Looking back I can’t imagine how we lived through this and can’t imagine how we would have coped if we had never found out about Families Outside.
When I arrived home after a great round of golf on very sunny day my feelings were high. However that was to change and when I was told the news by [my wife] that my son was arrested and in prison. It had a devastating impact on my life, my wife’s life, and my relationship with my son forever. To say we were in shock would be an understatement. None of my family had ever had a run-in with the police. Both [my wife] and I were brought up well and we did likewise with both of our sons.
At this very early stage we had no one to turn to, no one to talk to. We both were looking at ourselves to see how we were to blame for our son’s actions. We also were very concerned for our son’s victim and express regret and apologies towards her. However we could not express that to anyone as all we had was each other. We didn’t even know what the circumstances were that lead our son to do such a crime. The police were not helpful, and this made us feel guilty along with our son. I’m not blaming the police for this, it’s just the way it came over.
We did not know where our son was being held or how we could contact him. Days later we found out via his own lawyer (when she called us) that he was in prison in Glasgow, and she was very concerned of his state of mind and could I make a visit. I had no idea on how to go about this, [and] it wasn’t easy trying to find out. Eventually I paid him a visit. This was a very daunting experience and one I’ll never forget. Still at this time we only had each other, [my wife] and I. We were still looking inwards to ourselves for answers as to why our son has committed this crime. We did not know any formal processes , what happens next, what happens to his house, his rent, money needs etc. We were very disoriented.
Somehow perhaps it was at the prison we got a phone number and we called your organisation and very soon you arrived in our home. You explained what Families Outside did and signposted us to various other organisations that could also help.
The other help you gave us was to listen to us, to let us get our deepest thoughts out. You also offered advice around our self blame. It was a long journey for us. But your regular meetings with both of us at our home started to help us view what had happened from a different perspective and it slowly became clear that we had no influence on our son’s decision to break the law. Some days were good, some were bad, then it progressed to us having a good week. Then building this up. On occasions one or both of us would plunge back into that black hole, where we saw nothing but a negative future for us and our son. But once again you explained to us that this can be normal for us loved ones of folks who are in prison, like grieving in a manner. But we got there in the end and we are… stronger than ever.
We were lost before you arrived at our door and came into our life. There was a lot of pressure on our marriage at this time and who knows what would have happened if we never had you to share, discuss, ask questions of. We will be forever grateful to you and your professionalism and your organisation.