In the past (almost) ten months, Patrick and I have experienced things that good people should never have to go through. Especially Pat.
Over the past ten months Patrick has been treated like a common criminal. He has been shackled. He has been placed in solitary confinement four times. None of them for disciplinary reasons, that was just the only way that he could be “accommodated”. (Really?)
He has gone through “shake downs” and had things taken away from him. Even things that he was forced to purchase through the detention center’s commissary. Three of the most recent items were a paper chain necklace that had a paper cross on it,an eraser,and a styptic pencil. For some reason those were suddenly contraband. The styptic pencil he had since October. The eraser he bought at the commissary. The paper chain with cross was made for him by another detainee. “They” can take whatever “they” want whenever “they” want to, and there does not have to be an explanation as to why.
To see him in shackles – devastating. That’s the only way I can describe it.
He has not seen daylight in months. He used to have such a beautiful natural-looking light tan. He is so pale now.
I think of the horrors that he experienced in Iraq, and the struggles that he has had since he came home. And then there is the last ten months of his life. How could something so horrible, happen to such a good person?
Guilty by association
Since this happened, I have been followed by the local authorities. It appears they are certain I must going to do something wrong, and they are just waiting. I have gone through countless searches when going to see Pat. On one visit while he was up north, I was forced to take my wedding rings off.
I cried, but I took them off.
Starting July 2, two things will happen. I will now have to go through a metal detector, and I will have to make an appointment to see my husband. There are only two days a week I can see him. If I can’t get one of the 15 minute visit times in a two hour period, I won’t get to see Pat.
I feel like I did something wrong and I am being punished too. All I did was love my husband, I still do, and I always will.
What we take for granted
We take everything for granted. Being able to have chapstick. Lotion. Watching a movie. Eating popcorn. Listening to our favorite music. Talking to people when we want to or need to. Being able to go outside and feel the sun, see the moon or the stars. Being able to get in a car and go to Wal-Mart for something we want/need. Watching what we want to watch on TV. Sleeping when we want to, waking up when we want to, and deciding what we would like to eat, when we want to eat it.
It is the Veteran who has given us those freedoms. Patrick, the Veteran, has lost all of those freedoms.
There are many fears in this situation. However, on Saturday during my visit with him he told me, “If I get out of this without getting Hepatitis or HIV it will be a miracle.”
When he said that, I couldn’t breathe, I was overcome by fear for him.