Returning Tenx9 storyteller Drac Payne shares of missing his soulmate Lorrain, and of missing her death while he was incarcerated for 34 years. 

Over the last 34 years I have been incarcerated, I was just released this past January 15th, so I could have come up with several pages of what I have missed over the last 34 years. Instead I want to tell you who I miss and more specifically a death I missed.

Her name is Lorrain and she was my soul mate for the last 27 years of my incarceration.

She made sure that I learned something new each and every day.  She taught me how to pay it forward because she really believe that if people would take the time to help each other then the world would be a better place.

If I mention about someone in the prison unit that I lived in being unable to buy shoes or clothes during package month, then she would have me to find out their sizes and she would get them what they needed.  During the Christmas month, she would buy two individuals Christmas packages each year.  You should have seen the guys faces when their names were called saying that they had Christmas packages.

Lorrain had M.S. and was bed ridden the last three years of her life, but that never stopped her from teaching me. She would order us the same books and we would read them and then talk about them for days on the phone.  We would talk to each other three or four times a day. She always wanted to hear how my day went and what was going on in the unit that I lived.

During the last 6 months of her life, it was very hard on both of us, because we knew that she would not be around to see me get out. During this time her body was shutting down limb by limb. Her hands would not work right and that made her mad, because her mind was sharp as ever. The nurses at the Nursing home notice this and would start taking their breaks around the time that I would call so that they could help her with our phone calls.

When her time was getting close she would talk to me about moving on in life without her.  We both knew that she would not be around to see me get out of prison and that in truth hurt us both.  She made sure that emotionally I was prepared for life without her and that I could handle what ever society threw at me.  She is the biggest reason that I am who I am today.

Then the day came that I really didn’t want.  I tried to call her in the morning like I always did but could not reach her.  The nurses were not even answering the phone like they normally did.  I knew something was not right, so I started to worry about her.  I went to my counselor and explained that I needed an emergency phone call because I knew something was wrong.  His response was “If she is gone someone will call”.

I was finally able to make a call to the nursing home around three that afternoon in the chaplains’ office.  I talked to one of the nurses that always helped Lorrain.  She told me “Sorry honey, she passed away at 6:15 this morning” The nurse informed me that she called the prison three times to have the message relayed to me.  She also told me that Hospice called three times with the same message.  The officers who took the call did not tell anyone.  They did not tell the Chaplains office or their shift supervisor.  I did not find out until some six hours after she had passed away. I sat in the chaplains office and cried.  I felt like my world had ended, and in a way it had.  She was all I had on the outside.

I knew that I would not be allowed to attend her funeral and say goodbye because the Tennessee Department of Corrections does not allow this. I was not allowed to say goodbye. That afternoon while sitting in my cell, I had every intentions of taking my own life, because I could not see a world without her in it. After count time I went back over to the chaplains office and talked to her, and some insiders who I now consider my brothers and more importantly family.  They sat and talked and helped me get thru my grieve.

I thought about all the things that I missed with Lorrain.  The books we read together and talked about, the conversations about our life with or without each other, but above everything that I missed about her, the one thing that I miss the most, is her voice saying I love you.

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