Monday, March 30, 2009


We took the trip to Somerset to visit Brandon yesterday. It's four hours from our house, thankfully a bit shorter because of the Route 99/220 add to the PA highway system, but still the day is always long. The entire family was supposed to come, mom, dad, grandmother and both sisters, but my older daughter simply could not muster the emotional equilibrium at this time in her life. It's understandable. As much as I want to love these trips and be totally there for my son while we're in the prison, I fight my emotions. This time I felt like I needed a punching bag. I'm simply out of gas. The younger daughter slept through her alarm and didn't make it. Again, I know that happens, not every family goes through this and it is so much to ask from an 18 year old who is a whirlwind and in love with life, but I was angry. I tried to turn it over to God, let it go, but it took the day for that to happen.

We were the first family at the prison, and while the weather was not too bad, at four something in the morning, rain slicked roads are confusing and fog can come up at any time and blind you. The light didn't help until we were almost there, and it rained all the way home. There is a new metal detector at the intake desk, and clothes that I usually wear set it off. I was just not in the mood. I told the COs the only metal I knew I had on was the zipper on my jeans, and I was not taking THEM off. I already have to wear a hugely uncomfortable sports bra with no metal. It's not every women that has a "prison bra" in her undies drawer, LOL! Well, we got in immediately to see Bran, and he just looks smaller and more fragile every time we come. He's lost about 80 pounds, and has a full beard. He's also rather short and wears glasses, so instead of looking like the hulking mountain man he used to, he looks like an elf accountant.

I suppose after we got into conversation I could see the wisdom of it just being the old folks. The vending machines were either not well stocked or out of order, which thankfully changed as the day went on-I could feel my temper rising again-"if my kid wants chocolate milk after three months, by God he'll have chocolate milk or else" we had a good time. It's so hard sometimes to make the shift into funny and natural conversation after months of separation, a long and tiresome ride to the prison and the hour wait to get in. But we do it. And Bran needed to just talk about his life there. It's frustrating and hard, and he doesn't have a chance to speak freely about how he feels often. Commissary prices are through the roof, stupid stuff, working in the dirty side of the prison laundry for basically nothing-it's not supposed to be Club Med and he knows this, but for a 23-year-old to live with no hope of things changing or getting worse every day, that's hard. He needs sympathy and encouragement, some normalcy and the reminder that there is a life "out there" that time will bring about once again.

It was good to get home and get back into the routine, but visitation is a "normal" part of our lives.


Blogger thinkinkmesa said...

"Somerset"...when you say that word to yourself images of a beautiful place come to mind...images that may not be correct I'm sure.

Visitation days...always take a physical and emotional toll on everyone. For myself, even the most enjoyable visit is followed by the need of much napping. :)

I also have a sister who at times does not make it to these events, or presents herself late, but then she has had a couple of bad visiting experiences. Disappointing, certainly, and I hope she doesn't have regrets later.
I have found that I need to give it up to God prior to that disappointment, not after.

11:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home