Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Every year around this time I try to write something in memory of my sister and the time she is serving in a medium security facility in Oregon.  I use the month of March as Angela month and I dedicate a lot of my time and energy to her and working on behalf of her and toward her release at some point in the future.  And if there is nothing to do toward helping her I try to write her her more and write about her more and focus a lot of my time and energy on her and her cause.  I believe in her and I believe in her being able to serve her time and make it out of that hideous place called prison.

I have a lot of happiness this year because in June she reaches her half way mark which means she crests the hill and starts down the other side which is the last half of her sojourn.  And while it may seem like a lot of time to be away and locked up and discarded by society, friends and family, the truth is that the second half of anything is always faster than the first. 

When she first went to prison I remember her calling after about a year and a half and sobbing uncontrollably because her cellmate or "cellie" had told her point blank that eventually everyone would stop writing and calling and sending books and money and that she would be alone.  She told her that it was just too hard for people to remember to stop to take the time because of where she was and what she had done.  Of course at that time my sister had a huge outpouring of letters, cards, books from and many people who had her on their thoughts and minds. 

But it has been 8 years, 8 long years.  And even the best intentioned of friends and family find it hard to continue communication when faced with 8 more of the same exhausting situation. And even though we have email now and can email her and even though she can still call out and even though we can also have face to face conversations that cost $18 for a half hour visit, she gets very little mail and even less email.  She has had to harden her emotions to accept that what her cellie told her was true - people did forget or move on.  It isn't that they didn't care about her, they just had to pay the mortgage and they had to replace the sink in the bathroom and they had to take the kids skiing and there was that trip to so-and-so's graduation and the pedicure and pictures to upload to Instagram and the Oscars were on and there was never enough time to write.

And the amazing thing is that she is not bitter or angry at those that have forgotten her.  She realizes that life moves on, and that people get busy and that she is not going anywhere.  And she has a very healthy approach to even immediate family that cannot be bothered to give her any time or energy.  She has learned how to forgive.  I only hope that we as a society can learn to forgive her in the next 8 years so that once she gets out she can move on with her life, just like we've moved on without hers.

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