Thursday, December 10, 2009


Monty's new girlfriend (that would be the Kelly I mentioned before) took a survey of when the people in the group are available for calls so that she could work out a schedule for Monty to not burn up his minutes on a few of us. I was thinking of doing that, so I'm glad she did. However, I wonder where I ended up on the list, because I haven't had another call since the last call I talked about. Letters, while nice, just aren't good enough when I know that he can call me.

I suppose I'm just a friend and so not important on the level of ex-wife with kids or girlfriend. Still.

Kelly told me that she was very happy about this relationship development. I must admit, I'm thoroughly confused. I'm not judging either for making the decision, in fact Monty reported during one of our phone calls that Kelly had mentioned possibly moving out there for the duration so she could visit. I also must admit that thought crossed my mind briefly as well. In any event, they decided to be a couple. Good for them, but I don't get it. I am further confused because it wasn't until a week or so before he went away that he even talked about Kelly to me. It's very odd, considering the things we always talked about. But, if it's a comfort for him, then more power to her.

A few little things have happened recently that made me wish I could call him. Nothing major, but little things that I would have talked to him about if circumstances were different. Maybe that's part of what makes no calls for me so frustrating. Well, he can only make maybe 20 calls a month, really. If he has 12 people (or more) to call, I'd imagine that the important people get more calls. And it's well that they should. His kids certainly need to talk to him more than I do.

The group of us is getting together on Sunday at his in-laws. We'll have potluck food and a Christmas tree to decorate. I was sorry I couldn't go to the last gathering, so I'm happy to be able to join them this time.

Kelly and I talked about getting together sometimes to help each other through. The thing that surprises me is that she always says "call me." Why do people always leave the planning of things to others? If she really wanted to get together, why doesn't she call me? (Yes, I can call too, that's not the point.) Well, when things slow down in my day-to-day, I will. I know she has a much more erratic work schedule than me (and I don't think she drives), so getting together may not be an easy thing to do. I'll try.

I wonder when my day to get a call is. If I knew, I could be ready and not worry about making other plans when he may call. That would help. If I only get one call a month, I would sure hate to miss it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thought So

Got an e-mail update from m-i-l. Apparently, it was as I thought, Monty just used up all his minutes for the month. It renews on the 25th of the month, so he was able to call a few people (not me) yesterday. I was thinking and hoping that's all it was. Glad that's all it was.

While I didn't get a phone call, I did get a letter. Say it with me: YAY!!
He reports that he enjoyed the ACEO that I sent and was glad to get a print-out of the story I wrote for him in May. He couldn't get a job tutoring math, but he did get a job landscaping. He expressed some sympathy at the situation with the cats, and talked about some of the things he does in his copious spare time.

The letter was like opening a present. I bet receiving them is much the same on his end. Any little connection, even just mail, is...I don't have a word for what it is. A blessing, a comfort. Flaws aside, there's still a person there. A person who was and is very dear to me.

So, I stayed up way past my bedtime answering his letter (though it won't get in the mail until Friday). I am making an effort to write him weekly. I may not be able to, but I'm going to try. I've also challenged him to fold 1000 origami cranes. I think I might have to send him the paper, a few letters at a time, though! If I send two papers a letter, he should be done by the time he gets out. Ok, I'm not really expecting him to do this, but it's fun to challenge him anyway.

Since it is past my bedtime, I'll stop there. Happy to have heard from him.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No News Means What

After three separate 15 minutes of talking with Monty, should I be concerned that I haven't had a call in a week? One of the group sent a text message on Thursday morning that she hadn't heard from him either. Granted, he gets a limited number of minutes to use a month, and there are a good number of us on his call list. Still, I think it means as much to us to hear from him as it does for him to hear from us.

I have been sending letters, though. Well, two since he started calling. I would really like to send a letter a week, but I don't know how long that will last. I need to write one for this week anyway, and I do have some news to share.

Still, should we be worried that he hasn't been in touch with at least a couple of us? There's been no e-mail word from any in the group either. Are we all falling into a kind of rut, that even the support we have for each other is falling off?

Maybe it will and maybe it can. I don't think no news is good news, though. I think no news is no news

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Call Again

The other people in Monty's home support group decided to get together yesterday just for a bit of face-to-face fellowship. I couldn't make it because the landlord is inspecting the condo sometime this week and my roommates and I have been really lax about keeping it clean. We needed to take the weekend to clean up.

Monty called in the morning yesterday. He told me that he was having a bad day earlier in the week and he was able to turn it into just a day. I imagine there are more bad days than not where his is, and proud of him that he could turn it around. Maybe not completely, but at least somewhat.

He told me that one of the guys in his work-out group is from this area and has virtually no support from anyone. That makes me sad. Being on this side of things, I can see how someone who commits a crime brings everyone around him into it too. I can see how many find it better to cut ties and pick up than to still show love and support. Still, that one person has the misfortune to have everyone in his life do so is disheartening. Monty was thinking of asking us to write to him as well. I'd be willing to do that, and I bet others would. Sometimes, I find more compassion than I really thought I had.

Since Monty called in the morning, I was able to tell him to call his in-laws that day too. He called back later in the evening to thank me for the tip, because everyone was there. I'm sorry I missed it, because I bet that turned into a very nice gathering. They even had Monty there for a bit.

Don't let me forget to check my phone account so I can find out how much three 15 minute calls cost (and one three minute one). It's time to work that account into my budget, I think.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I got to talk to Monty yesterday!! At first, we got about 3 minutes before the call dropped (and we're not sure if it was on his side or mine). I was all prepared to write that three minutes wasn't nearly enough time, but it was better than nothing. He called back almost two hours later and we got the full 15 minutes that his calls are allowed.

Oh, it was so nice to talk to him. Things are going as well as they can. He's got a group of guys he works out with. He's trying to get a job as a math tutor. He gave me a whole list of books that he thinks I would be interested in.

Even 15 minutes wasn't enough. But, at least I know my phone account works. That is quite a comfort.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Talking and Listening

I had a nice talk with one of my coworkers, Pat, this morning. He was very helpful in getting me through the day on Wednesday until the manager got out of a meeting and I could get permission to leave early. As we were talking today, it occurred to me that my friendship with Pat is very similar to my friendship with Monty.

Pat knows the facts but not the details. He said he doesn't need to know and he doesn't want to know. It's in my best interest to not give details anyway for various reasons, and I don't. Besides, if people are willing to help me, I don't need them to react the way that my roommates did.

So, he reminded me that I could talk to him about things and that it was ok to be upset when I learned that Monty was suddenly very out of reach. He told me I have to give myself time to grieve over it, to feel it before I can move forward. Other friends didn't understand this.

Just last weekend, I spoke with another dear friend. There were actually two people there, one of them left me alone when I said I didn't need anything and the other didn't. We had just celebrated the new year in my faith, and I was focusing on how much I took Monty for granted while he was here. My friend reminded me that it was ok to do so, because everyone does, and that I'm ahead of most because I realized that and can make an effort to not do it.

I've found that I get more support from people who don't know details. Perhaps because it's easier for them to not get caught up on the crime and realize it is me they are supporting. Maybe it's that most of those who know (and it's not many) can't help but feel that, by helping me, they are helping Monty by proxy. Not everyone who knows all the facts does this either. So, there are times when I feel very alone, and there are times when I'm dumbfounded by the people who appear out of no where to help me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Disappointment After Another

I have a lot more to update today.

You may remember when last I wrote I mentioned Monty had not called me. It turns out that he did call, several times. The problem was that my phone was not ringing. I called the billing service and was told it was one of two things: either I was not actually on his call list at the facility (a real possibility with the things that facility got wrong) or that somehow the call waiting feature on my cell phone was blocking the calls. I called my cell phone provider and the first guy I talked to said it was because their service doesn't accept collect calls (but, it is not a collect call, that's why we set up the prepaid account). This guy really did not sound like he wanted to help. I sent an e-mail to the group asking if anyone gets Monty's calls to their cell phones and what provider they have. If it's a feature of my provider, I need a new one, right? Ex-wife has the same provider I do and gets calls fine. So, I went back to the cell phone provider, where I spoke to another person who put me on hold for 10 minutes after hearing my problem. He sounded like he understood what I was talking about and wanted to help. He came back, apologizing for the misinformation I was given earlier, and said there is nothing wrong on their end and it has to be some problem either with my call account (which I already verified), or at the facility. This was Monday. I did ask m-i-l to tell him that it was some other problem and not that I'm just not answering my phone.

Tuesday is the only day we are allowed to visit. We had scheduled one for 6pm, and I was going to go with his mother, step-father, and grandfather. I got permission to leave work early to give me plenty of time to get downtown. I took a nap and worked on some crochet orders in the car because I did get there about an hour and a half before they would start processing. We went in, got frisked, went through the metal detectors, got seated at a table and waited. One of the guards came up and asked if we were waiting for Monty, upon our confirmation, he told us that his cell-mate just told him that Monty was transferred that morning. The guards didn't know. The guard who checked us in didn't know. The people we called in the afternoon didn't know. How in the world can you not know if an inmate is there or not?? We were so disappointed. There was so much I wanted to say.

Fast forward to today. After his m-i-l's rushing to get a new phone account set up (because the other one was specific to that facility and didn't transfer) he was finally able to call her (she is the designated point-of-contact). We found out that he did, indeed get moved to Oklahoma. This is also a temporary stop and he'll likely be there for a couple weeks before they move him to his long-term location. IN TEXAS.

Well, once again, I was going to write more but I can't deal with Texas right now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Lot Has Been Happening

And I've really been struggling with dealing with it all. It's not all in this matter, but this being one more thing to add to the mix has made some days nearly unbearable. This is going to be long.

E-mail updates from Monty's mil are still pretty regular, though they've slowed down a bit. Back on the 6th, we were planning the first visit. It didn't go through because Monty was supposed to submit a list of the people who are allowed to visit him. They did not have that list, so no one could visit. We found out that Monty certainly did submit his list, but it somehow didn't get where it needed to be. He talked to his case manager about it, and the problem was taken care of that day.

Since Tuesdays are the only days to visit him, and you have to schedule on the Monday prior, we had to wait for the 13th. This day was during my vacation, so I didn't have to contend with work. I told his wife (remember she is soon to be ex) and mil that I really wanted to be on the list to visit that day. Mil called on Monday, while I was not near the phone, to confirm that I wanted to go. I called her back, she got me added to the schedule (because I was already on the approved list, it wasn't a problem) and plans were set.

I don't like driving into town. Who really likes city driving anyway? Thankfully, I was staying with my parents that night and could approach the facility from a little closer. It took a while to decide if I was actually going to drive, or drive to the Metro and walk the couple blocks. I ended up driving, I was more wary of taking the Metro alone than I was of driving into town alone. As it turned out, my friend Fox was also off that week and he last-minute offered to drive with me. He had no problem reading a book while we were inside. I cannot express how deeply thankful I am for that, and how much it eased my mind about the whole thing.

The group was myself, mil, wife, Kelly, and his two youngest children. I was the first to arrive. Wife and children were late, mil came in late waiting for them. After going through the pat-down, and the metal detector and then sitting in the room waiting for that precious hour to begin, it almost looked like it would just be Kelly and I. A part of me is glad it worked out the way it did. There is no way to get a private moment during these visits, but Kelly and I came close with just the two of us there. The others did make it in. With the kids, it became chaotic. How can you get two kids, both little more than infants, to sit around for an hour while the adults talk?

Personally, I would not have brought the children on the first visit, if it were me. I'd rather scout it out, find out what things would be like getting there and going in before I subjected young children to it. While I know he was happy to see them, it was really hard to keep our eyes on them.

Monty's wife has never liked me. I think I've mentioned this before. She told him otherwise, of course, but her actions, body language, toward me are as clear as the Patuxent River when John Smith first navigated it. Kelly and I had a moment to talk before the visit. She said that wife approved of her, to which I was glad that she was being treated well by someone who had a big problem with me. We thought it might have been that I knew Monty first, and that's why she thought I was a threat. Kelly was surprised to hear of her behavior towards me, though.

During the visit, with Monty in a chair and six chairs around him for us, the chair next to him was vacated by one of the little ones. Kelly and wife got to teasing him across the table. He looked at me, smiled and said, "why don't you come sit here?" in the now-empty chair next to him. As soon as I got up to move, his wife, who was sitting next to me, moved into that chair and stayed for the rest of the visit. The meaning was still clear.

Despite me being in the company of people I like and one person who has a problem with me, it was so good to see Monty. I took it for granted when he was out, I know I did and I'm sorry for it. All I can do is what I can now. There was a visit this past Tuesday, and one planned for next week, but I likely won't be making either.

We still don't know where his long-term facility will be. The local stop is just a place to hold him for now. We have heard, however, that he will be going to a facility in Oklahoma within the next few weeks. We don't know if that's where he'll stay for the duration or if he will be moved again. Oklahoma is not making us very happy. We're still holding out for an ultimate facility in Pennsylvania or West Virginia, but the fact that he's going to Oklahoma soon is very worrisome. It may not be another stop along the way. It may be that's where he stays. Not good news.

Monty hasn't called me at all. I set up the phone account, he knows it. I told him the best times to call if he can get to the phone then. Nothing. He talks to others, they tell the group about it sometimes. Why hasn't he called me? I hope it's something simple. Like, he's afraid that he'll pick a time and I won't answer. It's true that I usually don't answer if I don't recognize the number calling me, but if I hope it's him, I'm going to pick up. I'll chance answering a wrong number. I would really like to hear from him, hear how he's doing.

I used to wonder how people could still love and support someone who committed a horrid crime. Even murderers still have support sometimes. Is it delusion, like how some parents believe their bully of a child can do no wrong? Is it just ignoring the parts we don't like and embracing the parts we do? Is it forgiveness, even when the world thinks it's not deserving? I don't know, I don't think I'll ever know. What I know right now is that I miss my friend, and I want him to come through this with all the support we can give him. I want him to come out having grown, not diminished into a shadow of what he was as I know him. But, from here, what can I really do?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Very Alone

Monty's mother in law has been e-mailing the group of us updates as she and her daughter gets them about where Monty is, how we can write to him, how to set up a phone account so he can call (that didn't work for me, I'll have to do my own research on it) and about getting together to visit him. The lovely lady who sat next to me in the courtroom, who I'm going to call Kelly here, has been sending me text messages every now and then.

Truth be told, I still feel very alone. I'm grateful for the messages and the updates and they really do help, but it feels like that's all the support I'm getting.

I'm not really expecting more, though.

Honestly, who can help me with this? Who can watch me go blind with tears and blubber uncontrollably and really hope to help? Who, if not one of those who really knows what this feels like, can actually do anything?

That being said, I'm also grateful to have the condo to myself right now, so my roommates didn't question when I stumbled to the bathroom, choking on sobs, to find the tissue box while trying to write a blog post.

This ended up much shorter than I originally intended, but I can't see anything anymore right now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Will Never Do That Again

Take heed now, all my family and friends and even friends yet to be: don't break the law. I can't sit through another hearing. I can't be there for you if you do.

The morning started like a regular morning, except that it was Friday and I wasn't going to work, I woke up an hour later than normal, and I was at my parents' house. Dad was out of town and Mom had already left for work. I woke, chose a simple linen dress, ate a waffle, and headed off to Monty's. I left a little later than I wanted, but still with plenty of time to get there. His hearing was to start at 0900, and he had promised me coffee.

I met two of his friends: awesome ladies both. We joked over our coffee like it was a normal day. We prevented him from putting the bright orange shoelaces his eldest son had bought for him in his dress shoes. I made him give me the book I had made for his birthday, for safe keeping, just in case.

We took two cars to the courthouse, where the six of us met five other people who were already there. His lawyer made it a point to tell the judge, and us, that she's never before worked such a case where so many people came out to support the defendant, not only in the amount of letters that were sent to the judge, but in the people in the courtroom too. Eleven doesn't seem like a large number. I guess many people find themselves very alone in such a situation.

I'm not really sure of the dynamic of their relationship, but one of the ladies I met at the house that morning seemed to be very close to him. Monty had only mentioned her a few times in the last few weeks. She sat next to me, and took my hand as we took our seats after the judge came in.

I have never said that Monty didn't deserve to be punished. I have never said that his crime wasn't horrid and deplorable. But, still, he is my friend and has always been a good person to me. One of the arguments that his lawyer made was that he had made remarkable progress, in growing as a person, healing, and repenting, in the two and a half years that this has been building.

It didn't matter.

None of it did. Progress under therapy and medication didn't matter. Changes that his loved ones saw in him didn't matter. The judge only saw what was horrid and deplorable. It didn't matter that it was only one side of him, a side that was subdued under medical care. Nothing else mattered.

The lawyer argued heavily for the minimum sentence of five years, that he wasn't a threat to anyone anymore and could be granted a few weeks to get his affairs in order, that the sentencing guidelines set forth by Congress didn't apply in this case. The judge agreed that they didn't, but said that five years wasn't enough, and so decreed 121 months. Ten years. He disregarded the statements of Monty's doctors and decided to offer his own diagnosis. He said there were medical issues yet unknown and that did make Monty a threat, even though there has been no prior criminal history and no criminal behavior for the two and a half years since the FBI first raided his home. Those ten years began right away.

I don't think I shall ever forget how hard it was to force my tears to vanish, so I could smile my support and wave when he looked back before they took him away.

The whole thing took two hours. Somehow, it felt like 20 minutes, at the same time that it felt like half a day. There is nothing to compare with listening to some stranger talk only of a friend's bad qualities when you know there are good ones too. It was among the most painful things I've ever had to endure. That's why I won't do it again.

In that moment that felt like it was too short and too long, all of my questions, doubts, and struggles of the previous months meant nothing. At the end of that two hour moment, they took my friend away, allowing us, his family and friends, nothing more than a glance.

The lawyer spoke with us for a time. She mentioned that someone had personal items that were seized from Monty and his wife's home for evidence. "They'll give it all back," the lawyer said. "Except my boy," his mother replied.

After that, we went to a diner to try to shake off the stress of the morning. Some of us had large meals, some of us had coffee, some of us had lavish milkshakes. We spoke of other things, because we had no information and it wouldn't help anyone to deal with what we had witnessed if we just moped about it. Some lady came up to us on her way to the restroom and commented that it looked like we were having fun and she wanted to join our table. We stared. Then one of our party said we must be in the company of good actors; more than half the table raised their hands in confirmation.

Unlike most of the others in the group, I wanted to be alone. I have known him longer than more than half of them. I didn't feel like a part of them. I didn't really want to be around anyone. I had made plans that evening and I kept them. It was a distraction. I talked a little about my day, but felt like they didn't really want to be bothered with it. That's ok, I really wanted to be alone anyway.

Around 11:30 today, I looked at my phone, expecting it to ring. That's about when Monty has been calling me recently. It didn't ring, of course. Because he's gone. Not for good, but for now. I can't even say when I'll see him next.

I'm still left with questions. Right now, only one is coming to mind. Who are these tears for? Me? Him? His family? The people who were hurt indirectly? I don't know if I'll ever know.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009


No, I'm not here to break into Broadway song.

Monty's hearing is tomorrow. I spoke with him on the phone a few days ago, and I still intend to go. He told me that there really is nothing stopping the judge from sending him off to his fate right then and there. He also said his lawyer thinks it's unlikely because he's very clearly not a flight risk.

He's hoping that the people coming to show support will be able to hang out for a while before we all go our way. His in-laws are hoping to have a going away party for him at a later date.

I've been so busy with my own things, I haven't really had time to consider what tomorrow will bring. Or might bring.

I will see people I've never met, people I've met but never really spent time with, people I don't get along with. I'll hear the details of the charges, that won't shock me because I already know them. I wonder how many do. I wonder if it will change how he acts around me once he knows that I know. They won't be calling witnesses, that's the purpose that the letters to the judge were supposed to serve (and mine did get included. While others did, I did not show Monty what I wrote). Then there are three things we're supposed to learn: to what facility he will be taken, when, and for how long.

I thought that, while writing this, some of the reality of it would sink in, but it still hasn't. Yes, my friend will be going away. He will be paying for a crime that he must pay for. It will be months after he goes that I finally hear from him as it is. I wonder how things will change for me when I don't get those semi-weekly calls from him anymore. I don't spend a whole lot of time with him, I didn't before this mess started. But, he was always there, and would be there if I needed him. What will it be like when he's not there anymore?

I'm still feeling very disconnected from it. Even that I'm going because he asked me, not for any specific desire for me to be there. I guess there's nothing but to see what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Half of the Truth

While I was talking to Monty on the phone the other day, he mentioned he noticed that I don't accept invitations to stay overnight anymore. He found it odd that I had done so before but recently had been insistent to leave in the wee hours of the morning rather than wait until dawn and get a tiny bit of sleep. He mentioned that I seem to be uncomfortable at the idea, where I had taken him up on it twice before.

"It's the bugs," I told him. That's only half of it, I admit that.

The basement that has been his home for more than a year is prone to bugs. Big brown beetle-type bugs whose corpses I often find flat from being trampled underfoot. I do think about the bugs that may be crawling on me or into my bags while I'm there. I pointed out that he probably noticed I don't take my shoes off anymore too. He said he had. He also said he was glad that it was something that he can easily work to remedy so I will feel more comfortable and not because of him that I no longer stay.

That's the part that I didn't tell him. It does make me uncomfortable, knowing what I now know. I don't know what I'm going to do if he says he's taken care of the bugs. Will I have to own to this part of the issue? Why am I so adamant that I don't do it now?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Character Letter

Monty and I have been phone tagging for a while. Because of this, I didn't get information for writing the character letter to the judge that he asked me to write until last night, which was the day his attorney wanted all the letters by.

I told him I would write one. And I did, I did it this morning and faxed it to the attorney's office. I do hope it's not too late to include mine. I know I've known him longer than many. If the judge takes any words to heart, mine will be among them.

It was difficult to write, really. For one, I've never written a judge. For two, I have many stories of good times that reflect the kind of person I know Monty to be. If I was to say everything, the judge would certainly get tired of reading it. The other thing is that I had to forget about the crime, that's not the point and the letters have nothing to do with sentencing (meaning that it was not for me to ask him to be merciful, which I would have had a hard time doing).

The funny thing was that, while I've been unable to find books to help me through this situation, I was able to find some sites that offered a bit of guidance for the character letter. More guidance than what the attorney's office had sent to me, that is.

But it's done and sent and I hope it wasn't too late. I feel good that I followed through. I told him long before I knew the extent of the crime that I would do it, and I have.

When I spoke with him yesterday, he confirmed that the hearing is still on the 25th. He has been saying that he might have a month or more to get his affairs in order after the sentence is pronounced. He also said last night that the judge may deem it necessary to cart him off right away. I had been wondering about this. Apparently, according to his attorney, granting thirty to ninety days before having to surrender is common. The purpose is to allow criminals time to work out what will need to be worked out before he goes away. I told him I only had TV to go on, really, and didn't know they regularly did that. "Reality is very different," he said.

If he is allowed the standard ninety days that would mean that the latest date he could surrender would be the day before Thanksgiving. He could, of course, surrender earlier than that. I would almost encourage him to do so. Can you imagine your last day of freedom is the day before a major holiday? Better for it to be a day of no significance. I'm not sure why I feel that way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It has been a long time since I updated here. Many things have been going on, in this matter and my life in general.

My roommate is studying to become a nurse. She hopes to be accepted to school and start in the beginning of 2010. In the meantime, she is taking many self-paced, credit courses to get some of the prerequisites under her belt. One of her classes is Abnormal Psychology. I overheard her yesterday telling her boyfriend about a chapter she just finished about dissociative disorders.

"There's one called Dissociative Fugue," she said. "It's really cool," and went on to describe what it is (the phenomenon of someone relocating and starting a new life, having no memory of their previous life for a time. I imagine eventually remembering that is a frightening experience).

That comment gave me pause. "Really cool." I find my roommate to be mostly a compassionate person. She's not one of those who I feel supports my support of Monty, but for the most part, she is a healer and will make a great nurse.

"Really cool." I was struck with an instance of anger at her. Just an instance, but it was there. I wanted to interrupt and proclaim that I don't think anyone suffering from any dissociative disorder thinks it's "really cool." I was hurt that she would think this about anyone's condition, particularly because one affects someone I know.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is what put Monty in the situation he is in. While this brings up many questions in itself, the truth is that he is taking medications for it. At this point, whether anyone can truly suffer from such a thing is immaterial. His doctors say a friend of mine suffers from a dissociative disorder. He is paying the consequences for it. It is not "really cool."

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Discussion

I know some of you are wondering how last Thursday's talk went. As it turned out, I didn't have to release as many details as I thought I might. I didn't even cry. They both had some very good, meaningful insights for me. Particularly that this, as all things, is not black and white and there is no definitive answer for any part of it. Accepting that may not be easy, but will help.

They also advised against being a spiritual mentor for Monty. The simplest reason is that I can't do everything for him. Even if I have the expertise in this regard, I can't be expected to wear every hat. I was greatly struggling with this request he made of me, even for reasons that I didn't quite realize at the time. But, I know that is one of those things that I just can't do and I was able to tell him that yesterday. I know he didn't understand, and tried to press. I have more reasons beyond this one, but that was all I was willing to say. Eventually, he said "ok, I asked and you said no. That's cool." Having that burden no longer on me is a noticeable relief.

One of them mentioned that, with enough notice, she would be willing to come with me to the sentencing since I'm certain I'm going to need support. They both said they were open any time I needed to talk. Writing about it is one thing, but being able to actually bounce ideas off of someone and get some thoughts from people outside the situation is really helpful. I mentioned that it would have been perfectly ok if they heard my story and decided they couldn't help me. They mentioned something that my other friend who asked to be an ear had said, them taking the time to help me does not imply support or rejection of Monty. Other than the fact that he's brought this situation on me, and I've chosen to let him, it's not about him. They were there for me and, as the situation is not black and white, neither are my reasons for staying by him.

Sometimes, we need someone else to remind us of things that we already know.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gathering Thoughts

I'm speaking with the ministers this afternoon. Like with all meetings, I try to go over what I want to say beforehand. I'm surprisingly coming up short.

It's easy to type about it (relatively speaking), but not so easy to speak about it. I've told them that already. It also means that, for them to understand my position, I'll have to tell them things about me that they don't already know.

I'm not sure I even know where to begin, or even exactly what I want from them. It's always best to start at the beginning, but the beginning is so hard to pinpoint.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Comment

Someone left a comment to yesterday's post! However, I have chosen not to publish it. It contained what appeared to be an opinion about Michael Jackson's anti-Christian-like dancing behavior. I chose not to publish it because this post, and this blog as a whole, is not about how one feels about touching parts of their body while dancing.

I respect that this anonymous commentator has an opinion (or has found an opinion) they feel is worth repeating, but the commentator clearly missed the intended point here. Therefore I will also choose to not go off on a tangent by starting a discussion about this irrelevant opinion.

This blog is about real people, who have real lives and make real choices. I am here to talk about real people who are suffering, and they are suffering in ways that the majority out there can only scarcely imagine. That post was not about Michael Jackson, it was not about a going away party that the host city could not afford, and it was not about spending a day surrounded by an immense crowd so some people could sign their names in a book that no one will ever read. Perhaps it will be noted that I made no mention of my opinion over his guilt or innocence in regards to his previous charges. That, too, is irrelevant. Therefore, I will not post an opinion that was brought here simply because I named Michael Jackson in my first sentence.

I came here yesterday because Margo Howard's words, that I quoted directly, struck something in me. It is a question that I often ask myself, and I felt compelled to try to answer it. So, the question in my terms: How is it that I can overlook the person and his actions just because Monty was always a good friend to me? As I hope it has been clear, the answer is "I do not know."

I did mention yesterday that some of it may be born of fear. I illustrated that as a fear that we could be the ones doing those bad things, if it weren't for the people we know doing them. The potential for bad choices is within all of us. There's another side to that fear. It could also be fear that we made a bad choice in failing to see the badness in others. How does such a misjudgment reflect on us? What would others think of us when they learned of the mistake we made? Humans are pack animals and acceptance in the pack has prominence in many of our thoughts and feelings. Still, I do not know.

But the valuable lesson that I learned is that this ability is not unique to me. I found that many people can ignore what they know, or think they know, to show love and support for someone who touched their lives in some way. From a scary movie buddy to a figure on stage to someone who violated a traffic law and caused direct injury, and everyone in between. Being in someone's life, even just for a moment or from a distance, will touch them. That is the place where we find compassion for people who do not seem to deserve it. Deserving is not the purpose of compassion.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Larger Scale

If there is anyone in this country who does not know Michael Jackson, I would have to accuse them of living under a rock. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Margo Howard wrote an article today about the frenzy that his death has caused, among the media, among his family, among millions of fans of his music. She referenced a YouTube video from Congressman Peter King (R, NY) expressing confusion that so many people are expressing such sadness over the death of this individual when his morals have previously been called into question in a serious way. She says, "How is it that people are overlooking the person and his actions just because he was a great singer and dancer?" The answer is not a simple one.

If the accusations against Jackson, the person, were proven true (and it should be noted that many people do not believe his acquittal was deserved), it would be undeniable that he was a horrible person. I know the doubt of his innocence is in the minds of many. That's not the point.

The point is that his music and his ability to perform touched many people. Even if he were a deplorable human being, he was still a part of the lives of thousands of strangers. I think that is the part of him that all of those people in LA, around the country, and around the world are honoring.

It strikes me as odd how horrific actions of others can be so easily overlooked. Sure, nothing was proven in this case, but enough was to put the idea of doubt out there. At this point, it is irrelevant.

I know this is what I'm doing. I'm ignoring what I know (and I don't just have doubt to go on, I have knowledge of guilt), and supporting Monty for the part of him that he presented to me. That part of him that I knew, that I know. The other part is there, of course, he cannot be separated from it. I must say I don't know why the other parts are so easily overlooked. What I learned today, however, is that this tendency seems to be natural. Maybe it is born from fear. We don't want to admit that people we care about in one way or another can do wrong, because it means we can all do wrong, so we disregard that part. Maybe someone can be so important that actions that don't directly affect us are immaterial to us. This does not make us without compassion for those that are affected, but rather makes it easier to support the criminals as well as the victims. I think this denial is part of the human condition.

On similar lines and to a lesser extent, a friend of mine was recently in a car accident. She asked us for some good thoughts and prayers for the person who ran into her, the people who stayed to help her, and that the process with insurance companies goes smoothly. The first item on her list was the person who ran into her. He did a bad thing, he made an illegal U-turn and hit her in the process, but she wanted her friends to pray for him. She had difficulty explaining that when we pointed it out to her.

What makes people empathize with the worst among us (not to say that someone making a bad choice in a car is the worst among us, but I hope you get my point)? I think some of it may be that we're all people. Any one of us can be in their place, any one of them can be in our place. Maybe that is where we find compassion, even a kind of affinity for those people.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Imagine That

A friend of mine pulled me aside during the course of yesterday. Apparently he and/or his wife found this blog this past weekend. He used to read my main blog daily and would have known about it already, but life just gets in the way of computer time sometimes. That is not the point.

The point is my friend pulled me aside and said he would be willing to listen if I needed an ear. I am so thankful for the offer and I will take him up on it at another time (yesterday just wasn't the day for such talk). It has done something else as well.

This friend is not the only friend who knows of this situation (though I'm not sure I've ever mentioned it directly, so he may have not even a gist). My roommates know it, for example, and some friends at work as well as others. This friend is the only one who offered to be an ear. It's not something I can put upon someone else, I've talked about that already, but he's willing to take it on. It sets him distinctly apart from the others.

I'm not making judgments on them. I would not be here if the situation was not genuinely difficult, and I understand that there are many people who would not want to deal with it. Maybe Monty's position would disgust them so that they could not support me supporting him. That still may happen even to my friend who has offered, and it is fine if it does. But the fact that he's willing to try in support of me is momentous. The meaningfulness of it is not unnoticed.

I'm going to talk with the pastors as well, as I had asked them, because I think they will be able to help in other ways. I'm also trying to prepare for them to turn away as well. I will not press this on anyone who does not wish it. If I explain it and they say they just can't help, that's ok. I don't think it would be a turning away of me, but a turning away of Monty by association. If it happens. It may. It may prove to be too much for the people who said they would try to help me. It is already too much for those who did not. But, the fact that someone wants to try is wonderful.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Breaking Point

I've reached my breaking point. I've found the point where I don't think I can handle my part of this on my own.

I decided to ask the pastors at the ministry I work with for help. We have not yet scheduled a meeting, and I don't think they come here, I don't think they know what's coming. I was crying just asking for help.

Nothing new has happened, except Monty has asked me to help guide him spiritually when he is in prison, starting with now. He's asked me to help him follow some of the ways of my faith, and needs instructions on how to do that when he will not be allowed tools or sacred objects. I wonder if he still has the mala I made for him some months ago.

I don't know if I can do it. I have my own opinions about the beautiful faith I follow, and I don't know if he fits in it. I think that makes me just like the pastor at his church who didn't want him around, though she didn't (perhaps couldn't) bar him from weekly service. I want to try. I just don't know if I can. I don't know if I can be objective enough to instruct without judging.

He has some things down. One of the main principals is that of personal responsibility. He's showing this by not running from what he has done. Maybe I can start building on that. I don't know.

I know I need help. I'm worried that even the pastors, my friends whom I love and respect, will take the same stand as my roommate, who has admitted to not being able to do what I am trying to do. I don't know where I'll turn then.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


After reading the press release, I had a moment to speak with my roommates. I think they could tell I was bothered and that's how it came up. I gave them no details, I'm not sure I could ever repeat it, and all they knew of the crime was the gist; they had even less of the details than I previously had.

I spoke with them about it in much the same way I wrote it here; it started with the church issue and that's when I learned there was a press release at all. I told them I read it and regretted it, just because things were easier in the ignorance of it.

One of my roommates told me that he could not do what I do. He could not support his friend, if he had a friend in this situation, and he didn't understand how I could. I told him I didn't either.

Then I explained that it mostly comes from duty as the spiritual guide I am to help the life that needs it. Even a little of it was defending Monty and his choices to take responsibility for his actions. Still, my roommate maintained, he would not be able to find the compassion that I am barely clinging to.

It wasn't a comment on merits in me. It almost felt like an accusation, though I'm sure that's not what he intended. His unwavering intolerance (and I mean no disdain by saying it that way, I completely understand my roommate's point of view) was filled with disbelief: disbelief that anyone could find any kind of compassion to offer in this case.

My only answer is that I still don't know why I can. I know now where it comes from, but I don't know why.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


If you follow either of my other blogs, you noticed that I've been on vacation. My two weeks off of work started with visiting Monty. It was nice, because I was off and we could do something during the day. His work schedule put him home around noon, and the plan was for me to come over on Tuesday afternoon, and he'd take Wednesday off so we'd have the morning.

He called late that Monday morning while I was driving home, so I did not pick up the phone. The message he left was full of despair. "I've been fired," he said, "so you can come over whenever tomorrow. I'm going to talk to my therapist, be back around 1, call if you can."

I learned that the losing of his job was a direct result of the aforementioned press release. His immediate boss was apologetic, saying he did not want to do it, but it was over his head. That's a small comfort, if it's comfort at all. Still, the result is the same: no job. No getting out of the house during the day. He might have some way to fight that decision, a guilty plea is not a conviction, but is it worth it? How is he supposed to look for another job? He needs the income, needs to build his savings for when he gets out. The depression in his voice was clear as bells.

He asked me why. He knows he did wrong, he's trying to do right, to pay for his crime, to change, to heal. He wanted to know why it was coming at him from all directions, why punishment is coming from unexpected corners when he's working so hard to take responsibility for what he did. I told him that his actions, all actions, have repercussions, and since this is unknown territory, he's finding those repercussions in places he didn't expect. It's all part of the same fee he must pay. "I guess you're right," he said, resignedly.

So, we changed our plans a little. Instead of waiting until the afternoon, I went over in the late morning after most of the traffic had gotten out of my way. And, instead of staying the night, I continued to my parents' home in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. I have to admit to lying here. I needed to get my car fixed and had an appointment at 2:00 in the afternoon Wednesday. It would have allowed me to stay the night at Monty's and make it in plenty of time for my appointment. I told him that the appointment was 8 and I couldn't stay the night. I feel only a little bad about it. Knowing what I know now, the thought of having to sleep there makes me uncomfortable. I was happy to find a way out of it that didn't involve the painful truth.

A teacher in my faith once showed me a passage that was a code of belief and conduct. I don't remember enough of it to site, and I'm not among my books and notes at the moment. The line I remember is that we must always speak the truth, except when the truth causes harm. We strive above all else to not cause harm to others. That is why I was only a little sorry for the lie. It protected him and spared me.

We had a good visit. We watched silly cartoons and movies that we knew line for line. A few times, he would bring up his situation, and then apologize for doing so. He said he felt bad because it always seems to come up when I visit and when we talk on the phone. He's right, it does. But it's a part of his life, it's something he and everyone who knows him must face. And, if he needs the outlet, that's one way I can support him. I can't relieve the guilt he feels for it, though.

He called last week, but in the midst of my hectic vacation, I did not return his call. He called a couple days ago, but I haven't checked the message yet. Things are still not settled down from my being away. Maybe I'll get a chance to catch up later. This is where things are since I saw him last.

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Epiphany

Many people act in fear. That's exactly what the pastor at Monty's church did when she asked him not to come to the coffee hour. Though he's essentially been clean since the ball really started rolling, she fears a relapse. Though people were never in any physical danger of him, she fears his presence puts them in danger. Other than allowing him to attend weekly service, she's otherwise turning her back on the one member of her congregation who probably needs her the most, and needs the outlet and the fellowship that church can provide. Last I heard, she was planning to make an announcement to the congregation on Sunday. Whether she did or not, and what it entailed, I do not know. Likely, it's going to ostracize Monty severely. This pastor is not a compassionate woman.

I mentioned earlier that religious leaders seem to have a tendency to push away those most in need of their help. I've seen this before, but don't have the mind to provide other examples. It shouldn't be this way. People count on their faith in troubled times. I've seen evidence (though I can't remember enough of any of it to site) that suggests people are more likely to go to church in times of crisis. Troubled times fill up those buildings more than any other. People go for solace, for peace, and for council. It looks rather awful when people are turned away. When a minister gives up on you, what do you have left?

I am an ordained minister. I'm ever in the process of furthering my studies and abilities in a spiritual leadership role. I honestly think that my continued support stems from this.

It would make me no better than any other if I walked away. Understandable, yes, but maybe not right. Monty has come to rely on me as one of his outlets. He needs the company and the friendship. I know it would be another blow to him if someone he depends on is no longer there for him. It's part of my duty, to extend that hand where others would not. It's not as hard as I thought it would be to not focus on the knowledge that I now have. Granted, I haven't seen him yet, our get-together is tomorrow. That may prove to be more of a challenge than I anticipate.

For now, I've found what is keeping me here. I've found what is allowing me to feel sympathy and compassion and to hope that healing will follow this ordeal. I think somewhere in there will be the strength to not judge and to not lash out and to focus on a person, still loved by his family and many of his friends, who needs a smile more than almost anything. It's not about me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Knowledge

I am supposed to visit Monty in a few days. He's hoping to get drunk, which I just won't do, but promised I can pretend pretty well.

Since reading that press release, knowing the extent of the crime, one thought repeatedly plays in my mind: my friend is a monster.

Earlier in the week, I was finding stores of sympathy. It surprised me, but it gave me the strength to support him as he needs (within my limits, of course). I've lost them.

Despite this truth, I'm reluctant to end my part in this. If I didn't know why I've been offering my support before, I really don't know why now. I said earlier I would be guiltless if I got new knowledge and decided to write him off then. This is proving to be inaccurate. I don't know why it is.

"Ignorance is bliss" has never been truer. I was happier not knowing. I mean, I knew, but I didn't know the magnitude of it. I found compassion in not knowing, mercy in the truth without the details. It's gone. Disgust is in its place. Disgust and anger and a deeper understanding for all of those people who already stepped away.

And still, I cannot join them.

The plight, now, has a new level of complexity. I know I will stay, and try to be supportive. I think I'm a hypocrit. I'm not hoping for the minimum sentence, nor am I wishing for the maximum. I find I'm not thinking about that at all. It's just a non-issue. No amount of time he serves will be enough, so he gets what he gets.

But, do I tell him that I read the press release? It might open discussion, which I honestly don't want to do. It may change how I behave around him. Simply knowing what I know may do that. On one hand, I'm glad I read it. If I do go to the sentencing in September, I won't be shocked if the judge details the charges. On the other hand, that makes September seem very far away.

I think I'm going to have to lie by omission to get through it. And I don't know if I can. And I don't know why I want to at all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Monty goes to an Episcopalian Church. It's more for the opportunity to get out of the house without repercussions and to socialize with other people than it is to service his faith. He is a self-described atheist, after all, though I think agnostic is more accurate. The church he and his in-laws (and I think wife and kids too) attend holds a service on Sunday and then a "coffee hour," which is a chance to mingle with parishioners and clergy over coffee.

He called me in a very upset state. The new pastor, who has only been in her new position for about four days, has told him, disguised as asking, that he is not welcome at coffee hour. She hasn't barred him from service, but the social bit afterwards. There are a few factors working against him on this point. One is that she does not know him, being new to the church. The other is that the FBI issued a press release, which was naturally run in local papers, about him entering his guilty plea. More on that in a bit.

His wife is trying to vouch for him to the leaders of the church, and there may be others to speak for him as well. He is trying to not talk about his feelings on the matter to anyone, so the pastor won't get the idea that he's asking other people to do this for him. I understand why the new pastor did what she did, but I'm not very happy about it. I think religious leaders have a duty to help people, but everyone's instinct seems to be to push away those most in need of their guidance. I wonder if that's why many people have a problem with organized religion, but I digress.

The FBI issued a press release. Of course they did, it's a victory in their crime-fighting war when someone admits to serious wrong-doing. While I've been trying to keep my eye on public records about this case, it's only been a half-hearted attempt. I would not have known about the press-release if he hadn't told me when I asked how the pastor even knew since she was new. He said that he wasn't really trying to hide anything, but was not pleased at the press release (for other reasons I won't divulge). "It included details," he said.

After our conversation ended, curiosity got the better of me and I hit the Internet. I pulled up the article and went away without reading it. I didn't think about it. I put some laundry in the washing machine and chatted with my roommate. I didn't think about it. I didn't weigh what reading the article might do: that, while I know the gist of things, it would provide details that I didn't have but could have if I asked Monty to tell me. When I came back to my computer, still not thinking about these things, I read it.

I instantly wished I had not.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An Apology

Monty said he was sorry for the conversation we had the other day. He peppered it with excuses from being really stressed, which is completely understandable, to running out of his medication, which he just got replenished yesterday. I actually didn't speak with him, this was all in the voicemail he left me. He even admitted to making a lot of excuses for his behavior, but it boiled down to the things he said not being fair to me.

When I visited him earlier this year, one of our conversations was him longingly asking me why nothing had ever developed further between us. I told him in all honestly, and as gently as possible, that I have never been attracted to him. He is a wonderful friend, and I value him immensely as such, but I never thought of him beyond that. His wives thought otherwise, of course. If I wanted him, he would have been mine. This I know as fact, and our mutual friends have said as much.

Through the years, he would visit or pick me up at work for an evening out. I was constantly fielding the "is he your boyfriend" questions that always popped up, as often as I had to insightfully remind them that beauty is in the eye of the beholder when coworkers would comment that he was handsome. I confess I've never seen him as a handsome man, always just a good friend.

If I wanted him, he would have been mine. When I learned of his crime, this thought came to mind. Promptly followed by knowing that he would have committed his crime while in a relationship with, or married to, me. It affirmed that I always had made the right decision in not furthering our relationship beyond friendship (the fact that he doesn't do anything for me on that level notwithstanding). While I've never really gotten along with his current wife, I can't even begin to imagine the amount of betrayal she must be feeling. There are times when I feel it, and he is only my friend. As husband, lover, father of her children, she must be feeling much more anguish about this than I am. On one hand, I am sorry for her. On the other, I am thankful it is her in that place and not me.

He is right that that conversation was not fair to me. As much as he tried to explain it away, I know it was truth. He is facing an ending of one phase of his life. Just as any ending, he wants to clear whatever needs clearing. Maybe it was lack of meds and had something to do with the talk he had with his wife the previous day, but it was still truth. In my experience, lack of meds is more likely to loosen the tongue than it is to produce lies.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Monty worries about what he's teaching his kids, particularly the eldest who has a little more understanding of things because of his age.

He was surprised that the sentencing hearing is so late. He was expecting it to be maybe late August or early September, not late September. He's faced with a problem, a problem born from fear. If he keeps the hearing date that he has, it is likely that the prosecutor would be someone who is known to everyone who has had to deal with her as fire and brimstone. It is very likely that this individual would push fiercely for the maximum sentence. The final decision is on the judge, of course, but the opinions of the prosecutors do weigh in. If he can get his hearing moved up, he will get another prosecutor, one who may be more sympathetic and therefore press for a shorter sentence. Monty worries about what trying to get a shorter sentence teaches his kids.

It's hard to say, really. He is facing the music; I think it's natural to want to minimize the impact. On one hand, it looks like his plea bargain is delaying the inevitable. Along the same lines, it looks like trying to get as few years behind bars as possible is trying to get out of paying the full penalty for his crime. On the other hand, he is teaching his kids to face the consequences of their actions, and showing them there are many things to consider because many things, many people, are affected by his actions.

He said that everyone he has talked to about trying to move up the sentencing has agreed with that idea. He half-joked that it was because everyone wanted to be rid of him sooner. I told him it was because there was a chance for a lesser sentence, therefore the sooner he goes in, the sooner he comes back to us. He countered by saying he won't be around for my birthday if he gets an earlier hearing. We very likely wouldn't be able to get together for my birthday anyway, and he's forgotten to call on my birthdays before (though I didn't mention that) so it's no big deal to me if I don't hear from him that day. That sounds like a cold thing to say now that I've typed it out. But, really, for someone who appears to love me like he does, like he's implied but never said in so many words, to forget my birthday does leave me a little bitter. I also wasn't expecting him to be around for it this year anyway.

If he gets a new hearing date, maybe it will look like he doesn't want to put off his punishment any longer. If he's worried about what his kids will learn from that, it can only be that he's ready to do what must be done. That's not a bad thing to teach.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Difficult Topics

On the phone with Monty the other day, he started to tell me about a conversation he had with his (soon-to-be-ex) wife. He only told me a little of it, something about her insisting that she couldn't be married to him, but saying that she missed him. Then somewhere, he thought better of talking to me about it at all. He did say that he was not interested in trying for a relationship of any kind with any one right now. It's mostly a realistic view; he doesn't expect anyone to put their lives on hold while he is incarcerated.

I mentioned before that he had wanted more out of our friendship than I ever wanted or needed. I've always been reluctant to talk to him about my boyfriends or the men I might be dating out of respect for his feelings. I've always known that he considers me "the one that got away." I'm not sure how the conversation progressed into that topic, really. I'm not oblivious to the things around me; I've known that, through a handful of girlfriends, two wives, and a fiancé, he wished the other party was me. He told me there were times when he felt stupid for wishing that or, rather, for wishing that still. For years we have joked that we would marry each other if neither of us were married by the time we reached 40, so as to not be alone. Well, for me, it was a joke. For him, it was a sincere offer. "That I have no intention of taking off the table," he said.

The conversation ended with him telling me that I don't have to avoid talking to him about the important people in my life just because I don't want to hurt his feelings, even as he just finished saying that he has to hate any man in my life on principal. I won't hold that against him, I imagine it would be quite a lot of him trying to figure out what any beau of mine has that he lacks. Criminality aside, I couldn't define that if I wanted to.

He did say something that made me feel good about myself at the same time it made me feel uncomfortable. He said I was very hard to get over. For him, it would seem so, given that he hasn't been able to do it in at least ten years. Things look very different from my side, but that's a story for another time and place. I don't think this conversation changed how I will approach talking about the important people in my life to him. It really affirmed that I’ve been making the right decision in trying to avoid talking about my relationships wherever possible, and will continue to do so.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Searching

Last week, I had reason to go to a book store. I went armed with seven ISBNs of books that had potential to be what I have been trying to find. I scoured the most logical section, but was forced to look them up on the store computer. Every last one was either out of print (and one private seller listed a used copy of one for more money than I will ever spend on a book unless it is hand-written, hand-bound, and encrusted with jewels) or out of stock and available for a no-ETA order.

I don't want to order these books because I need to look at them. I need to know if they will actually help before I put forth the money to get them. And I won't be trying for some of those out-of-print books, particularly not the one that someone was trying to sell for $1 a page.

Yes, I know I just need to go to a library.

In my searching for potential books, I noticed something, a fact that makes these books that I can find un-appealing. Almost all of them, by descriptions and keywords, include something about religion, and they all implied Christian religion.

I think that religious faith is a very important thing. It is also a very personal thing. Reading a book where someone may say that their faith in their god got them through is not going to help me. I do not follow their god. That's not the kind of book I'm trying to find; I'm not looking for comfort from a book anyway.

The other side of that is I understand that people find strength in faith. There are words of religious wisdom that can give a person courage, comfort, or relief. Religious leaders often act as counselors. It's important to explore that outlet of support, but what is found there is not going to be the same for everyone.

I admit that I rarely turn to my faith for support. I can think of more than a few people who would use that fact to tell me my faith choices are incorrect if I can't rely on them when I need help. I'm not here to discuss theology, however; this is another matter altogether.

The kind of support that I'm really craving is from other human beings, and I am finding it in small measures here and there. The support I get from my faith is a lot like the support I get from writing this blog: an outlet, not an inlet.

As far as books, I'm looking for something more like a guide. Something that can tell me what visiting might be like, general dos and don'ts of care packages, what might be expected when the sentence is over. I'm looking for the kinds of things that can only be reported by someone with experience. It's more than dealing with feelings and emotions and needing help. There's a practical side too. I'm preparing to march into the unknown without such a guide, and that's ok. It has to be that way. Working through feelings and finding support is only one side of the help I want to find right now.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable about things. My recent conversations with Monty have been about everyday things. He still hasn't elaborated on his court appearance last week. He did say he hasn't been in therapy for a few weeks because of other things he had to do in preparation for last Monday. He said it was odd going back, it took almost the entire time to just tell the doctor what had been happening.

He told me of another old friend of his whom I also know. Monty's favorite way of describing him is "when you look at him, you think 'my god, Hobbits are real.'" It's a true statement!

I learned that Hobbit has also been immensely supportive of Monty and his situation. I can't even say how relieved I was to learn that. I always liked Hobbit, even though we had very few chances to interact. I always thought he was a fun, intelligent guy. The first time we met, he ran out of the house as soon as we pulled up, put a plastic crown of laurels on my head, gave me a scepter, and bowed. Apparently, Monty had so many good things to say about me to his friends that Hobbit was expecting to meet a goddess. I'm sure Monty's stories were quite exaggerated.

I was pleased to know that Hobbit is there for his friend. Pleased because I like Hobbit and don't want a reason for disliking his choices, and because I feel some of the burden is lifted from me. I know I'm one of the few people that Monty can turn to right now, but it's somehow comforting to me to know at least one of those other people. And, to know that it was someone who has known Monty for a long time, longer than I have. That is amazingly nice to know.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I've made a mistake somewhere. Not a mistake in action, but a mistake in lack of action.

I chose to come here, to write out my thoughts and feelings, to explore what's happening to me while things are happening to my friend. There's a funny little voice in the back of my mind that likes to tell me I'm going to write a book about this someday. A book for the family and friends of someone who is going to prison, to help them prepare, to help them work through their feelings. I'm going to write the sort of book that I was unable to find. Maybe, maybe not, that's not the point. It's just a funny little voice.

This does seem to be helping. When I have a new thought, I can come and write it out. I've posted something every day since I started, but it may not always be so. There are just enough thoughts to fill everyday so far. In two months, there may not be. In three, there may be enough for several times a day. In five, it may turn into just when I can write to or visit him. I don't know. I don't really want to think that Monty might be out of sight and out of mind after September.

In any event, posting here is not the mistake. It helps, I really feel it does. Over the past week, though, I've been feeling very alone. I feel like I have no one to talk to. A face to face conversation is very different than even the fairest group of faceless blog followers (and I do appreciate all of you who take even a moment to share this journey with me). I don't know anyone who has walked this path before me. I don't know if my friends would understand now.

It's a mistake of my own making, of course. And I've talked to a few people a little bit here and there. I've considered talking to others but haven't done so. Part of it is that everything about this is so complicated, it's hard to discuss. It's hard to talk about even when I have the ability to backspace. I'm not sure I could get anything even remotely coherent in speech. Another part is that I don't cry much, and if I do, I avoid doing so in front of others. But if I'm speaking, I'll be emotional, and I will cry. I've done so while typing just because it's impossible to not feel the weight of this as I'm writing about it. It's monumental that I'm even admitting to that. Thankfully, I've also recently had a cold that's in the lingering cough stage, so I can easily blame my phlegm. (It's ok to laugh or "eww," as you like.)

Admittedly, that's a silly reason to not talk to someone if I need to, but it is what it is.

It's all about support. I think I'm struggling to support Monty, because the situation has brought up so many conflicting feelings within me. I think that means I need support from somewhere too. I don't want to expect that from Monty, he has enough to worry about and I don't know if it would really be beneficial to either of us if we are who each of us turn to. My side of things is very different than his as it is. I need something else, something outside. That's why I came here, even if it's proving to not quite be enough.

Eventually, I'm going to break, and I'm going to need someone.

On that note, and not as a substitute for the conversation I'm eventually going to need more than I need it now, if you, gentle readers, feel compelled to comment, feel free to do so (I won't be offended if it's anonymous). If I don't like what you have to say, I don't have to publish it. Ha! (I'm kidding there, kind of.)

This came about rather suddenly, really. It was earlier last week, when I was thinking about going to the sentencing in September and the going away party (which will be about the same time). I found myself wishing there was someone who would come with me, which made me realize it'd be nice to have a confidant too.

I know several of you are probably wondering why I don't just ask someone, even given my aforementioned reasons. Another is that I don't feel it's entirely right to burden someone else with helping me with my issues. Everyone I know has many things on their respective plates. Everyone has their own things to deal with. It wouldn't be right to trouble them with me.

It's a little like something that was said during my CIA interview a couple years ago. They were talking about if we got a job that required a cover. They said we would have to be very careful about who we told, because those people would have to keep our secret and our cover too. They said that not everyone would be up for it and told stories of more than a few agents who broke cover with someone they cared about, and that someone experienced much agony over wishing they were not part of the secret. It would be wrong of us to force that burden on them, to make that decision for them. I don't know if any of my friends would be willing to share that burden with me, and it would be wrong of me to choose for them and find I was wrong in my choice.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

That Feeling

It's a feeling of being trapped. I want to do what's right, but I'm not clear on what that is. I should be, and sometimes I am, but mostly, I'm not.

Right now, I know it is the right thing to stay by my friend. I recognize that he needs a friend he can count on. I see that those people are few for him now. Right now, I think it's right. I think I would be wrong if I abandoned him now, not without some new information, some reason, to do so. If I just did it, it would not be right.

But, there are times when I think it might be wrong to show my friend I support him. This very moment is not one of those times, so it's hard to elaborate on that now. There are times when I feel like I shouldn't still be his friend, because he did do something wrong, something awful, and he deserves to pay the penalty for that. It would not be unreasonable if part of that penalty was losing my trust. It didn't happen that way.

I have no intention of leaving my friend to deal with this turn of his life on his own, even though I'm facing feelings of guilt in either direction. Sometimes, I feel guilty of not caring about the victims, and I show I don't care by not severing ties with my friend. But I do care, I care more than many people would, even more than the people who don't consider Monty a friend anymore for what he did. But, if I stepped away now, I'd feel guilty about abandoning Monty when he needed me and the comfort that our friendship provides. I couldn't do that to him now.

The truth, really, is that I can't do right by everyone. I can only do my best. It is impossible to please everyone. At this point, it means more to stand by my friend. It doesn't take away my feelings of guilt for not standing by the innocent strangers, but it is what makes me want to help my friend through this time. My friendship is not bestowed lightly. That is what I can hold on to, that's where my obligations are.

It wouldn't be a paradox if it was a simple thing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Presence of Guilt

I've come to a realization. The conflicted and complex feelings I have about the matter that I discussed earler are stirring in me feelings of guilt.

I mentioned that I would be guiltless if I cut Monty from my life. I would be. Many people would consider his crime unforgivable. If I clung to that, I would have no remorse for removing myself from the situation.

It is not removing myself that is causing guilt.

Logically, there's no reason for it. I committed no crime. Usually, standing by one's friends is a favorable action. But doing it is making me guilty. Sometimes I feel I shouldn't be doing it. I should join the ranks of those who say it is unforgivable. It might make the people who were hurt, who are not involved in any of this anymore, feel better. Is a victim comforted by knowing that others stand with them and not with the offender?

It's a false sense of reparation, I know this. Good people can forgive something otherwise unforgivable. Maybe these people are good people and forgive where others may not. I don't know. I'll never know. If they are, I'm further doing them a disservice by not forgiving. But, if they're not the forgiving sort, my disservice is that I am.

I know full well that I'm putting a lot of focus on the victims. I can relate to them. And I love my fellow people, even when I think many of them are idiots, so I can't not think about them. They are nameless, faceless, to me. They always will be. But they are real.

The guilt that I feel stems from feeling like I owe them. Why do I feel that way? Why do I feel I owe these nameless, faceless victims who don't know Monty and will never know me?

I understand this fact is probably very hard to understand, dear readers. How can a serious crime be committed against someone who was never face to face with the offender and does not even know who is involved? I cannot clarify this, but it is true, it is the way it is.

I wonder if it would be better if I could face them, if I could tell them I was sorry for them, that I understood their pain probably better than anyone. Would they be able to understand why I stand by my friend despite his faults? Then there's the paradox that I'm not even sure why I do.

There's more to it now. If I decided to have nothing further to do with Monty when all of this began, I would be guiltless. If he gave me more details that changed my perception of the reality of the situation, causing me to cut ties with him and move on, I would be guiltless. If I just did it now, if I just changed my mind, I would not be guiltless. There's guilt wherever I turn.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Gift

Monty and I enjoy scary movies. Scary monster movies, (some) slasher movies, alien invader movies, zombie apocalypse movies, dark entities possessing people movies, devil children thrown into wells movies. Actually, that one has a scary story all its own.

Somewhat early on in our movies madness, we decided that we need a house. A certain kind of house, that is fortified against attack and provisioned and all of that. But, this house also has a special switch. It was a switch (which evolved into a voice command as well as an actual switch) that would turn on every light in the house, everywhere. The only exception is under one bed, so the cats have a place to hide because they like dark places. Otherwise, when the switch is activated, there are no dark places anywhere.

This dream house stems from our movie hobby, and one innocent-like child proclaiming "they mostly come out at night...mostly." We're ok with things going bump in the night, you see, but we're not going to let them mess with our days! So, the switch creates day by turning on all the lights. Get it?

Only a couple years into the life of his first son, Monty had a dream about this house. He relayed that dream to me and I asked if he would let me write a story based on it. He agreed. That was years ago. Like, seven or so.

I kept it on the back burner, constantly in the "one day, I will get to this" category of things to do. I don't know what clicked that made me actually do it, but I finished that story last month. For Monty's birthday present, I hand-wrote it in a journal with an apropos cover. I decided to mail it to him. It was after his birthday (he knew it would be a late gift because I was still working on it) and I wanted him to have it before I saw him next, because if I handed it to him when I saw him next, I'd want him to read it, and he'd likely put it down for later.

He called me on Saturday, though I didn't get a chance to speak with him, to say it had arrived, that he had read it twice, and that "it is among the best presents I've ever gotten." We did get to talk on Sunday. We discussed the story, the details that I added, the details of his dream that he had forgotten, and the understory - the things that were not stated and not even expressly implied, but somehow were known. He repeated that he had already read through it several times in the twenty-four hours it had been in his possession and told me he had parts memorized. It made me feel good, particularly when he told me it was clearly a labor of love. That's really what it was.

He said he wanted to find a way to bring it with him. They may not allow it, but he wants to find a way. I don't know if that's why I needed to finish the story now, before he goes. Maybe a part of me was hoping that our crazy little dream would help him through. Maybe it will. If they don't allow the journal (I'd almost be afraid something would happen to it) maybe I'll be able to send him a print out.

I was only slightly worried about this gift. You probably have experienced, gentle blog readers, how you can work hard on something, for someone, and find it unappreciated or underappreciated. I worried that he may not be as pleased with it as I was. Or, maybe it would not be as special as I was trying to make it. I had no reason to fear, really. It's essentially one big inside joke, and I'm glad we have it. This is very likely the last special, thoughtful birthday present that I will be able to give him until he's back in the free air. I'm glad I was able to share that with my friend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Plea

Monty went to the courthouse on Monday to officially enter his guilty plea. He told me little about it, saying that exactly what it means was still sinking in. What it means is that the barred cell is imminent.

He did say that his lawyer made sure it was on record that he completely complied with the conditions of his earlier arrangement: keeping his doctor appointments, staying in the house at all other times, that kind of thing.

His sentencing date is September 25th. As far as I know, that's the day when he will learn how long he will be in prison, to which facility he will go, and when it will begin. The beginning may very well be that day. He's asked me to be there.

I want to be there for him. His last act before becoming a convicted felon will be walking into that courthouse. It won't be a trial, the act of officially entering his guilty plea on Monday waves his right to a trial by jury. This means I'm not going to hear the evidence against him, I'm not going to get any of the details that I'm currently lacking. I'm perfectly fine with this. Besides, he already told me he would answer if I asked. I will likely hear the specific charges that were brought against him, just as a matter of course for the record, as well as the important part - how long he will be gone.

I have already requested and been granted that day off of work. I will be there. This is part of my not knowing what to expect, but I will learn.

There are moments when September, about four months from now, seems pretty far away. There are moments when it seems like no time at all. The reality, that four months left reality, hasn't quite sunk in. When I talked to Monty on the phone, he said it hadn't yet done so for him either. It's hard to say when it will, if it will ever.

Monty also wants to have a going away party. I may not be able to attend that, depending on when it is. He told me the house will be full of people I don't know and some I don't entirely get along with (i.e. ex-wife number 2). He knows I don't like crowds very much. In this instance, I really don't. Maybe I'm being selfish, knowing that the time that we do have to spend together watching scary movies and trading unbelievably rotten puns is very limited. I just feel like I show him support better when I'm not just another one of the crowd. Of course, he's not sure exactly how much of a crowd it will be, depending on who will actually come. I told him I couldn't promise the entirety of the party, but I would do my best to be there. I will try.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Quandary

I fear the complexity of my feelings on the matter cannot be conveyed accurately. Every time I settle to think about it and where I am, I end up all over with no coherent thoughts. This conflict is important to explore, however, as I think it is important for anyone in a situation like mine, torn between deep senses of loyalty and justice. And, it is one of the main reasons why I started writing here. I will try to clarify an otherwise impossibly complex jumble of thoughts and emotions.

There are many sides to this. I will start with two, the two main ones. More will come up, this I can promise.

The first face of this is my friendship with a man I have known for more than a decade. He was always there when I needed him. He would pay for our outings if I couldn't, he would pick me up and do the driving if I had no ride, he sometimes would not take no for an answer. Even if he did something to upset me and I would distance myself from him, he would always make contact again. Our friendship was something that was important to him. I could tell, because he worked on it even when I was too busy for it. He came over one day to bury my dead fish when I couldn't bring myself to do it. You may know the joke "friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies." It was a fish body, but he did, and he didn't hold that silliness against me. He helped me move too, the only one of my friends who did. He made the time to do so.

I think I only recently realized just how good of a friend he is. Maybe it came to light in the possibility of actually losing that, as there is no telling what being in prison will do to him.

He was always there with his advice and expertise, like when I tried (and failed) to buy a home. He's been helping me as I got my ducks in a row to open my Etsy store. He's an intelligent guy with a good business sense and a mind for math and finance that I've never seen matched. And, I have known him to always be willing to help, if it was with mindless movie entertainment or knowledgeable advice, or even to offer an opinion where there was no expertise. There were times when he let me down, but he always was my friend.

Enter the crime. I've described it as horrid. That's not an accurate enough word, I'm not sure there is one. It could have been worse, that's true, but what he did was pretty bad. It's not a felony for idle reasons.

It has caused other people to remove him from their lives. It hurt innocent people, not directly by him, but they were hurt nonetheless. And these victims, no one deserves to be hurt that way. Ever. I am strong and certain in my opinion of this. If this conviction caused me to remove him from my life as others have done, I would be guiltless about it.

But I can't. I think of him as my friend, still. Even under house arrest, he is still the dependable, reliable friend that he has always been to me. His crime did not directly hurt me, or anyone I know. It didn't directly hurt anyone, really, though people were hurt in the process of it and as a result of it.

Here is the main face of the problem. I honor my friend by remembering and holding on to the part of him that he always presented to me. Reliable. Dependable. Friend. But, in doing so, am I dishonoring the people who were hurt? Am I ignoring that there were victims in all of this, and their pain is real, and likely still going on though my friend is out of the picture now? Justice is in the fiber of my being, and yet here I am, conflicted between duty to my friend and amazing sympathy for people who I have never met, who my friend has never met, who were wronged.

Does my friend deserve this compassion, this loyalty, from me? Don't the victims, too, deserve some kind of acknowledgment, some kind of recompense for what they suffered? Does it make me a bad person for not offering that? Even though they will never know, I will.

I have been a victim myself, on a similar level. The level that I hint at that would make his crime worse if that is what he had done, in fact. It is personal to me. He didn't cross that line, I know this, but if he did, it would be as if he had done it to me. Someone did once. I can't help but feel a kind of kinship to the unnamed people who were hurt. There were no amends for me then. These people deserve what I didn't get. Of that mind, too, I am strong and certain.

I don't know if I am right in staying by my friend or if I am further wronging those who were wronged by doing so. That is the discordance within me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The End Game

A week ago yesterday, Monty turned 30. Sometime this morning, he went or will go to the court house to officially enter his plea. The one that will start the end, that will trade the cuff around his ankle for a barred, barren, shit-smelling room. It will surround him not with understanding in-laws and the occasional visits from the friends who remain, but with other criminals who will test him, try to intimidate him, or worse.

It will be the beginning of the end. Even so, he's still not expecting to actually go to prison until September or October. When he told me that it was time to enter his plea, he told me he was frightened. Of course, who wouldn't be. Truly, no amount of preparing can really prepare someone for this prospect, to go from being an accused felon (albeit, a guilty one) to a convicted one.

I don't really know if I had any comfort for him. I told him he had done all he could to prepare, there was nothing more to do. Worrying about it won't help either. This flood will come with or without it. He did all he could. He made his plan, he's ready to learn the hierarchy of the environment he will be in, he's counting on people on the outside to help him as they will. There are still those of us who want him to come out in a decade or so mostly intact.

He told me that day that he appreciated that he was able to speak with me candidly about this. He said he sometimes worried about how much he could tell me, and that he's trying to expect little of me once he is there, so he won't be a burden on me. While I've never been to jail, someone told me once that a holding cell smelled like an ass. I relayed this to Monty, who laughed. In laughter, I repeated, my informant said it was like crawling into an anal sphincter. We supposed the nose will adjust to it eventually. As serious as the topic of going to jail is, and as nauseating as the prospect of its smell is, it still lightened the conversation a little. It told him that his candor was equally appreciated.

It was during that conversation when I realized that I do want to help see him through this time in his life. I am willing to write a letter of character to the judge. I am willing to send him care packages, books, and letters. Depending on the logistics of where he is sent, I am even willing to visit. This last bit surprised even me. It was also this conversation that prompted me to look for books, like the one he has to help him prepare, and found nothing. I'm not used to finding nothing, I can find anything if it's out there to be found. By the way, gentle blog readers, if you know of such a book, that was written to help someone deal with and prepare for a family member or friend going to prison, please let me know. All of this will be a learn-as-I-go kind of thing, otherwise.

But, if I do visit him, I'll be able to relate first-hand if the place really does smell like an ass.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Consequences

His wife wants a divorce. He was not surprised by this, was expecting it, but the reality of it was still a shock. I remember when he called me that day, after they had actually had the conversation. It was maybe a month ago. He asked me for - I'm not really sure it could be called advice. Maybe just sympathy, a listener. While I'm sorry that he has yet another failed marriage to add to his list, that wasn't the first thing I thought.

My thoughts went to his current living arrangement. He is trapped in his in-laws' home. What would happen when they are no longer his in-laws? I think he understood, and was likely pleased by, my concern. He said he and his mother-in-law had talked and she was not going to abandon him even though her daughter had decided to move on. He was the father of her grandchildren, after all. It helped to know that.

Another of his friends, one of his best friends who he has known since boyhood, has all but completely written him off. He is a school teacher, and is worried about guilt by association. I like to think I understand his worry, but I am mad at him for it. Guilt by association is a real thing, I won't deny that. But, I think he thinks his life is more transparent than it really is. Seriously, how many of you would know that my friend is a felon if I did not tell you? If I didn't talk about it, how would you know it? This guy is worried that others will judge him by his friends (and people will, don't get me wrong), but I don't understand how they would know his friends if he didn't mention it. A job application requires a felon to admit that they are, it does not require a person to admit that they are friends with one. No one would know unless he said something.

I really do understand his take on it, if his association with Monty somehow got out to the wrong people, it would be devastating to his career and his life. But I just don't see how his association with Monty could get to the wrong ears unless he surrendered that detail. Those of you who follow my main blog would know that Monty is my friend, but there would be no way for you to know that he was also a criminal if I hadn't said something. I'm not worried about my association. I use aliases if I use names at all. I omit details, though some of them I simply don't know. My job runs background checks on me, not my friends. It makes me angry that this old friend thinks that way.

Monty told me he understands both points of view, both his friend's unwillingness to be judged for someone else's actions and why I am angry at him for it. He didn't try to dissuade my position. I think it's important that he allows my opinion, and always had. It's a paradox, because I do understand his friend, but I think he's overreacting.

Among these two, there are several others who want nothing to do with Monty anymore. It's their choices, of course. It means that Monty has very few people to turn to now. I know he relies on me, because I am not one of those people who treat him like a leper.

I often ask myself why that is. What I know of his crime is horrible. I know how his crime could have been different, worse, and that would force me to sever him from my life. He knows this. He told me he'd be demanding his own execution as well if that was the case. But it wasn't that, and I find myself able to focus on the friend I always had, not the part of him that he kept from me anyway. Though, I sometimes wish I wasn't all he had, that I could stand with the ranks of everyone else who moved on without him. Yet, I can somehow recognize that he needs me to be the reliable friend that he always was to me. I would have reason to write him off, but I find myself unable to do so. My friend needs me. There is no one else.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Reality

Around the time we met, completely unbeknownst to me, Monty developed dissociative identity disorder. This is what most people would know as multiple personality disorder, but it's not as simple as that term implies. It allowed him to explore something within him that no person should ever know. It manifested in his reality. That is what the FBI calls evidence.

It should be noted that I have his assurance, and no logical reason to doubt, that no person was ever in danger of direct physical or mental harm from him. His crime, which mostly for legality I will not go into, was indirect. It is a felony nonetheless, but it was never committed against another person in his physical presence. He told me this. The side of him that I knew, that I always saw of him, has no reason to lie to me. Especially since he is not denying his crime or running from it. I am, however, blissfully ignorant of many details. That is ok, I don't need them.

DID is something that has been a part of him for as long as I have known him, but I did not know that part of him. He kept it from everyone. Of course, he would. Wouldn't you? This knowledge of him that I now have has not changed him, he is not a different person from the person I knew. It was a side I didn't know.

I think that's what I'm holding on to now: the fact that my friend has always proven to be true to me. Yes, something was kept from me, but what I knew of him was true. I know this is quite a complex.

I admit that I'm no longer clear on the time-frame. So much has happened since things really began, to me, to him, to our friendship. It might have been a year and a half ago. I remember that he called me to say that the FBI had raided his home looking for evidence. They left a bag with that word on his eldest son's bed. That's when reality hit him, I think. I was prepared to support his innocence, that's what I knew of him at the time. I think it was a year after the raid when they had enough to charge him with the crime.

Being charged did not land him in jail instantly, per se, but allowed him to bargain. While the prosecutors wanted time to prepare their case, he also wanted time to prepare. He was granted that indefinite time, but the fact of his crime could not be ignored. The terms of his bargain were that he could not be in the presence of his children without another adult present, he could not have free run of a computer or the Internet, and he could not have freedom but to go to work, doctors, lawyers, and church.

His shackle became a literal one, a cuff around his ankle that will alert authorities if he leaves his home at any time other than what had been previously agreed. Since he could no longer live in his home with his wife and children, he was forced to move in with his in-laws. That tiny, very old home, and the curtained-off area of the basement has been his prison for months.

As part of his bargain, he has been getting medical help for his DID during that time. He sees a therapist regularly, takes medication to keep things in balance. He also meets with a lawyer, preparing his side of things. This is not to deny the charges against him or try to get out of paying for his crime, but to prepare. He wants to show that he is working on getting better, he wants to go before the judge with progress. It will show that people can reform. This may reduce his time in prison, which is the hope. It is not to say he is trying to get out of his punishment, but that maybe there can be some of his life left when he is through. It's a fair thing to want.

Just the other day, he asked me what he is teaching his children. Is he showing them that he is running, or delaying the inevitable? I don't think so. I think it is showing them the value of being prepared, so there is something left of his life and his sanity when he has served his time. It shows that he is facing the penalties for what he did, but the process of delay is only to prepare. His life as he knows it has to be put on hold for the time he is incarcerated, that's no easy feat for anyone. I hope he knows how lucky he is to have the chance to do it.