This I Believe

Anne - Williamstown, Massachusetts
Entered on January 1, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: setbacks

The Journey and Love with a Felon

Life is full of journeys that take you through events and places that you would never dream could happen in your life time. Many of these events in my lifetime I thought I could have happily done without. Events that caused emotional, physical, and heart wrenching pain. The kind of pain that appears perhaps in romance novels, or television mini-series. However, the events in my story are true. My husband was falsely convicted of a committing a white collar crime and is now wrapping up a 30 month stint at a Federal Prison.

We have been happily married for 23 years and have three wonderful children. In July 2005 our lives were turned upside down when David had to begin his sentence which was in a facility two hours from our home. We have never been apart. We are a close family that have done everything together; grocery shopping, volunteering at our church, school fund-raising, etc. But now, or at least for awhile, these practices have been stopped.

So, for half of 2005 and all of 2006, I have had a very dismal view of the world. I did not believe in our judicial system, our government, our church family, even some of our family friends have seemed to abandoned us. I have spent two wedding anniversaries, two Thanksgivings, two Christmas holidays and finally two New Year’s Eve’s at a Federal Prison. As I began to search for reasons why the Good Lord had presented us with this challenge, or as I saw it this burden, I struggled for answers throughout 2006. I went every weekend to visit my husband trying to bring smiles and laughter to him all while hiding my own despair. Then suddenly almost as if a small miracle occurred, I sat again on this New Year’s Eve with two family members, two close family friends, and of course the host of our comically referred to “Big House Party”, my husband, David, sharing small pieces of microwave pizzas bought at the Bureau of Prisons vending machine, a small bag of Smartfood popcorn, and toasting with ginger ale. I glanced around the room and saw many families embracing their loved ones, know by society as “Felons” but, to each family that felon is a “Daddy”, “Son”, “Boyfriend” or in my husband’s case, “My Best Friend”. I saw and felt something that is almost difficult to describe for it was the feeling of real love. Families were spending time with their loved ones not because they had to but because they wanted to be together. So often I have been to parties and dinners where spouses or dates have shared cordial yet shallow expressions of love to each other. Yet, here at this prison I realized on the eve of 2007, I was the lucky one. This I believe, for nowhere else in my experience has love, hope and joy been ever more present. There was no alcohol, no party hats, no noise makers. Instead there was laughter, hugs, squeals of delight as fathers played with their young children, along with “oohs and aahs” at the rapid growth of their infant children. I felt the joy of honest love.

I believe that life is a journey that you have to experience with an opened mind and an opened heart. I believe that 2007 will again be a challenge for me but, I will never look back at my experience with felons as a burden.