just making sure they were ok, was a full time job. After time, we bonded. Stronger than ever before. I am beyond grateful for that. We look back on the time my Wife was gone and think of everything we did and accomplished. Those memories are incredible. Getting through school, sports, even going off to college. But, there were so many days we wanted to forget. Questions where their Mom was. Is she sick? Cancer? Did you get a divorce? Being terrified their friends would find out. Going to doctor / dentist appointments and explaining why we didn’t have insurance anymore. A few of the visits, dealing with clerks and or correctional officers treating us like we were the criminals. Yeah, it sucked. Like the time we saw my Wife at CIW (California Institute for Women) for the first time in 4 months. We drove 2 hours to get there to find out she was not allowed a contact visit yet. So, we saw her through a 12”x12” window. They had her in a caged box. About 3ft wide and six ft tall. That was probably one of the worst memories I had. The visits did get better. I think our skin got thicker too. We saw her a few times at CIW. But when she was transferred for Fire camp (Rainbow), everything changed. The visits were great, the staff was nice, and the visiting area was very nice. The hardest part about Fire camp for us was, when she was called on a fire, you never knew when she’d be back. Plus, fire season in California is no joke. So, on my part, there was a lot of worry. But, you could get a lot of info through social media and the news. But, again, we all made it through it. That was her last stop being incarcerated.
It took her about a month to get settled at home. She would tell you it was less, but it did take that long. After the joy of being home started to wear off, reality came crashing in. I could tell she was depressed. Where do I go from here? Will I ever have a career again? How can I help at home like I used to? The paranoia she’d have when she’d hear a siren or someone opening the gate to our yard. We also had to cope with the idea of Probation coming by and going through our house at will. That still hasn’t happened, but we were told a few times that they would. We were very psyched out. It was tough, especially with the Holidays a month away. Honestly though, once we got through the holidays, we were able to settle in.
By some miracle, my Wife landed a job through a staffing agency. Not really sure how it happened, but I don’t want to question it. We seem to be on the road to recovery. We accept that there are memories that we will never forget, no matter how bad we want to. But, sharing these experiences can help others. Not to sound too corny, but there is hope. In these situations, I think some people coming out of prison look to the government to help them. That’s not going to happen. That’s where people that were in the same situation that they are in can help. The days we want to forget can help those that are living them now.