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“Mom, I’m Marring a man in prison.”

By JoJo Matthews

I recently told my mom that I am marrying Joey. She knows that he is locked up, she used to come with me to county when we had a unique visiting situation. We have been engaged for five years. Yes, that is a long time, but you have to understand that in county jail they do not allow marriage. I proposed to him almost a year after he got locked up, and he spent three-and-a-half years in county. I would not want to marry in county anyway because our visits were over a monitor during a video visit where we could barely see each other and sometimes hardly hear each other.

Anyway back to mom. She did not take the news well, but I did not get the response I thought I would. I actually expected way more emotion….crying, screaming, hanging up on me even. Instead she was very quiet, and I had to ask to make sure she had not in fact hung up on me. She asked me “Why?”

The only answer I have for anyone that asks that question is because I love him. There is no other reason to marry him except for pure, unadulterated love. My mom and I are close, but my whole life I have always kind of left part of the truth out of my stories. It is true that I love him but I did not elaborate on anything else. In fact, I did not want to talk about it at all. I simply wanted her to know because we are waiting for the application to be approved, and I do not want it to be a shock when she sees two rings on my wedding finger and my mail officially coming in his last name.

The conversation went from is he pressuring me into it, to me pressuring him into it. She tried everything she could think of to make me rethink my situation. No, that is not possible. I spoke to a lawyer years ago and my ex does not have a leg to stand on. My fiancée is locked up for life and has no chance at parole. If he is ever released it will be by God’s grace only, and, by then, my daughter will be a grown adult.Then she worried about my jobs finding out. At one job almost everyone knows and actually takes it better than I ever thought possible. A few people even ask about my fiancée.

My other job I keep it to myself on the advice of my best friend. It is a long story but she does not think they would be quite so understanding. I am not overly committed to that job, and, if anyone were to find out and have an issue with it, then they can fire me for all I care. I do not talk about it because I do not want to rock the boat for myself or my best friend(we both work together). I do not want to somehow be a reflection of her character, even though I do not believe in that. I work in the food industry so nothing is all that serious that either job would need to have any kind of concern.

Now if I were a teacher or a lawyer or judge or something where my job is based on a reputation of sorts, then I could understand my moms concern, but I do not have any desire to be any of those things.Finally, her last question was she wanted to know why he did what he did. Honestly, he cannot even answer that. If he could I would be concerned unless it was in self defense or protection of another. (It was not)

The only answer I had was people make mistakes some bad, some horrible. Some people go through stuff in life and cannot figure out how to cope with said stuff so they turn to drugs and alcohol in order to not have to cope with that stuff. Life has an ugly side. None of us are perfect in any way, shape, or form. This situation is no stranger to my family. My mom has a son locked up for the same damn thing as my fiancée. I know “ironic” or “irony” are not the words that I am looking for, but, for the moment, that is all I have. So while it is not an answer but more of an excuse, the only reason I have for why he did what he did is drugs. He was high for four days. He hadn’t slept for four days. His mind was a mess. Drugs can make the most innocent and sweet person a monster for a few moments in life. I do not condone what happened. He does not condone what happened and lives in remorse daily for it.

I believe in second chances. My mom raised me that way.

If the Bible has taught me anything, it is that it is my job to love everyone, and God will take care of the rest. What happens to his soul on judgement day is between him and God. However, I have faith that we will be entering paradise together. I know his core. I know his heart. I know his soul. It was once a part of mine. So after talking about it, she said that she would be OK. My overactive imagination thought other things up, and, when we hung, up I worried I had broken her. Honestly, I think she is a little more OK with it than I think, but I know the only time we will talk about it is if she brings it up. I have a select few people that I will talk to about this without any prompting, and, sadly, my mom is not one of them.


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