A Funeral For A Friend & A Texas Prison Wedding At TDCJ Luther Unit. More Road Trips, Rest Areas & Sad Surprises…
Yesterday as I left early to drive to Luther Unit and meet Antoinette in person for her Prison Wedding, I had no idea that my day would end with the tragic news that my ex husband had died on a plane due to a heart attack.
I was shocked and saddened to hear of Guy’s passing and too stunned to believe that I would never again hear his hearty laugh while talking about my family or his.
For years we have caught up on each other’s lives at chance meetings mailing packages at the post office or picking up medication at Walgreens.
Perhaps because we were both so strong willed, our marriage had a few bumps and although we remained friends long after, I still wonder if we could’ve possibly put more effort into it and changed things but we didn’t.
I celebrated his successes and enjoyed looking at his family photos on FB as much as he celebrated my successes and sometimes hilarious adventures.
We both kept up with one another through mutual friends or in person at chance meetings. We both wanted each other to live happy and productive lives. I never expected him to die although I knew he had a few health issues.
A month ago while waiting at Dr Richwine’s for a checkup, I was wearing a mask (like everyone else) when Guy strolled in to get a flu screening because his son had been ill.
When he turned around to see me in the mask, he busted out laughing because I was wearing it upside down. I laughed back as he sat next to me and said I don’t want to get sick. If wearing a mask will keep me from getting the flu, I will even if it’s upside down. I cannot afford to be sick.
My germaphobic paranoia is often funny to everyone except me. A few minutes later, the receptionist handed him a mask and although I had an appointment and he didn’t, he was called back first.
I had laughed about Guy getting in first and said “so long line jumper. Hope you feel better soon and give that little boy a hug!”
It was just a few weeks later that we bumped into each other again at the Baxter Wright Funeral. As usual, we laughed again at our ability to constantly run into each other and sat together.
When leaving the ceremony, we both stopped to give Danny Wright our condolences and that would be the last time I saw my ex husband.
Driving through the back roads of Texas, I was listening to my usual mix of classic rock and disco cds while checking in with my twin sister and husband for most of the day.
I’m often hours from home headed to one Prison Unit or another or even meeting Pawning Planners Clients in other states near Texas who wish to barter their event services.
It’s hard to catch up on emails or social media when I’m traveling alone so I often wait until returning home to play catch up on my phone.
I was strolling through FB when I came across a post from Dan Powell. I knew from the first few sentences it was going to be bad news. I was so apprehensive, that I read it four times before sharing the news with my twin sister who was just as devastated as I was.
Guy was funny and entertaining and devoted to his family. My heart ached over their loss as well as his many friends. He will truly be missed. Even writing this, I’m still in shock.
Since my weekdays are usually spent driving from one Prison Unit to the next when I’m not meeting clients or appraising trades for The Pawning Planners, I’m often out of touch with what’s going on in my social media circles.
When driving to our weekend events, Cindy and I are usually in a caravan when traveling to our larger scale event bookings.Arriving at TDCJ Luther Unit, I quickly sent a text to Antoinette to ensure she was on site. I always check in with clients because my cell phone is left in my car during Prison Weddings and once I leave my vehicle, I’m unable to communicate.
As usual, I sent another text to my husband and twin sister to let them know I would be walking into the Unit and unavailable for 30 minutes to an hour by phone.
My preference is to walk in together but this doesn’t always happen because if my client is running late, I check in on my own. I’m never late to anything and warn my clients constantly to be early.
Antoinette made it to the Unit on time but was a little flustered and had trouble taking off her shoes to be screened. I helped her get them back on because strappy shoes are tricky to buckle while standing on one leg.
Apparently, the County Clerk in San Antonio had given her a hard time regarding her Absentee Affidavit and Two Together In Texas Certificate which was a little stressful for Antoinette especially since she was trying to get her license on the same day of the wedding.
This “cutting it close” on the Marriage License happened a few days ago at Coffield Unit. I’m going to suggest that it’s a great idea to get your license prior to the day of your wedding because waiting in line at the Clerks office before driving to a Unit can have you running late and feeling frazzled. It’s best to plan ahead.
Luckily, she had taken my advice about leaving far earlier than necessary so we still were on time even after the Clerk Incident in San Antonio.
The Visitation Area at Luther Unit was beautifully painted on each wall and by far the prettiest at Luther Unit. I chatted with the Officers about how picturesque the paintings were and the natural beauty of their location. Comparing Luther to Ferguson is a shocking variation.
The Officer taking photos had previously worked at Ferguson and asked me about the screaming from the Units you could hear from the parking lot. Yes. I was shocked and apprehensive when hearing it for the first time too. If you missed the Ferguson Blog, I’m adding the link– TDCJ Ferguson Unit.
Ferguson Unit was also the first time in my life that I have married a Prisoner who was separated by a glass partition. It was more than a little “awkward.” Walking through the yard with all that yelling going on, it wasn’t easy to keep my composure.
Approaching the intake section, the barrage of yelling from inmates had me so “shook up” that I nearly tripped. I’m back at Ferguson in a few weeks and this time, will be far better “prepared.” This “yelling” is highly unusual at any other Unit and I’m thankful for that. Ferguson is the only Unit I’ve ever encountered this loud “chatter” at.
Traditionally, all of my Prison Weddings are structured and predictable which I enjoy.
After the Luther Unit wedding, I found a field across the street from the Unit and had an impromptu Bridal shoot with Antoinette and her sister.
Photo shoots are often the thing my couples enjoy most. Fire ants proved to be a bit of a problem for Antoinette’s sister but we both “watched our step” and kept from getting stung.Over the years, I have Officiated numerous pet funerals. It’s not well known that I Officiate hundreds of funerals but, I do.
A few weeks ago at Baxter Wright’s Memorial, Guy sat next to me as Danny Wright explained how devastated the loss of his devoted pet had been for him. Danny was honoring his dog and best friend of 18 years, Baxter with a Memorial.
Danny had been friends with Guy since he was 7 years old and seeing him at the Memorial meant a lot to Danny.
Neither Danny or I could ever guess that it would be the last time we would laugh with Guy who was an expert at entertaining everyone. I’m certain that my ex husband had never met a stranger in his life.Whenever my ex husband, Guy and I ran into each other, we laughed. At the Memorial, we even sat together. Guy’s phone (as usual) went off during the Memorial and he spent several minutes trying to quiet it as everyone stared at us. Guy always had the latest gadgets and his phone was perhaps his favorite work tool.
During the Memorial, we both reminesced at the twists and turns our lives had become after the divorce. I never had expected to be performing Prison Weddings which surprises everyone that knows me.
Knowing I’m extremely claustrophobic, Guy asked how I can walk into Prisons? I laughed and said “I know I’m going to be walking out!” He thought that was hilarious. I was just being honest. Hearing a heavy metal door slam and lock behind you without jumping takes practice!
The truth is that I never actually planned on performing Texas Prison Weddings, a creative request for services at Estes Unit is the reason I rebranded and expanded my business to include Prison Weddings.
I love the structure of Prison Weddings and there are never surprises other than me occasionally losing my keys going through the check in process or signing in.
Yesterday, I misplaced them yet again at Luther and was thankful a guard had found them since I was hours from home.
Guy and I talked about my grandnieces and my son along with my nieces and how quickly they had become adults along with how tall the twins were getting.
We always talked about our kids and even parents. He told me his mother wanted to know when Cindy and I would be on tv in March and I gave him the dates along with the Network.
Guy was really looking forward to watching the show and had to much he was planning to do on the Classic Boat Show Circuit. Guy loved wooden boats and history. As he proudly told me that a development he had purchased in Arkansas had been donated as a Nature Reserve, I was impressed that he had finally found a way to make Eagles Bluff work out. It was a huge undertaking that took years of his life to accomplish.
Sadly, he had explained that his beautiful daughter, Rachel and he had not talked in over 2 years due to a falling out. I suggested writing her a letter and working through the issue because life is short.
Guy was very upset about having a breakdown in communication but I’m hoping he took the time in the last few weeks to reach out to Rachel as I had suggested.
Although his life was cut short to the dissapintment of everyone who knew him, Guy died doing what he loved, flying from one city to the next. He loved flying more than anyone I have ever known and enjoyed traveling and meeting new people and friends wherever he went. I will never run into Guy at the grocery store again or laugh when going to a Dr Appt or the Dentist at finding him in the lobby. I’m going to miss hearing Guy talk about his mom, his sister, his brother, his nephews, and his children.
Like me, his family and friends were the most important things in his life…Death Is A Dark Stranger that no one expects to meet.