Behind Bars

So much love.

Some stories are sad. This one has no punchline, just heartbreak.

I loved him…oh how I loved him, this man that waltzed into my life all broken and looking for a big change.

He was honest at first if not delusional. He told me all about his younger years. Told me about his past addictions and strife. I felt a soft spot open for him. He was vulnerable and wanted to be loved…wanted TO love in a healthy way. Alas, he just didn’t know how.

We met around my birthday. It was spring and we had both come out of troublesome relationships ships. I knew he had a long history of drug abuse, addiction, family issues and nasty acquaintances, but I didn’t see him for that. I saw him as the man that had fought to put that all behind him. He was looking for a good life, willing to put in the work and he was tender hearted. He was a man that had spent most of his life being a lost boy. It was a relief to see that heart connect with mine in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. He wanted to care for me, was good to my children and had big plans for our family.

We dated for a few months when I started to piece together stories from his past. Some, when I heard them just seemed like stories…nothing we couldn’t get past and obviously he had fluffed up the details a bit to help his ego (I thought). We all have a past, and none of us want to relive it over and over and be punished for our decisions and mistakes again and again….so I looked past it all. I trusted him. Loved him. Believed in us.

I let him move in. Too soon? Yep. At the time though he needed a place closer to the city and was away working sometimes so it only made sense. We spent every free moment together anyway.

Our kids fell in love with each other. He worked to get back on his feet. I paid the bills and we all coexisted happily.

One evening we discussed further, his youngest child. This infants mother had just passed away from negative lifestyle choices and we had agreed it was right for us to get guardianship. He needed to come home to our family…regardless of the potential health issues he had from her drug use. I was all in, spending hours upon hours filling out court documents, purchasing baby items and talking to child therapists about family transitions and autism. I loved this little man and he wasn’t even in our home yet. I hadn’t ever held him.

We fought. And fought hard. Enduring hair cutting for follicle drug tests and nail clipping testing. Being interrogated and accused of things I had never even considered being a part of in my life.

I built a good case, I mean, I am a professional. I have never been engaged in drug or criminal activity. I’m a mom and well supported in my community. I was all in, despite not having a baby now for over 7 years. Despite slowing my career to help care for his child. Despite the emotional toll this was taking.

I received affidavit after affidavit from the opposing counsel. Details and evidence of his past life. These were no longer stories. This was a legal draft of every charge, drug arrest, prostitute and poor life choice. I was forced to relive the past of a man that no longer existed. A man that had died alongside the woman that gave birth. This person didn’t exist anymore. In his place was left a man that had seen demons, lived dangerously and lost everything he had ever loved. A man that wanted to continue on this new path with a family he cherished.

But….the details were crushing me. Breaking my resolve and terrifying me. It was around the point that I started falling apart that we were told trial date for guardianship had to be delayed. This was apparently because there was a court date for charges outstanding from 2014 that still had to be dealt with. The judge seemed to think that there would be jail time involved. This was not the first time that I had heard about the incident involved, but was indeed the first time that anyone had indicated there would be any convictions, time served or continued charges. I heard the brutal details that day and my heart started to slowly crumble…

Let’s be clear, I am a mother first, always. I would never put my children in danger nor would I jeopardize our lives together by inviting anything criminal or dangerous into our lives.

As soon as the details came out I had to exit from the relationship. My concern was being involved in something that could jeopardize the well-being of my family.

I am certain that he felt betrayed and broken.

He was angry at me and I know he was heartbroken. It was at this point that I realized that his focus was solely on himself. I had invested not only my heart, my family, my time and my energy; but also I was invested significantly financially into this relationship. I mean, it was supposed to be my forever.

He called me one afternoon after us not talking for some time. He let me know that he was at jeopardy of a significant amount of time if convicted so had worked with a lawyer to take a deal. He was going away…for two years.

Despite the fact we had already separated, my world was shaken. Not only had my dreams been shattered, but so had the dreams of my children. I had lost not only him but his children whom I loved dearly. This also meant the loss of my daughters best friend and ‘sister’.

We were a house full of confusion, heartbreak and tears…

We have talked about it a lot. We have hugged and shared and gone to therapy. We have celebrated and grieved.

Financially, I was left in ruins. He had owed me money. A significant amount of money. And he cleaned out the business bank account before he got locked up. Drained it to a mere $9. I instantly became responsible for the bills, the taxes, the filing of documents, the cost to shut down the company and a work truck.

I’m not sure if I was even angry…I was just so so hurt.

In the midst of all of this, I also lost my relationship with my brother. A man who also had a past and told me this would happen. When I needed him most he got self righteous with me and decided to exit my life. Not only my life but also the lives of my children.

As hard as it is to remember sometimes, life goes on. It gets better, we recover and we blossom again at some point. We can heal if we do the work and we can love again if we don’t turtle for too long.

God knows all I wanted to do as I fought through my sadness and depression was to hide and never resurface. Build tall walls and never look out.

Life. It’s full of lessons and struggle and heartbreak. I can’t stop believing though that it’s also full of love, joy and family. Not necessarily blood family, but the family you make your own. The people that ARE there to hug you when you fall to the ground. The ones that smother you in love and laughter and rationality when you need it all the most.

PS: He will never be welcome back.

Bye boy. 💔

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