Last night after watching my niece, Stephaney’s behavior grow more and more erratic, after my sister had so many upsetting phone calls from her daughter behaving like a lunatic and after realizing that the “odds” of the police picking her up on their own were slim, I decided to get an involuntary hold for Stephaney put into effect.
At 7:05PM, the manager of the group home I found for Stephaney called to tell me “she ran when the ambulance came. Where would she go? Can you send me recent photo’s?”
My niece normally likes to walk to a park nearby the group home. I suggested the police search the area. Knowing that if they lost her I could easily lose her for months to the streets AGAIN, I frantically searched FB and Instagram for photos to send to officers searching for her. I have very few. For 17 years my niece has been in and out of our lives. My niece is Bipolar One and often goes off medication. She is also addicted to meth.
At 8:16PM, the police had located her. She was fighting going to the hospital. The officer required a phone interview although he admits “she appears unstable and unreasonable but being crazy doesn’t warrant an involuntary hold. Is she suicidal?” I answer “yes.” For another 27 minutes I wait to see whether or not the police will enforce an involuntary hold. They finally do.
At 2:34AM a psychologist from JPS calls Cindy to ask “are you aware of any drug use?” Of course we are as are they since Stephaney has been admitted 19 previous times at the same hospital for meth induced psychosis. Don’t these people check their own records?
My twin sister and I celebrate our birthday every year by scheduling stress tests, dental cleanings, eye exams, physicals, mammograms and well woman check ups. We go to all the same providers as we have our entire lives. Prior to Cindy’s heart attack and surgery last year on this same date, we didn’t do stress tests but we do now. For families that love an addict, health issues are only one of the many ways an addict effects their lives. I’m (as usual) worried about my mammogram as I have had not one but two surgeries due to lumps. Thankfully, both were benign. My mammogram is the one check up every year that makes me nervous.
“What’s a day in your life like Wendy?” Holy cow if people knew the only predictable thing in my life was my work they would be shocked. The reality is that my niece has caused such chaos within our family that trying to save her over and over again had caused my sisters health to decline and many family members to turn against us. My own son is angry that I didn’t allow her to get kicked out of the group home or lose her job by getting her committed to dry her out and get her back on her meds. “Mom stop trying to save her.” Me “that’s your cousin and I won’t lose her to the streets again. I can’t go through it. I can’t let Cindy or her twins go through it. I can’t not try to stop what I know is coming. She will lose her place at that home and the job I spent two weeks finding for her.” He hangs up. I don’t care. I can’t. I have to at least try. I have to do everything within my power to try.
Thirteen messages are on FB waiting for me. One of them from Amanda. I’ve seen her posts and I know that things aren’t working out. If I hadn’t been dealing with Stephaney off the rails again and my daughter in laws lunatic family refusing to cremate her uncle who shot himself over a week ago refusing to even consider cremation and demanding a funeral along with my many other ridiculous suggestions from family members regarding Stephaney, I would have contacted Amanda sooner.
I finally had a chance to message back and forth with my Ellis Unit bride, Amanda yesterday.
Her husband paroled a few months ago and rather than being thankful for her loyalty during his prison sentence, he moved into her home with three children and thought he would be making the rules.
This husband was in for a surprise. Amanda is a strong and independent woman. Amanda has been doing it all and doing it alone for years. Amanda drew a line in the sand with this newcomer to her home and laid down ground rules. She didn’t need another mouth to feed that talked back. She needed a partner. She sadly accepted the fact that she had married the wrong man.
People behaving one way prior to marriage and another after marriage are “courting” their partner. They are acting in a sense to convince the other party that they are something they aren’t.
Many of my clients believe that the inmate is innocent. Many pay exorbitant attorney fees to fight the charges. Many sacrifice money from their households to pay attorneys because they believe wholeheartedly that the inmate is innocent. No one not even evidence and discovery will convince them otherwise.
Other clients are well aware that the inmate committed the crime which is why they are doing the time. Sure, they hear the cries of innocence from inmates that they love and care for but the majority of my clients knew the inmate prior to incarceration. I recall standing in Coffield Unit with one client prior to her marriage and the seriousness she displayed as she turned and said “Miss Wendy is this SOB gets out and goes in a third time he can go straight to Hell cause I’m out.”
In a prison courtship, the inmate has far more time to write romantic letters and focus on the person on the outside.
The person on the outside has far less time. Why? Because they are working, raising children, running households and doing everything alone on the outside including paying for expensive phone calls and prior to this visitation lockdown, driving long distances to visits.
A prison relationship is remarkably one sided. One person is making far more sacrifices than the other. One person is pulling the wagon alone on the outside. These people are my clients. The inmate is not my client. I don’t speak to or correspond with or even meet the inmate until my client and I are standing inside a prison for the ceremony.
Many of my clients have a lot of weight in their wagon weighing it down. Where does all this weight come from? Well for starters my clients are cheerleaders for the inmates calling them. Then there’s the bills rolling in they pay alone on a single income. Then there’s their children. Then there’s the empty bed they exhaustedly roll into alone at the end of long day to wake up and start all over again. Many of my clients work AND go to school while raising their children. Others take care of their aging mother or father or both in their home while raising their children and working.
The inmate is often upset about being incarcerated or the conditions of incarceration.
The person on the outside didn’t seal the fate of the inmate though. Anger directed at my client’s is misplaced. Inmates angry about their situation often forget that the only support system they have are my clients. I address this fact with my clients on a regular basis.
My clients are in a position of power, custody and control. They are effectively giving up their finances to put money on the books and pay for phone calls. I remind clients of “who is holding the cards” on a regular basis. Why? Because they need to assert themselves with an inmate far more often than you might think. Frequently an inmate assumes they have control when in fact they don’t. This role reversal is common for an inmate who is in the prison wedding planning process. They believe that by marrying they have a position of power even from behind razor wire.
Pom Poms can and do run out of streamers. The person on the outside in the free world has a wagon full of responsibility’s.
Soothing the inmates concerns are only one of the many things they are dealing with. Loving an inmate and committing to marrying them is one Helluva commitment. A person committed to marrying an inmate is giving up any and all of the frivolity a marriage to someone on the outside entails.
I’m often asked when someone realizes that I marry couples inside prisons, “why would they want to marry an inmate? What’s in it for them?” I can’t answer these questions. Only my clients can. A handful of them like Amanda question their decision.
I had shared a “memory” on FB of the wedding that took place at Ramsey Unit last year congratulating my bride regarding her one year anniversary. This isn’t unusual. I frequently share these types of updates.
This particular shared post however resulted in a DM from my client asking for information to file a divorce. “Miss Wendy things ain’t working out with Roy. He’s trying to control my money from prison. I don’t need somebody questioning me about how I spend my money. Can you send me the things I need to get a divorce?” Roy assumed because he was married that he would be making the rules. My client decided to let Roy find someone else to boss around.
I was a little surprised about this couple since my bride had been so happy on her wedding day. But, the actions of ownership from inmates who are finally married to someone on the outside in the free world are often the result of the divorces that occur within the first or second year of marriage. Normally if my clients make it to a third year they are in it for the long haul unless the inmate paroles and assumes to take control of my clients household. My clients have been running and paying for their households all along. They don’t hand over the reins to a newcomer whether this newcomer is their spouse or not. This particular power play is the #1 reason for divorce with the second reasons being post incarceration syndrome or drug use. Domestic violence is rare but also has occurred to 2 of my clients who immediately contacted me for information pertaining to a restraining order and divorce. I immediately got them the information they needed as well as emergency contact information for counseling and shelters for one former client fearful of returning to her own home “until she was certain he was gone.”
Inmates who “assume that they own their spouse” or that they can control their new spouse are in for a wake up call. This assumption is a mistake.
My clients are independent, educated, resourceful and well aware that if an inmate tries to control them inside, the inmate will be by far more controlling on the outside.
Marriage may be a merger but marriage doesn’t mean the person you married is your property. They are a person, a very independent person who is doing it all on the outside.
All of my client’s in all of my states whether their LO is in state, federal, ICE or county custody are independent, intelligent and decisive.
For my Texas clients who choose the option of divorce, here’s a self filing link to download… Texas Divorce Paperwork.
Amanda moved her husband to another building on her property and out of her home. She will most likely divorce him because this inmate “isn’t the person I married.”
I can’t blame her for demanding peace under the roof she pays for. The home she bought entirely on her own is her personal property.
A few of my clients in other states as well as Texas need to consider a prenuptial agreement.
Here is a link for a free download prenup that you can change or edit… Prenuptial Agreement Paperwork.
Why would you need a prenup you might be thinking? First because all of the property you own is your property that’s why.
I will always educate you about what’s in YOUR best interest.
Post Incarceration Syndrome is another scenario many of my clients aren’t prepared for but a few have experienced.
What exactly is Post Incarceration Syndrome? Here’s a link for your review… Post Incarceration Syndrome.
There are a number of clients contacting me regarding marrying who were planning to marry on the “inside” who have notified me that their “LO made parole” or “is being moved to a halfway house” who are contacting me to “marry them on the outside.”
Many of you are unfamiliar with the locations of Residential Reentry Center’s in Texas. Here’s the link for TDCJ locations… TDCJ Residential ReEntry.
I’ve been meeting couples outside of Walls Unit in Huntsville to marry them as well as in parks, downtown areas near halfway houses and other locations for months now.
The festive environment outside of Walls Unit is something that cannot be described without experiencing it firsthand. Families, balloons, cheers and more accompany the releases of inmates who have the support of their families and my client’s anxiously waiting for them to walk out with bags of personal belongings in their hands. It’s a literal block party.
Many of my clients have made their love story last after incarceration. How? They knew the inmate prior to incarceration.
Call me cynical but I don’t believe that a pen pal relationship has the same resilience as a relationship that existed prior to incarceration. Why? Because these couples have an established history. Others may argue that pen pal love stories can and do “stand the test of time.”
However, I’ve never married a couple who met through a pen pal scenario while one person was incarcerated so my view may be biased. My clients tell me how they met. How they knew the person prior to incarceration and often how they are the only person involved in the inmates life. I know far more about my client’s marrying an inmate than traditional bookings. Why? Because the prison planning process takes months. I speak to these clients far more often and intimately than I do a traditional client. They share everything with me from letters they received from an inmate to parole to problems to preparing letters of support and more. If there are problems during the planning process, I hear these problems and give my clients the same advice I would give my own children about “slowing things down. Reevaluating. Asking if this type of relationship is what is in their best interest.” My allegiance is to my clients first, foremost and always.
There are very few pen pal relationships that can stand the test of time although there are such relationships that can somehow survive incarceration.
This week I’m meeting two clients to marry in downtown Fort Worth who were Covid positive a month ago. Both brides work in the healthcare industry.
The reschedules continue in Texas. Whether the inmate is released and you choose to marry at Walls Unit or within close proximity of the halfway house your LO is assigned to or whether you have decided that your love story wasn’t what you expected when you signed up for it, only you can choose your future. Only you can decide what’s best for you and your children.
For my many couples who are living happily ever after walking away from prisons to start a life together, they prove the statistics of prisons marriage wrong. They also continue to thrive on the outside.
My niece called my sister this afternoon while I was on location. She isn’t angry, confrontational, talking in the third person or acting crazy. Why? Because she’s medicated and coming off Meth. The hospital or treatment centers are the only places my niece can safely come down. I know this I’ve had years of experience. I’m sick about it but I’m not going to pretend there’s a safe way for an addict to dry out. There isn’t. An addict outside of a controlled environment will continue using.
My son is upset about my “interference” by getting Stephaney admitted on an involuntary hold but my son is a new father and it’s easy to turn a blind eye. Between his wife’s crazy family and chaos, his work and his new son, my son is overwhelmed.
Our entire family other than Cindy and I have all turned away from Stephaney. They have all given up.
My son brings up his wife’s “Uncle Robert” who shot himself once again to me and then moves to his wife’s cousin, Donald who is back on the bottle again but he’s trying to help.
This entire conversation lights me up (as usual) but I’m on location and need to go outside to voice my dim view about her crazy family wanting an expensive funeral for a guy who spent most of his life in prison then kills himself prior to demanding a full funeral his family cannot afford before going over why helping Donald over and over is no different than trying to help my niece. My sons answer about Donald had me reaching for a Xanax. “He’s had a hard life their entire family is a mess. Donald is the youngest. He has a chance.”
I respond with “your cousin has made mistakes too. Show some empathy especially when talking to Cindy about Stephaney while you consistently try to help your wife’s family.” I meant it.
My daughter in laws entire family is full of “dope heads” this is my sons description not my own. I don’t use this type of language to describe addicts.
If I did I use the type of language my son does to describe addicts I would’ve been referring to my mom with the same term years ago.
My son and his wife have moved so many of her crazy relatives into their home over the years that I can’t keep up with all of their names. I remind my son that having these people around his son is not only stupid but to not even consider allowing them over for a visit. He agrees with me. Even he knows that these unpredictable lunatics aren’t welcome in his home for valid reasons. He no longer allows his wife to let “so and so stay until they can get back on their feet.” What changed? The birth of my grandson.
For seven years of their marriage my daughter in law moved in so many of her relatives that my son was literally supporting every Tom, Dick and Harry that walked in the door.
The arguments I have had with him over this “stray dog situation” went on for years. Stephanie’s family is the biggest train wreck of chaos I have ever seen.
Donald is living in a trailer with Kathy (his sister that lived with my son and his wife along with her Deadbeat boyfriend until they finally moved out owing rent years ago) and thirteen other family members in a trailer.
My son had allowed Donald to stay at his home prior to his sons birth. However, he quickly learned Donald has a drinking problem.
My son is intolerant of addicts as am I. His intolerance is due to my niece and her antics. My intolerance is due to my mom and my niece.
My son was considering “helping Donald.” I advised him to let Donald help himself and not involve himself with that family.
My son is too empathetic with his wife’s crazy family. I’m really working on distancing him from them. Seriously.
The uncle who shot himself is yet another “window” that opened for my daughter in laws ridiculous relatives to contact me to share a GoFundMe Campaign that is so outrageous no one is donating. I didn’t bother asking who set it up. “Aunt Margie” and her argumentative phone call telling me “what her brother wanted” although the guy is dead just irritates and annoyed me.
The campaign outlining “what he wanted was a nice funeral and not to be burned” posted in the middle of a pandemic, right before the holidays and for someone who shot himself with graphic photos isn’t doing well because it’s unrealistic to assume people are going to donate a large sum of money for a suicidal guy that didn’t want to be cremated.
Logic flies right out the window with my daughter in laws crazy family.
My sisters famous quote about entitlement immediately came to mind talking to Stephanie’s “Aunt Margie” who informed me “you are wealthy and have a huge social media following if you would just share the campaign and support it we could reach our goal.”
Cindy’s quote? “GRATITUDE is the DIFFERENCE between APPRECIATION and a SENSE of ENTITLEMENT.”
Quite frankly the main reason I was against my son marrying Stephanie all those years ago WAS his wife’s crazy family.
Eight years later they are happily married, living in a new house with a new baby, driving nice cars and STILL giving handouts to her relatives.
I couldn’t believe my son told me that he HAD donated to that GoFundMe Account for “Uncle Robert.” Seriously. I couldn’t.
My son has a family to think about and his wife’s family will suck every nickel they can out of whoever they can get it from.
I told him “I’ve been checking that campaign and didn’t see your name. I now know why after he explained that the daughter trying to raise money is specifically trying to hit a lick by doing so since she isn’t the one planning burial arrangements. “Aunt Margie” is.
This “news” about my son and his wife “matching” what another relative had donated upset me. After all, they were both exposed to Covid going to visit this guy on his deathbed.
My son sighed and explained “we wrote a check that we matched with Stephanie’s aunt. We didn’t donate to the campaign. We did it so they would have enough money for cremation. They won’t do the cremation though. Mom he was a drug addict who spent most of his life in prison but he was a good guy. I met him many times and gave him a ride or food when he needed it. I donated money because I felt that they would go on with the cremation because they had the money to do so but that family is unrealistic.”
Even my son knows this full funeral is unrealistic.
“Aunt Margie” and her phone calls are never a welcome delight to me, my son or his wife. This lady is only calling me to tell me what her dead brother wants and demanding she gets nearly $10k?
After over a week, the donations on the campaign are less than $400. My son and his wife along with another relative have all donated $1500 for cremation.
A paupers funeral is free. It’s nearly Thanksgiving. People are out of work. Come on. Aunt Margie yelling “my brother specifically did not want to be cremated” is unrealistic and entitled. How can you expect everyone outside of your family to donate to a campaign that is selfish. By the way, suicide is selfish. People who commit suicide literally leave their loved ones holding the bag.
“Uncle Robert’s” family probably didn’t want him to shoot himself either. They certainly weren’t prepared for the financial repercussions “of what HE wanted.”
I have refused to share this campaign due to the graphic photo’s as well as the explanation as to why a paupers funeral or cremation aren’t welcome suggestions. I didn’t share it last week. I won’t this week either. I told my son why.
My son read the same details. He saw the same horrible photos of a man who shot himself in the face for the main photo?
Who posts photos of a man who shot himself in the face on a public campaign. It’s so shocking and disturbing. His family needs to take the money my son, his wife and another relative have donated and cremate him then move on. I cannot unsee those horrific photos. The man is dead and that family is too demanding.
You can’t force someone to donate to a campaign. I can’t believe GoFundMe doesn’t review photos on these campaigns. Good Lord.
Tomorrow I will call Stephaney’s job to tell them she won’t be at work this week.
Tomorrow I will pay her rent at the group home. We have no idea when Stephaney will be released THIS time. She had an interview Monday that I will need to reschedule because she was trying to find a better job but she’s obviously not up to a second interview in her current condition.
Tomorrow I will file marriage licenses from this weekend and go to my annual mammogram screening hoping they don’t find a problem again. I’ve had two lumpectomies in 8 years. Thankfully both were benign.
Tomorrow I will call “Aunt Margie” who contacted me last week demanding that her brother have the funeral he wanted that his family cannot afford and once again tell her I’m not sending $10k to pay for a funeral for a person I’ve never met who decided to kill himself and then left his broke family to try and find a way to “honor his wishes.”
My opinion about this entire scenario AND the family telling me what a guy who shot himself wanted is getting on my last nerve. Aunt Margie messaging then friend requesting me in order to get me to donate this campaign isn’t swaying me one bit. The guy shot himself.
Trying to reason with unreasonable people with the holiday coming up and deciding to go virtual this year after my son and his wife were exposed to Covid going to see her uncle who shot himself in Tyler, I’m shaking my head about another ridiculous fiasco with my daughter in laws family while dealing with my niece and my clients.
At least it won’t be raining Wednesday as I have 5 weddings outdoors. I’m hoping my sister can get some sleep tonight after worrying once again about her daughter, Stephaney while raising Stephaney’s twin daughters, Maryssa and Makenna and trying to remain hopeful that Stephaney will get back on her medication and become a stable and productive person. It’s hard. I’ve had so many setbacks with her. She should’ve been married by now. She should be in her own home. She could have been anything she wanted. Addiction destroys families.
Prison marriage may but be for everyone but for those who make their story last, the commitment, loyalty and determination of their unions continue to surprise their friends and families who didn’t support the decision to marry an inmate…