Nine years ago today I walked into court with my wife of nineteen years on my arm. We were nervous but sure that we would be walking out together. We. were both wrong.
Nine years ago today my nightmare began and it was a journey that only got worse as it went. I lost the great loved of my life. She was my Goddess, my muse, and my passion, and despite all of the betrayal, I still miss her.
Prison is an adventure in losses. In the first year you lose the respect of your children, the love, loyalty and faithfulness of your spouse. Losing your freedom is only the beginning. It is also the one that hurts the least compared to your other loses.
It isn’t until your second year that you actually find out that your wife took a lover only a few weeks after your conviction. This is around the same time that you find out that she has given birth to a child that could not possibly be yours and you are served with child support papers and divorce papers in the same month.
The very last thing you finally lose is the one thing that is easiest to lose given the circumstances but it’s the one thing you need the most. I’m speaking of hope.
All of your aspirations of greatness, of creating an enduring positive legacy is gone. You are a fragile shell of a man. You need a hero in your life, somebody capable of sharing their greatness.
Nobody is born great. Sure some people may be born with expectations of doing great things during their life because of family history. Sometimes those expectations fall short of the dreams of those who raised or even created the person in question.
Perhaps greatness is not something your born with or even aspire to but is something different. Maybe it’s something that happens most unexpectedly by those who have the singular characteristic of being compassionate.
As I write this, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of being a lucky individual who was adopted 34 months ago through Adopt an inmate by Clare. Our relationship has its ups and downs as every relationship does. There are rare times that myself and Clare both struggle to keep the long distance relationship going. Running out of things to talk about in our emails is a real problem from time to time. I’ve found that by opening myself up, making myself vulnerable even to the point of making serious mistakes is the best way to have a lasting and honest friendship. Most of the time our friendship is just so easy and comfortable. It’s like being hugged by for the very first time every single time I receive a letter or email from her.
Having no expectations but keeping yourself open to the possibilities of a good friend I feel is the secret to being adopted and having that friendship last.
Clare has become a proxy for all of the people I lost. She reminds me that life continues even during the worst of times. She is just a caring person with a little extra time that she wishes to share that time with me.
With the millions stuck at home bored out of your skull ask yourself. Do you have the time, the compassion to be a light in the darkness of somebody’s nightmare. Then consider Adopt an inmate. You can’t binge watch The Office forever you know.
Boundless in the Midwest.