One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 hours

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - I always prided myself in that “ride or die” chick, that one girl that accepted someone for their differences, worked through them and tried to get out on top. I always told myself, you do anything for love. Love. Something I never really experienced until recently. I have shared love and accepted love from others but never in my life have I felt like this. I was always willing to go the extra mile, I am just that kind of girl and always thought what if. In all relationships you go through the “what ifs,” What if he cheats, what if he dies, what if you get pregnant, what if, what if, what if. Now one of my what ifs has come true. What if he is incarcerated. Being who I am, I am still here. I am still by his side, I still call him my man. Never did I imagine my what ifs would come true, especially this one.

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - We have been away from one another. The past seven days have been a roller coaster of emotions, I find myself just wanting to sit and cry in the middle of the day and for no apparent reason. I know when its hard for me, its 20 times harder for him. In saying that, I try to be strong; a no crying policy. Daily letters, phone calls and visitations have temporarily substituted the hand holding, head rubbing and lunch dates.

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - While no one knows the outcome of this situation, I have made the commitment to Tom to stand by him, not in front, not behind but right next to him. I knew the circumstances from the get-go and I chose to continue in the relationship, so as for as not leaving, I am here and am not planning to go anywhere.

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - When everything went down just a week ago, it was time to come clean to people of the situation of the man I love. While I get the idea some people don’t understand my decision, some people are willing to listen and try to understand. In going through this with Tom I thought maybe I was over-reacting with my emotions, crying, depression and lack of interest. I did some light research and looked into what other people have said about a partner being incarcerated. Just the days Tom has to serve is nothing compared to the years or decades other men are serving. Reading other women’s stories and ways to deal were uplifting and quite interesting but one thing stood out. The first night without Tom seemed unreal, his shoes still next to the door, his clothes in a pile on the chair, his tea on the night stand, while I knew exactly where he was and pretty much could guess what he was doing, it seemed odd to me feeling as if he was gone, as if he had died. Reading one on study says that it is common to feel as though that person had died, and while some passes there is an outpour of support from the community and a funeral for closure. So when someone is incarcerated, its just you; some people may understand and have gone through similar situations, its just not the same. That person that you woke up to every single day, that person that was your partner, companion, the shoulder to cry on, the hand to hold, your best friend and your lover is longer there to take on everyday life with you. You seem hopeless, like all of a sudden you are back to being alone, no one to talk to, no one to just listen to and that one person you confide your deep dark secrets with, that one willing to listen about your petty problems and that one person you 100 percent trust, your lover, is no longer there.

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - Every single day I miss him. I miss him when I wake up, when I go to work, at lunch, every time I look at my phone and every single night. The visitations are empty, the phone calls are not nearly long enough and the letters just make me want him even more. Some might look at this like its weakness, its just a few days but no matter if it is one day, seven days or ninety days, its hard. Its hard to get up every morning and put a smile on my face, its hard to see him and pretend I am okay, its hard to hear his voice without seeing his smile and its hard to even attempt to sleep. My love for him is deeper than other love, its truer than any other love - it stems from my soul straight to my heart. I cannot wait to actually touch his hand, feel his lips to mine, not just see him smile but feel it. Everyday is struggle, a push and pull of freedom versus incarceration. Its already hard, its hard for me and especially for him, but I know that the love that I not only have for him, but we have for each other will stand the test of time.

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes and the feelings haven’t subsided, they still exist deep within me. Soon enough he will be back in my arms ready and willing to move on to great future - together.

I love him.

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