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In the beginning

December 1995

Richmond, VA


That was the year my husband was sentenced to 27 years in prison. He was 18 years old.



This was the beginning of a phase I am now brave enough to label the "sympathy phase". My husband could pretty much get what he wanted from me physically and emotionally. I was there for every phone call, visit, letter, holiday, EVERYTHING!!!! I felt obligated. I didn't want to disappoint him. I was afraid to say NO! I didn't want to make him think I was leaving him hanging. But it got real hard REAL FAST!


There is a big communication gap between prison and civilian life. Support can be turned into dependence very quickly. In prison, there is minimal consideration for what goes on beyond those walls. Our loved ones can become very selfish, angry, and needy. There may be times where you question yourself "who is this person"? There may also be times where rage takes over and things go completely haywire.


My advice: COMMUNICATE! The negative emotions your loved one shows toward you are not about you! You have to have thick skin when walking this path. The stress of incarceration alone can wear a person down. Prepare yourself for anything but DO NOT SETTLE FOR ANYTHING! Allow your feelings to be heard, allow your loved one to share, and communicate with respect.


This is the BEGINNING! Don't let it END YOU!


SS

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