By now, we have told many people what is happening with our family. Everyone has been very kind. They listen, they are sympathetic. They worry.
What most of them don't do, though, is ask how things are going. Much like people on other occasions of grief, friends are afraid to say the wrong thing. They don't want to bring up a painful subject. They don't want to spoil our day with a reminder that my husband will be leaving.
Here's the thing: We can't put it out of our minds, so you are not reminding us. The painful subject is always with us.
What should you say to someone who has a family member about to go to prison? Simple acknowledgement that this is a terrible time for our family is a great start. It does help us to know that someone out there remembers that we are suffering. If you worry about beginning a conversation that you are not prepared for (we really do understand that others are shocked about the child porn), don't worry. Most of the time, we don't want to talk about it, either. We do not interpret expressions of support as support for the crime, if that thought worries you.
One wonderful friend texts me with mundane news about her garden and the weather, always including a "thinking of you" message. One day, she texted, "Your heart must be broken." She is simply thinking of me, remembering that we have difficult days. Isn't that really what you want to tell us?