Wondering how I am doing!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Do you ever wonder that?
    A few weeks ago I drove up to the jail to try to visit my son. I was confident I was fine. My SO was worried and offered to go with me, but I poopooed that. I read the instructions about where and when to go, and what to wear (for those of you who haven't made this particular trip, they were very specific about women's clothes..no sleevless, no cleavage, no above the knee, no white t shirts.) I dutifully dressed like a nun (surprised, Cedar and Lucy??)

    I drove up the road (the jail is only about 1/2 hour away). And I missed the exit. I called my SO who told me how to get back and then...I missed the exit going that way as well. Huh.

    When I got to the jail I was a little disconcerted..there were people sleeping in their cars in the parking lot, trails of women getting off at the bus stop, general grunginess, barbed wire. I made my way across the parking lot, asked a guard (who was very nice) where to go, and went to stand in line. A woman popped out of an office, looked at me and said "do you have any other shoes?" and I said no....she said I couldn't go in..I was wearing low heeled office pumps (NUN) with an open toe. She said no open toed shoes.

    So I went back to the car.

    I sat in the car and cried and cried and cried. I looked up the instructions on the internet...no mention of shoes. I cried some more, then I got back out of the car and went back in and said "it doesn't say anything about open toed shoes" at which point she pointed to the wall, where it DOES say it. I made one more try and asked if she could bring it to the attention of whoever updates the website..she said she had no idea who that was.

    So I went back to the car and cried some more. Then I drove up the road a bit to see if I could buy closed toed shoes anywhere. Then I gave up. I called work and said I wasn't coming back, I called SO who offered to bring me shoes or come get me, and I drove home, where I cried for the rest of the afternoon.

    Huh. Who knew. I had that all pretty well hidden.

    Tomorrow I'm going to court, along with my SO, my ex, and one of my sons. The PD is trying to have the case moved to mental health court, where sentencing will include discharge plannint to a monitored housing situation which would be fantastic. She said it would help to show that he has family support, so we are going.

    I guess I'm posting because I have no idea if I will break down in court (I don't think so) or if I will cry the rest of the day (maybe) or if I will need you all tomorrow.

    Happily I know you'll be there if any of those things are true.

    Hugs to you all tonight,

    Echo
     
  2. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    If it makes you feel any better Echo, you are nowhere near the first person to be brought to tears by doctor rules and their lack of sufficiently making them known. For future reference, call in advance and ask the Sergeant in charge of the visiting room. They know where to find EVERYTHING and want you to know because it makes their job easier.
     
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  3. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    I would do exactly what you did....cry in the car and then go home and cry some more. How frustrating. How infuriating.

    I am saying a prayer that they place your son appropriately so that he can get the help he so desperately needs.
     
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  4. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I wonder all the time. I seem to be handling everything well, taking everything in stride, and the next thing I know I am a mess, sometimes regardless of circumstances going favorably or not.

    I can certainly understand how you felt today. I'm sure you have to have pretty thick calluses to work in a setting like that, but still...she could've been more accommodating to a "newbie."

    I will be following along to hear how things go tomorrow. I so hope the judge sees the family supporting your son and places him where he can get something more suitable.
     
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  5. Sherril2000

    Sherril2000 Active Member

    Me too. I handle it so well for a while, & then cry when I'm alone. Sometimes all this is WAY too much. I realize correctional officers have a job to do, & there are rules. But. Really? Would it have killed them to let u visit your son with- open toed shoes? Some of them are so rude & uncaring. It was 98 degrees here today & the air conditioning in the jail my son is in has been broken for a week. That's in human to keep them under those conditions !
     
  6. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    No, actually she couldn't. Giving one visitor a break on the rules in front of dozens of others is just like giving on Difficult Child an ice cream cone but not the 15 others you have with you.
     
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  7. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Our Ad-Seg unit (the hole) has certain cells that reach upwards of 130 degrees in the summertime. Windows wont open and they are old stone buildings so they absorb the heat.
     
  8. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Echo,

    I am so sad this happened to you. About ten years ago, I flew 1500mi to see my Difficult Child in jail. (I would not do that again, but I did not know then what I know now).

    While we were in line for the visit (just a few minutes from actually seeing our loved ones), a visitor got belligerent with a staff member and it was announced NONE of us could visit. I was heartsick. Not a darn thing I could do.

    It finally worked out, and I cannot remember how, but that was such a helpless feeling. I had spent tons of money, done nothing wrong, and it appeared to be all for naught.

    anyway, I remember....and, if it was not on the website, how were you to know?
     
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  9. Sherril2000

    Sherril2000 Active Member

    That's terrible. It's very easy to dehydrate & experience heat stroke under those conditions. That's also grounds for a lawsuit. Several prisoners & their family's sued the city & won last year when the jail was so hot 4 prisoners were brought to our ER for treatment. We took care of 2 of them in ICU & both of them were on cardiac drips. I agree prisoners are in jail to be punished, but they deserve to be treated humanely.
     
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    ECHO, I'm so sorry. That is a bad day. Those feelings erupt out of nowhere in this crazy journey we're on with our troubled kids.

    Visiting them in jail is pretty indescribable, none of us ever, ever thought this would be a part of our child's future, so add that to the way visitors are often treated in jails and there is your recipe for a painful, emotional breakdown.

    When I visited my daughter in jail, I was treated like I was the criminal. A room full of distraught, scared, grief stricken parents, relatives and friends and we're treated with disdain and a lack of common courtesy that I had not encountered before. I never went back, for me it was the stuff of bad T.V.

    Your story reminded me of being called in for Jury duty during the dark days with my daughter. I was okay, until I saw the alleged perpetrator....it was pretty obvious he was mentally ill. (It was not a violent crime.) When the attorney's began asking us questions, I started to cry and I couldn't stop. The judge actually asked me what was wrong and I told him my daughter had mental issues and had been incarcerated and that the justice system often was not equipped to handle the mentally ill and they suffered as a result. He agreed with me. Of course, during the recess, I was excused........perhaps for life! I sat in that courtroom and cried for a long time.......I never do that kind of thing, I am someone who has enormous propriety and crying in public is not something I do......but I just could not pull it together........I was just falling apart right there in the courtroom.

    As Sherril2000 said, "sometimes this is WAY too much." And we breakdown. We're human. We break. And, then we pull it together and do what needs to be done.

    I will be thinking about you tomorrow ECHO. Sending you a big hug from one 'crier' to another........
     
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  11. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    This is me! I have moments that come out of nowhere, like a panic attack. I'll be having a great day, everything just fine and then it hits me, that it's real, that my son's life really is as bad as it is. The reality that it's not just a bad dream. And then it passes and I'm ok again. I just try to enjoy the moments in between the nightmare. Im so grateful for the honesty and support on this blog.
     
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  12. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I don't think nuns wear open-toed shoes.
    At least the ones who ran my school didn't.
    I seem to remember flat black lace-ups, like boys' school shoes. (Haven't you got any boys' black lace-up school shoes in your wardrobe Echo?) nice look, especially with evening dresses. I was reading about the women who were prevented from walking down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival a few weeks ago because they weren't wearing high heels. Probably some of them cried with frustration. Seems pretty petty. What is it with judging women for what they have on their feet or having rules about what they have on their feet? Have you read about the women of China who had their feet bound because they were told to?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-31964279

    The frustration of this non-visit would have led me to tears. I can be led to tears by the frustration of not being able to remove the packaging from something or not being able to get the lid off a jar, so driving miles to see my son and then being stopped because my toes were visible would have tipped me over the edge... a long way over the edge I think.

    I think you're doing fine Echo. You'll be fine in court and you'll be fine next time you visit your son wearing regulation footwear.

    What books has he read lately?
     
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  13. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    You are right of course, Jabber. I chose my words poorly and did not mean she should have made an exception for Echo, just that perhaps she could have been a little more pleasant about it. It sounds like Echo did her research before she showed up and was trying her best to follow the rules. It wouldn't have made any difference in seeing her son yesterday, but still...it might not have been such a door slamming shut in her face during an emotionally charged situation.

    Thinking of you today, Echo. Hope all goes well.
     
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  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We will be there with you Echo, in the heart of you. Part of the crying is acceptance, I think. Or disbelief. It is so unusual a way to be treated, when we go to see someone in jail. Before I went there, I was someone's mom, or someone's wife, or the lady who made such good brownies. But when I got there, no one even smiled at me, Echo. A person actually ran her hands (gloved, at least) over the insides of my shoes. I had never been treated in that depersonalized way. I am not sure I ever recovered. Not fully, not in that way that I was before I knew about how it feels to be treated like that.

    Though there was nothing out of place, everything seemed very dirty.

    We have been some of the strangest places. We have taken some of the strangest phone calls.

    All of it so disheartening.

    Cedar

    Oh, wait. This isn't very cheerful. Well, that's alright, Echo. There are some times and places where staying steady state is impossible, too. It's just all so disorienting. I don't know how they get it to feel that way. There is a disconnect in my brain between the feel of a jail and the feel of my child and so I just go numb.

    I am sorry, Echo.

    That wasn't very cheerful, either.

    Well, okay. So let's just let that cheerful part go, then.

    We are here, Echo.

    I will check too, throughout the day.

    Cedar
     
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  15. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    While I agree that its too hot, they are given ice multiple times a day and as its public knowledge I can only assume that someone has tried to sue and failed. Due to the buildings being almost 100 years old there is no way to install air conditioning.
     
  16. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    A lot of staff simply cant comprehend that you can raise a child properly and they still turn into a criminal. Which, considering how many in Corrections have Difficult Child's themselves, kinda blows my mind! Then again, many staff members work here because they want the power. They enjoy lording over other individuals and have no desire whatsoever to try to be part of the solution. Add to that the fact that a handful of staff members are only inside prison AS staff members only because they haven't been caught yet. And for those of us who are trying to help, its so easy to become jaded.

    Not trying to make excuses because there isn't one but wanted to help you understand.
     
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  17. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    In this situation its a security issue. This will sound weird to those of you who have never worked in corrections but those type of shoes make it easier for a visitor to bring contraband in to an offender. And yes Albatross, that officer could have been MUCH more understanding and professional.

    Sorry, I need to finish reading before I respond to cut down on multiple posts.
     
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  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Jabber, I do understand. I had never been inside of a jail until my daughter was there. It's a world that truthfully, I could have gone my whole life without ever knowing anything about it and been okay. I'd never been treated that way, so for me, it was a real eye opener. It's too bad there isn't training in the system about sensitivity to family members. It can be up there with one of the worst days of your life, if that is YOUR kid in there........adding rude, discourteous and downright cruel behavior, just adds to the nightmare.

    I can see how you would become jaded and outnumbered by the sheer volume of negative forces that prevail. All it takes is one person who would extend a little compassion to make that awful experience a little more bearable. You may be that person for some of us mothers Jabber, and for that, I am grateful. Keep on trying to help, I'm sure it makes an enormous difference to some people.
     
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  19. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Echo, I so understand what you wrote. It is the helplessness of it all...and then the fear...for ourselves and those we love.

    I visited Difficult Child in jail many times until toward the last few times when I just chose not to do it to myself anymore. The jail and the workhouse here are both within three miles of where I live. The jail is an eight story building. All red brick very few windows. You have to go into a certain door. There are lots of rules posted on the door about not bringing in even a purse. It is hard to know what to do with your car keys. You have to check in and show your driver's license. Then you sit in a waiting room where Fox News is always on. People come in and go through the same thing and then sit down to wait. There are all kinds of people there. Young, old, poor, affluent. Waiting. Then at a certain time all are invited to ride up on the elevator to a certain floor. You get off and there are chairs and windows with telephone receivers. You wait and wait and finally your person comes to the other side and sits down. You talk through the receiver. Everybody is talking louder and louder so it's hard to hear anything. The inmates wear different color closing to signify misdemeanor or feliny. I remember Difficult Child wearing the felony color at one point. The color devastated me.

    It is a very unsatisfying experience, these visits, for me. I just want to lay eyes on him, to see him. There is little to say, for me. I am terrified to know what really goes on I there. I still am.

    I remember early on they kept changing the rules about the books they could have. And the letters. I would write a letter and it would be sent back. Now you can only send a postcard. The books have to come directly from Amazon or a mailer. This, after going and buying many used books for him, the World War II books he likes, at a used bookstore.

    The inhumanity is incredible. Our jail releases inmates at midnight the first minute they can be released. No money no transportation Just get off the property in ten minutes.

    I am praying your Difficult Child gets to mental health court and can get help. Our jails are our
    Mental hospitals now...so not right.

    I understand your crying and crying. Just sitting here, writing this, takes me back to the terrified helplessness I felt. I know being a jailer has to be very hard and you would become cynical and jaded by all you saw and heard. But I believe many of the family members walk through those doors at the weakest point in their lives. Completely broken by their loved one there. I know that was me. Experiencing some humanity from the persons at these places, just small moments of it---and I did---was so comforting in such an awful surreal situation.

    Please let us know how it goes today. I am with you in spirit. I believe whatever you feel, it is completely okay and right where you are and should be. Crying and crying in the car is a release and ultimately healing.

    I am so praying that this whole experience with your Difficult Child is a turning point. And it has to be to get where he goes next.

    Sending strength and courage and compassion your way today echo.
     
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  20. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Wow, just wow. I do not want to make this a political debate, and you can be assured that many in my country consider our system so ridiculously too lax that it is not even funny. But things like what you tell here: Do they actually want them to fail? Do they want them to reoffend and be incarnated some more? Who pays for that absurdity? And who gains from that?
     
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