Saturday, May 8, 2004

the forgotten women

The "Forgotten Women."...that's what I've decided to call the prisoner's wives.  That is just what we are. There are 2.5 million men in prisons in America. Do you ever hear, or read about these prisoner's wives?  No you don't. In reality, inmates are well taken care of. They are fed, clothed, exercised, get haircuts, have  a bed to sleep in. They do not have to worry about paying bills, about mortgages, car payments, utility bills, doctor bills.  They, in fact, get the best health care while in prison. Why? Because the prison system does not want a sick inmate to infect the place.  So they routinely have bloodwork done, etc.  It is the women that suffer...that is, the loved ones left behind.........the wives, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, and oh yes............so very important, the children of the imprisoned. These are the people left behind, to cope with an unreal world they live in on a daily basis. I call it "my bubble."..."my world".....another dimension.  Most prison wives live in a world of fear...........fear of people, the world.........they must cope with explanations to children as to where daddy is. They cope with maintaining a home and house...........all those little repair things and "Man things", like taking care of the car. The strong women hang on.  They keep everything organized, until the Man comes home. In the first few months, neighbors cared. Where is Jimmy, they would ask. I became good at telling lies, to cover things up... Always a lie, a cover-up. Yes me, who rarely tells a lie. After all, no one wants their neighbor to be a criminal.  Would you?  And then, they neighbors start turning their heads, or smile with a quick hello, as time goes on.  They know something is fishy.  As time goes on, I become more and more the "Foregotten Women."...in the beginning, neighbors brought me dishes of pasta with sausage and meatballs....even that has stopped.  I am the "Mysterious Woman."  Neighbors see me come and go.......alone......always alone. I walk Prince, my dog and drive my Jaguar.  I sit outside, to gaze at the sky........I am the "MYSTERIOUS  ONE."......if need be, I lie to protect my husband and myself. My next door neighbor is a retired policeman.  I dodge him all the time.  He must figure Jimmy is in prison......or left me for another woman........Well, all my fellow Prisoner's Wives, the purpose of this journal is not only for me to get things off my chest, and to share my life with you.  It is to make you realize you are not alone, in your life and your feelings.  You are not crazy, but you are normal.  What you are going through is perfectly normal. You are under a tremendous amount of stress......You are living in a strange world. Hopefully, it is only for a certain amount of time, and then all will revert back to a normal world, soon, when it is all over.  But the sadness is, what about those women that are still there, in that world. We should somehow help one another...and for those in the future.  You see, my husband was a BAILBONDSMAN, for 12 years prior to his incarceration. He sat for hours trying to explain things to me. He told me that the worst was for the women left behind. Those were the women he dealt with.  The tears, crying women, who he went to bail their man out of jail.  That is why he was so familiar with this whole situation. He did not want me to become a "prison wife,' because he knew the pain and devistation they lived with........the lonliness..........yes, 12 yrs. of seeing these women............a sea of faces........Jimmy wanted to protect me. He didn't want me to see and become familiar with the prison system. But being as I am, curious, I found out on my own. However, I look at it as an education, and in a way I'm glad to experience it. So tell me your thoughts...your experiences, while your man is incarcerated. Let me know your fears. Explain your world to me. I do feel support systems should be set up. There should be family participation in the imprisonment of the loved one.  It begins with the family, to help in the rehabilatation process of a criminal.  It starts with one person.  I pray to God, to let it start here.

2 comments:

grettysk said...

It's so wonderful to see you write again.  And you are such a beautiful, caring woman.  I truly believe all that you are stating about the "forgotten women".  Although, I can't relate exactly, I do realize that what you are saying is so true.  I will pray so hard and fight for your cause.  You are truly a wonderful support for people of ALL situations.  And I thank you for that.  Glad you are feeling better...and thanks for caring about people's lives and hearts.  Gretchen xo

dakotarose2852 said...

It's good to see you back, Fran.  I'm sorry your were sick and had to go through it alone.  Wish we lived closer.  It's so sad about the "Forgotten Women."  I'm ashamed to say, I've never given much thought to those left behind.  Thank you for opening my eyes and heart.  Again, this is a very important entry for the "women."  I hope your fame spreads and more and more forgotten women find you journal.  
Susan