Will life ever be the same?
Your whole world is shaken when your man goes to jail. I have said it before, and I will say it again—nothing will consequently ever be the same again. The grief, shame, and embarrassment can be paralyzing. You want to hide in your house. It is so hard to face the world alone.
Learning to cope with your loved one in prison is important. You need to manage your home, your children, your finances, his case/attorneys, and every other detail of your life now. The pressure is extreme. The grief is suffocating. But you cannot give up. You must learn how to deal with the challenges you are facing now that your loved one is in jail or prison.
Living in fear and denial are no longer options for you
Your future, and your children’s futures, are hanging in the balance of your decisions. The opportunity to create a strong, thriving environment for your family is right in front of you. If you don’t look up, you will miss it and find yourself stuck in a world you despise. Living in fear and denial are no longer options for you. You will need to dig deep and find every bit of strength you possess and then drag it out of you.
There are 5 things you MUST do to cope with this tragedy your family is facing.
1 - Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of the life you had hoped for.
No matter what anyone says, you have the right to grieve your loss. It is a real loss and you are worthy of taking the time you need to recover from it.
2 - Prioritize your life.
As soon as you can see straight, you need to set your prioritizes. Write down everything that is important to you and then decide which activities, people, and things are most important. Your time is now even more valuable because the demands on you have multiplied. If you don’t set priorities and stick to them, you will waste a lot of energy chasing things that don’t matter. Writing down the top 5 or 10 priorities will help you keep your focus when the pressure to do more sneaks in. Stay focused on your priorities and you will greatly reduce stress as you work toward your goals. You will also reach your goals when you are focused on them.
Time is a beast we are always looking to master. But what happens when it gets the best of us? Have you ever had someone ask you if you could “make” the time for something? What does that even mean? How often have we heard people say, “I lost track of time” or ” I didn’t have time”?
3 - Connect to people who will support you and your family.
I cannot say this enough. You do not have to do this alone. Find a support group of people who are going through this now, ask someone who has overcome having a loved one in prison to share practical tips with you, and connect to others who are not in the system for valuable perspective.
4 - Get a job - or keep your job.
Do not quit and hide away from “normal” life. Keep moving forward in spite of the pain. The last thing you need is additional financial burden right now. If you have a job, keep working hard. If you don’t, you need to get one if you are capable of working. Not only will work provide you with an income to keep your family safe, fed, and secure, it will also help you stay focused on being productive. Work is good for your mind, emotions, spirit and body.
5 - Pray and go to church.
Prayer changes things. First, it changes our attitudes and provides strength to face the next crisis. Find a church and attend regularly. You will find support, help and hope as well as accountability. I cannot imagine doing the time without God. He will carry your through when you can’t walk, and give you the courage you need to stand strong when others fall.
The first days after your loved one goes to jail or prison are the worst. As the shock wears off, the pain is almost unbearable. Do not give up. I promise you it will get better as you focus on learning to dream again for your family’s future.
I am rooting for you!