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Papoose: Pain is Love [Full Story from the October 2011 Issue]

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Usually a woman is holding down her man. It’s usually the man who’s locked up. In this case, it’s the opposite.

Yeah, definitely. Guys always complain, “That fuckin’ bitch. When you go to jail, they’re not here for you. They gone.” But when you go to a male facility, that shit is crowded, packed with females. When you go to a women’s facility, there’s nobody there, bro. There’s a lot of females incarcerated. Nobody visits them, not even family. If you ever see a visitor, it’s their mother or something to that degree.

How hard is daily life without Remy?

Definitely, it’s hard. But how we got our life constructed is as if she’s there, even though she’s not there. Basically, my phone line is open 24 hours a day. Just like a regular family would function, I don’t make decisions that would concern our family without her. She’s involved in everything in our household. Even though she’s incarcerated, she’s only 40 minutes away. I take the kids to visit her, and like I said, I don’t make any decisions that concern my life, her life or our kids’ lives without her.

Even though she’s behind that wall, we still live our life like that wall don’t exist. I got my closet behind the wall on one side, and her closet is on the other side, as if she’s still there. All her shit is hung up nice and neat. There’s certain times I gotta do things without her. There’s definitely times when the kids need a woman’s opinion more than mine.

What’s an example of something you’d wait until talking to her about?

One of the kids get in trouble at school. There’s two sides to every story. Like, if my son gets into a fight at school, he’ll have his story, and the teacher will have another story. I give her the whole dilemma and just get her opinion on it before I react on it. “Do you think he should be grounded, or do you think he’s innocent?” I get her opinion on everything. Remy also kind of coaches my daughter, like, “Yo, since I’m not there, you can’t let him bury himself in clothes.” Because I’m a mess. And she tells her, “You got to make sure he don’t fuckin’ eat out every night.” So my daughter be cooking and all kinds of shit, and Remy be walking her through it. It’s like she’s there, even though she’s not there. She calls in the morning and asks if her son went to school yet. “Did you check [their] homework? Did you handle this bill? Did you do that? Did you take the garbage out?” Around the clock! My life is constructed as if she’s there. There’s nothing I do without talking to her, and vice versa. To some extent, her life is in my hands, being that she’s incarcerated. There’s certain things I got to do for her that, if she was home, she’d be able to do on her own.

How hard is it when your kids ask about when she’s coming back?

They’re children. They don’t really understand why she can’t leave with us when we leave off the visit. One time, we were on a visit where—’cause they have these special events where they go in the gym—we get to move around. They play music, we bring food, kids come, people, family members come. And my son asked the security guard, “Can Remy leave with us?” And however the CO responded, he had the impression that he said “Yeah.” So he’s thinking all this time, when we leave, she’s leaving with us. When we were about to leave, and Remy couldn’t leave, it upset him. It made him cry.

Do you have to be extra-sensitive with Remy’s son?

Honestly, I treat him like I treat one of my own, straight up and down. He is one of my own. He’s my son. I talk to him. I let him know the situation she’s in and that one day she’s going to be home again. It’s hard for him, though. It’s real hard for him. But he understands. He definitely needs some special attention with his mother incarcerated. I can’t imagine growing up with my mother incarcerated. My mother was there with me 110 percent, so I can’t imagine my mother being in jail. That kid is strong.

How do you think your lives will be when she comes home?

It’s going to be even better and bigger. We got a little more wiser now. This type of shit… They say what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Well, that shit is true. We learned a lot. We learned a lot about each other, about life and people. This has been a hell of an experience. For me to sit back and say it’s easy, I’d be a damn lie. This shit’s been hard. It’s been an uphill battle to watch her suffer like that. When one of your homies go to jail, at the end of the day, it’s a man. But for a female, it’s hard, man. It’s multiplied.


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