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A Story of Redemption

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If you had told me that I would fall in love and subsequently marry someone who had been to prison, I would have told you that it was a lie and the truth was not in you. Who would have known that someone who I would have harshly judged would be the love of my life?

You see my husband shot a man. He shot his nieces’ father because he was physically abusing their mother. My husband told his sister Stacy* (name changed to protect privacy) that once she said that she did not care about him anymore, he was fair game. John* (name changed to protect privacy) had all but forgotten about the threat that he made until his Stacy arrived at his apartment bleeding and pretty much inconsolable.

Stacy explained that Trevor* (name changed to protect privacy) had came home and instigated a fight regarding her whereabouts. When she refused to answer, he proceeded to beat her until she was bloody. The kicker was she was pregnant at the time. What John had not told Stacy was that he had had some money to the tune of $3,000 stashed in his apartment. His apartment had been burglarized early that morning around 2am.

John suspected Trevor of being the thief because they often did deals together plus Trevor knew where John’s stashing place was. John now fit to be tied over the theft and the beating upon Stacy was out for blood. He proceeded to find Trevor and ask him if he knew anything about his apartment being burglarized. Of course, Trevor said no. John then asked if he knew where Stacy was. Trevor again said no but remarked, “where ever she is, she will know to answer me when I ask her a question.” Trevor spoke without thinking. By the look on John’s face, Trevor knew that he was in deep s&*t!

John proceeded to take out his gun and shoot Trevor. John looked down at Trevor and contemplated killing him but thought of his nieces and decided against it. John took off. For the next two months, John was on the run. Trevor was found and taken to a local area hospital where he was treated for his wounds. As soon as he was able to talk, police came to interview him to see if he knew who had shot him. Trevor squealed like the pig he was.

The police put a warrant out for John for attempted murder. During this time about a week before John was picked up, Stacy gave birth to a daughter named Eternity* (name changed to protect privacy). Eternity was born looking just like John.

John was sentenced to 10 years that he pleaded down from 25 to life for attempted murder. John spent time in various Michigan prisons. In one in particular, he met a man who said that he had something that would change John’s life. John remarked that he was a thug for life and he did not need changing. The man Steve* (named changed to protect privacy) suggested to John that he start reading a whole host of books from autobiographies to books about the art of war.

John began to devour these books. The something that could change his life was knowledge! Never before had John experienced such a sense of self-awareness or power. He promised himself and his grandfather that when he was released he would change his life. In 1999, John was released after serving 7 of his 10 year sentence. He returned home to find that the grandfather he loved dearly had been sick from time to time. John promised his grandfather that now that he was home, he would be responsible for his care.

John kept his promise caring for his grandfather until he died in May of 2002. It was in November, 2002 that John and I met. I was a college educated woman with no children. I was very active in my church and sorority. My good friend at the time, Michelle* (name changed to protect privacy) told me that she knew someone that would be a good match for me.

I was very skeptical as I had had such bad luck with meeting guys. I told Michelle okay to set up the meeting. The day after Thanksgiving 2002, Michelle and I were over her niece Tammy’s* (name changed to protect privacy) home eating pizza and playing Uno. I asked Michelle what happened to my hook-up. She told me that she had not been able to get in touch with John. I asked for the number and called him. I was truly curious because I make it a point not to call men. He called back and we spoke briefly on the phone before deciding that he would stop over Tammy’s house.

When he arrived, I left the room feeling quite silly about being set-up. I thought it looked desperate. Well to say the rest is history would be to rob you of the rest of the story. John and I married in February 2003 after knowing each other only 82 days. It was not whirlwind, it just felt right.

Now that you know the negative, so here is the positive. We married in 2003. We bought our first home in 2004. We welcomed our first son in 2006. I won’t say that it has been easy. What I will say is that you can not let previous mistakes haunt you for the rest of your life. You have to evaluate the lesson and find out what you are supposed to receive from it. John says that people can be rehabilitated but they have to first belief in self-redemption. He told me that my love and the love of his grandfather was enough to help him see that he was worthy to be loved and have the best in life. He understood that he would have to pay dues initially to get where he wanted to be, but he was willing to be able to obtain the goals he set for himself while he was incarcerated.

There is such thing as happy endings.

Copyright 2007. trbates1

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