Matt’s Story

Visiting: Sarah

I get asked a lot about my brother. Mostly about how he is doing. And honestly it changes on a daily basis. I go to visit as often as I can, typically every week.  I dread going to visit. Even a year later, I am still not used to it. I am also worried for the day that I do become used to it, I hope it never happens. You can tell for some people/families in the waiting area that they are used to it, that this is normal for them, that they’ve been here before. I try not to judge but I always feel out of place. Depending on the day it can be very busy. If so, then you wait until your number is called. I try not to talk to much to anyone because you never know who they are there to see. I was naive about that at first. But what if the person they are there to see doesnt get along with the person you are there to see….or many other things. Every time the same process, you check in with the visitors guard, show them your ID and who you are there to see, they stamp your hand and give you a key for a locker. You can only take in a vending machine card, visiting pass and your ID, everything else goes in a locker. Most of the guards are pretty friendly with me now as they know who I am. I try to be respectful and make it easy for them. You go through a metal detector. I try to look and dress as plain as possible. Trust me I am not trying to impress anyone there! Once through the metal detctor you then go through a set of doors and show your ID to another guard with your stamped hand. They will then open the second set of doors into the visiting area. Once in the visiting area you give your pass to the guard….and honestly Im not really sure where they take it then. But the pass indicates to them which inmate you are there to see. I have my favorite guard, he is an older guy, always gives me crap but in a joking way. He knows my brother, he knows everyone in my families name, he pays attention. Then you sit in an old chair and wait. There is a small plastic patio like table in between you chair and the inmates. I usually wait about 30 minutes. The guards blame my brother for being slow, and my brother blames the guards for not calling him. I can’t help but watch other people around me. It breaks my heart to see kids coming to visit their Dad’s. I always wonder how these guys all ended up here. Then I wonder…..how did I end up here? How am I visiting someone in prison? By the time my mind really starts to wander my brother comes out. We hug tight. I try to keep our visits fun, making jokes, laughing. Its the only time he really gets “away”. I get him food from the vending machine. He usually wants the same thing every time, chicken sandwich, ruffles chips and a coke. Every now and then a coffee. I used to try and stay all day, but its exhausting. So usually I just stay a few hours now. Leaving is the worst. My heart hurts as I walk back through the double doors and he walks back into prison. I almost always tear up as I walk to my car. No matter if we had a great visit or not…..leaving him there is painful.

Today I visited after being gone for 2 weeks. We were both excited to see each other. He was hungry right away. We chatted just about the week. Then we just started arguing about things. You can tell we were both just frustrated. I wasnt telling him what he wanted to hear and in turn he was treating me rudely. We sat in silence for a few minutes and then I said we should change the subject. He said he wasn’t mad at me just this whole situation. I started crying….which since he has been in prison I have never done in front of him. I couldn’t help it. I wanted to sob even harder but just hid my face in my hands. I wanted to run out of that place. But I didn’t. I picked my head up and realized he had tears in his eyes too. As hard as this is for me, it is that much harder on him. He can’t cry in there so I made a stupid joke. We both laughed and the rest of our visit was great. This is reality. This is our reality anyways. There are good days and bad days but the fact is no matter what I will stick by my brother, I will let him vent, I will understand when he is taking it out on me, I will be there to pick up both of our pieces. That is what family is all about. And right now that is all I can offer him.

 

 

4 comments

  1. Becky dillard - December 15, 2014 7:21 pm

    I MET YOUR FAMILY AT THE EVENT IN COL ON SEPT 6th. AWESOME FAMILY AND I CAN RELATE TO HOW YOU FEEL SARAH, MY NEPHEW WAS ALSO IN PRISON AND ALL THOSE FEELINGS WERE ALWAYS IN MY HEAD WHEN I WENT TO VISIT, AND I TRIED NOT TO CRY BUT IT NEVER WAS EASY…I LECTURE MY NEPHEW A LOT FOR DRINKING AND I USE MATT’S STORY.THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH I THINK YOUR FAMILY IS INCREDIBLE FOR HOW SUPPORTIVE YOU ARE. GOD BLESS..

    Reply
  2. Ben hurt - December 25, 2014 12:07 pm

    you are a very strong person for going to visit your brother. As someone who did six years ten months I know a lot about the prison life and those visits mean more then you think. Your right to. As hard as it is for you to walk out and leave him it’s just as hard for him to have to walk back into a whole different atmosphere. Even being in the program he most recently graduated from…. It’s hard. I was in the same program. We have job duties and responsibilities to attend to. That whole walk back from the visit room is spent trying to figure out how we will re direct our focus back on to our prison life. We are so mentally and emotionally drained that we even become physically fatigued. We spend most of the rest of our day re playing and analyzing every moment of our visit with our loved one. Regretting things we said as well as things we don’t say. Often times we are going thru so much more then we are willing to share with the rest of the world especially our loved ones. We feel we burden them enuf so we spend our visits trying to fill there minds with all the positive things were doing and both of us speak on hopes and prayers. We say we are unhappy but rarely do we speak of the true despair and hopelessness we feel. The worst part of it all is at night when the lights go down and we lay quietly in our bunk with nothing to keep us occupied or keep our thoughts from racing a million miles an hour all we can think about is how much we regret things we may have said to our loved one and knowing that it may be a whole nother week before we get the opportunity to apologize and explain why we acted so. We wonder if that person will even come back. We also wonder when the night mare we live daily will all be over with and we will be allowed to wake up and go back to reality. Back to the world of the living. I know first hand how much he loves you. Having done time with him and been in that program with him and been in many groups with him. I can’t disclose all that was said but you mean a lot to him. You being supportive doesn’t go unnoticed…. Even tho at times It may feel that way. Keep doing what your doing and if you ever have any questions you know how to reach me.

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  3. Colleen - February 12, 2015 11:04 pm

    Sarah,
    Your and Matthews’ situation is not all that unique, but the platform you’ve been given is. So, use it!

    You have so much more to say. So say it.

    When you speak (or write) there are so many people who will listen!

    I have been where you’re at and am pulling for you both

    Reply
  4. Eagle - April 11, 2015 12:57 pm

    Stay with this guys, you’re hepnlig a lot of people.

    Reply

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