Sean and I had our 8th Family Visit September 22nd-24th 2018.
Family Visiting seems separated from the rest of the world, and it is. It feels cut off from everything, sort of like being aware while dreaming. Maybe it’s because of the rules, or the lack of cell phones, maybe it’s the sleep deprivation or a combination of these. It feels so different than my typical day to day life. There is nothing that has to get done, no places to go, no one bothers us or wants anything from us besides when Sean has to do count. Apart from counts and cleaning, we don’t need to do anything but enjoy our time together. That is an unfamiliar feeling for both of us because we are so used to busy important roles, responsibilities and task filled days. There are also the weeks in between, so that when we are together I have to keep reminding myself that it is really happening. It is an amazing feeling, one that we both wish would last much longer than 46 hours. Prison is just so different, so far removed from the outside world that trying to describe it is impossible.
Our time together was real. I was super tired both from waking up at 3 am and the long hours at my new job. Sean took on the task of cleaning the unit for us, disinfecting surfaces, unpacking our belongings, making our tea and getting the food set up while I rested. He really stepped up for me and did most of our cooking and all of our cleaning.
We got to watch some movies, including ‘Trolls’, which is a recent favorite. Almost all of the DVDs available for Family Visit are children’s movies but luckily this one is really good. We enjoy the humor, songs, and Sean says I brought his colors back like Poppy did for Branch. “I see your true colors.”
On Monday morning Sean got up for the 5 am count and when he came back I went back to sleep while he began getting us ready for departure. All of a sudden, I was awakened by a strange and unexpected sound. Once out of the sleepy fog, I realized it was Sean. Alarmed, I ran to the bathroom. He was pale, throwing up in the toilet, and the water in the sink was running full blast. Concerned, I sat on the edge of the bathtub next to him, rubbing my hand over his back. Why was I so shocked you may ask. For starters Sean is almost never sick, in the 5 years we have been together he has only had a cold twice. Plus, he had been feeling completely fine up to this point in our visit and I have never seen him throw up before, so it was the last thing I had expected to happen. I felt really bad that he was experiencing this now, during our last few hours together. He explained how it happened, and we think he was just too full from eating the “normal” food. “Poor Honey Bear” I said, handing him a cold bottle of water.
It was good to have a chance to be there for my husband when he needed me. We rarely have this opportunity which hurts both of us. We want so badly to be able to comfort and help each other, but sadly our situation doesn’t allow many chances for that to happen.
Most of the time when either of us is sick or hurting, we have no choice but to continue on alone and just do the best we can. There is no one to help us, we go to work and have duties that cannot go undone. Its is hard, but it generally goes unnoticed because there is nothing we can do about it and the rest of the world seems like it couldn’t be bothered. But this Family Visit, we got to be there for each other and it felt good.