Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Deployment Series-Part 1- Letting him leave

People always want to know what life is like when your husband has to go away for an entire year. It sucks, I won’t lie. We had been married for 6 years at the time of the first deployment, but we were still young and changing. The second time, I was 30 years old and married for 11 years.

I moved home to my parents with the boys before he left. I had a good job offer there, and I didn’t have any friends in Savannah other than a former coworker. Figuring that I would get to spend time with my sisters and friends that still lived there, I shoved all the concerns I had about this to the side. I love my parents…but when you live far away for 6 years and are accustomed to your own household, it’s not always easy to blend families again. I would say it highly depends on your personality. If you are more independent and you have some friends, stay on your own. If you don’t want to be stuck at your duty station by yourself, then move to where your family or friends are, but get your own apartment. You will have to pay for this move out of pocket, though, as the army won’t foot the bill without PCS(Primary Change of Station) orders.

One of the worst parts of deployments is waiting for the time to come. The last month before the deployment, you and your spouse will be on edge. It might be his first time downrange, and he might have a lot of fears that he won’t verbalize because he doesn’t want to admit it, and because he doesn’t want to scare you. I think Andy was just as worried about me being here to cope with everything as I was about him being in harms’ way. The first time Andy left, I was a little angry because it seemed like he was a bit excited to go. I didn’t understand at the time that this was what he had been training for all these years, and it IS exciting the first time. The second time was a different story, completely. He knew how much it was going to suck. You both might experience a pull-back in your emotions as the day gets closer. It’s easy to let the tension build up and have arguments, so just be aware of what is happening inside you and discuss it so that he knows you still love him.

When Andy left the first time, both sides of our families went to see him off. I didn’t know how to say no to his parents wanting to see him off, and I wasn’t sure if I would want to be alone. The truth is, you don’t want to be alone OR with anyone, other than your husband. The downside to family coming along is that when the time comes to say “See you later” (never goodbye) to your husband, you have even less time for one last hug/kiss because there is a crowd that wants to give their hugs to him. The second time he deployed, I had the kids give their hugs and kisses at home, and I drove him in. I stayed as long as I could bear, but I made plans to leave and go home to PA for the weekend. What I wanted to do, was go to bed and cry…but learning from the first time, I kept myself occupied. I made plans in advance with my friends from home and they took me out and kept me distracted. It was a much better experience. You can (and will) have your cry when you go to bed that night, but let your pals take your mind off things. It will feel odd, but it’s okay to smile, laugh and forget how much things are going to suck for a minute. But Day 0 is over and the deployment has begun.

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  1. Wow... I don't know how you do it. Tough lady!!

    I am following you here from blog frog. Also.... I am from Pa too!!

    Just wanted to let you know, a bunch of us bloggers got together and to get more google followers, we are doing a Holiday Bloganza. You should check it out... you might be interested.

  2. My heart goes out to military families, like yours. My husband was in service "before" we got married, so I didn't have that to deal with. However, in the years since we've wed, I've had some experience with long separations
    (months at a time), and how life can get turned upside down in the process.

    It's good that you're able to write openly about what you go through as a military wife. I'm sure it will help others to read your sentiments and know they are not alone in their experiences.

    Glad you found me through Blogfrog. I just joined you as a follower here, as well.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  3. Hi Keri, When I was deployed we had been married only 6 months. when I arrived in Viet Nam I found out shortly that she was pregnant. It was 13 months before I saw her again so you can imagine how big my little girl was by then and I was only home for 30 day and had to go back for another 5 months. Yes it's tough and takes it's toll on marriages. Really enjoyed your post today. You certainly have a way with words. Have you ever written a book?

  4. Hi Terry, Liz and Odie! Thanks for reading. I really can't complain about deployments when I got to talk to my husband A LOT! It's nothing like it used to be. I have much to be thankful for...the army isn't that bad of a gig. We appreciate the support nonetheless. Odie, nope I have never written a book. But I am glad you enjoy my writing. I'm glad to see I can still do it!

  5. I chose you for the Stylish Blogger Award. Check it out!

  6. We're about to go through our first deployment a month after our first child is born. He's been deployed before but was always single. We just moved to Germany and I am NOT looking forward to it!

    This post makes me sad :( lol. But I'm glad to know that I'm not alone!

  7. TB, you are never alone. It's a sisterhood, even if we don't like the wives we are stuck with for the deployment...there is a mutual respect and understanding that if you need them, they are there. But keep your friends and family for your emotional support. I will have two more posts in the series coming soon...When does he leave?

  8. Hi Keri,I just found your blog and really enjoy reading it! We are facing our third deployment in a couple of months. Thank you for this post!