“I came in alone, and I am going out alone.”
I despise that saying. It is such a lie, and it creates a false sense of pressure to make it out of this experience all by yourself. Nobody becomes successful by themselves, and not many are facing the hardships you are dealing with every day.
Having a loved one is prison is HARD. It is a heartbreaking, lonely, and difficult way to raise children. It is frustrating to have to deal with a system that is so flawed and biased, people who are so cruel, and social prejudice that screams that your family is not worth saving. The pain will try to suffocate you. Time moves so slowly that days seem like weeks. Tears are stuffed deep in your heart until their force overtakes your will and they come pouring out.
Living day after day with the loss of your man to prison takes courage.
Unless you have experienced it, you cannot imagine the tenacity and tough-as-nails will that it takes to face every day with optimism despite the pain. You hold your head up high pretending that the rumors about you and your family don’t hurt. You smile and look the judgmental in their eyes resolving to never let them know how much their shallowness hurts you. As the weeks become months and the months become years, you fight discouragement with every ounce of your resolve.
You think you have to do it all alone. But, you are so wrong. No one should EVER have to make this journey alone. Finding a support system is not only a good idea, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to change your destiny. Connecting to other people who can encourage you, support you, and provide accountability is a MUST if you want to build a new life for yourself and your family.
If you don't have a support system, you need to find one
Knowing you should do something and actually doing it are completely different. I am so very grateful for the amazing support system I had while Ron was in prison. They listened to me, gave me advice, and helped me stay focused on reaching my dream of keeping my family intact. I often wonder where I would be without them.
If you don’t have a support system, you need to find one. Thankfully, there are now a lot of support groups for wives and families of prisoners. But connecting online is not enough. You need to find people who will walk this journey with you. It is also important to remember the word “system.” You do not just want to connect with other families going through the same experience. You need to have different perspectives if you want to change your legacy.
There is a saying about friendship, “If you want to find out who’s a true friend, screw up, then see who sticks around.” I don’t know who said this originally, but if I had to guess, I’d guess it was either someone who went to prison or a family member of a prisoner.
Nothing separates acquaintances from friends faster than someone going to prison.
Make your dreams a reality
The truth is the best place to find people willing to help you is at church. If you don’t attend church, I cannot encourage you enough to find a church family and get connected. The support you will receive will carry you through a lot of dark and difficult days.
Giving back by volunteering might not seem like an obvious way to connect to a support system, but it is. When you volunteer and help others, you will also experience help for yourself. Read more about the benefits of volunteering in your community.
Support groups, churches, and getting involved in your community are all great ways to build your support network. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to do this alone. People would love to come alongside you and help you carry this burden. Don’t wait! Get out there and start building your support system and making your dreams a reality.
I am rooting for you!