Thursday, March 29, 2012

So close yet still so far

I am sitting here in my pyjamas and I should be excited to be leaving for Texas in four days and to be picking my husband up in six days but I am not. I found out last night that there was a possibility that my husband might not be coming home when we originally thought and today that was confirmed.

His release day has been delayed by nine days and while to some that may not seem like a lot, to me it is a lifetime. I have not seen my husband in a year and a half and I miss him most days more than my heart can take so this delay is a huge disappointment for me.

All the plans that I have made, the flights, the hotels, the car rental and child care must now all be changed and may need to be changed again if TDC decides to change his out date yet again. I miss my husband and I want to see him and I want to see him in six days not 15 days.

My husband has been through more in this lifetime than any other man that I know. He is a survivor and most, if not all of what he has been through, has been alone. This is the one time in his life that he has someone that loves him unconditionally and would go to hell and back for him and the fact that he now has to wait an additional nine days to be released from prison is no doubt very disappointing for him as well.

While this setback could and maybe should have me questionning my resolve and if I have what it takes to see it through to the end, I will not now or ever let anyone keep me from my husband. He will always know that he can count on me and that I will never let him down. No matter what, we are we and it is that commitment and unwavering faith we have in each other that will get us through this. Together, we are unstoppable.

While my husband may just be a number to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, he is much more than that to me. He is my best friend, my partner and the love of my life but more importantly he is now and will always be...the best man I know...still.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Me and You

It's a little after 9:00pm and I am sitting in my room trying to write you a letter and listening to some music. I heard a song today that I haven't heard before and it really tells the story of you and me perfectly.

Ever since you were given your out date, I have done nothing but think about these past 19 months without you and I often wonder how I have gotten through this time without my husband and best friend. I am not sure that the answer is as complicated as strength, commitment or having faith. It's much more basic than that. I think it's as simple as I love you and would do whatever it takes to be with you.  If there is any reason at all that I am still here and still standing that is it.

Strength alone cannot get you through this time and maybe if I were a different kind of woman, I would have packed in a long time ago but what you and I have is far from ordinary. We have the kind of love that people dream of and wish for. Has this time without you been easy? Not even a little. Is it worth every sleepless night and every tear that I have cried? Hell ya!

In a little over a week you will finally be free and we will be together. We have weathered this storm together and we are unstoppable. We are connected. We always have been but more importantly we were meant to be me and you.

I love you Cody and I'll see you when I see you.

~~ Me and You ~~ by Kenny Chesney

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Missing her still

Well today is March 17, 2012 and this marks the 7th birthday that I have spent without my mother. As anyone who has read my blog with any regularity knows, my mother died unexpectedly in November 2005.

Her birthday is today and even though it has been 7 years, it still feels like it was just yesterday that I said I love you for what would be the last time.

In a letter that I sent to my husband last week, I was telling him how much I missed my mom and I asked him when this would get easier and while I haven't received his reply yet, I am sure he is going to say something like "I know this day is going to be hard on you. Just know that I am with you always and so are your memories of your mother. No one can take those away from you." I think he will also say something like "I don't think that this day will ever be easy for you but I do think it will become more bearable as time goes on." Yes. That's what I think he will say. I think he will also remind me that this is the last one that I will spend without him and that gives me great comfort.

Knowing that my husband is always with me, even from 3,000 miles away has given me the strength that I have needed to get through all these days without him. I just keep reminding myself how truely fortunate I am to have him in my life not only as my husband but as my very best friend.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that my mother would have loved my husband and he would have loved her. While their love of football would have surely connected them, I think that their love for me would have cemented them. My husband told me once that one day they would meet and he would get the chance to thank her for giving him me. So, even though my mother has been gone for 7 years, I am now and will always be...missing her...still.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Last Call

Well after 109 days I finally got my last five minute call from my husband. It was 10:10pm and I was just about asleep - you know when you are not quite awake but not quite asleep either. I sleep with the phone right by my bed so when the phone rang long distance I grabbed it on the second ring. I didn't recognize the area code but I knew it had to be my husband.

I quickly answered and I heard the operator say "You have a collect call. Press one to accept the charges." I was so nervous that I had to look twice at the phone to be sure I was pressing the number one and once I was sure I held it there for a good few seconds so that there would be no doubt that I hit the number.

When I said hello there was no answer so I immediately thought that I hadn't held the button down long enough and that he wouldn't be able to call back. I said "hello" for a second time and there it was - the voice I had longed to hear for the past 109 days saying "hey". It was just like I remembered - so strong and sure and so very comforting to hear. His voice absolutely melted my heart.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry so I did a little bit of both. I wanted to remember everything he said but really all I focussed on was the sound of his voice. I knew if I cried too much that our five minutes would be wasted so I did my best to hold it all in and I think I did a pretty good job of it until my husband said "ok baby we have one minute left so if there's anything you want to say to me you gotta say it now". I immediately felt the tears welling up just as I feel them right now as I am writing this and just like every time before this, all I could say to him was "I love you" and "I miss you" and all he could say to me was "I love you too. Tell the girls I love them" and "I'll see ya when I see ya".

I have missed hearing my husband's voice every day for the last 19 months and while it will only be a matter of weeks until I hear it again, for me it will be an eternity.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Little Things

Here we are and it's Sunday again. So, that means my husband is one more week closer to coming home. I find that's the best way to look at things. Glass half full and not half empty.

Ever since my husband was granted parole, I have had a lot of thoughts running through my head that maybe most people who don't have a spouse in prison take for granted. One of the things that I can't stop thinking about is the sound of his voice. I have heard my husband's voice twice in the last year and I miss it. I miss the way he says "hey baby what's up?" and I sure as hell miss the way he says "I love you". The last time I heard him say that was November 17, 2011. I also wonder what he looks like now and how much he may have changed. Undoubtedly, he, like every other inmate has lost weight and maybe aged a little bit under the stress and strain of every day prison life but one thing I know for sure and that is that nothing will ever change the way I feel about him.

I would imagine that, after all this time, he is just as anxious and nervous to see me as I am to see him. It's been nearly two years since we have seen each other so I would be willing to bet that the first time we see each other will be overwhelming for both of us and honestly I can't wait for that moment. The moment when our eyes meet for the first time and we finally get to say everything that we have wanted to say to each other for so long and to finally be able to say it in person and not through a letter or a five minute phone call. I don't want to forget anything about that moment and I doubt I ever will because that moment in time will be the start of our life together and there is no looking back from that point on.

Like I said in one of the first blogs that I ever wrote: some go to prison hard and come out harder, some go to prison hard and come out better. My husband went in hard and while prison may have changed some things about him temporarily, the very heart of the man that I love remains and that only reinforces what I have always known; not even prison will change who he is and that is still the best man I know.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Keep getting up

As I sit here this morning, reading through all of my facebook posts, emails and blog comments, I am reminded how hard this journey is for the loved ones of those doing time. This blog is dedicated to those of you who are struggling to find the strength to get through this time away from the ones you love most.

I have often been told how strong I am to be doing this time without my husband or the support of my familly and while receiving a comment like "you are one of the strongest people I have met on this road so far!!" is very flattering, it is also very humbling.

I am no stronger than any of you. I am no different. Yes, my husband is in prison 3,000 miles away and yes I haven't seen him in over a year and a half and I haven't talked to him in over 3 months but does that make me stronger than any of you? No it doesn't. We all have our crosses to bear in this life we have chosen and no one person's pain is any greater or less than the others. You are all strong men and women. You just don't know it yet.

I have heard a lot of people asking God to give them the strength to endure what they must because of the life they have chosen and while prayer is always beneficial, I am a firm believer that God doesn't make you strong; the circumstances God gives you do. You will either rise to the challenge or fall flat on your face and if you do fall you must rise again and again and again.

Choosing to love an inmate is just that - a choice - and nothing about it will be easy. The time, the distance, the worry, the stress and the limited communication are enough to keep the strongest person down. However, if there is anything that you will learn throughout this journey it is that you are stronger than you think you are and stronger than anyone gives you credit for.

It's the easiest thing in the world to stay down when you have fallen. It takes true strength to keep getting back up. So to all of you who have fallen, remember this. I believe in you more than you believe in yourself. You will have days when you are squared up and ready to take on the world and you will have days when all you want to do is stay in bed with the covers over your head.

I guarantee that you will have more strong days than weak ones. How do I know? Because I have been where all of you are and I am still standing. This bid with my husband has not broken me so don't you dare let it break any of you either. It's ok to fall once in a while and it's ok to feel weak. You just always, always have to...keep gettin up!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Memoriam for my Grandmother

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my grandmother's passing and I can already tell it's going to hit me very hard. I've been thinking about this day coming for weeks now and the closer it gets the more I feel it. My grandmother died of congestive heart failure on February 13 at around 1:00pm at the age of 93.

My grandmother was born on April 3, 1920 and she was the oldest of 10 children. She was married to my grandfather for nearly 55 years before he passed away in 1995. My mother was their only child and she passed away in 2005. So, here I sit on this day with the memories of not only my grandmother but my grandfather and my mom and right now, it's a little too much to bear but I will because really there is no other choice.

I remember the last time I saw my grandmother. Her eyesight and memory were failing and as I walked into her room, she just sat there and stared at me for a second. As I came closer to her, she said to me in a very soft, sure voice "I know your face" and I started crying because the thought of her not being able to remember me was devastating. We had a bond more like mother and daughter than grandmother and granddaughter so if she no longer had those memories of us, I am not sure I would have been able to accept that. We talked a lot about things we had done together and our favourite memories were of when she would come home after work. You see my grandparents and my parents shared a house. My grandparents lived downstairs and my parents and I lived upstairs. Every day after school, I would sit out on the step and watch for my grandmother's blue Impala to come down the street and pull into the driveway. I was just so excited to see her. We would go into the house together and she would change into her after work clothes and we would make a snack in the kitchen and then go into the living room and talk about our days. We did that every day for years and I loved it. We went shopping together and camping and to McDonald's. She taught me to cook and to sew and even to knit. We even caught frogs together when I was about 7. She carried the pail and I caught the bullfrogs. We were always together.

I remember the last words my grandmother said to me. She had never met my husband so I was telling her all about him and she looked me straight in the eye and said "Does he love you?" "Yes, nanny he does." "Does that boy make you happy?" "Yes, nanny he does." "Is that boy good to you?" "Yes, nanny he is." "Then I am happy for you both and that's all I can ask and I love you."

While not having my husband here right now has left me feeling at a loss, there is something that he said to me the night my grandmother died that I have never forgotten. He said "your memories of your grandmother are your own and nobody can take them away from you. You need to remember her in your own way. Her body may be gone but she is always with you."

So, while tomorrow will be a difficult day for me, I do take comfort in knowing that not only are my grandparents and my mother always with me, but that this will be the last anniversary I will spend without my husband and that can get me through anything.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

We will always be we

Well here we are and it's the beginning of February and that means that in just about two months my husband will be coming home after being in prison for over a year and a half. I find now that we are so close to being together and having all that we have ever wanted, that time is going by at lightening speed. There is still so much that needs to get done but if I know me, and I do, it will all get done.

I have to admit that the thought of seeing my husband after nearly two years has me excited and nervous and happier than I have ever been. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't missed him more than I thought my heart could take. I have talked about him constantly, fought for him relentlessly and prayed for him nightly. I found that the only way to get through this time without him is to put my love for him and his love for me right at the centre of everything I do and to never ever forget that everything happens for a reason.

So now the for real plans are being made. Our hopes and dreams are so close to becoming reality that I can almost touch them. There is no more waiting to see if he will come home this year but rather when TDC will return him to me and believe me I am never giving him back.

As I said 6 months ago, in one of my blogs, "He is on my mind every minute of every hour of every day. We are connected. We always have been and always will be. He loves me more than words can say. I love him like no other. Together we are unstoppable. Back to back. Our love is undeniable."

While some may say that nothing in this life is certain, there is one thing that I know without a doubt is certain and that is that we will always be we and nothing else matters.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Well here we are. January is almost over. I can't believe how fast this month has gone. I can only hope that the next few months go by just as fast. After a year and a half, my husband is finally coming home and while I am more than excited to see him, I am also nervous and anxious.

I have missed him every day for the last 533 days and I will continue to miss him until I see his face sometime in the next couple of months. This is our do-over and I can't wait to finally start this life with him. He has been the centre of my world since he walked through my front door in September 2009. That will never change. He is the man I trust with my life and love with my entire heart. There is nothing that I wouldn't do for him and I know, without a doubt, there is nothing that he wouldn't do for me.

I won't lie and say that this time apart has been easy because there has been nothing easy about it. He is in Texas. I am in Canada. We have spoken on the phone twice in a year and we haven't seen each other since September 2010. The details of his release, at least right now, are quite sketchy. I don't know when and I don't know where but I do know that no matter when and no matter where, I will be there.

All of this waiting, stressing and struggling is just about over. With my husband's freedom comes a new set of obstacles but really after being apart for so long, there is nothing we can't handle; there is no problem too big for us. The little details will take care of themselves. We have perservered and our time has come. We will be together and nothing will stop that. Nothing will stop us.

I have been asked what I have learned through this bid with my husband and really the answer is simple. The love that I have for my husband and the love he has for me has reminded me that I am braver than I believe, stronger than I think, and to never ever...sweat the small stuff.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Climbing Mount Everest

It's been a little while since I've written because, quite honestly, I have been overwhelmed with the thought that my husband is finally coming home. In just a few short months, and after close to two years, I will finally get to put my arms around him and look him in the eye and tell him how much I love him and how much I have missed him.

It's been exactly 15 days since we were given the news that my husband made parole and I am sure that I haven't slept for more than three hours at a time. My head has been swimming with all of the things that need to be done now that he is coming home.

Time is ticking and I fear it will run out before I get everything done. It feels like there is another mountain in front of me to climb but this one is considerably smaller than the last one and this time I won't be climbing it alone. I won't deny that the first mountain felt like I was climbing Mount Everst and it was a son-of-a-bitch to conquer. My husband was coming up one side and I was coming up the other and after months and months of struggling and being apart we both finally made it to the top. We will be together and we will continue to do it our way and nothing can stop us. We have made it through the worst of it and we are stronger than ever just like I said we would be when this all started nearly two years ago. He promised he would always be OK and I promised I would move to Texas. He has kept his promise just like I knew he would and I am keeping mine and because of our love for one another and our promises to each other, I realize now that the mountain I thought was ahead of us is really just a little hill.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Clearer Skies

Well it was a week ago today that I found out that my husband made parole and will be coming home within the next few months. I knew this day would come and now that it is so close I find myself going through a whole new set of emotions and feelings.

I am overwhelmed with happiness yet lonlier than I've ever been since he's been gone and that is because even though he's so close to coming home, for me it's still so far away. My anxiousness is palpable. I've never wanted anything so badly in my life the way that I want my husband. I wish that I could move through time and it was the day that he was coming home. I've imagined what that day would be like at least a thousand times and I would be willing to bet that no matter how perfect a picture I have in my head of that day, it will pale in comparison to the reality.

I've had many sleepless nights since my husband has been in prison but not like this. Before when I couldn't sleep it was worry and stress and missing him like crazy that kept me awake. Now it's quite simple what has been keeping me up and that is the thought of finally being with him the way we've always been meant to be.

On August 4, 2010, we committed to each other and I made a promise to myself and to my husband that nothing would keep me from him. We have been tested more than most but we swore that we would always stand back to back, ready to take on any and all comers that threatened our commitment to one another and together we have weathered that storm and by god after what has seemed like forever the skies are clearing and the rainbow is finally coming out! Are we the same people we were when this bid started 17 months ago? Not even close. We are better.