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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Nothing to Declare (Strange emotions)

Just a quick post as I'm exhausted and need to get a few hours sleep before my daughter gets home from work.

I'm back from my weekend trip to see my husband in TDCJ. That makes it sound like I travelled maybe a couple of hundred miles, but actually it's a round trip of about 10,000 miles which includes 6 hours on 2 buses, 18 hours on 2 planes, and lots of driving around Texas.

Our visit was as good as it always is. By that I mean the time me and Ray spend together is always good, filled with lots of laughter and discussion and intimate looks (because we can't have anything else). But the longer we do this, the more we are both aware of how we need to deal with it all - regardless of how we both deal with anything else in our lives, including people we know and often people who don't know us particularly well.

We usually spend a bit of time each visit talking about our combined strategy for getting through the next chunk of months until the next time we see each other. Marking time by visits breaks up the whole amount into more manageable pieces. We seem to also be building our own defenses too now; we both talk a lot about how others we know (and who don't always approve of or understand our life as it is) are becomming less influential or important to us, and how we need to do what is right for us so that we stay strong for each other.

What we face are several scenarios that will ultimately dictate how we can maintain our marriage:
  • That he will stay in TDCJ until he is 84 (ie, until he completes his entire sentence)
  • That he will stay in TDCJ until at least 2024, and then be paroled
  • That he will be paroled, but that I may not be permitted to reside in the USA
  • That I will move to the USA but not to Texas, and that he will not be permitted to reside outside of Texas
  • That I will be able to live in another part of the USA and that he will be able to arrange a transfer, either while still incarcerated or when paroled, to live with me
Him coming to the UK to live is so far out of the equation, especially if the UK retains a Conservative government, although he may or may not be able to visit.

Normally, I have a few tears when the plane takes off from Houston. This time though, it wasn't until I had collected my suitcase and was walking through the "Nothing to Declare" exit that I suddenly felt I was going to break down completely. The overwhelming feeling that I am not strong enough to do this - and why the hel should it be so damned difficult - washed over me and I wanted to turn round and grab hold of a customs officer and shout "I DO have something to declare: I want to bring my husband home!"

But of course it doesn't work like that. And there is nothing "normal" about any of this. Normal people don't have to take so much into consideration when they fall in love or get married. I do love him though, and right now I'm too tired and emotional to deal with the politics.

Sleep now. Fight later.


  1. Hi Sunray's Wench ~ That is all I've ever known you by. I follow your posts on Grits, and I love the way you tell it like it is. I would love to correspond with you (email) and I want to invite you to check out Texas Inmate Families Association (TIFA) website www.tifa.org. I am the executive director . . . have a son in prison with a 45 year sentence. This is a great site. I'm so glad that I found it! ~Susan Fenner

  2. That was very well written. And it touched me deeply. Knowing that this is a reality I soon will face myself. Thank you for sharing this, and for all the help you have given me.


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