The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Breaking the Silence

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I created this blog in August 2015 after writing a few posts on Facebook in the aftermath of Jacob’s conviction mid-July that year. I didn’t know what I was doing or how cathartic it would be. Silence would have been acquiescence. This justice system puts innocent people in jail possibly everyday and has created a system based as much on the money to be made from people’s troubles as administering justice. Money or lack of it leads people to take the more expedient, less costly plea agreement. There is a system in place the refuses to accept a person’s continued claims of innocence after conviction, denying parole unless you lie or forcing convicted sex offenders to confess or face the disappointed judge (surrogate disappointed parent) and pay for a denial polygraph, all the while facing the threat of reimprisonment or resentencing and facing another disruption of your attempts to rebuild your life. Is this coercive power?

My son and I had talked to the death all the things that had happened in his relationship and marriage and the boy who accused him in the months between arrest and conviction. We never stopped talking. I hope we never stop talking as I hope my grandson never stops talking to us. On my weekly visits or daily calls, I read Jacob things I had written and talked about ideas. I asked several times if he wanted me to stop. He never did. Why did I not talk to my husband? I read my husband the first post or two I had written on Facebook, and he said nothing. Possibly when the blog posts were brought to the attention of the judge at the sentencing hearing, he felt that my writing had been wrong. As it turned out, the judge ruled the blog posts not relevant to Jacob’s sentence. I was ready to go further if they were used. It was Jacob’s ex-family who brought my blog posts to the ADA’s attention, and it felt as if they wanted to punish me for supporting my son, as well as use me against him. They claimed my writing was victim blaming. My posts were not that. My posts suggested that 1) he was not a victim or 2) he was someone else’s victim within that family’s sphere. Was this attempt also a use of coercive power?

Several months after that sentencing hearing, my husband said he could not bear to read or relive our family’s troubles on Facebook. The posts are written on WordPress and shared to Facebook and Twitter. The truth is that people sharing their troubles can be the way they deal with them, because silence can be harmful to health and well-being.  We were not just reliving the past, but living every day with its fallout. He said that he had so much hate and did not trust people that he needed his solitude but was willing to lay down his life for me and our children. That, of course, was not necessary. He added that my son was lucky to have me fighting for him. I thought we were all lucky to have each other as a family who were loyal to each other despite our differences in dealing with the pain.

Recently I asked my husband  if he ever read my blog. “No.” It was disheartening that the one person who could have shared my pain and our son’s turned away from it or that he was not interested in knowing that part of me. My blog released my hate. It signified to everyone that I believed in my son. I did not hate people or distrust them. In fact, I was generally a very trusting person believing in the goodness of people; which is certainly not to say I am not sometimes suspicious of people. I trust until my trust is betrayed. Certainly I saw the evil deeds of people, but I thought of them as individuals not representative of all people.

I continued to write sporadically after the hearing, eventually turning to other subjects to write about and sharing stories or links to stories of innocent people spending time in jail or prison. Unfortunately, this summer our life presented a new subject to write about. My daughter’s relapse was as painful as my son’s conviction; sometimes I think it was more painful and more destructive. Perhaps it just seems so as my son’s conviction has developed a callus. I wrote posts about living with an addict, because I knew that writing about Jacob helped me release some part of the pain. I wrote because I knew that other families have dealt with this same thing and survived somehow.

I told someone recently that my life was a soap opera. “Everyone’s is.” she said. When I finished telling my story, she said; “Yours is interesting.” I would have preferred it was not that interesting, but of course each new twist in the soap opera gives me new material to write about.

My husband did not like me writing my blog posts about Jacob, though he was only a part of it. Writing this blog became my passion. It was a passion as important to me as my husband’s hunting and dogs had been to him since as a young boy he lowered his gun on a string out his bedroom window to sneak out.

 

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