When your loved one is locked up, it’s difficult on everyone. Not only is your loved one hurting, but you are also experiencing pain from this life change. It’s harder to stay in touch and informed on one another’s lives. It’s difficult trying to think about what your loved one is going through, too. There are also walls to get past when you’re struggling to work through what your loved one did to get incarcerated. So, how do you move forward? How can you show your loved one you still care while they’re incarcerated?
The first step is finding a way to move past the issue at hand. If you want to show your loved one that you support them, then you need to find hope.
You need to learn how to be empathetic and work through the things that might be keeping you from reaching out. This can take time. You may even need to see a professional to help you work through this.
Your loved one is now dealing with a broken system. They’re locked up and unable to experience the freedom they once had. They’re missing their loved ones and life on the outside. They’re having to adjust to a new life behind bars. They’ll need support from the outside in order to keep the hope. Support from loved ones plays a huge role in helping people incarcerated move forward and achieve second chances. Be a light to them.
There are a couple of ways you can show your love and support. But, you’ll need to find out what the prison rules are. Each prison has set rules about what you can send, when you can visit, what clothing you can wear when you visit, etc. Nothing is simple. The best thing you can do is learn all the prison rules regarding calls, visitation and written correspondence. Once you know what you can do, do it. Send letters to your family member/friend, include pictures of people and places they love. Talk to them about what’s going in your life – the good and the bad. Chat with them about current events. Send them books or subscribe them to magazines, if it’s allowed. There will most likely be stipulations. For example, the book might need to be sent from a reputable company like Amazon. Call them, if this is allowed, and make sure you’re available when they call. You can take this one step further and let them know when you’re having a family get together, this will allow them to try and call when everyone is in one room. This way they can catch up with more of their loved ones at a time. Also, visit them whenever you can (just make sure you’re on their visitation list).
Another way you can support your loved ones is by providing financial support.
Prison food is typically poor. You can help them purchase snacks and other foods by adding money to their account. This will also allow them to buy stamps and paper to write you back. Money can also be added to allow them to make more phone calls.
You are both going through a trying time right now. Talk with others as you work through your feelings. Also, show your love through letters, visits and more. Be a light of hope for your loved one as they deal with their new, darker surroundings.
[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]