One of the worst things is when people say, "I'm sorry." While I do have days when I am down and out, sometimes when others recognize my struggle and meet it with an "I'm sorry" it kind of burns. Tonight a friend said that to me, "It's your anniversary and he's in jail. You're a beautiful girl just sucks you gotta deal with everything." It made me think, because I'm beautiful does that mean I deserve more? And, yes, my wedding anniversary is fast approaching and while it does "suck" it is a life I "chose." It is hard to deal with everything and I am sure it is hard for Tom to deal with as well. It isn't fair to either one of us. Then is came to me, this is us. It is depressing to think that our very first wedding anniversary we won't be able to share a meal, or even a hug. I think it hutrs even more thinking that if everything went according to the plan, Tom would be home right now. But apparently there are bigger plans for he and I - right now ours plans are to love one another as deep as possible, for fight each other and fight by eachother's side. Love isn't perfect, there is always the "rainy" days in everything, even love. I know that this is where I want to be. Right here, right now. I do deserve more, I deserve my husband at home, with me; I deserve children with my husband; I deserve the happily ever after - we all do, it is just a matter of time that I will get that, that you will get that. When someone stutters, "I'm sorry" to me, it makes me think what they are sorry for. Are they sorry that I vowed yes to my husband? Are they sorry that I work two jobs to make ends meet? Or are they sorry that I usually eat alone and sleep alone? In reality, they aren't sorry for my situation, they say "sorry" to make me "feel" better when it doesn't make me better. In fact when someone responds to my situation with a sorry - it makes me defensive because they have nothing to be sorry for. They should be happy that I am happy, they should want to rejoice in my love for a man, not feel sorry for me. Because I don't feel sorry for myself.

Chin Up Beautiful

We have all had those days when you just need someone to say, "It will be okay." My favorite, "Chin Up, Beautiful." And when those words do stutter out of someone's mouth all you can do is cry, well that is usually what happens with me lately. With everyday stress of life and being the "better" half of someone in prison it is overwhelming to say the least! Each and every women in this position, we well as men, have a battle, it is a rough road with a lot of ups and downs. We each have our own stories, our own way of dealing with our own situations and we may not all agree, we may all not get why or what the other ones are "doing" but we are in this together. Encouragement and empowerment have to come from within to help each other.

With this being said, I challenge you. Post the photo above on a "fellow" wife, girlfriend, fiances' wall and share encouraging words with them. Empower them to share it with others. Show that you care, that everything will be okay.

A life of "Oh Wells"

One year, 52 weeks, 366 days, 8,784 hours - is how long Tom has been gone. Today, March 23, marks a year (366 days because of the leap year). It brings back that first initial emotion of Tom being arrested.


I didn't know what to do, how to do it or what to expect. It was a Wednesday. A day that I felt so horrible I went home from work at noon. Tom had prepared some soup for me, tucked me into bed and needed to run some errands. Barely two hours went by when the U.S. Marshals paid me a visit on behalf of Tom. The first night marked my first of hundreds of letters. I remember crying as I wrote it, I missed him so much.
"First thing is first, you have nothing to be sorry for. You have been nothing but honest with me and with that I agreed to this deal. I'm not mad, i just wish I have hugged you, kissed you or at least lock eyes with you. I would be lying to you if I said I am fine. I am lost." (March 23, 2011 Day One)
Two days later I was able to see Tom in an early morning visit. I have never been a visitor at a jail before. I didn't know what to expect with to really do but I remember how I felt.


Sitting on the cold metal stool and seeing Tom through the glass was heart wrenching. Horrible. And I hated having to visit yet I love the man I was going to see. I never missed a visit. We soon got married, and just days later, Tom was extradited to New Jersey. I remember the day he left, it was around 3 p.m. in the afternoon - I just pulled over and cried.

Tom made his way to New Jersey, our time turned from 90 days, an added 180 days and then a final of 10 months. In that 10 months, it wasn't fun, it wasn't easy but its been worth it. We had bad days, fights, disagreements, but one thing to remember is that there is always tomorrow. Tom and I had to learn to adjust to being newlyweds, and newlyweds while one was in state prison. We have been dealt additional days, additional stress but it really is, "Oh well." We have chosen to accept this to situation and not allow the "oh wells" get us down.

In the past year the downs have really made us stronger - they have taught us to really appreciate one another, to listen and to communicate in a way that we may never have if we had the "traditional" relationship. Now one year later, I don't regret my decisions, my choices or how I handled it. Here's to tomorrow, continuing to stay strong and in love.

Rated R

Affection. Intimacy.

Two things that I haven't experienced for a year today (I only remember it, because it was three days before Tom was arrested which will hit a year Friday). The subject, sex that is, seems to be something "taboo" in a special circumstance that it is obviously an issue. Each situation is different. Some couples have an "open" relationship while others are 100 percent devoted to one another. Tom and I are Option B. 100 percent devoted. We are married and take our vows seriously. 

With that being said, men do think about sex at least once a day - some believe that it is every few minutes and I am not sure how to explain the lack of sexual attention or any real attention for that matter. But after awhile you "get used to it." I can't say it is necessarily easy yet it isn't really hard. Some people wonder, how do you go a year? Well I am most certain there are other women that have lasted a lot longer than a year and are still happily devoted to their husbands. 

Being devoted to my husband really isn't a choice, in my eyes. Marriage is more of the "choice" between the two. I chose to marry him which comes with the fact that I am faithful. To me personally choosing to have a "Rated R" life without my husband will only destroy us in the end. I choose to live a "Rated G" lifestyle because I know all my feelings, emotions, love and attention are going to my husband rather than a temporary situation. 

Sex may be a key component to a marriage, more or less intimacy is, but when you forced without it, you make due. You begin to focus more on emotional, mental rather than just physical. When your "better half" is on the inside of a prison wall you begin to realize that the intimacy you once craved and wanted is nothing compared to emotional connection you need

While the soft whispers, kisses, falling asleep together is nice - at this point my focus is falling in love with each other everyday between our ears. 

Deserving Love

When you sit and watch a love movie or hear a love song - you feel it, your hear it, you see it and then you realize is that you? That was me tonight watching the movie "The Vow." It seemed like everything they said either I related, I felt or I already knew. The love between the two characters was so real.

When you watch a movie like that every girl wants to be "that" girl - wants to hear those words and in the movie the vows they exchanged I wanted those to be my vows. 

"I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands. To speak when words are needed, and to share the silence when they're not. To agree to disagree on red velvet cake and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call is home." Paige  

"I vow to love you. And no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find a way back to each other." - Leo
"Always find a way back to each other," were words that struck because in my own life I feel like I have lost not only who I am but my love with Tom. While we love each other, there comes a time when you realize that the reasons you fell in love, the things that used to keep you love can no longer exist. The little things that keep our relationship fresh can no longer happen. Its almost like you come to a stop, a pause - You don't want to hit rewind because trying to relive the past hurts to much, you are limited to the future to the fast forward button does no good.
"Life's all about moments of impact and how they change our lives forever. But what if one day you could no longer remember any of them." - Leo
One thing I never want to do is forget. Forget how we met, how we fell in love or what keeps us at this point. I don't want to forget our own "moments of impact." Any of them, the good ones and even the bad ones. 
"I hope one day I can love the way that you love me." - Paige 
This made me think. Does Tom feel that. Being the "better" half on the outside of a prison relationship you sometimes feel as though you are the one giving it all, that you are the one "loving" all the time. And I have to admit, I sometimes feel that way. Does Tom love me as much as I love him? Does he love me as deep as I love him? When he finally gets home, will we make up time; can we make up time? 
"Everything that I fell in love with is still there." - Leo
While Tom and I go through the motions of our circumstances we still have those moments, "Ahh, it is still there," going beyond the phone calls, the "missing yous," the distance, the letters, just the fact that we are apart. Loving someone for who they are is what love is - loving them for everything great they have done for you and not giving up on the one wrong thing they have done. 

Wait I'm married?

Every couple always has their ups and downs. Every couple. If someone says their relationship is "perfect," they never argue, disagree and have "everything" in common - they are lying.

This week I have been out of it and tonight Tom mentioned to me how "distant" I have been. The worst part is that I know I have been and I don't even have an "excuse." I feel like there comes a time when you are just over it. Over the situation. And when Tom mentioned the same exact thing - it was almost like a relief.

As a wife I never want to disappoint Tom or stress him out. And muttering the words, "I'm over it," to him would probably put him on the defense while making him worry. When a man is in prison they tend to worry over the smallest things and me saying over it, could possibly have problems.

I think a lot of my own emotions have to do with the fact that our future will be determined in the next few weeks, which really has me going through the emotions. The unknown of the future has put me in a position where I want to be alone. Focus on what I need to without the hustle and bustle of everything else.

Sometimes when you are in this situation its hard to realize that you do have a husband. Honestly. When I am working seven days a week to take care of the household, no one to enjoy a nice dinner with, no date nights, wake up alone, watch movies alone - Wait I'm married?

It is difficult to continue to live like this - apart yet with the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. As Tom and I said our goodbyes it took all I had to choke back the tears. I just wanted to say, "Will you call back?" Just to hear him. Just one more call. And not to necessarily tell him I am hurting, that I am worried but to just have a sense of him before bed.

P.S. I'm not even sure if this makes sense - but its just how I'm feeling! Sorry! =] 

I am a prison wife

I am a prison wife. I am not desperate, lonely or ugly. I AM strong, independent and beautiful. Because my husband wears striped and yours wears a tie, doesn't make you "better." Despite main stream society we don't use eachother. Next time you judge . . . Ask yourself . . . "Could I handle it? Over a year apart, 315 day without seeing one another, sleepless nights, depression and the unknown of when he is actually coming home. So . . . could you? Could you handle it? - Happy to be Mrs. #6412-050 aka Annette 

You Are Good Enough

Moving from prison to jail, jail to prison Tom has met some very interesting men. Tonight when Tom called and we shared the "highlight" of our day, I ask if he liked his "bunkie." Something he usually mentions but hadn't seen he has been moved. Tom kind of chuckled and said, "He's got some stories." Of course my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know the stories! Tom began to share this man's, which I believe to be his "fantasy." His famous actress girlfriend, his father's famous beer company, his nicely padded bank account - and while this may all sound nice, I don't believe it. I laughed as the stories went on and on and on. 

Then Tom says, "I'm broke, I'm a piece of shit and I'm in jail." 

Okay . . . 

I of course quickly responded, "What." Reassured Tom, he isn't broke, he isn't a piece of shit and it doesn't matter that he is in jail. He says, "I have your money, I am broke. I am not good in here, it's not fair." I always try to stop and really think before I respond to things like this because it is important to me to make Tom aware that "this" isn't him. 

Tom is broke because he is in jail, obviously. But a piece of shit? No. Of  course I told him how much I love him, that it doesn't matter that he is in jail and he is not a piece of shit. Being in jail doesn't make you a piece of shit. Its circumstance. This still disturbs me hours later. 

I do truly believe that Tom thinks about himself like this, it breaks my heart. But he is so true in saying "It doesn't matter, as long as I have you at the end of the day I will be okay. I don't need money, I can be in jail but having you makes it okay. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have anything in here." I have to believe that at the end of this Tom can believe in himself, that he is good enough. That this current lifestyle does not define him, me or our relationship.

Proud in Prison?

Prison has such a horrible stigma of being harsh, dark, evil. And yes, it can be - sometimes it harsh, sleeping on the floor, disgusting food and sometimes you are around some of the most intimidating individuals. The worst stigma to me, personally, is that everyone in prison is "bad." Believe it or not some are actually innocent, some actually get rehabilitated and a lot of them deserve to be living their lives, believe it or not.

So today when I check my mail, there was a big yellow envelope, addressed to Tom, even with his state numbers on it. It was from his facility in New Jersey - a teacher. So I anxiously opened it.

"Dear Thomas,
On behalf of NCCER, I congratulate you for successfully completing NCCER's Contren Learning Series Program. I also congratulate you for choosing construction as a career. You are now a valuable member of one of our nation's largest industries. The skills you have acquired will not only enhance your career opportunities, but will help build America. Enclosed are your credentials from the National Registry. These industry-recognized credentials give you flexibility in planning your career and ensure your achievements follow you wherever you go. . . . " 
This made me smile.

It makes me realize that in the past year Tom didn't just sit. He took as many classes as he could, he worked whenever he could. And that makes me proud. It's not always about how much money you make a year, because Tom's $15 a month wouldn't help much but it  was him. It made him feel better about himself, and that makes me proud of him. I am proud that he wants to a better person, that he wants to change that he doesn't want to be where he is. That is cares.

It ironic to go with the letter I got today as well.
"I just can't wait for the day to come when all this is finally over with and we can finally move forward with our lives together. I'm so sick and tired of this stuff! And when the day comes when they do release me, you can best believe I'm not looking back and I'm not coming back. I hear people all the time say three, five, or seven years of parole is a long time and they are bound to mess it up some where down the road all I can say is I wish they would give me some parole cause as long as you are in my corner I can pretty much, scratch that, I can can do anything I want to do. I love you with every ounce of my body and will to the day I die!" 
We have so much confidence in each other - it amazes me. Today I can't wait for Tom to call again, to tell him I love him and share this with him. Share the good news he received, how proud I am of him and we will be okay!

Sometimes you meet people that are instant friends. People that you get along with, see eye to eye and just feel comfortable with, meet Rosanne, aka The Prison Wife. A blogger (which I was losing hope in the fact the other women in this situation actually blog) and fellow prison wife. It was like a breath of fresh air literally!

She initially stumbled on my other blog, Strong Prison Wives ( and wanted to be a contributor! I love reading what other women are going through, because I am probably going through it too. Rosanne and I quickly became friends and I shared with her my "ideas" of what Strong Prison Wives should be. And with amazing encouragement and her great ideas - she and I have teamed up as co-founders to launch Strong Prison Wives (

We have BIG plans, amazing ideas. It will be a site for women, by women! So please like us on Facebook (  and if you are interested in become a mentor let us know!

One of those days

Sometimes, somethings don't work out as planned - today is one of those days for me. 

Tom and I, March 2011 
Today, as I "celebrate" my 26th birthday it only makes me think of where Tom is, what he is doing, why he isn't here and where we were just one year ago. One year ago, we took a weekend for "us." Had a great dinner, a day of shopping but the time we spend together it something I could never forget. It was really the time, I think personally, was the best time we had together. Forget it was "my birthday" weekend, forget it. The laughs, the smiles, the conversations - now looking back I feel lucky it happened, because just 19 days later Tom was arrested. 

This year there was no dinner with Tom, no day of shopping, really any laughs or smiles. It seems like it is just another day of the life of a prison wife. Wake up lonely, sit in the house alone. No lights on, curtains closed. 

The one thing that I was looking forward to was our two video visits. Something I was really looking forward to. Over everything else, since Tom can't physically be here, the video visits is what I "wanted" for my birthday. When Tom called to wish me Happy Birthday, asked to make sure I accepted the visits, and there it was "invitation has expired." Perfect. Since I didn't do it yesterday, our planned video visits for today, are no longer. 

I could feel myself getting irritated, mad and it wasn't Tom's fault but I was upset. Upset that I can take care of everything for everyone else. I make the calls, send the letters and photos, send money, make sure everything is the way is should be an has to be - and I can't take care of the one thing that would make me happy today. The one thing - I am disappointed in myself. 

I just started crying, I am not even sure why I started crying - I just did. There is no way to reverse my idiotic mistake it just is what it is. A friend told me, "sooo much easier for me to say but remember, EVERYTHING happens for a reason, even missing that video visit request. I HATE it for u but for some reason, it wasn't meant to be for today." 

It is something I may not want to hear, but it is true. I so wanted to just see Tom, but there is some reason it didn't work out today. Now it has pushed me into a paralyzing depression. I don't want to move today, just to sit here, lay here wait to go to sleep. 

All we need is love

Some of the best days are days when you get a call when it wasn't planned or a letter that was expected, which was my day! Tom and I talk every day but while he has been moving around the country our daily letters have turned into a weekly occurrence. I received a letter earlier in the week so when I opened my mailbox, bills, advertisements and then BAM - there it was an unexpected letter. My smile grew and I began to rip open the envelope by the time I got to the car! I was so happy in that very moment. 

You never takes a long letter to make your day, hell he could send just the envelope and I would be happy. Just knowing that he is thinking of me, putting in the effort makes me happy. Then to open it and read the following made me even happier:

"I am yours and you are mine for the rest of our lives! I love you more than I have every loved anyone else. I am lucky to have you and am thankful for everything you have done for me. I've been telling everyone about you going to Canada next year and being a guest speaker and I think people are really jealous of how good you are to me. I think people wonder how a guy like me could get so lucky with a girl like you and I honestly don't know but I am thankful for it. Hell I must have done something right along the way to get you, I don't know what it was but if I could I would do it a thousand more times!"

Sometimes you get caught up in the every day life of taking care of the house, work, worrying about him, phone calls, letters, money orders etc. etc. But sometimes its nice to sit, literally sit down and read something like this, because this is us - our life and I love him. Love. Its an amazing thing! Isn't it? 

A Day in His Shoes

"I will admit that in here all I have time to do is think and so you are always on my mind, but out there in the world you are so busy that it could be easy for you to forget about me or the good times. And when is your turning point? I don't have a turning point, I will always be in love with you! But if I get more time will that be your turning point? Will that be the point where you say, you can't handle it anymore? Lets be honest now, all the "I will always be there," is cool but will you be able to handle it? I wouldn't me mad, I'd be upset but I wouldn't be mad at you. I don't like hurting you and I don't like leaving you alone home and upset. I'm sorry if I don't say I love you or miss you enough but you are my everything and I appreciate every thing you say and do! Sometimes it is hard for me to express myself over the phone or on video visits but in person it would be a whole other story. I just have a lot on my plate right now and I'm trying to maintain my sanity in here for myself, you, Olivia and everyone else that is on side. I'm at my breaking point now and am trying to stay on this side. I don't know what to do! How would you handle it? Put yourself in my shoes for one minute, imagine spending a year in prison, bouncing across the U.S., facing three, five or seven years and then don't know where you're going if you are found guilty? How would you be handling it? I'm sorry babe if some days I'm distant or out of it. I love you with all my heart and really don't want to be hurting you." 

Maybe some women have it stuck in their head that if a certain amount of time came along they would leave or if something happened then that would be their "turning point." I don't know what the future holds for Tom and I - what I do know is that I married Tom for love, for life. While I may be "busy" with life on the outside but I always think about Tom - what he is doing, when he will call or even good memories with him. Sometimes I find myself just doing things, buying stuff to remember him and relive those memories. Do you think that I want to do this or this is something I planned? No. But my heart won't let me give up. Give up on him. On us. On any of it. 

I couldn't imagine what Tom is going through because as a wife, it's torture but in reality this is his life. Not knowing what is next is hard for me but to be Tom is unimaginable. Could you imagine getting your food wheeled in on a cart? Locked away for 19 hours a day? Limited communication? Never walking outside? Always on edge not knowing what you are leaving or what the next move is? 

 I couldn't.

I personally believe Tom is stronger than I ever would be or could be. He has served his time and now potentially facing more has to be heartbreaking. I know everything can't be exactly how I want it every single day, that would be delusional. What i do know is that we love one another, we are here for one another and in it for the long haul. So some days and some letters are not just perfect and lovey - sometimes you take hurt with the joy and pain with the love but in the end we will prevail. I know we will.

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress