Passing judgment is what the society does best to prisoner fiancés. Rather than hold their hands, respect their decision and be supportive, most people choose to do otherwise. The decision to be in love or fall in love with an incarcerated person isn’t one taking lightly. The story below is a personal story of how […]
Recently, my mom sent me a copy of something she had, what appears to be, a jailhouse attorney write up for her. She had already filed it with the courts and was mailing me a copy so that I could join in praying over it with her. It was called an “Ex Parte Motion to Correct Defendant’s Presentence Custody Credits.”
Basically, when my mom finally got tired of fighting her case (3 yrs) and agreed to take a deal, somehow, they got her to “agree” to let them “keep” the 3 years she had already served. In essence, her time started the day she was sentenced. But, this person in jail helping her with her legal stuff found that this was unconstitutional and figured out the loopholes somehow.
The irony is that people inside have been telling her for a couple of years now that this can be corrected. So, she’s been asking for out help, without success. It was just too much for any one person to deal with after we finally got settled down from the whole ordeal. And, we are not exactly a “come together” type of family. Which meant that she had to turn to someone in prison with her to help her with this legal issue.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve told you before that my entire family supports my mother. We all do what we can. That’s what I requested in the beginning when people asked me what could they do to help. I simply told everyone, “Everyone has a part. Just figure what your part is, and do it.” And, everyone has. But, there were major reasons why we could not help her with this request:
- Money. There are only two financially secure (rich) people in our family. The rest of us are all struggling to get back on top. Who has the money to invest in this? Attorneys were asking for $5,000 just to sit down and consult on this. And those two people help her financially as it is. It’s too much to ask that they do this alone just because they have it.
- Faith. Those of us who are skeptics, didn’t even believe it was possible for her to get that time back. We just assumed that since she agreed to it in court during her sentencing, it was etched in stone. We figured it was a losing battle that we did not have the strength to fight. And those that did believe, did not have the strength (or money) to fight the battle alone.
- Strength. I have to mention this one again. It took so much out of those of us who were so close to my mom to get through the three years of fighting, and the initial shock of her actually being in the pen. Once the dust settled, the crying finally stopped, and relationships with the sober her started to rebuild, most of us didn’t have the strength to even think about starting a new fight. Personally, on the selfish tip, I just wanted her to do her time and let me try to put my life back together. I needed to work on ME for a while.
Now that my mother has found someone inside that she can count on to help her with this struggle, I can “do my part” instead of being in control. It took me a long time to learn the difference between supporting her and enabling her. Now that I know the difference, I see the negative affect it had on me, personally.
Supporting her means that she fights her own battles and I’m in her corner to root her on, bandage her up, give her water, pump her up, towel her sweaty face, etc… Enabling her means I push her out of the way and fight all the rounds for her. That is unhealthy for the both of us.
As of now, due to the research and diligence of her and her “Friend Inside”, I am intrigued. I will be researching this subject, finding old cases, seeking affordable legal assistance, etc… I am just looking for someone to advise HER on steps SHE needs to take to move this along. She is finally fighting for herself again. She just needs me in her corner. I love my mother. I will support her through this!
Check out this cool video about how one man uses his love for music and dance to help change the lives of women in a maximum security prison. Prisoners at Maldon’s Tarrengower Prison are the focus of a television choir program Jail Birds which was previously broadcast on TV ABC1.
It’s amazing how some days can bring on such memories. Not having my mother here in my life makes even the good memories sad sometimes. Most days, I stay busy, so I stay strong. But, some days, it takes all I have to fight the tears and pain in my heart.
I spent so many years being my mom’s parent because that’s what she needed at the time. Now, when I see her in those prison blues, I realize she was always stronger than I gave her credit for. I was her enabler. And being an addict, she was all for it. As long as I was there to pick up the slack, she never really had a reason to get herself together and handle her own business.
According to wiseGEEK.com, “Most often the term enabler is associated with people who allow loved ones to behave in ways that are destructive… The term enabler is also part of the larger definition of codependency. Codependency at first arose as a definition of adaptive behaviors a person might make if he or she lives with someone with substance abuse or severe emotional problems. A codependent tends to remain so, because he or she adapts to or ignores the behaviors of the ill person. In fact, the codependent often becomes an enabler because it allows one to be involved in fewer conflicts.“
That is the most accurate description of the relationship my mother and I had before she got clean in prison. After a tragedy like this, every loved one involved starts to question themselves, their role in the person’s demise, and what they should or should not have done differently. Then, the self-guilt begins.
As I began to travel deeper into my spiritual journey, it became clear that I needed forgiveness to move on with my life. I needed to forgive my mother for her bad decisions. I needed my mother to forgive me for not being able to “save her” in time. I needed to forgive myself for being her enabler, her codependent.
I prayed on this for probably four or five years before I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to forgive myself until I figured out why… why was I so weak in this situation, when I am so strong any other time? In time, I figured it out. It was just as stated above, the codependent often becomes an enabler because it allows one to be involved in fewer conflicts.
That’s the bottom, selfish line. It was always easier to just “whatever.” It was easier to keep the peace than to fight for my mother’s life. That’s where I needed to forgive myself. Although codependents are enablers because they love the addict, it is still the easy way out. It makes the enabler’s life easier. But, it does nothing to truly help and save the life of the addict they love so much.
Now that I understand my decision to enable, and my reasons why, I can forgive myself and move on. I have grown spiritually over these years. God has given me the strength to not only learn how to put my love for myself first, but to endure all with strength, love and understanding.
I understand now, Mommy. You were never mad or disappointed in me. You were a practicing addict. And, your addiction didn’t love me. But, you did, you do, and you always will. I will love and support (but, not enable) you for the rest of our lives. I love you, Mommy!