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Jimmy, 38

Incarcerated: 20 years

The most beautiful dark brown eyes set in a divine Navajo face looked up at me. Her hair done in a ribbon, her dress and white blouse pressed. In her wedding dress, I saw her for the first time since she snagged me up at a powwow. I was scared, was I really good enough for this girl? I worried about whether or not I could make her happy, make her smile and laugh, and feel safe and supported. I have felt intense love and adoration for this woman since the day we met. Now, on our wedding day in Stockton Prison, my brain was melting into a sticky soup of doubt and self judgment. Then she smiled. I looked at this wonderful woman, and in those eyes I can never seem to look away from, I saw me, I saw us and I felt the deepest sense of tranquility I have only ever achieved in the hottest sweat lodges. She asked me if I was ready and I smiled and said yes.There were so many things that had gone horribly wrong leading up to October 15th 2022, our wedding day.

She agreed to marry me two years earlier. We turned in our papers to be married on June 8th of ‘21, but Covid killed our hopes, just like it almost killed me. With no visits, random phone times and almost no way of communicating, we both were scared, alone, and afraid for the other. But the prison emails and my long, consistent, weekly letter responses kept hope and our love alive. This girl, my wonderful blessing from the creator, who grew up on a reservation just north of mine, who spent the last several years waiting to marry me, and I her, patiently thinking and planning for us. She never faltered, never doubted, and kept me afloat. Without her I would have been totally lost years ago. She is my good medicine. When she said “I do” it was the most meaningful two words ever spoken to me. At night, I sit at our lodge in San Quentin and I count all the reasons why I am so in love with this wife of mine.

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