Coming Out (by Lifer Renee)

Renee – Only a teenager, she received a 60-year sentence from a judge in Pima County. Fourteen years into her sentence, Renee is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.

My roommate’s girlfriend went home on Monday. Since then, she has been all over the map emotionally. This has made me remember some things.

I have had a few relationships with women prisoners. I remember being in love with Rachel. We spent almost every day for almost 7 years together. She made me feel safe, loved, we laughed and argued for 7 years. When I was with her, I honestly did not feel like I was in prison. Then it was time for her to be released. My heart was crushed. I felt as if I had lost one of my appendages. I knew in my gut that life would go on for her, and I would still be standing here.

Though it all ended on good terms, all I ever asked of her was if she ever knew she could no longer stand by me, to just have the respect for me as a friend to write and let me know.
“Don’t leave me hanging,” I told her.
“I promise,” she said.

One day at mail call I received a letter from her. I read the last words she would ever write: “I love you. I will always love you. I want to stay in contact, but I don’t think that I can.”
I was crushed and I still am. Her walking out of my life completely almost made me lose myself.

Now I listen to my roommate who is serving a 40-year sentence. I see the longing in her eyes to have a life with her girlfriend. I try not to be negative. I just sit and listen and pray she does not feel the same pain as me.

I have gotten better. It has been almost 6 years since she left, but the pain some days feels just as fresh as 6 years ago. Seeing my roommate like this has made it surface all over again.

I guess now that I’ve come out of the closet, I’ll close for now.

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Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

Hi Renee, I feel your loss, all I can say is you are not alone, even when you feel you are. I too have just lost the love of someone special to me,and yes the pain is unbearable at times, I wish you peace xx


JM said...

Thank you for being open and sharing with us your "coming out". Love transcends all barriers. Much respect and hope you the best.

~big jason