The Women Who Wait - But Why?

By Gerard McGrath, from insidetime issue March 2012 Gerard McGrath ponders on whether absence really does make the heart grow fonder

Were I as risk averse as would be good for me there is no way I would even contemplate to write what follows. However, I have rarely shied from the polemical, the contentious. I preface matters in stating that all I venture are my opinions born of experience and observations. I intend no offence, rather, I hope to stimulate a discussion or two, give pause for thought. I recognise there will be those who hold the contra view(s) to mine. There are diverse reasons why those involved in relationships have to endure enforced separation. The wives and partners of service personnel never know when their partners will be deployed to foreign lands for months on end. Many civilian jobs see people away from home for days, weeks and months. In all these cases it can be safely stated that those involved in the relationships entered into them knowing and accepting that a partner may be absent for ‘x’ period of time to earn a crust. All well and good; if you are romantically involved with someone in the navy, there’s a probability they will be at sea, away from home. It goes with the territory as is said. Where the wives and partners of we prisoners are concerned I contend to be in no way comparable to the aforementioned scenarios. On second thought, rewind. If a wife, a partner ‘chooses’ to be involved with a criminal he/she must know they run the risk of enforced separation. Given my own appalling record of crimes of acquisition I feel best qualified to comment on those of we felons who commit such crimes. True, wives, girlfriends, are not necessarily au fait with what the loved one is up to in terms of robbery, burglary, fraud, drug dealing, etc. in many cases the first they know is when a call is placed from the custody suite of the police station. There follows all that the women who wait endure in the name of what – ‘Love’? I question that, with all the inherent risk of so doing.