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  #1  
Old 08-02-2017, 03:13 PM
Osugirl Osugirl is offline
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Default How do I support him when I'm falling apart?

I have some questions. I have been debating to post this as I'm lost. My best friend sits on the row in Ohio since 2002 and we knew his day was coming because you know Ohio loves to kill people. He has had a couple dates before but with Ohio stopping the killing for a while and then appeals they all got stopped.
So he's had a new date for sometime. I pushed it in the back of my mind and so did he. He calls me today and says hey you know we have a little over a year left together. He asked me to be a witness. How do I tell him no? I can not watch my Best friend like that. I just can't. He asked me to look out for his wife and kids which of course that will be a given.
How do I show support to him when I'm falling apart? How do I comfort his wife and kids when I have never been through this? How do my kids comfort his kids? How do we go about acting like everything is ok when it's not? His wife, all 4 kids and myself are going to supper how do I not break down in front of her? I hurt really bad for her. She's a mess as anyone would be.
Sorry I'm rambling on. I'm just lost!
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:34 PM
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You grieve together. Its ok o fall apart, just remember to get back up.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jadah View Post
You grieve together. Its ok o fall apart, just remember to get back up.
Thank you. I got to get back up as I promised him and his beautiful wife. It will be 6 years to the day my daddy passed away so it's a double jump. People have said it can be stopped once again but it won't be as he dropped all appeals and what not. He will not speak to his lawyers anymore.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:43 PM
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I have absolutely no answers for you. Your situation is beyond tough. All I can say is Nless you. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:34 PM
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Not a situation I have ever been in, and my thoughts can only flounder around looking for a good way out, when there just isn't one.

You just keep on. You grieve, before and after, with his family, with all the kids. You take comfort that he brought you all to this closeness and friendship, and be a group that will always be one of the few who know how to get through.

Shit, there's just nothing good to say.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:30 PM
Curt'swife8 Curt'swife8 is offline
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Only you know what you can truly handle and no one here can judge you or really guide you in any way because it is such a difficult situation! I do want to give you something to consider. Has he asked for any other loved one to stand as a witness? If not, he may be asking for that last support so that he has at least some "love" to look at before he goes to rest. He has to be afraid even if he is not showing it. Even when people have made bad choices, I have always hated the thought of them dying alone. Prayers to you all!
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:12 PM
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I've never been in your spot, hope to never be in your spot. Here's what I know from friends who are siblings of executed men- reach out and talk honest. You're scared to death, that's cool. Chances are the wife is, too. Both of you need help and support from others.

I'd start with some counseling to help me through this next year - an unbiased person I have to meet with at least once a week to talk about what's happening. I'd increase the number of sessions as the date got closer if I could afford it so that I can process my thoughts and feelings without processing them on somebody.

I'd look at the death row visitation schedule for those with a pending execution date. Chances are, you're going to have more time for in person visitation in the weeks just before execution. You want to talk about that with the family - as a bff, not family, you can work out a signal with wife to get kids out of the visitation room, or to clear off yourself if needed.

I'd start making contact with his spiritual advisor so that you can open up communication with him/her. Unfortunately in Ohio, most who work with dr inmates have a ton of experience with this and s/he can probably help you with this process.

I'd start reaching out to some of the most vocal antideath penalty siblings out there. The people who were there when what was it, Arkansas? Tried to execute 6-8 inmates in two weeks? Yeah, some of them were there, with the family, helping them through the "event". They come with some real world experience that is not to be ignored.

Look, this whole thing hits everybody differently. Don't be married to one strategy to get through this. Don't assume you're going to fall apart at the critical moment, or that you will not under any circumstance be there as a witness (boy, I understand the knee jerk reaction to say absolutely no, but you're a bit over a year out - don't get married to your initial refusal). Be honest, open, and forthright as much as you can. You and his wife are going to mourn, each in your own way, but you can draw strength from each other as you get there, get to the point where you can concentrate on the rest of life without this hanging over your heads like the Sword of Damocles.

As for the kids - it really depends on their age. Start with your own kids. Age appropriate, tell them what's going to happen and answer questions. You're going to have to make it okay to ask questions whenever, and answer them long term. You're going to have to create a safe place for them to ask questions and to process their feelings.

Tell them that it's not okay to bring this up with their friends, but it is okay for their friends to talk with them about it. When their friends bring it up, they are good to go with talking about it. If they get confused about anything, or they don't understand something, it's better to ask you a question rather than anything else. Since this is the age of Google, I'd take any kid of Google age and find the best page for a description of the crime, and read that page with those kids. Then I'd talk with the kids about the crimes.

Look for maladaptive behavior from kids. As kids stress and feel your stress, they will regress. Expect it. any kid who is already struggling should be given extra supports including a therapist. Know your insurance when it comes to psychological help for kids, and know what's available for kids - a kid who is already struggling before all of this may need those helps. Better to have them in your back pocket in case of crisis.

At some point, the inmate will have to discus writing a simple will (assuming he is like most dr inmates and has no assets), discus disposal of the body and ancillary issues like donation of corneas and the like. He's going to have to discus his funeral. You are going to have to discus his funeral with his wife, and if she is not willing or emotionally able to deal with it, you might have to step forward and deal - finding the funeral home and arranging the service and interment. This stuff may change for the inmate over the next year.

The next year is going to be a very raw time in all of your lives. It can also be used to the advantage of the inmate and his loved ones. This is the time to deal with everything. This is not the time to swallow whole your emotions about what is happening. You might have to use your judgement and not bring it up in the moment, but don't swallow what you're feeling whole.

Write, draw, paint, make sure you have time to create, and to use that medium to get the raw emotions of the year out of your system. Encourage the wife and all the kids to do the same.

This year is both a marathon and a sprint. It will leave you winded and numb. But it may also leave you bonded together tighter than you've ever been.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:13 PM
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Oh, and if you can find an addy, send a letter to Sister Helen. It doesn't matter if you're Catholic or Muslim or atheist - she knows this area and can help you with what to expect and give you ideas about how to process where you are now.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt'swife8 View Post
Only you know what you can truly handle and no one here can judge you or really guide you in any way because it is such a difficult situation! I do want to give you something to consider. Has he asked for any other loved one to stand as a witness? If not, he may be asking for that last support so that he has at least some "love" to look at before he goes to rest. He has to be afraid even if he is not showing it. Even when people have made bad choices, I have always hated the thought of them dying alone. Prayers to you all!
The only people he talks to is hos wife's and kids, myself and my family. My kids will not be there and his kids said no. He said we have been the only ones down with him and he said he wants to see us as he drafts off.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:26 PM
Osugirl Osugirl is offline
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Oh, and if you can find an addy, send a letter to Sister Helen. It doesn't matter if you're Catholic or Muslim or atheist - she knows this area and can help you with what to expect and give you ideas about how to process where you are now.

Sister Helen and I have been talking. We end up at rally's together. I have been open and honest with everyone. His kids are in their 20's and my kids are 11 and 13. My kids have a hard time because they have grown to know him while he has been in. I am very open and honest with my kiddos about anything and everything. His wife and I go to visits together as she has a hard time. Last visited we all agreed we would not give answers on being there or not until closer to time. We are taking everyday we have with him and run with it.
His wife should be joining PTO soon. Again thank you all for your suggestions.
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