Here's To You . . .

I can't say that I have been doing this a "long" time compared to the years some women have been. My measly  342 days can't be compared to 4,323 days or even a lifetime. When I first began this journey I was bound to not only share my story but to be informed and keep myself informed. That has been one of the biggest and important things, is being informed. Make your own calls, ask your own questions because at the end of the day it is your state of mind. I wanted to share my feelings with the world and other wives especially that maybe, just maybe other women could relate to my situation. Not to mention that, personally it is therapeutic for me to "write it out."

This week I was asked to be a guest speaker at the 2013 Second Chance Conference in Toronto, Canada. As a prison wife. Which of course I was happy to say "yes!" It really excites me because the world, well at least maybe couple hundred people need to see and need to know that prison wives are lonely, desperate or anything that the cliche may entail.

That as a prison wife, I am strong.

I am not weak, nor is any other woman that is walking this journey. This journey is not for the weak that is for sure. So as I read the email from a representative from Second Chance, I feel as though I could hold the power. The power to share my story, stories of other women - how we cope, how we communicate - the ups the downs and everything in between. And then I thought to myself, maybe just maybe this is what I was suppose to do in the world. I was obviously suppose to live this life because here I am but now I know I was suppose to live this life to the fullest. I want to tell the world what this is like, it may not be fun or easy but we are still happy! That we don't give up because life is tough, we tougher! 

So here's to all the other woman (and even men) that stay strong for their loved ones, they don't waiver their feelings, they are proud to be who they are and who they love. We cannot allow our fears or the judgement of others hold us back because this is our life! 

"There are millions of women with husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers in prison and I think for us, we see you are trying to stay informed and also trying to inform others." - Email from Second Chance

To Love

"Even when we are at our worst, I am better because I have you;
 I am better on my worse days when I have you than I ever was
 on my best days without you" 

These are words any woman wants to hear especially from her husband, just saying. But these are words that my husband encourages me with one my worst days, days when I need it. I know Tom loves me but when you come home every night alone, you go to bed alone and you wake up by yourself - some days it's hard to remember that you have a husband and that he loves you. Sometimes it's hard to express your frustration, anger or depression. I don't want to fight, I don't want to argue and I most certainly don't want him to worry about me, but some days I am not strong. Sometimes I need the reminder that even though he may not be here, he may not be able to kiss me on my forehead or hold my hands while he whispers, "I love you," but that doesn't mean he loves me any less. One of the hardest parts for me, personally, is sharing my struggles with Tom. I won't tell him that I cry while I write a lot of his letters or that tears run down my face as I write this - he will only know when he read this one day. It's important to always remember there was a place you started, a reason why we start this journey - it gets lost after time, you get to used to this. I still struggle with allowing Tom to know how I feel, 100 percent, I hate to make him worry. But tonight, it was really great to hear those words, at the right time. Because all of our days aren't perfect but they are better with one another - than without. And with that I will wipe my tears, slap a smile on my face, go to bed alone, to wake up by myself but to still love deeply, know love and be loved! 


With only one week until my 26th birthday, today it made me realize what this past year has been like. Tom was arrested March 23, 2011 - 19 days after my birthday. So with this birthday coming it will be close to the one year mark of him being gone. At 26 I feel like maybe I have given up to much. Tom sometimes bugs me to go out and do something to go to a friends house but I would rather stay home on a Friday night. Now I am considered the boring friend for the simple fact that not only am I not into the going out every weekend but I also would rather work, which has currently led me to working 51 days straight as of today.
I am not sure why I feel the need to work or stay home alone rather than going out and enjoy my life because in the long run I am the one that controls that. I am the one that holds myself back. I, myself, put myself at home while my friends are socializing, I am the one that allows myself to work seven days a week.

Maybe I am afraid. I am afraid of the questions especially at this point when Tom isn't home and he should be. I am afraid to put myself out there, the prison wife. I am safe at home. I am content at home. Part of me feels bad for having fun without Tom, celebrating birthdays and holidays without him. But I know I shouldn't. I would rather sit alone with an empty house, empty couch then feel vulnerable socializing. I went awhile without even wanting to look my best and putting no effort into my hair or clothes. Maybe this is the typical "prison wife" scenario, wife waits for her husband and puts her life on hold awaiting for his arrival home - giving up her money, family, friends, lifestyle.

I do feel as though maybe I have given up some special things like our first year of marriage, having kids or traveling but I also know that we chose this. No one forced Tom and I do this, to make the commitment and in the same hand we never expected this long either. So I need to force myself to get up, get up and move - move to happier me because in the end with could only help the situation.

Hitting 10,000 blog views is very heartwarming in a sense that it truly is our life, the good, the bad and the ugly. Over the past 340 days we have experienced some of the best things in our life, like exchanging vows, falling in love all over again every week or some of the worst things like not seeing each other for 315 days or starting a new bid. No matter what I started this to share my story, my husband's story, our story with the world. With other men, other women, the wives, the girlfriends, the mothers and fathers of inmates. When I hear, "You're one of the strongest women I know," I always say thank you but there are so many more women that have been through more and have experienced more time. I know our story, Tom and I, is unique and but I am just living to survive. I have had to learn how to be strong, how to cope to not only being married but having my husband in prison. I have shared every step we have taken on this site or in groups that include fellow prison wives and girlfriends. I believe that the best therapy in this situation is to share your triumphs to share your struggles because that is when you will find others that can help, that can relate and it will allow you to come to reality with the situation. Writing my thoughts, my feelings, my everything down has truly allowed my to realize what I am in, what I am up against, how strong I am and how in love Tom and I are. So 340 days down, two very in love people, countless supporters and 130 blog posts - Thank you everyone for the comments, the shares and just for reading! I have had so many woman email me and contact my on Facebook just to share their story, say their read my blog and that to me is enough support. Thank you to each and every one of you. Below I have chosen my personal favorite blogs that I have posted over the past 340 days. Feel free to poke around read old blogs, comment and share!

Happily Ever After

Once upon a time seems to always start a love story, a love story that seems to be unrealistic of how perfect their life is and then the story ends with a "happily ever after." But what exactly is the happily ever after. Does that come when you grow old with someone? Or can is come earlier? Today while on the phone with my grandma she asked if we had still had plans of a formal wedding, one in which we planned for hopefully during the summer of 2012. The plans have been put on hold especially since Tom wasn't released when we expected. When I explained to my grandmother that our plans were cut short she said, "OH honey, I don't want you to miss out." And then I thought about it. I am missing out. What about my happily ever after? In the past 340 days I have sacrificed for a man that I love. To some people it is an ultimate sacrifice while to others its a dumb decision. Honestly, I think both. Some days I wonder how I function. How I manage to pay bills, support Tom, make sure he is taken care, that I can work over 40 days straight, but I make it work - I do it. Other days I wonder what the hell am I thinking - I have dedicated the better part of an entire year to Tom, a man in realization I barely knew. I took vows with someone that I thought would be in home in three months, 11 months later I still sleep alone. So what if I never get my happily ever after? At this point I get a lot of questions of where is Tom, what is new with Tom, etc. And most of them always end with, "He better appreciate what you do." I want to think he does, I want to hope he does but of course some days I have to ask myself that. I have to wonder does he realize the sacrifice? Does he wonder about my happily ever after? I know I deserve it but I want it to be with him.

When it isn't all perfect

Marriage isn't perfect, everyone married knows that it. It takes effort, everyday. Every single day. Today it has taken a lot of it. And of course everyone has their little arguments and disagreements, but unlike other couples - we can't walk away and come back to talk about later. It's "You have one minute remaining," and then silence.


Then I have to wait for him to call back, once we have cooled down to come back again and talk about it. Which again is another 15-minute call. But luckily Tom and I have developed good communication skills so when an argument does happen we can talk about it and snap back to us.

Like tonight.

So even though we don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on a particular issue, we have to move on, we need to. We need to move on because what other choice do we have, waste another 15-minute call for $4.65 per call? Sit there and argue back and forth? I have realized that it is a waste, even if he was home. Be mad over some that will be meaningless tomorrow? You have to let go, especially in these circumstances. There comes a time in your life when you stop what you're saying, and think. Think about not only what your saying but what you're doing. Unless you are arguing over something really damn important, why do it? You have to analyze whether what the issue is, is even worth the energy. Tonight it wasn't. Tonight was a little off but it's all good. You have to remember not to let it get to you, and keep it moving.

Nothing is perfect. But it is alright.

Have Faith

Today was not exactly what we expected. I anxiously awaited for that call from Tom in hopes that good news would finally come our way. While the news isn't exactly what I expected, it's still a step. At this point it is so frustrating to continue to wait. Wait. Wait. And wait again. This is our situation - a waiting game and my frustration level is most certainly at its highest right now because of it. So as Tom is explaining our next steps, what I need to do - it hit me. When is this going to be over? When will I not have to push 1 to accept a call, when will I not have to make calls on behalf of him, send money, send letters - when? Today it was just plain frustrating. It's like hurry to figure out what you need to do, to just wait. Wait for the date, for the call, for the move. I'm over it. It's frustrating. It kills your spirit - its kills you. As Tom explained everything to me in the short amount of time, he could tell I was upset. Not mad, but frustrated, I was almost hurt. I can't explain the amount of strength it takes some days to just answer his call - it hurts to act like it's okay, that I am okay. Even though we only expected one call - Tom called again. He called to say, "have faith." He said he could hear something wasn't okay in my voice and of course I didn't necessarily want to share them while I was at work. But in this whole time, I have always preached to Tom that we need to think positive, we need look to the future - today it was hard for me to do. Today it was him lifting me up. "Have Faith, babe," those three little words made me realize be down and out is no help for me, for him or our situation. With that being said, I love my husband. I have to remember that he is my husband that together we are strong, together we can do this.

The butterflies, my heart racing, the nervousness and anxiousness that overwhelmed me this morning was intense. As I sat there watching the clock tick, I couldn't believe that after 315 days I would actually be seeing my husband. 315 days. It is unbelievable to me some days
- that I haven't seen him for that long, because it feels like forever while at the same it doesn't seem that long at all. So when the clock hit 9 a.m. and there he was. I could feel my smile grow, ear to ear and his smile exceeded mine. "Hey babe," while I have heard that several times in the past 335 days, seeing him while he said it was nice. While the visit may not be in person - seeing him, hearing him and watching him talk was worth it. Sitting there watching him watch me, that in itself was amazing. I couldn't imagine what kind of affect
that video visit would have on me. I thought for sure I would cry, amazingly enough, I didn't maybe it was the fact that he could see me, I could no longer try and muffle my tears like I could over the phone, but maybe it was because I was happy. Happy to see him - to see his smile, watch him laugh - just happy. After our quick 25 minutes passed, I sat and played back the visit in my head, what we talked about what we shared and it hit me how much I really needed that. I needed that like really bad. The past month has been horribly hard on me. Tom has been moving on an average every five days, where new rules, new pin lists, more waiting, more money and it made me think - how long can I do this? We got into a habit while he was in New Jersey, when he would call, when to expect letters and for the past 25 days it has been "wonder where he is?" or "when will he call?" and for him it's "where am I goin

g?" or "what is next?" I have never shared this with Tom, but I questioned my strength and my own courage in this. It has been a struggle for almost a year and it has slowly taken its toll on me. I wondered how much more I could endure and handle in this situation, if I was strong enough to continue on this journey in which I have no idea when it may end. I questioned our love, because in reality, it's an adjustment to be married, especially when you have only seen that person five days of your marriage or it consists of phone calls and letters. So today, seeing him, seeing the life in his eyes made me realize why I started this. Laughing with him, reminded me why I married him, why I love him. Seeing him reminded me how much I miss him, after awhile you almost forget what they look like. And while I may struggle this rare journey I have chosen for my life, I must remember this is my husband. I married him for love, love that consumed every ounce of my body. That the love we share is something rare, something I have never had with any other single person. So when I say I really needed that. I really did. I needed to see his smiling face. I needed to watch him say, "I love you," because while I know he does love me, I needed to see it. I needed it. It was amazing and I couldn't be any happier today. I am grateful today. Grateful for an amazing husband and a fantastic shared love and I am looking forward to our two video visits tomorrow!


Three days have passed since I have talked to Tom. I yet to know where he is or what is the next step in our journey. It has dawned on me that Tom will most likely be arraigned this week which will be followed by a detention hearing. A detention hearing which could allow to come home in the period of time to handle this new charge. I have overwhelming feelings of what this could mean.

In one hand this means Tom could possibly be home soon. Or it could mean that he would continue to serve time in the mean time.

I feel like I can't put my feelings on the line to be let down - again. We have been here before, the excitement, the plans and at the end we were let down. But deep down I want to be excited I want to look forward to it and maybe make the plans again. I want so hard to be optimistic.

This may be a little controversial but in a way I am afraid to leave this lifestyle. With the opportunity that Tom may come home its overwhelming in the sense that I won't be doing what I have been doing in the past 326 days. I have become so accustom to this lifestyle with letters, phone calls, crying to sleep, the quiet of the night, sleeping alone, eating alone - now what? Its very overwhelming for me. And here I sit telling the world about it. I feel like silly for admitting my fear yet feel empowered from it. I am curious of what it would be like to come home from work with a husband at home, someone to talk to or just to look over at.

Yet what if he can come home for awhile but has to leave again. It is hard to deal with losing someone to prison. It is hard to adjust to the lifestyle and its not fun by any means.

I know no matter what the conclusion, home or not, I will continue to be strong, Tom will continue to be strong. It may take time to recover and recoup - figure out our strategy. I want my husband home more than anything but I have to continue to have this wall. A wall that has continued to rise over the past 11 months, it protects me from others yet allows me to be comfortable enough to be brave and strong in my own right.

So I will start another week in this lifestyle hoping that it could be my last. Hoping for at least a phone call by tomorrow to allow me to prepare for our lives as Mr. and Mrs. Lewis.

On the move

The days that go by without a phone call, without a letter are torture. They are torture because in this lifestyle it isn't "no news is good news." No news could me lock downs, fights, moves, the SHU or in transit. So here we are, I didn't hear from Tom at all yesterday which of course is odd since he calls a few times a day and no emails it could only mean one thing - he's on the move. Of course nothing is usually updated the day off, they never want you to really know. This morning next to Tom's name is read, "IN TRANSIT."

What a good feeling yet overwhelming and nerve-wrecking. It is such an amazing feeling because I haven't seen Tom since April 11, 306 days and I will see him very soon. And that same amazing feeling is overwhelming because I haven't seen him in 306 days. At this point I should be packing my bag, gassing up my car and ready to be the first one in the doors to visit him, yet I'm not.

I feel like we have been here before. Like this is deja vu. Like I have been here before, not necessarily so close in days of seeing him but the chance was there, the excitement was there and now I am afraid to feel those feelings. I am afraid to be excited because I don't want to be let down. I don't want to be hurt anymore than I have to - isn't that a silly statement in this lifestyle? It hurtful almost daily. I feel as though I need to cut my own feelings short to be strong for me and Tom and to keep this wall up so I can continue to be strong.

Now I am patiently waiting for my phone to ring, and hoping his voice will be on the other end. I hope he has news that he is in Idaho, closer to home. That we know when arraignment will be to prepare for our future.

Lilies & Roses

Just when I though Tom and I have reached our potential in this situation, we talk as much as we are allowed, write as much as we can and letters and special cards have been exchanged. Even though it seems as though Tom and I have done everything we can and experienced as much as we possibly could, there is always something that just hits you wrong or just stings. While Tom and I both experience different things, one inside the walls and one on the outside, but we both recognize the pain and hurt of our circumstances. And we are both open and honest with one another - with that being said, I have struggled in my own this week. Realizing that next week my husband could be home or the potential of him being home is there. It is very overwhelming because of the fact that its like we have been here before, yet we are starting a whole new bid. It's not a good feeling by any means and to me its kind of hard to handle and I can't imagine what Tom is feeling.

Tom, being the wonderful man he is, is always there to listen and to support me no matter what. That is what is so special about our relationship and I am grateful for that. So while at work I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers, lilies and roses - my favorite. Of course Tom can't physically do this himself, considering the fact that he is in prison. He called his mom, expressed to her that he felt he needed to do something for me that I was struggling this week and he wanted to send me lilies and roses. Luckily I have an amazing mother-in-law who didn't blink an eye and there they were. The lilies weren't even open yet, the roses pretty in pink - they were perfect. Perfect because it wasn't necessarily what I wanted or needed but I felt appreciated and loved, which is hard to do in this situation.

And then I read this:
"So glad you are having a better day then yesterday! I really hope the flowers helped out to, I just wanted to do something nice for you for a change. Its hard to do things in here, like at Southern State I could get cards done and stuff like that but here I don't even know people and I'm really not trying to get to know them. So any little thing I can do to try to make you have a better day than that's what I'm going to do. If you are having a bad day talk to me about it cause if you don't then it means we both are going to have a bad day! Remember babe I'm always here for you and always will be!!! Well talk to you later. LOVE YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I feel really thankful for him. I am thankful for the effort he puts in and that this is us. He always says thank you when he never has too and I will always be there for him.


"My letter earlier just pretty much said the usual but there was one part of it that I want to write again and that's about the poster I seen that said "Pain is just weakness leaving the body," I like that saying a lot cause I think its so true! When we hurt we feel weak and after all the pain is gone only then do we feel ourselves get stronger. I think that is one saying that we should keep in mind through this struggle of ours, cause no matter how much pain we feel or how weak we may think we are this is only making us stronger! It is making our love stronger! Even though we have not been together for over 10 months I have a stronger connection to you than I have ever had with anyone else. I think this this has been a true test of our commitment to our relationship. Anyone can be in love when they are with the other person day in and day out, but take one of them people out of that equation and I would be willing to bet over half the relationships fail and a couple more are never the same. But our's has only grown stronger with each passing day and can only get stronger. I love you like I have never loved anyone else! I truly believe that you are the one that I have been searching for my whole life. I've always heard that there is a perfect match for everyone in the world but sometimes you may just never find it or find it and let it go. I believe I have found my perfect match in you and I will never lose it. I am determined to make our love last!!! I love you always and 4 life. Those words have never been so true than right now!!! I have to go babe but remember you are always in my heart and on my mind no matter what I'm doing!!! Good night and sweet dreams. I love you more than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow!!!! LOVE ALWAYS AND 4-LIFE!!!!!!! YOUR HUSBAND!!!!"

Pain. Something Tom and I both feel, experience yet we are experiencing different pains on different spectrum's. He feels the pain of being away from home, without his freedom and everything that entails which I take on the pain of being without him, running a household without him and making sure he is okay. Tom is exactly right, this is making us stronger. Each and everyday is a new beginning, a new horizon and it allows us to become that much stronger. I am sure there are several thousands of couples have experienced worse "pain" and bigger struggles but this current situation is big to us. To think that we haven't been together for 318 days, seen each other in almost 300 and to still sit here, love each other like we do, that is pretty amazing to us.

Love can be a complicated thing. the devotion, the honesty and sometimes the 'unhappiness' that comes with love is something uncomfortable. We couldn't predict the future of what our first marriage would be like, we couldn't predict the next moves the state or even what tomorrow brings, but we can predict the love.

I know the phone will ring at least once tomorrow.
I know he will wake up and think of me.
I know that he will worry about me, miss me.
I know that he will either sit at a computer or at a piece of paper to write.
I know when he goes to bed, he will lay there and worry and probably over think things.
I know he will love me.

He knows I will worry about him.
He knows I will patiently wait for his call and always write.
He knows that my devotion to him never waivers.
He knows I may have trouble sleeping, but I will always dream of him.
He knows that I will love him.

People question us, our relationship or even our motives - but we just love. Love each other and hope for a future full of happiness. A future of love. A lot of people probably couldn't do what we have done or overcome the obstacles we have - but we did and we are still happily married.
It has been so amazing to not only explore and get to know someone like we have but
to love like we have. We will continue to be strong, to love each other like no other and be grateful for one another.

Love Keys

"Hey baby how are you today? I'm good just another day though. Wish I was home with you finally though. I hope all goes well when I get home to you and make some babies!!! Damn I can't wait to start that part of our life together and put all this behind us! . . . . . So have I told you that I love you today? Well I love you sooooooo much!!! Oh and this computer sucks ass to, you have to press the buttons hard as hell and then sometimes it still don't work but I do it all for my love of you!!! To much kissing ass? Well you deserve as much ass kissing as I can give to you and even then that's not enough for you baby!!! You should see my typing with two fingers.. you'd be laughing your ass off at me!!! Alright babe imma wrap this up... I love you more than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow!!! Goodnight and sweet dreams!!! LOVE ALWAYS AND 4 LIFE!!!!!! YOUR HUSBAND!!!"

Tom and I are now in limbo. He is in a facility waiting to be extradited from this facility maybe to another but finally, hopefully, landing in Idaho. This is all a part of the waiting game. You wait for the sentence, you wait for the time, you wait for the calls, the letters, you wait for the release - you just wait. But we are thankful that one day down mean another day closer to hopefully seeing each other SOON!

One thing good is where he is we can correspond via computer, similar to email. Which is especially nice when we are limited to 300 minutes a month and we were spoiled with the last facility talking as much as we wanted. Now since we have no clue when or where he can move we have not sent hand written letters and have stuck to the emails. It is nice to get the little notification that you received a message and its him right now (well about two hours later) and how he is feeling rather than reading it four days later. Like today's.

Its little things like this that makes us - well us. Of course the entire message isn't enclosed above, we need to keep some to "us" but he is always so in love with me and as I am with him. And he is right I would be "laughing my ass off" at him. I think thats what keeps us together and somewhat sane - the humor.

The humor is something a lot of couple loose along the way. We can still make each other laugh whether its during our short 15-minute phone calls or in any of our letters. Just another reason why I love that man. He can always put a smile on my face.

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