Paul’s Release


Tuesday May 13, 2014

I write this, a few days before Friday, May 16th, the scheduled date of Paul’s release. I’m surprised at the intensity of my reaction, which, to any logical mind, is exaggerated, overblown, especially considering the reason he’s been in prison. Why should I even care? Almost nine years have passed, you’d think I would have…perhaps forgotten all about him, but I haven’t.

In fact, I remember almost every critical moment of the two years from 2005-2007, although now I only consciously relive those times when I’m writing or editing my memoir. Nowadays, it’s as if I’m writing about someone else, or about something that happened a lifetime ago.

Today, May 13th, just three days before the release date, I may throw up, even though lunch was more than three hours ago. A strong metallic taste invades my mouth. I know this physical reaction is entirely caused by emotion.

My heart isn’t racing, but each beat feels louder and harder than normal and goes from the center of my chest down to my diaphragm, a jackhammer of augmented anxiety.

I remind myself to take deep breaths…like the little reminders I have taped all over the house. They say, breathe – and prompt me not to hold my breath, but breathe evenly and deeply. This conscious action lessens my level of anxiety and helps me create a calm atmosphere. I actually notice the spring breeze that sneaks though the screened-in porch.

I thought this day would never arrive. I couldn’t imagine my life without him incarcerated. Over the last year, I assumed, with his serious medical problems, he would probably die before his release date. He fooled the federal prison authorities, doctors and those remaining in contact with him and is going to walk out of the massive Butner, North Carolina facility, his sentence served.

Friday May 16, 2014

When Friday arrives, I find I think of little but his release. An accumulation of feelings: positive, negative, fearful, angry, resentful tumble through my thoughts over the day. I wonder, as the hours pass, where he is, what’s happening and how he’s feeling. This intense concern about him seems strange, even to me, as I try to figure out why I even care. There were months at a time during his incarceration when I never thought about him, even once. Perhaps it’s the memories of the good times, and yes, there were some, before he descended into his obsessions and illegal activity. I can’t figure out the reasons. It doesn’t really matter, for this day will pass and I’m not part of his life anyway. Except that I am, in my mind.

His cousin Chris, so supportive and kind to him over all this time, picks him up and drives him to her house for the remainder of the day. She tells me they have dinner and she emails a photo of the two of them, taken by her daughter, in front of a purple sunset. Paul appears remarkably well and her happy expression shows how genuinely she cares for him. A sensation of warmth passes through my chest and I feel glad for him.

The next day, he’ll fly to Arizona, where he’ll live with his sister. I tell my mind to empty the conglomeration of thoughts and feelings about him that have taken over my brain the last few days. I would like to think that his wellbeing has nothing to do with me, but the reality is that I’m still waiting for my release.

About writerladyjane

I'm a writer with a finished memoir, titled Images. Most of the blog posts relate to the general subject of my memoir and are about my experience of Federal Agents entering my home and arresting my then-husband for child pornography, as well as the following two years of threats on me. There are also posts that are of a lighter nature and some to do with my travels, especially a trip around the world I took with my daughter. I have an MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University and live in Westport, CT.
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5 Responses to Paul’s Release

  1. It sounds to me as though you’re almost there. When you wrote that you were glad for him, I knew you were healing… This is a great piece of writing. You’ve really put your heart and soul into it, and that’s what makes it so moving.

  2. Tina says:

    Letting go is difficult, but the way to your personal sense of freedom and especially, peace. Your life belongs to you, not to bad memories of something someone you used to love created. You’re well on your way! Your honesty and authenticity will overcome what tries to trickle in from the last. Much love to you and your family Jane. You deserve it.

  3. Christine James says:

    Very powerful one of your best pieces on the subject, I think, because your emotions are so carefully and insightfully delineated, and you’ve gone way past blaming Paul. Thank you for sharing. Love, sister Chris Sent from my iPad


  4. Jane Nordli Jessep says:

    I don’t spend much time on Facebook but I found this on my Wall and was drawn to it. What a powerful bit of writing, I could feel my own chest and heart constricting as I imagined your feelings and experience. I would like to read your memoir when you complete it. Love to you Jane and to your family.

  5. Linda Hudson says:

    Beautifully and honestly done, Jane. How could you NOT be affected by news of his release, for it surely triggered stored feelings of all that went before. Be gently with yourself. xx

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