Tag Archives: prison

The Message

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I am a bit upset with Eliza.   Here’s why.  She called tonight at 7:11pm to speak with Ethan via third party call (her 11-year-old son from another relationship made the call).  The call was disconnected a few minutes later.  I wasn’t even aware that she had called because I was very busy grading final exams.  My husband was watching a movie, so Ethan answered the call.  It was only when I took a bathroom break that I heard Ethan saying hello repeatedly, so I asked if something was wrong with the phone.  He then told me how it just cut off in the middle of his conversation.  Therefore I assumed that one of three things had to be responsible.  One, the prison detected that she was on a third party call, which is a big no-no (how else is Correctional Billing going to make millions of dollars?), two, it had been raining a lot and often during heavy rain our phones act like this, or three, the battery needed charging.  The culprit was a dead battery.  Eliza left the following message on our home voicemail:  This is Eliza and I’m calling to speak with Ethan.  I was just talking to Ethan.  I don’t know why our phone call was disconnected umm…I, I‘ve been trying to talk to him per court order.  We also need to arrange a time, too for me to be able to speak with Evan as well.  I know that the hours differ where he is, but I also need to speak with him as well. I don’t know what happened today umm… Morocco, please write me and let me know what is going on.  I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you and have a blessed day.  When I turned on my cell phone this morning I checked to see if I had any messages.  Eliza had left a version of this same message on my cell phone.

 

I was bothered by this message for several reasons.  The first being that I felt she was implying that my husband or I ended the call.  Even though it was especially bold of her to leave the message when she obviously called outside of the time set by the judge.  Nor do we need a reminder that there is a court order in place.  My husband has had many court orders granted to see his children, yet she failed to comply with any of them.

 

Secondly, six months ago while in prison, she did take my husband to court for visitation rights.  During this hearing she was granted only two requests from her long list of demands; visits once per month for two hours and the right to call on Wednesdays between the hours of 4-6pm.  The judge was very adamant that she stay within the timeframe that he set.   He even stated that he knew third party calls were illegal to make in prison, and that if she got caught and was “thrown into solitary confinement for it,” it was her problem not my husband’s.  He also told her that he didn’t care if she called using “pigeons” or “smoke and mirrors,” but she was not allowed to call our home collect.  He actually wrote in the order that my husband was NOT to accept any of her calls.  We did not inform the judge that the kids witnessed the murder.  In fact, after the hearing we stood around talking with our attorney and the court clerk.  They both agreed had the judge known what they had witnessed while in her care, he would have never even granted her the monthly visits.  And I am to blame.  I am the one who pushed for her to get to see them and my husband reluctantly agreed not to make it an issue in court.        

 

Next, I disliked the fact she felt free to leave this message while her eleven year-old son was on the phone.  He should not be exposed to adult affairs.

 

Finally, she can’t demand to speak to Evan.  She has no way to do this because she is not listed on any of his paperwork for starters.  The residential facility/psychiatric hospital that he is in does not accept collect prison calls.  Furthermore, his psychiatrist does not think his fragile mind can handle interacting with her until he is more stabilized. The petition she filed acknowledges …if visitation might significantly impair the child’s emotional development, the court may deny visitation rights in the best interest of the child.

 

I’ve already had this conversation with her! And then Morocco, please write me and let me know what is going on what nerve!!!  I don’t owe her any explanations! She is the one who should write ME and let me know what is going on in HER warped head!

 

I am just bothered by her message.  Her tone was both demanding and martyrish…she sounded exactly like the old Eliza.  I almost feel betrayed.   Of course I talked to Rhonda because I was so upset. She felt that Eliza is probably under a lot of stress, especially with Mother’s Day approaching.  So should I just chalk this one up to that time of the month—meaning M-Day?  Here lately I have been examining things From All Angles, so I am going to try and understand this.  I’m already struggling.     

                                                                                                                       

I am so ticked that I am considering not sending her the Mother’s Day care package that I put together for her.  I know I should do anyway and I most likely will.  But she is so inappropriate and inconsiderate at times that it annoys me to no end.  Why bend over backwards for a person like that?  Since she is acting like the old Eliza, maybe I should act like the old Morocco.  Folks, I feel a regression coming on…sigh.

 

 

 

 

From All Angles

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                Mother’s Day will be different for me this year.  It will be my first Mother’s Day as a motherless daughter.  As of February 8, 2008, I have no mother to acknowledge and celebrate.  Hallmark will not let me forget this fact either.  I automatically dodge the card aisle upon entering any store.  A short while ago I remember seeing the displays much to my surprise.  I had forgotten that May was the month reserved for mothers.  And it’s not that I place much stock in this commercialized, contrived holiday, because for me, every day was mother’s day.  I always looked at this day as a brilliant marketing strategy on behalf of greeting card companies and floral shops worldwide.  But nevertheless, it was nice to actually have a mother on this day.

            Losing a mother makes one introspective and sensitive. So much in fact that it has propelled me to examine this day from all angles—from Eliza’s to Ethan and Evan’s.

            A simple expression of Happy Mother’s Day from Ethan and Evan has always sufficed for me because while I am not their mother, I a mother.  I never expected anything more than this, not even a card.  But this was even hard for them to do.  Last year on our first Mother’s Day together, my husband inquired if they had told me, and they admitted that they had not.  They “forgot.”  My feelings were hurt slightly but I quickly recovered.  As always, our son Nicholas was there to celebrate me with his beautifully handcrafted AND store bought cards, poems, and frequent reminders throughout the day of what a great mom I was.  One day while at Wal-Greens’s he had even selected the aforementioned card without my assistance and casually asked me to pay for it!

            But this year…I think I understand how they were feeling.  It too was their first Mother’s Day without Eliza.  They probably just wanted to spend this day in the company of their own mom expressing the sentiment to her; just as I would like to do with my own. No ommy, substitute mommy, guest mom, or second mom will do.  I want my mommy.  As children I can only imagine how they feel; and Eliza, too. 

            So this year on Mother’s Day, I will be working on a scrapbook in memory of my mother.  We have already started making some things for Eliza.  While Ethan, Evan, or I can’t be with our moms in the physical sense, we can at least be with them in spirit.  Happy Mother’s Day to all! 

Let the Circle Remain Unbroken

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            Sometimes I wonder if I am obligated to help Eliza stay connected with Ethan and Evan.  I think I know the answer to my own question and I would have to say no.  I am not obligated to do anything for her.  But I do.  I do it because it feels good.  I do it because this is who I am.  I do it because they shouldn’t have to bear the burden of her bad choice.  I do it because I would want it done for me. 

            You have to be creative when keeping an incarcerated parent connected to their children.  I try to put myself in her place and imagine what I would want.  With that in mind I send her pictures, school work, and report cards.  If I ask the kids enough, they will write her on occasion.  Sometimes they will send her drawings.  But they won’t do anything without my prompting.  I write Eliza often to provide her with updates about them so that when she does write, which she does faithfully, she will have something to talk about.  On birthdays and holidays we always send a card or something equally special.  I also take them down once a month for visits.  During this time I try to stay in the background and let them have their time with her.  She only gets twenty-four hours per year.  I am with them everyday.  I can honestly say that she is interested in staying close to them.  Why not help her?  I see myself as part of the circle.

Eliza 101

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The visit went well.  In fact, the two hours sped by.  Although we covered a myriad of topics, there was so much that we did not address.  I was not ready to leave when our time was up.  She seemed lonely and depressed, understandably.  We were both nervous.  When she came out we hugged and I asked how she had been doing.  Then I told her I was there to discuss anything that she wanted.  I had already written and gained her permission to do so; but I could still see a tiny bit of disbelief in her eyes as she replied “Just how the boys’ are doing.”  So I began talking about Ethan and Evan which caused her to recount the night of the murder again. I listened. 

The conversation soon shifted to me.  Eliza loved the Closer to my Children journal I sent her the week prior.  She also shared how in the beginning as I was reaching out to her she wondered what my motive was.  I told her that was a normal feeling because I still felt the same about her sometimes.  She also confided that she doesn’t understand how it could be that someone who used to be her “rival,” a person she hated so much, could end up being the one offering her so much support and encouragement.  Eliza shared that I had written her more than anyone including her own family.  She said she couldn’t explain why she had this “undefined love” for me.  At this point tears came to my eyes and she was openly crying.  She said she felt so bad for the way she had treated me in the past.  I told her the story of my stepfather and how I DID NOT like him in the beginning.  I had just graduated high school when my mother met him.  However, when they announced five years later that they were getting married, I felt like my life was ruined. Flash forward twelve years later and I love him to pieces.  That story made her smile.

On the way home I questioned her sincerity.  I wondered if she was simply saying the “right” things to make me feel good.  She had  shared stories that could be “used” against her later down the line.  My sharing was more guarded.  Although I think this vulnerability is essential to develop trust, I still do not want to be betrayed or mocked if it turns out she has a different motive.  I know she has trust issues as well.  She even said so a few times.  But I think for the most part she was being sincere.  By the virtue of her telling me how unsupportive her family has been and how she hates her sister for her involvement in the crime, was a lot for her to admit.  Eliza usually likes to present the perfect picture to me.  It has taken her a while to reach this point.  She was in denial for a very long time regarding her situation.  I think she is finally beginning to accept the reality. Just her being able to express her gratitude, wariness, and problems to me in person, signifies something.  We ate, talked, laughed, and cried.  Had the setting been different, it could have been any conversation with one of my girlfriends.  I know we still have a lot of work to do because whatever this “thing” is, it is still very fragile.  And it might very well fall apart one day.  But in the meanwhile it just felt sooo good to have made some progress.  It also felt great to be of encouragement to someone.  I do look forward to our next visit.