It’s been a trying couple of weeks. As I’ve worked relentlessly to get answers and try to live my regular life while worrying myself into hysteria, at times, I have been going through ups and downs. Aren’t those the beauty of life? Some days you wake up and even in the midst of darkness, you are able to find peace and hope. Then, other days are a battle to get out of bed and put on your pants and smile to the world when all you want to do is throw your hands up, throw in the towel and tell them, “OK, I get it. I’ll never win this battle because you’ve been doing this way longer than me.” But through it all, I keep believing that everything happens for a reason and my faith is unwavering. I feel like I have been steadfast in my attempts to advocate for Joe. The Department of Corrections is probably hoping that I do throw in that towel soon and just quietly disappear like I’m sure so many who have family on the outside world do, but I can’t. My 100% or 0% character flaw won’t let me. It has always been my one downfall or maybe it’s my one saving grace. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I don’t have a 50% bone in my body. I either care way too much and get way too emotionally involved or I don’t care enough and I am simply detached. It goes for every facet of my life, too. I think I’ve touched on this before, but it’s just the way I am, like it or not. Most people who have dated me, hurt me, and then tried to get me back, don’t like it so much. Neither do employers who have burned their bridges with me and think that I will stay for the money even if it goes against everything I believe in. But when I am in, I am all in, all the time, thick and thin, easy or hard, good and bad. This is where I’ve been since the beginning of the month. My life has been consumed with finding out what happened to my dear, Joe. I still don’t know. My days have been filled with lunch time and end of the day phone calls, late night emails, hours of prayer and meditation, lots of phone calls with his brother to keep his spirits up and, truth be told, I feel better when I talk to him, too, because it’s almost like talking to Joe. I have been relentless in calling the prison. I have called lawyer after lawyer to find one that will tell me what I want to hear. I have wracked my brain along with his brother to come up with a solution to get the information we need and through it all, we both have remained pillars of faith, it seems. Joe is a faithful guy. I don’t think I know anyone personally who is so in touch with the words in the bible, and with his own inner spirituality, and knowledge of other religions and rituals. I think that is part of the reason it is so hard for me to believe that he will not make it through this. I know a lot of people think I am wasting my time and energy, because all they see in their mind is a convict who had such a long time to go anyway that it’s pointless for me to even care. My boss told me that I’m too emotionally involved. He said I need to detach. He said Joe made his life choices and I shouldn’t be involving myself in trying to fix things. He hasn’t known me very long. Although, the irony of it all is that he should know that fixing things is what I always try to do. It’s what I was hired to do for him. It’s what I’ve been attempting to do since I started working for him and we are almost there. In a way, his comment was a slap in the face to me, but in another way, it was kind of eye opening, because it made me see even more how no matter how many ways I explain or try to justify this situation, some people will never get it and never know what unconditional love is or how to accomplish it. It is easy to love your children unconditionally, even though some parents don’t. It is easy to love your parents unconditionally, even though some children don’t, but it is not easy, apparently, for some to fathom loving a person who is not related to you by blood, unconditionally (especially if that person is in prison). Yet, I do. And I love unconditionally all the time. I actually have a lot of people in my life, who are not blood related to me, that I would fight for, give an organ to, take a bullet for, have a baby for, change my whole life for, really. And there’s a very good chance that those people don’t even know they are on that list, but if any of them were in the situation that Joe is in now and had nobody to advocate for them, in prison or out, I would be there for them, because that’s what unconditional love does. So even though there has only been small pinholes of light in this dark situation, I do know that with enough pinholes, it won’t be dark anymore.