Prison Talk: I Miss Them So Much Today

Before I begin, it’s important for me to add:

Take a moment before reading this post to miss your loved one. It is okay and important to take a moment to process this feeling of missing them.

I promise most days I’m prepared to handle the heartache. Some days, though, do you ever feel like it hits you like a ton of bricks? You know those days…the mornings where you wake up and are immediately filled with dread followed by the I miss them so much today. What makes those days any different from the rest? Are they thinking of us too in that moment so we feel a little more pain that morning?

On these mornings, the common theme for me is that same dull ache when I realize I woke up to the same reality. The reality where your loved one is still incarcerated, not the dream we’ve convinced ourselves we’re in.

I would love to say that one day these mornings just stop, but with time they only get worse. I miss him more today than I did yesterday, and I’ll miss him more tomorrow than I did today. I like to keep a special box around for days like today.

In this box, I like to keep all of the letters from my brother. I like to keep any cards he may send on birthdays or holidays. I like finding keepsakes from any time we had together and hide them in my box. I strategically place each of these things for days like today when the emotions feel so overwhelming. Each special item holds a happy memory, love and a smile. Do we really need anything more on days like today? These items are my perfect formula to happiness by the time I reach the bottom of the box! {that’s the secret} I take some time and look through each individual item. While looking I enjoy recalling each memory, and I swear if I focus hard enough it’s like he’s actually here.

These hard days can be so tough, but we can’t lose our fight. We can’t lose hope, because you never know when your loved one will need to borrow some of your hope. We must keep hope to restore theirs when they’re on empty!

If you’re ready, try imagining homecoming day. It took me a long time to be comfortable with doing this, so I encourage you to think about if you’re ready. I like to plan exactly how homecoming day will be. Create an itinerary, if you will. Where will we go first? What will we have for dinner? What’s the first thing we’ll talk about? What song will I show him first? What movie will I take him to? Where will I take him shopping for clothes? What will he want to do first? Oh, and that hug!! I like to think about that first homecoming hug for a few minutes. A few minutes, because oh how sweet it will be!

I wasn’t always so resourceful {hehe} with my coping mechanisms, and it took quite a bit of practice. I promise, when you begin putting in a conscious effort to be better in your situation you will begin seeing changes. It will always hurt, but it gets easier to make it through these moments of complete pain.

Don’t forget, you are not alone. I know it feels that way, but remember our loved ones are missing us too. I spent so long looking for someone who was going through the same thing, I overlooked the love my friends and family already had to give me. My friends and family were prepared to give me so much love in my times of pain, but I felt it needed to be a certain love they couldn’t provide. They couldn’t provide this love because I was the one with the incarcerated loved one. They only understood what I was saying, not what I was going through, and to me in this time, that love was not enough. It wasn’t enough so I completely denied them of giving it to me. I chose not to accept it. Not consciously, of course. Only in my actions of pushing them away in any way possible. Pushing family and friends away began to show up in many ways throughout my life. Choosing to say I didn’t want to hang out with friends when they asked. Choosing not to ask for extensions in school when I’d miss because I needed to attend court. Choosing not to ask for extra help from teachers when I didn’t understand things because I couldn’t focus. Looking back as an adult, my 14 year old brain didn’t understand what was happening. I understood, but I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t know how to tell an adult what was happening inside my mind during these first years. Choosing not to talk to my parents more…we three needed each other most in this time. My high school years were the hardest, and looking back it almost feels like I was just skimming through people looking for that one. That one person who understood exactly what I was going through because they were going through the same thing. When we’re in this much pain, it can be hard to take a step back and see the love surrounding us. I challenge you to accept the love someone is willing to give you today. I challenge you to accept and reciprocate that love. By doing this, we are creating a cycle of love that we will begin to lean on during these tough days. While it is nice to have someone who understands and my goal is to create community around this topic, don’t put too much energy into this idea. Any and all love is good love.

 

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