By Gigi Taylor
4 words a prison wife never wants to hear…”I can’t call you.” For whatever reason behind it, be the phone isn’t working, the lines are long, or I got LOP (Loss of privileges)…Losing contact with your loved one can be brutal and send you straight into crisis mode. ‘What am I going to do? How will I make it through without our nightly call?’ These are questions we ask ourselves, but you know what? We get through it. Every. Single. Time.
I’ve been doing this for a year and a half now, and at first, I’ll admit when he didn’t call for our nightly chat, I would fear the worst. I would become unhinged. For those that say, “Really? All because he couldn’t call?” In this PW world, our phone line is our lifeline. Some women don’t get to see their men but a few times a year, so a call is the only ‘real-time’ communication they have. Our calls become our family dinners and chats, date nights, important news updates, and so much more. Keep in mind, if your loved one lived in another country and you only got to see him/her a few times a year…not getting a call would mean EVERYTHING! It’s just like that for us.
So this time, being a veteran at these ‘prison phone issues,’ I haven’t yet panicked. I haven’t yet become unglued. In the prison wife world, the idea of “Radical acceptance” is pivotal to survival. Yes, it’s tough not being able to hear from him and to hear his voice, but is there anything I can do about it? No. Radical acceptance has been something I’ve had to work on this year as a PW. I cannot change the things I can’t control. Prison is one thing I have no control over. They call all the shots. When they cancel visits, there’s nothing I can do about it. When the phone isn’t working, there’s not a darn thing I can do. He will call when he can. I realize that this also affects him just as much as it does me. But alas, I cannot do anything about the wiring of the phone.
So for those ladies that feel a bit unglued when they don’t get that call. Just remember, it’s out of your control. Find things to do for yourself. Binge watch a show, write him a letter or email, pamper yourself…make this a time to do something for you! A prison wife gives so much of herself in ways that are unheard of. Remember, you can’t change it, but you can make time for yourself. We are only as good to others as we are good to ourselves. This is the time to take your mind off of it, let go of the sadness and do something positive for you.
I haven’t been able to talk to M for two days (except via email twice a day), and it maybe several days before I hear from him again. So since I can’t do anything about it, I treated myself to a manicure and I plan on doing more for myself tomorrow. I can’t stop my life because of the phone not working. So remember, take this loss of phone time and make it a gain of time for yourself.