If you’re in any way connected to a faith-based world, then you’ve heard in some way or another “don’t force a blessing”. Usually, I shrugged this off as it was referring to a baby and coming from a mother of six. Another common phrase “God helps those who help themselves”. What does that even mean?
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving 2016 was spent delivering 800 giant newspapers with just my teenage daughter to help. My Thanksgiving 2017 was spent with my daughter in a homeless shelter eating the trays they gave us. 2018 was nice. There were plenty of people and lots of food. But still, I was missing half of my heart.
Oh, for those following my meat-free journey, I decided not to pass on turkey. I will restart officially Dec 1. I figure the meat will be gone by then and hopefully, I can plan ahead for Christmas.
My husband and I’s phone conversation yesterday..didn’t go well. I was emotional and feeling like a complete loser because of my lack of income and car. He said the wrong thing. It’s one thing when a well-meaning church person says the wrong thing, it is entirely different when the man who cheated on you for the purpose of forcing a blessing says it from behind bars.
Inside there was this witch brew boiling over and I was holding back on things I wanted to say. I always hold back because (A) he won’t fully comprehend it anyway and (B) it would only hurt him and give him more to worry about. He has enough to worry about just staying out of the killers’ ways. Finally, I just burst into tears and sobbed “but this is all based on a lie!”
He couldn’t deny the lies that were covered up and the punishment that he took for everyone else. Instead, he turned preachy. Something else that I was not open too. I let him “preach” for five minutes and then I snapped at him for preaching to me.
Now….what usually happens when he and I have a rough phone call is I will sit quietly and pick apart the wording of the conversation to figure out what it was he was trying to say. This time I didn’t do much of that. I owned my emotions and I decided to drown them in Netflix. Low and Behold the show that popped up was “Parenthood”. The little guy Max on there is diagnosed with Aspergers.
Immediately I started wondering how it must have been for my husband to go his entire childhood and teen years without a diagnosis. My daughter was diagnosed at 2. I was able to figure out how she learned early on and now she’s 19 and doing awesome things in the world.
My husband though, nobody helped him – ever. He wasn’t diagnosed with a mention of Autism until he was in his 20s and already behind bars. He was supposed to be set free early due to lack of comprehension between right and wrong, but somebody – his family I assume – stopped it. Those records went missing from my home upon his 2nd arrest.
Knowing my husband is Autistic didn’t scare me. My daughter is and I’ve nannied many special needs. It’s the Impulse Control Disorder that I didn’t know about and still do not understand. This scares me. I love my husband through all of his quirks and mood swings, but I did not know his full medical history. All he can tell me is that he has Bipolar and has learning disabilities. There is more, so, so much more. People at the prison ask him if he’s “crazy” and he tells them “no I have Bipolar, mood swings, and some learning disabilities” just as he was trained like a freakin robot to tell people! His new mental health counselor apparently asked him many questions that he couldn’t answer.
Anyway, I wasn’t giving it much thought before dinner. Then as I was helping a man find the top of his cake plate, I finally had a chance to really meet him. My friends had told me that he seemed similar to my husband, but I had no idea. “I need the top to the cake plate. I have to have the top to the cake plate. Can you help me find the top to the cake plate? I need it.” He had that ole familiar hyper focus Autism symptom that my husband has. As I searched for the lid, my heart softened.
After that gentleman left, I sat in my room and thought. My husband wasn’t standing on a soapbox when he told me not to force a blessing. He was trying to show me that he knew better than anyone that forcing a blessing doesn’t work. He wasn’t telling me to give up on my writing. He was telling me to balance sleep and writing better. He was looking out for me and I just bit his head off.
I don’t wish to “force a blessing”, but at the same time I know I have to “work for it”, and then I still have the responsibility of parenting a special needs spouse and staying strong through my own loneliness and fear. My husband doesn’t understand that this blog is what is keeping me going and I still believe it’s becoming something amazing, just like my husband and daughter are!
Inmates, even without psychological and mental disorders, struggle to see what their loved ones go through. How could they know? Unless they have been the primary support system for an inmate before, then they have no idea. I am learning that I cannot expect my husband to fully understand my side of things. Just as I will never fully understand his.
As all couples do, inmate couples will have disagreements and bicker sometimes. We just have to be creative with how we choose to make up. He called late last night. He’d fed 5 inmates including himself and played cards all day. I asked him to forgive me for earlier.
Life’s too short for grudges – even the big ones. We are working our way through this pain to find something amazing on the other side – We just know it!
Images found on Google