Jack: Do you remember when I first came home? You wanted to show me everything that I hadmissed while I was incarcerated?
Carol: Yes, but what I remember the most is that you hated it and said that I was showing you off.
Jack: Part of the problem was that I was living in a halfway house, and was home only during the weekends, and for a few hours during the evening each week.
Carol: And it didn’t help that the boys and I were living at my dad’s, and that we didn’t even have a bedroom for ourselves or any privacy.
Jack: It was hard for me; I didn’t want to go out or do anything other than my job. I found it difficult to adjust to the “outside”.Our disagreements began to surface and we had some harsh words for each other.
Carol: When the Jewish High Holy Days began, we realized that we needed to do something constructive or our marriage would not last…ironically, after waiting so long for it to begin again.
Jack: We took off on Sunday without anyone else and drove to see the sights and to dialogue (to openly share our thoughts and feelings and to listen with loving hearts, as we had learned to do on our Marriage Encounter).
Carol: We decided to just bare our souls with each other, to take off our masks, and to be ourselves.
Jack: I said that I was unable to function in a group setting. While I was gone, we had had little support from friends and family.I wanted to take little steps to integrate ourselves with these people again…if possible.
Carol: I said that after being without you for so long that I wanted to take you places to be seen with you, and that we had nothing to hide.
Jack: Of course, we had no money for this. Thankfully, you had a job; yet the living conditions left something to be desired.
Carol: The familiar words, “We don’t really have the money” were our excuse to everyone. It was tiring to continue to say it.
Jack: The greatest thing you did for me, during this time was to support me when I leveled with you why I didn’t feel ready to face the world.
Carol: For me, it was when you told me what you felt, because then I knew that you would have liked to do things for me but you were unable.
Jack: Going to Temple and turning to God was the beginning of trying to find answers to our problems. We needed to find the strength of God to help us. Until then my self-esteem was zero. I felt that I had let you and the boys down and didn’t know what to do.
Carol: However, we decided to dialogue. We find that whenever we have a misunderstanding, that dialogue and turning to God is the best way to begin to resolve it.
Jack: I agreed to attend our youngest son’s Father’s Weekend at college with you.
Carol: I know that was a major effort on your part.
Jack: We decided that when invited to eat with other parents that we would go. I had to make the attempt and knew if I was uncomfortable that you would suggest that we should leave.
Carol: The weekend went well. You met people you had known and also made some new friends.
Jack: Then we decided that we needed to move to our own place.
Carol: Very graciously, one of our sons said that he would help with the rent and moved with us. Without his help, we never could have moved.
Jack: We have a long way to go to become normal again, but we are on the path, and we both pray that we do the right things.
Carol: Coming home was harder on you than going in.
Jack: That’s true. I have talked to several other former inmates,They have been home anywhere from 3-5 years and they all say that it takes time, patience, love from spouse and God’s help—and I thank you for all that you have accomplished for me.