Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Sunday

Today is one of those days where I just can't hold back the tears. I've tried to keep myself busy but my mind keeps me locked on my husband. As Christmas draws closer, I find myself missing him more and more if that's even possible. Missing my husband is like missing the air that I breathe or the beat of my heart. It just doesn't work without him.

Being in a city that you have lived in all your life and feeling like you don't quite fit anymore, because your heart is somewhere else, is by far one of the hardest things. It simply amounts to going through the motions until the day finally comes when your body can be where your heart has been for the last year and a half - with the man that you love more than your own life and there is nothing you won't do to make that happen.

Some may ask "why would you put yourself through this? Why wait for a man in prison?" The answer is really quite simple. We fit. We always have. I have loved my husband all my life. He is home to me. He may not be perfect but he is perfect for me.

There is a misconception that women who wait for men in prison must have low self esteem and nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases, a woman who waits for a man in prison, commits herself to a life of isolation and judgement. Family and friends turn their backs quite easily which is not really what a woman with low self esteem is looking for. A woman committed to a man in prison must find the strength inside her to stand alone against the masses; to fight for who and what she believes in and she will do it alone and without hesitation.

The only comfort she will most likely find are from other women in similar situations. There is a sense of loyalty among women who share a common thread and that is they all love a man doing time. Just because we are married to men in prison does not mean that our love is not pure and real and strong. To me, a marriage to an inmate is stronger than most free-world marriages. We commit ourselves body and soul to our husbands. Loyalty is our strongest asset and love is our greatness weakness.

You never know where we are and who we are so before you suggest that a woman being married to an inmate is desperate or naive, think again because if you don't we will not think twice about calling you out on it and I guarantee you won't win.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Yesterday was a really good mail day for me. I received a card from a new friend in New Mexico, a letter from a new friend in Texas and three letters from my husband. I can't explain what it's like to see an envelope with my husband's name in the top left corner. I can barely contain my excitement and I can't get the envelope opened fast enough to read what he has written. It just simply makes my whole day. My husband says the same thing. He lives for his mail and he knows to expect at least three letters a day from me every day. I have not missed one single day of writing for the last 482 days and I will continue until the day my husband walks through those prison gates and into my arms. He has such complete faith and trust in me that he knows if he doesn't get mail on any given day that it's time to let the mailroom know and you can bet that he knows exactly what days are missing.

Everything that we feel for each other is poured into these letters and if anyone were to read them, there would be no question as to the love we have for each other. It's the kind of love that gives you butterflies and can take your breath away. It's the kind of love that you never doubt because you know it will always be there. It's the kind of love that no matter the distance will never lose it's place. It's the kind of love that can take you from the darkest places in your mind to the warmest places in your heart. It's the kind of love that makes you forget what your life was like before because that life no longer matters. It's the kind of love you've wished for your entire life and you finally have. It makes you better...It's home. 

My husband tells me all the time that I am everything to him and I don't think I really understood the magnitude of what that meant until I got these last three letters from him. He mentioned how we used to talk and laugh all the time when we were together. He was amazed at how I never had to ask him when something was wrong because somehow I always knew. I am not sure I can explain it but it's just sort of a sense thing that I have with him. I can just feel it. The minute he would walk through the front door, I knew. Maybe it was the expression on his face or maybe it was the way he sat down or maybe it was just they way he said "hey", but I knew that if I let him come to it on his own, he would tell me and it would come out naturally and not forced. I remember meeting my husband for the first time and how I felt like I had known him all my life. There was a familiarity and a comfort that I had never had before. So, that's how I knew then and that's how I still know now. I just feel it.

Now that my husband finally has a radio, he listens to music all day and most times when he writes to me, he sends music home for me to listen to you. If you knew my husband at all, you would know that when he wants me to listen to something, it has meaning to him and nine times out ten it's going to make me cry and he did not disappoint me this time. He asked me to listen to several songs but one in particular affected me so much that I had to write about it. "Except for the brown hair", he said "this song was written about you. I just hope that when you hear it that you know where I'm at and for those few minutes of the song, we are together at that moment." Like he says "music and songs don't mean anything and yet they can mean everything."

So, while my husband may feel that I am everything to him, he is everything to me...and more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meant to be

Just when I thought I couldn't love my husband any more than I already do, he says something to me that makes me wonder how in the world I got so lucky to have him in my life. How, in this crazy mixed up world, with millions of people did we ever find each other? Was it luck? Was it by chance or was it something that was simply supposed to happen?

There is not a doubt in my mind that we were meant to be. This life is full of choices and every choice, good or bad, is meant to lead you where you are destined to be. There are no accidents. Each decision we make has a purpose and every choice has a result and it is the culmination of my choices that have led me straight to my husband.

I received two letters today that my husband wrote from November 8-13. As you know, November 9th was the anniversary of my mother's passing and of all the days that I wish my husband was home, that was the one I wished for most. Considering he is in prison and has to be on point all the time, I wouldn't have blamed him or been angry with him if this day had passed him by. But true to form, it didn't. He remembered. He knew that this day would be hard on me and he knew I needed him so while he may not have physically been here with me, he was my heart and he let me know. He said “I know this a tough day for you but know this, whenever you feel the saddest, I got your hand. I’m with you. Never forget.”

How does he know exactly when I need him and how does he always know exactly what to say to make it better? The love my husband has for me is something I will never, in this life or the next, take for granted because it is that love that has gotten me through some of the worst days of my life. When I am feeling alone and lonely, I take out his letters and I read his words and I am comforted in knowing that no matter what life throws at me, I will always have my husband and for that I will be forever grateful because we…are meant to be.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Call

Well it happened! Last night, the phone rang long distance and at first, I thought "not another telemarker?" but when I saw the area code, I thought it might be my husband and then I heard "you have a collect call. Please press "1" to accept the charges." I was so anxious that I didn't think I pressed "1" long enough and then I heard "Hey babe. What's up?" I can't tell you how I have longed to hear those words and finally, after 171 days I got to hear my husband's voice and it was just like I remember - slow and strong, southern and sexy.

Our call was limited to five minutes and they really did just fly by. He did most of the talking and I just listened, amazed that it was actually him. I can only compare having your call timed to speed dating - where you have got to cram a lot of information into a short amount of time and believe me that is no easy task when really all you want to do is keep repeating how much you love and miss each other.

There were a million things I wanted to say to him but the only thing that really mattered was that we got to say "I love you" and "I miss you". Having not gotten a call from my husband in six months, this one was like a double-edged sword because while I missed his voice and would have given anything to hear it, when the call finally came, reality set in that I wouldn't hear from him again for possibly another three months and that thought absolutely broke my heart. Even though I have said goodbye to him hundreds of times, it never gets easier and I think if it did, I couldn't really say that I love my husband with all that I am. It should never be easy to say goodbye to the love of your life.

Even though my husband has been in hell for nearly a year and a half and a lesser man would have given up, his sole focus has always been his wife and children and he would do anything for us. That has never been more evident to me than last night at 9:03pm. He wanted his phone call. He made his request and went through the proper channels. He was relentless and he never gave up and he never backed down. He did exactly what he set out to do 171 days ago. He got to talk to his wife!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nothing Else Matters

Well, today I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I received two more letters from my husband and I am absolutely over the moon about that. But the good news doesn't stop there. Nope. My husband told me that after six long months he has finally been approved to make a call to me! The minute I read those words in his letter, I burst into tears. I couldn't believe what I was reading so I read it again and then I read it one more time just to be sure. I re-read every word of that sentence three times really slowly in case I wasn't reading what I was seeing.

You see, I had resigned myself to the fact that, as long as my husband was in a Texas prison, I would never again hear his voice and that thought absolutely devastated me. There really are no words to express what it feels like to be told that the one voice you love more than any other, is the one voice you won't hear again for possibly a very long time. It's hard enough being 3,000 miles away from him and never seeing him but to never hear his voice again as long as there was this physical distance between us was just about more than I could take.

Every night, I sleep with the phone by my bed just in case and every night I pray that he will be allowed to call me and every morning I wake up and I am reminded of the reality that he didn't get to call. While my husband was in the county jail in Texas, he was allowed to call me as often as he wanted and that helped both of us immensely. We always knew that the other was alright and that was of great comfort and at times all we needed was just to hear the other say "I love you" and we could handle anything. So, when he was transferred to prison and we realized that he wouldn't be able to call anymore, we were both heartbroken but we both knew that "we" would always be OK. There wasn't anything that had happened or was going to happen that would change that.

I was telling my husband that a little while ago, I found out that sometimes those that get regular calls don't answer them because they are at an inconvenient time or simply because they want to punish their husband or wife for an argument they may have had. My husband said "soulmates can't help but answer. The connection makes us even if we are asleep and it's late. Our other half might need us and that's the whole reason for our existence so those people will never get it. Besides all that matters is us."

If I've learned anything at all from this time away from my husband and not being able to talk to him, it's that life is about little moments and it's those little moments, like a five minute phone call every six months, that are truly the things that mean the most. So, even if that five minute phone call never comes, I will always know in my heart that we will always be "we" and nothing else matters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

She Misses him on Sunday the Most

Well I heard a song today that stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't believe how well it described my husband and me and while it was really about a woman who had lost her husband, the message was the same. It talked about the little things that they used to do together and I was reminded of all of the little things that my husband and I would do when he was here.

We used to watch Jeopardy together just about every night and every time my husband got an answer right (which was most of the time) he would smile that smile of his and raise his index finger in the air just to let you know he was right. Friday nights we would watch Criminal Minds until we couldn't keep our eyes open. Saturday we would watch UFC and bet each other on the outcome. Sometimes he would win and sometimes I would but he always let me pick first. That brings us to Sunday and the day that I miss him the most.

Funny how far one day can set you back after all the hard work you've done throughout the week to keep yourself in check and not fall apart. I suppose it's because Monday to Friday I'm busy working and rushing kids all over and Saturday I play catch up with the housework and the bills but Sunday, oh, Sunday is just not a day I can ever get through unscathed. Every week I think this Sunday will be different but it isn't. I sit alone on the chair in our living room flipping through the channels on the tv trying to find something on that doesn't remind me of my husband but of course that's impossible. It is Sunday afterall and that day is all football all day. I know that things will be so different when he comes home and Sunday will be just like it used to be but for now, as hard as I try, Sunday will always be the day I miss my husband the most.

Little moments

It's been a few days since I've written anything largely in part because I haven't really felt inspired to write; that is until today. I received a letter from my husband and that always inspires me. It never ceases to amaze me at the depth of his love for me and that is something that has taken some getting used to. When you finally have what you've always wanted in life, someone that was put on this earth just for you, it can overwhelm you and for the first little while it did. I'm not saying that some of the things that my husband says still don't take my breath away but I have come to accept that I have had an impact on him just as he has had one on me.

He started out by teasing me a bit about the attention that my blog has been getting since I started writing back in August and how small I was compared to our two girls. That's his way. Then he mentioned how proud he was of me and how he had hoped that I would continue blogging even after he came home.

When I started writing, I didn't think that I would really have much to say. I thought I might write a few things and that maybe a few of my friends would read my blog. I never imagined that nearly 2,500 people from all over the world would visit my blog page and continue to come back time after time to read the things I write. One woman who reads my blog regularly said "I swear sometimes I'm so excited about your blogs I'm like a lil kid on Christmas Eve". Another woman said "You are a beautiful writer and have put what so many of us feel every day, and feel like no one else in the world understands, into such eloquent words. Thank you for sharing your journey..." That's some pretty powerful stuff.

When it comes to writing about my husband and me, it comes very naturally to me. I don't even have to think about it very much. I just sit down and the love I have for him just comes out. As he says "it's smooth like butter". As anyone who has read this blog knows, I send everything I write to my husband and at his suggestion, I am considering writing a book about our journey together - the good, the bad and the ugly.

He has been, and continues to be, my greatest supporter not to mention the inspiration for everything I write and that is hard for him to absorb. When you have been through what he has been through in his life, it’s hard to believe that you will find that someone you were meant to be with and that there will be a happily-ever-after. So, to say he was very guarded when we first met would be, I think, very accurate. You see the kind of love that we have for each other is uncharted territory for both of us and while it may have taken us a minute to finally find each other and another minute to let go of all of what we thought love was, it's the millions of minutes we have ahead of us that matter most.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I wasn't ready for this!

Today, I decided to take the girls to the mall just to get out of the house and do some normal family things. By the time we arrived, the parking lot was packed with cars and there were people bustling everywhere. Because I really do hate shopping, I figured this trip would be, at best, an annoyance, but what actually happened was something I wasn't quite prepared for.

As I walked through the front doors of the shopping centre, I was immediately hit with the scent of cinnamon and pine. There were Christmas decorations everywhere and the more I walked the more I was reminded that my husband wouldn't be home for Christmas again this year.

So, there I was standing in the middle of the shopping mall trying to control what I knew was about to happen. In those first few moments, a thousand thoughts and emotions overtook me. I was thinking about the tree that my husband wouldn't put up and the gifts we won't stay up late wrapping together and the smile on his face when he sees his children open their gifts and the sadness in his eyes knowing that he won't be waking up beside me on Christmas morning.

The sight of families shopping together and laughing and drinking hot chocolate and coffee was nearly too much for me and as my eyes began welling up with tears, I realized that if I gave into what I was feeling that I would not be able to regain my composure and my girls would sense that. I knew I couldn't let them see the sheer sadness I felt in my heart not having my husband beside me.

So, while the holidays are a time for families to be together and to appreciate the gifts that they have been given, I can't help but be disappointed that my family is not together in its entirety. I will, however, always be grateful for the gift of my husband and children and I will continue to do what needs to be done for them and hope and pray that this is the very last Christmas that we spend apart.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In Memoriam

I would like to dedicate my blog today to my mother on the 6th anniversary of her passing.

My mother was born on St. Patrick’s Day 1945 and was an only child. While she may have been an only child, she certainly wasn’t a lonely child as she grew up surrounded by her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My grandmother's family was large and to them my mother was like the baby of the family. Two of her uncles held a very special place in heart. When she needed anything they would be the ones she would call. She could always depend on them and they on her.

My mother worked in a pharmacy for 30 years and during that time, she delivered medication to the elderly; most of whom had no family. She had a real soft spot for them and she always listened to them and treated them with the utmost dignity and respect. She felt obligated to them and responsible for them.

It is that sense of responsibility that she passed on to her children. She taught us to always be compassionate, independent and respectful (not only of others but of themselves). “Treat others as you would like to be treated” she always used to say.

My mother dedicated her life to her three children and her three grandchildren. She would have done anything for us even if that meant she had to do without and she never complained. She never complained about having to raise three children on her own on a very modest salary. Yet to the amazement of most, she managed. We were never hungry, never had holes in our shoes and always had brand new clothes for the first day of school.

When my brother wanted to play hockey, she made sure he played. When my sister and I wanted roller skates for Christmas, she made sure we got them. There were no obstacles for my mother, merely bumps in the road. She was so committed to her children that she never missed one of our sporting events.

My mother didn’t just come to games and practices because we were playing, she actually loved watching sports. She was a real hockey and football fan. She loved watching the Toronto Maple Leafs play at Maple Leaf Gardens and at the Air Canada Centre. She also loved football. She followed whatever team my brother worked for whether it be the Ottawa Roughriders, the Ottawa Renegades or the Hamilton Tigercats. Her allegiance was not so much to the team as it was to him.

Perhaps my mother's most important commitment was to her parents. When my grandfather was in the hospital, my mother visited him twice a day every day for three months until his passing in March of 1995. Later, as my grandmother couldn’t get out of her apartment on her own very much, my mother visited her every day and telephoned her at least twice a day. She would take my grandmother her medications, and get her groceries and she would bring her coffee and muffins on Sunday. Sometimes she would just go to my grandmother's to watch the football game. It didn’t matter what the weather or the time, if my grandmother needed her, my mother was always there.

My mother's godchild once said “you could always talk to her and she never judged you. She just listened and she always made you feel better.” That was her way. Her heart was always open.

My mother's life was selfless and her love was endless. I will always take comfort in knowing that there are angels among us and my mother is certainly one of them.

Monday, November 07, 2011

If there hadn't been you

Normally when I write, it's about my husband so tonight I thought I would try something a little different and write to him.

Today started out just like the last 464 days without you. I woke up at 6:30am, showered, made lunches and got the girls off to the school bus and then started my work day. You would think after nearly 16 months, I would be used to being here and going through the day-to-day without you but, guess what? I will never get used to you not being here with me and raising our family. I will never get used to watching Jeopardy or UFC by myself or going to bed alone and waking up without you beside me.

I miss our kitchen banter - you know the way we used to stand around and just laugh and talk and tease each other. Your laugh is contagious and your smile can soften the hardest heart. Knowing that smile was just for me made me feel so blessed to have you in my life.

If there hadn't been you, I wonder what my life would be like. Would I have ever found the kind of love that I have with you? Having felt the love that you had for me then and the love you have for me now, I know without a doubt that you are the man I have been waiting for all of my life. You are the man I want to share my dreams with and the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to grow old with you and sit on the porch like old people do. In you, I see a better me. I see my future.

If there hadn't been you, I wouldn't have been given the opportunity to fight for what I want, for what I believe in...for you. If there hadn't been you, I wouldn't be me and I wouldn't finally have the love of my life. So, I thank you for being you because...all my dreams would still be dreams if there hadn't been you.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

True family

As anyone who has read my blogs knows, I am a member of several online support groups for families with incarcerated loved ones. I have managed to narrow it down to a few small groups as I have discovered that when looking for support, even on a site whose sole purpose is support, you are really rolling the dice at which ones are actually supportive and which ones are simply social networks.

Not long ago, while posting on one of these sites about how alone I felt being 3,000 miles away from my husband without any family, I met a wonderful woman from Texas. The moment she found out how alone I really was, she offered to "adopt" me as her niece. When she first said that she would be my "auntie", I thought the gesture was very nice but that it was no more than that - a gesture. I never truly believed that it would amount to anything more than that. I could not have been more wrong. She didn't think twice about welcoming a woman she has never met and who lives in another country into her family. She opened her heart and her family to me when noone else would. When my own family turned their backs on me, she stood behind me. She has comforted me when I have felt lost and she has encouraged me when I have felt defeated.

On this journey, there will always be people that are quick to offer help but very few will actually follow through. She is by far one of the very few, not just in this situation but in this life, that will go above and beyond for her family and that has never been more clear to me than now.

She said something to me today that brought me to tears. She said "Kim you are by far one of the sweetest most compassionate people I have ever known. Your husband does have an angel. Family is not always what we want. Sometimes choosing our family is better." She couldn't be more right.

We both have a family member incarcerated in a Texas prison and while that common thread is what initially brought us together, it is her unselfish way and her heart as big as Texas that will keep us connected and will always make her family to me.

So, to auntie Janet thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

You Make me Better

Well, I think that it's time to break out the tissues. I received two letters yesterday from my husband and boy does he love his wife! He had me in tears from the word go. He told me about a song he heard on the radio that he had forgotten about and that had gotten him all choked up. He said not to listen to it if I wasn't in the crying mood. The minute I saw the title of the song, my eyes welled up with tears because I had heard it before and I had always wished and hoped for that kind of love - the kind of love that makes you weak in the knees and gives you butterflies - the kind of love that can conquer anything and lets you know that you have finally found what you've always been looking for and that is your other half.

He said "I bet your crying right now" and he was right. I was but I listened to it anyway and I cried even more. My tears were partially because I missed my husband but mainly because of the message it sent. It reminded me of him and also surprised me at the true depth of his love for me and I have never had that before. To be loved so completely by another human being is by far the greatest gift. For my husband to feel that just being with me and being loved by me makes him better is an awe inspiring and all encompassing feeling. I thought I always knew the depth of my husband's love for me but after this letter, it's never been more clear.

~~"It's your love" by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill. I dare you to listen to it and not cry.~~

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Never back down!

Well here we are the first of November. Wow! Where has the year gone? Some days it feels like my husband has been gone for just a second and then other days, it really does feel like he has been gone for 457 days. Today is one of those days.

Last night, my girls and I dressed up and went out for Halloween. Actually, the girls went trick-or-treating and I stayed home and passed out candy but I was dressed up - as a cat. I was sitting on the step wrapped up in a blanket because it was quite cold out, when I was reminded of the last Halloween that we had together as a family. My husband and our girls were sitting around the table in the living room carving pumpkins. They were laughing and joking and having a great time together and when they were finished there was pumpkin everywhere. The girls went out together and when they came home, my husband rooted through their bags looking for his favourite candy - tootsie rolls! He would not be disappointed. So, as I was sitting there on the step, in the cold, I hoped and prayed that this would be the last Halloween and Christmas that we would spend apart.

I received a letter today from my husband that actually took my breath away. He was just very appreciative of everything that he feels that I have done for him which, to me, is only a fraction of what he has done for me. He doesn't realize it quite yet but he has brought out the fighter in me. He has made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. He has reinforced in me what I've always known and that is to stand up for who and what you believe in no matter what. Never back down. Never give up. To me, he is the best example of strength there is. I'm sure if you asked him, he would say that it's me that's the strong one but, in all honesty, I think that we make each other better by making each other stronger.

So, while my husband is in as close to hell as there is on this earth, one thing I know for sure and that is that he will always fight for us and he will never back down and it is because of the fighter that he his that I will never give up.