Prison stuff~Because I can’t think of a better title

by adustyframe ~ May 27th, 2009

I was talking to my friend Gigi today. She moved away at the end of February and her husband was released from prison in March.

She said that now that he’s out, people who wanted nothing to do with her while he was incarcerated are calling and wanting to get in touch again. She said she’s hurt that they dropped her like a hot potato and now they want to spend time with her again.

I understand her feelings. There’s something about having a loved one in prison that makes people shy away at times.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that people don’t want to talk about it.
I get emails from people sharing that their uncle, or brother, or nephew is in prison. I’m always happy to email and to encourage or just commiserate in any way I can. I’m sure it’s nice to have someone to email that understands.

I know that it’s been good for me to have friends with incarcerated husbands. I know that they know and that I can say whatever I want and they are thinking or feeling it too.

It’s just interesting to me that it’s almost always in private emails. Very few comments are left here by people who have a loved on in jail or prison. It’s not really something we want everyone to know is it?
It’s hard to talk about, hard to share, hard to deal with. It’s a life that none of us asked to live.

We carry burdens that are beyond difficult to explain. I know that they’re difficult to understand too. The best way I’ve ever found to explain is that it feels like coming down with the flu.
Can you imagine feeling that way all day everyday? Even on the “good days”. It’s a physical burden.
I’m able to say that because when Lee was out was when I realized the physical burden wasn’t sitting on my shoulders. The “coming down with the flu” feeling was gone.
When he went back, I felt the burden settle on me within the hour.

Looking in, I imagine one could think that I’m exaggerating or being melodramatic. Maybe they think I’m being lazy or wallowing. It’s really none of that. It’s just something that you can’t imagine if you’ve not lived it.

Every person I’ve spoken to with a loved one in prison understands.

I blog for a lot of reasons, but one is to try just a little bit to show what millions of people are carrying all day everyday.

When things for me were at their very worst, I remember walking through the grocery store. It felt surreal to see people living normal lives, while I walked through the store barely able to keep from sobbing.
I thought, “No one would ever know what I’m dealing with.”
It’s a reminder to me that people walk around this world every day carrying burdens that are huge. Their sobs are barely contained under a thin layer that looks like a smile–a layer that looks like “normal”. No one can tell what they’re dealing with.

That’s why we need to be on the lookout for opportunities to serve and minister. How do you know that the person you show kindness to or speak a blessing to isn’t a person who desperately needs it at that moment?


9 Thoughts Shared to Prison stuff~Because I can’t think of a better title

  1. MamaHen

    You have such a wonderful way of writing. It’s true, there is so much pain in the world and sometimes we feel we are the only ones bearing it. We need each other so much.

    We do!

  2. Ame

    “Looking in, I imagine one could think that I’m exaggerating or being melodramatic. Maybe they think I’m being lazy or wallowing. It’s really none of that. It’s just something that you can’t imagine if you’ve not lived it.”

    no, you’re not exaggerating … you’re not being melodramatic or lazy or wallowing. and no one can imagine it if they’ve not lived it. and that’s okay.

    i don’t think it’s wrong when people don’t ‘get it’ … i think it’s devestating when they don’t acknowledge they don’t ‘get it’ and judge you according to their views/perceptions of what may or may not be true.

    i was talking to another mother who raised a daughter with the same special needs as my daughter a couple years back, and she said to me, very dramatically, “NO one understands unless they’ve been there.” there are things we have to deal with all the time, 24/7/365, for the rest of their lives, that no one else will ever comprehend. and i absolutely HATE it when others minimize what i go thru. same with discovering an unfaithful husband … going thru divorce … being a single mom.

    and how very devestating and discouraging that people treat others differently when they’re at their lowest points … as you are well aware.

    know i’m here … and i love you and care about you. i know i’m scattered these days and spinning, but i’m still here 🙂

    you’re right that the not understanding and then judging is what’s worse.

  3. Pam

    Very….Very well put Lizzie. It is impossible to know the full extent of the pain another person is going thru….even if they have “stepped on the same broken glass”.
    Many have unseen or unspoken burdens…sometimes all we have to give is a smile and a word of encouragement….kindness costs nothing…..if we listen to the Lord He will tell us how to reach out to thers.
    God Bless, Pam

    Thanks. You’re right sometimes it’s such little things that help ease the burdens of others.

  4. Judith

    Thank you for this post convicting me of my own self-centered cocoon in which I like to live. May God give me eyes to see and a heart to care for the unseen burdens that the people all around me are carrying. Thank you, Lizzie.


  5. TransitionGirl

    I’m glad you’re blogging & sharing about it, though it may be hard sometimes. Makes me more aware of the needs of people around me. & to not judge people just because of the circumstances which they are in, which I’ve been guilty of.

    I’m glad to know that I’m helping in some way:)

  6. Sarah

    You are much braver than I and I am thankful that you are able to express so many of the same feelings I have. Many times I find myself getting upset with friends when they complain about or are mean to a spouse because I feel they don’t realize how lucky they are to have them there. Thank you so much for this post.

    You’re so right! The being mean to a spouse and how I feel about it are a post I’m thinking about.

  7. ashley@twentysixcats

    I really, really like this post. I admire you for being honest. Reading your blog has really opened my eyes to the needs of the families with incarcerated loved ones. Most of all, it has made me realize the need for grace and compassion. I pray that you keep writing, keep being honest and real.

    Thank you for letting me know!

  8. Gina

    You are exactly right – it is a physical burden. Even when you aren’t thinking about it, it uses up your energy. I feel it on top of my chest, not on my shoulders, but it is the same thing. I did hear something the other day that sort of helped: if there were no pain, no heartache in the world, there couldn’t be any compassion, either. Like I said, it SORT OF helps.

    Thanks for chiming in! You’re right that not thinking about it doesn’t mean you’re body doesn’t feel it.

    Mine used to settle on my shoulders, chest, belly;0! I’m doing better now!

  9. Shelley

    I really love your writing and transparency. I don’t have a husband incarcerated, but feel a similar physical burden as a single mom. Also the pain of being “dropped.” Thank you for reminding me to always be on guard for opportunities to minister and encourage.

    On a lighter note, I’ve tagged you on my blog.. come take a peek!! 😉

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