Anxiety and a Lost Loved One

Yesterday I met a man who was feeling the terrified worry of not knowing where a loved one was. He was a respectful, quiet man who sat at my desk and spoke so softly I had to lean over to hear him. He shakily pushed his glasses up his nose, looked at me with red eyes, swallowed a sob and said, "I can't find my wife. She and I were in prison for the same amount of time. She was supposed to be released yesterday like I was and we were supposed to meet at the bus stop on 75th Ave and Indian School. I waited there all day and she never came. I'm scared because she's so nice to people and she isn't street smart at all. I didn't sleep at all last night worrying that she was on the streets somewhere. I'm so worried!" Again he swallowed hard and looked at me pleadingly.

Now, I don't know why he and his wife, who are from Texas, just spend 6 months in separate Arizona prisons. That didn't concern me; what I saw before me was the anxiety generated when someone you love is supposed to be somewhere and they aren't. The fear that comes with the possibilities of where they may be or what MIGHT have happened to them. I've never lost a husband anywhere but I have briefly lost sight of one of my kids in a department store. The waves of panic that hit me were palpable until I found him. So we got to work in the hopes of easing this man's anxiety.

We first went online to the Arizona Department of Corrections web-site and did an inmate search. Finding his wife's file we didn't get much information. However, a phone call to the number on the back of HIS department of corrections card (a prison ID card with vital information given to all inmates upon release) gave him some fresh insight. He reached a very obliging, understanding clerk somewhere deep in the Arizona prison system who assured him his wife wasn't released as expected and was indeed still 'safely' in prison. I watched the fear and worry he had carried for 24 hours fall from his shoulders. He made some more inquiries and hung up and handed my phone back to me.

I felt his gratitude, not meant for me. It was meant for God. He was a praying man and said a quiet thank you then looked up at me and said, "God bless you. Thank you so much."

"Hey Joe. It's what we do. Now. Here is a check to get your Arizona ID and here's a stamped envelope and some paper. Write to your wife right away so she knows where you are. She's probably worried about YOU worrying about HER."

Later Joe stopped me to let me know he got his ID, he stopped at Social Security to order a new card, he applied with the employment agencies and he wrote to his wife.

And as he gripped my hand warmly he said again, "God bless you."

He has Joe. He really has.

Be kind and be blessed.

~ Tracy