The deepest loss you will feel when your loved one goes to prison is joy. The pleasures of life are smothered by the pain and loneliness of losing him. You may find it a chore to be happy about anything while you are crushed by your loss to the prison system. The whole world just keeps moving on, ignoring your pain and loss as if your family doesn’t matter at all. Bitterness will rob you of your potential if you let it. In this season of life, you need to be intentional to stop anger from taking root in your heart and mind.
Experience the grieving process
Grief has a way of bringing healing when we give ourselves permission to experience the grieving process. Unfortunately, many family members of prisoners do not give themselves that permission. They try to warrior-on and pretend as if journey they are on is not excruciating. Denial of grief boils inside of your heart and poisons your potential. You tell yourself that it is OK to be angry, disappointed, or lonely, but deny yourself the luxury of being sad. Perhaps you believe sadness is the equivalent of weakness. You may have allowed other people to dictate what you should or should not be feeling. You may even be afraid of grief, seeing it as a force that might drown you. To stop misery from swallowing you whole, you must learn to see the good in your life right now.
"It is normal and healthy to be sad and grieve the loss of the life you had hoped you would have together."
Grief does not have to consume your life. You can control the impact of grief on your life by finding things to celebrate during your painful journey. Celebrate the small victories by recognize your ability to overcome every challenge will bring balance to the suffering. I know it is difficult to give yourself permission to be happy when you miss your husband so much. But it is not only OK to find happiness; it is critical to your mental and emotional health. You must be willing to continue to live your life while you are missing your loved one. If you want to find the strength to conquer every obstacle, you must first find joy in your life.
Here are some things you should be celebrating:
- You are still together! If you are developing a stronger relationship, you need to celebrate that success every day. So many couples fall apart under much less stress in their relationship. If you are rocking the relationship – CELEBRATE.
- Progress. Any progress you make toward your goals, you need to celebrate. This includes reading a chapter in a book, signing up for a course, filling out an application. Anything you do that keeps you looking forward to a better tomorrow is worthy of celebrating.
- Time together. Whether it is a video visit, a phone call, or a face-to-face visit, your time together is precious. Celebrate the gift of being together and having the opportunity to talk to each other.
- Paying your bills. I know so many people who cannot afford to pay their own bills. That was me at one time. I will never forget the incredible sense of independence and pride I felt when I began to pay my own bills. This is a significant accomplishment when your man is locked up! Do not take it for granted that you CAN pay your own bills. Celebrate it!!
- Learning something new. Every time someone in your family learns something new—celebrate it! Learning keeps your family focused on the possibilities instead of staying focused on what is impossible.
- Life. If you still have breath, your story is not over. You always have the opportunity to write new chapters and create a better future for yourself and your family. Now that is definitely something worth celebrating!
Take a big deep breath and remind yourself that you have a lot to be grateful for right now. Then, let the celebrating begin!
I am rooting for you-