Love. At its core, is responsible for our very existence and is perhaps one of the most powerful emotions one will experience in their lifetime. It can be both a blessing and a curse. It requires respect, communication, responsibility, consistency, and faith.
So many take it for granted and lack understanding of its true power as it is both an affect and an action. For couples dealing with incarceration, navigating this intense emotion is especially difficult as it tests the limits of their individual resolve, and can rock the very foundation their love was built on. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Flikshop is sharing the stories of two couples who discuss how they keep their love alive despite the hardships that may be faced.
Meet Keith and Danielle Williams
They know first hand what it's like to miss out on the small things that so many of us may take for granted, “What I missed most was being able to take advantage of the little things like watching movies together, going to dinner, laughing, and just simply being in the same space,” Danielle says.
The Williams have been together for a total of 24 years and have been married for eight of those years. Beyond phone calls and sending emails, Danielle and her husband had to get creative, especially during the holidays, “We tried to be as creative as we could be while my husband was incarcerated. We’d dedicate songs to each other. One Valentine’s Day he surprised me by having my Valentine's Day gift delivered at work, he’d plan things with my family to make sure I wasn’t left out of the holidays, have pictures drawn, send pics. Of all the ways of communication, nothing touched my husband more than letters and pictures! Pictures were everything!!” Thankfully, organizations like Flikshop have developed innovative apps that help these families stay connected, which is key when your spouse or significant other is incarcerated. It’s difficult enough for couples to stay connected in the same household at times, let alone being separated for extended periods.
Through the Flikshop Angels program, individuals can purchase a gift card to send to their loved ones. To date, Flikshop has kept more than 46,000 families connected. “Flikshop helped us stay connected by providing a way to keep my husband in our world with pics and making staying connected easy and convenient. And the postcards were so cute and unique.”
Meet Miguel and Jennifer Rodriguez
The Rodriguez’s have found Flikshop to be beneficial too in seeking ways to stay connected while Miguel is away and in addition to being in a pandemic. Citing the simplicity of the app, Jennifer reports, “Flikshop has helped us stay connected by making it easy to snap a selfie or just something random we see in the street and write a little note to keep them entertained and remind them that they are not forgotten.” Jennifer and Miguel found love after his incarceration. “We have been together for almost 8 years on March 8th.” As such, they missed out on the opportunity to be in each other's company, hang-out, have a date-night, and all of the fun things that many couples enjoy.
“What I miss most about him during Valentine’s Day is we aren’t able to dress up and go out, have some food and drink and a good night out or that I don’t get to buy him a cheesy Valentine’s gift,” Jennifer laments. Making this time of year special can be challenging for incarcerated couples but remains important to keep the love going. It also helps to remind your loved ones of how special they are by putting a smile on their face, reminding them of how much their family presence is needed, or keeping their spirits up as they adjust through feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.
This year Jennifer got an early start and sent a nice gift for Miguel that she shared with us, “I sent him an early Valentine’s Day card. [laughing] You know those huge cards that are like seven inches tall. I sent him one of those cards and that made him laugh and smile and say oh my god my wife is crazy, haha the reaction I was hoping for. Inside the card, I like to write him reasons why I love him and send him cute pictures.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, remember that there are plenty of families that will be unable to celebrate due to the pandemic and not being able to visit their loved ones. They also may be unable to send a gift for various reasons. In the spirit of love, consider making this day special for these couples and their families by becoming a Flikshop Angel and sign-up to help keep loved ones connected this holiday.