Imagine, for a moment, being falsely accused of a crime. A BIG crime… Murder. Imagine being 18 years old, and being arrested for a crime you didn’t commit. Imagine the prosecutor offeri…
It has been 509 days since I have posted. So much has happened, so much has changed but the one thing that remains the same is my love for my husband. 479 days seems like such a long time but in reality it’s only 1 year and 4 months but for Cyrus it has been 8677 days since the day his life was stolen from him. 23 years, 285 months, 1239 weeks….all of his entire adult life GONE!!!! Can you imagine all of your 20’s and 30’s just disappearing? All of the life experiences, lessons, moments, and memories…not there!!! How different would your life be? How different would you be as a person? I wrestle daily with how to reconcile my feelings about Cyrus’s life. On one hand I am so angry I could spit fire and the other I am so unbelievably sad. This beautiful person, beautiful soul has been locked away, caged like an animal for so long…little things that never use to affect me now make me stop and take a second glance. I have found myself appreciating simple things like how green the grass is or how beautiful the sky looks or just admiring the moon on a clear night. These are all things Cyrus can not even imagine….it literally breaks my heart! He was a child by all rights when he was arrested. He did not even have facial hair yet! There is a video of him in night court when he was being booked and he was by all means a child and looked like a child. The reality of that statement sucks all of the oxygen out of my lungs. I think about all of the things he missed out on….prom, graduation, college, his 21st birthday….hell his entire 20’s and 30’s and slowly but surely he is missing his 40’s and HE IS INNOCENT!!! He does NOT EVEN BELONG THERE but because his life was deemed worthless…he has been forced to live in a cell for over 23 years!!!!!! 23 damn years!!!! There is no justice in America when rich white kids kill 4 people and get probation, or are arrested with 100 pounds of marijuana and get probation, or rape an unconscious woman and serve 3 months in jail….where is the justice in that? WHERE??!!??
Repairing your marriage when your partner is incarcerated is an extremely daunting task. It is most definitely not for the faint of heart. We have been struggling for well over 6 months trying to figure out what our next step is and how do we get to that next step. It has been a hard road but I think we are finally getting to the place where we can move forward. I love my husband. We have a phenomenal love. We are a phenomenally amazing couple. It has taken us being separated from each other physically in order for us (especially me) to truly embrace what an amazing blessing my husband is to me and to the world. I am a lucky woman and I do not say that lightly. Loving the “good” me is not hard…I am sure over the years there have been a few men who have loved the “good” me…that does not take much effort. But loving the real me…that is a totally different story. The real me is selfish and bratty and prideful and defensive. I am harsh with my words because I build walls to keep people out. My husband knows these things and loves me not in spite of them but because of them. He knows how fragile my ego is and he knows my insecurities and instead of feeding those insecurities and taking advantage of them, he offers me a place to be myself and all he asks in return is that I love him just as fiercely as he has loved me most of our lives. I can own up to my part in the demise of our marriage. I did not set him apart from everyone else although he has never treated me like everyone else I treated him just like he was a regular guy not the sweet wonderful man I married. The man that loves me no matter how hard I push him away. He has treasured my heart and my soul for years and I was so prideful and set in my ways that I could not see the wonderful treasure that he truly is. I could not let go and love him with all of my heart and soul and truly be the woman God intended me to be for my husband. We are working towards reconciliation. It is not an easy or overnight process but at the end of the day we both want to be married to one another and we both want a truly amazing marriage that defies all the odds that have been stacked against us since day one. I love my husband more than anything in this world and I will intentionally love him for the rest of my life. I will think before I speak. I will listen to understand not just to reply. I will let my defenses down and know that he is not critical of me that every thing he says and does comes from a place of love and not judgement, I will do the same for him because our marriage is the most important relationship we have in this world.
“Time heals all wounds” how many times have we heard this and how many times have we thought not this time? I am in that place right now. Most people discount my marriage…it’s not real to them. We’ve never lived in the same house, went to sleep or woke up in the same bed, shared a meal together, watched a movie, cuddled on the couch, the list goes on and on but none of those things matter when you are dealing with your heart. I love my husband and I know he loves me and maybe because we don’t have those connections it is easy for people to discount our love and commitment to each other. I think it’s easy for us to discount our commitment. The last few months have been particularly rough for both of us. My husband turned 40 in prison. He has had 21 birthdays in prison….that alone has to weigh heavily on his mind. So dealing with our marriage has been extremely difficult. We are in the process of getting a divorce. We have not spoken to each other in 2 weeks and have not seen each other in 2 months. This is all his choice. He does not want to talk to me or see me. In his words I am very good at marriage but horrible at being a wife. I don’t even know what to make of that statement. Sometimes I feel like this last year was all a dream that it really did not happen or that I am in some alternate universe and that this really is reality. I am trying hard to stay strong and stay positive. I know all things happen for a reason and maybe the fact that I held on to this idea that he was my soul mate for 20 years and I needed to realize that was not the case. Love never fails….over and over again I have to keep repeating that statement to myself. Love never fails….
This weekend was particularly hard. I vowed I would not go back to visit my husband until he asked me. It was so hard not to see him. Every fiber in my being wants to see him and hug him and just be with him but I know right now that is not where our relationship is at. He would not welcome me. I have been an emotional wreck all weekend. I want to feel normal again and I am not sure when that will happen or if it will ever happen. At the moment it feels like part of me is missing. I want to talk to my husband and share good things and lean on him when I feel like I just can’t go on. I need to understand his pain and be able to take it away. I wonder if he feels like part of him is missing…he keeps saying he will write me but he hasn’t and I don’t suspect he will. I may have to accept the fact that our marriage is over and there will be no explanation. I would have never expected this from him…at the same time I would have never expected this is the way things would have turned out for us at all. It has only been 6 months. We have barely been married. I think about all the things we have never shared and my heart hurts. We’ve never watched a movie together…sat down and had a meal together….fell asleep in each other’s arms….everyday normal things most people take for granted. How can our marriage be over…it has not even started? I am so confused and so hurt. Maybe time and space will help us both heal….
Patience….wow! I don’t really have any at all…I don’t like waiting for anything or anyone. I want results and I want them now. My marriage has been a test in patience for sure. I have to wait to talk to my husband. I have to wait to see my husband. I have to wait for my husband to come home…truly come home. Everything is a waiting game. Wait for letters, call, visits…..well now I am waiting for a decision. I don’t want to be the one who gave up….I don’t want to be the one who threw in the towel…when things got rough that I bailed…I didn’t stick it out. But I don’t want that to be the reason I stayed either. I love my husband…there is no doubt in my heart or mind that I love my husband. He is everything I have ever dreamed of in a man and I know I am lucky to have him in my life but at the same time…I want him to feel the same way about me. I want him to feel lucky that he has someone who wants to be by his side no matter what the struggle is…no matter how hard things get. I just don’t get this feeling from him. He has checked out of our marriage and my heart hurts. I know we need time apart…time to process our feelings about each other…but it is so hard when all I want to do is put my arms around him and smell that spot on his neck that makes me weak in my knees. So this is my test….be patient…give him space….and see what happens.
You never go into marriage with the thought of failure. Marriage is a hard road for even the most loving couples in the best of circumstances so imagine what it must be like to be married to someone who is in prison. This has been the hardest experience of my life and at the moment I feel like a complete failure. I bought into the idea of hey he is in prison and should be grateful someone wants to marry him. That is an extremely funky attitude to have towards your husband regardless of his situation. This attitude has cost us precious amounts of time and futility. We have argued and fought and talked and discussed how my attitude and what I think and say and do affects him and ultimately affects us. I’ve tried to be a good wife…to make sure he is taken care of and happy but at the end of the day I have failed him miserably. He is unhappy and does not feel like he wants to be married to me anymore. I’m heartbroken to say the least. I never imagined 6 months in and we would be calling it quits. Everyone says maybe this is a blessing in disguise but my heart does not want to hear that at the moment. I want my husband back. My sweet kind loving husband.
I want to introduce you to my husband. There are so many things I could share with you about him. He is kind and gentle. He loves me with no reservations. He accepts me. He is always looking for ways to show me how much he truly loves me. People question my loyalty to him and wonder why I would choose to marry a man in prison with a life sentence. In my mind there is never a question of how much he loves me and what I mean to him. He has been consistent with his love and care for me for over 20 years. His love has never wavered even when I did things that would make any other person question my motives and maybe even my sanity. So in order for you to understand my love and devotion you would have to understand his love for me. He wrote this letter soon after we were married. He is my Sun….I am his Moon….our lives totally and completely revolve around each other. The woman I am today is because of the love he has had for me throughout my adult life. I have shaped and molded the man he is, the way he loves, and how he is able to give his heart freely to me. Our relationship is what people dream of when they are looking for the love of their life. It is almost too good to be true. We have been together since 1993 in some way or form. Boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancée, friend/friend, husband/wife. Our lives have taken some turns but we have always ended up back together. Our meeting was purely happenstance…he was in jail, locked up for a crime he did NOT commit and I was spending the night with my cousin. Back then folks in jail would just call random numbers collect and see if someone would accept the call. His friend (loosely using this word) called my cousin’s number and we being the foolish teenagers we were accepted the call. My cousin and this guy talked on the phone and when he was about to hang up, he said his friend wanted to talk to me. I was uneasy…never had really known anyone in jail but I talked to him and the connection was instant. He was quiet and reserved not like I imagined someone in jail would be. He told me upfront why he was there and I was shocked but it did not keep me from hoping I would talk to him again. We carried on our phone conversations for a while. I was 17 so I could not visit him unless my mom accompanied me and I was pretty sure she would freak out if she knew I was talking to some random stranger in jail. So his mom would call me on three way and we would talk for hours and hours. He wrote me and I wrote him….every single day…..we would write and talk about future plans, what he would do once his trial was over and he would come home. We never imagined he would be convicted. We were young and so naive about the law and what people are truly capable of. I turned 18 and was finally able to visit him. The first time I went to see him, I had no idea what to expect. I signed in and was led down this hallway to a room with little booths and thick glass and little telephones….it was almost like something out of a movie. I stood there and waited for him to come out and there he was….he was taller than I had imagined but his eyes were kind and he was very handsome. We sat down, both of us nervous and picked up the phone. It was nice to have a conversation face to face even if it was through thick glass. I looked forward to our visits. This went on for several months till finally his trial date was here. WOW! His trial…..I was not prepared for the emotions I would have and the anxiety I would feel watching people who did not know him, judge him and have his destiny in their hands. I sat through his trial and listened as detectives and people from his neighborhood told a story of a young man I did not know. I was scared to say the least. His lawyer was not prepared….the story of a public defender and the prosecution ate him alive. At one point I was asked to leave the courtroom. I have no idea why. The trial lasted for several days. I was exhausted emotionally and physically so I can only imagine what he was feeling but we were still optimistic he would be found not guilty and be home soon. This was just something we would have to endure for the near future but there was no way he would be convicted. How stupid we were! I can remember the jury foreman reading the verdict…it was like time stood still….when he said guilty…I almost fainted. I can remember trying to be strong and not cry. I didn’t want him to see me upset because I knew he would be stressed out about me being upset but as soon as he looked at me I could not hold the tears back any longer. My future had just been rocked….I had no more air in my lungs to breathe. I was scared and I didn’t know what to do at that very moment. They led him away and I collapsed. I remember his mom helping me up and crying with me. Life had just played a cruel joke on me. I had no idea what was next. Fast forward 2014 he is still incarcerated and still fighting to come home. We have been on so many emotional roller coasters. We stayed together for several years after he was convicted. Me making long rides to visit for a few hours. Our first kiss we shared in prison. Life was not easy for either of us. He was still a teenager with a life sentence in one of the worst prisons in our state. We talked on the phone once or twice a week because phone calls were super expensive. I went to visit when I could but he was 4 hours away in the middle of nowhere and I did not have reliable transportation. It was hard, I will not lie but I was in love and wanted so bad for him to come home. He filed several appeals…all denied….he joined a gang and basically gave up the idea he would come home and I gave up on him. We separated. Not long after I met and married someone else. We still kept in touch from time to time but once I was married I focused on my husband and thought it was best for us to not communicate. I was not in love with my husband but he was there and I knew I could build a life with him. I got pregnant and had a baby girl…..I named her Kaylee Alexandra….my husband never knew why I wanted to name her that….but Alexandra had been his name for me…I was his Princess Alexandra….and in my mind someway I thought she should be his daughter. My husband and I separated not long after she was born. I ran into his mom and asked about him and she said he was okay. He had been moved to another prison that was worse than the first one. I told her to tell him I asked about him and to please write me. I sent him pictures of my baby girl and he was immediately taken….when I told him her name over the phone he cried. He knew the significance of the name. I went on with my life….a series of bad relationships and eventually had another little girl. Her father was by far the biggest regret of my life. I reached out to my soul mate once again to fill the void some other man had left and as usual he was there. Helping me emotionally, sending me money to take care of my girls, I would go visit and bring the girls with me. It was such an emotional time. I loved him and needed him but my youngest daughter’s father was pursuing me hot and heavy and I gave in. Once again I walked away in order to be with someone on the streets. It was a HUGE mistake and I regret it to this day. We lost all contact. The next I would hear about him would be from his sister in 2009….he had gotten married. My heart broke. I remember grieving for him like he had died. I never imagined he would get married to anyone but me. I put him out of my mind and heart and moved on with my life. I was in an abusive relationship and just trying to survive daily. My life turned into survival mode. It was awful. One day at a time I picked up the pieces and tried to put my life back together for me and my girls. I got a good job, bought a house, but emotionally I was spent. I stayed single for many years and had just recently started dating again when fate would step in and we were reunited. He was no longer married and it just seemed like the stars had aligned and things were going to work out. He is still in incarcerated but is in the appeal process again. He has been offered time served and turned it down because he feels his life was taken from him. I want him home. He will come home soon regardless. This will be the journal of our struggle to get him here and the celebration of our love and life together. Stay tuned.