Top 10 things you can do to help a loved one or friend who is in prison

#10 Be yourself…

Passing through a major storm in life is a difficult and challenging experience, but it can also have a cleansing effect. Whatever behavior caused the imprisonment of your loved one or friend, it likely affected your relationship as well. Perhaps it has driven space between the two of you, as sometimes people just feel that its best to walk away in difficult times. My fellow inmates and I often discuss the loss and casualties in our relationships as a result of what happened. Thankfully, however, this does not tell the greatest part of the story, as we have all experienced something very unexpected as well. Our difficult situations have actually exposed much deeper, helpful and meaningful relationships in many cases, and often with people we may not have expected to be present, supportive and strong during these very difficult times. What is revealed when relationships are under stress – challenged for their very purpose – must be viewed as a gift. Regardless of whether you have fallen away or moved closer together through this stormy journey, the result reflects significant truth about the foundation of your relationship. Some people in my life have shown me what it means to be strong, and I mean really strong. Others have disappeared. I don’t reject those who chose the latter, but I have learned valuable life lessons from the former. At some point, storms emerge in almost everyone’s life – health concerns, marriage crisis, wayward children, unfulfilled dreams and many other kinds of crises and loss – and right now some people are headed toward a storm, others are passing through one and still others have already emerged from the battle. Anticipating who you might expect to see by your side during such times is far more unpredictable than it seems when the sun is shining. Relationships that stand strong are a reflection of what is real, and flushing out what is real is absolutely necessary. Your loved one or friend in prison will soon emerge much stronger in dramatic ways as a result of weathering this storm, and he or she has already figured out what it feels like to be exposed to the full spectrum of friendship. There is no right or wrong answer, only realization. So just be yourself because every relationship matters.

“Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. Its about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and proved it…” (author unknown)

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