When The Deployment Orders Come
I remember the day so clearly, even though it has been over 11 years. Hearing the news that my husband was, in fact, going to deploy. That the deployment orders had been cut and that he would be leaving in about a month. His first combat deployment. My first deployment as his spouse.
After months of the back and forth, the rumors of when and if they were going to go, of wondering what the future would bring, deployment orders were finally cut.
Now, as a military spouse, I had to figure out how I was going to deal with all of this. How was I going to make it through? I had a toddler, I was pregnant, and I was pretty far from home. I had to get through this one way or another, even if I wasn’t sure how I was going to do so at that moment.
When deployment orders come, the first reaction is to have a major freak out. You might cry, you might get angry, you might feel like you have lost everything.
Then, you start asking questions. How long will they be gone? Where will they be going? Will we get to talk to one another? How often?
You start to figure out how you are going to get through all of this. Should you go home for the deployment? Should you stay? What about the kids? Is this the right time to start preschool?
You get sad because you start to think about what they will miss when they are gone. Your 30th birthday, your son’s first day of kindergarten, the birth of your 3rd child. You wonder how you will document all those events enough to make them feel like they are there, knowing nothing you can do will replace them being there in person.
You think about your friends, you figure out how to find new ones, and maybe just maybe you decide to give your FRG a try. Afterall, these other spouses will be going through the same thing as you; you have to find a friend among them, right?
You want to tell everyone he is leaving, but you know you can’t. And even if you could you are not sure you are ready for all the questions and worried comments from others. You want their support; you don’t want their pity.
A few days go by, and you realize that you can, in fact, make it through this big hurdle called deployment.
Others have done so; maybe you have even done so in the past. You start making deployment bucket lists, you start setting things up, you start figuring out what you need to get through.
You watch as your spouse starts to buy things for the deployment. You watch as they pack their bags, trying to hold back a tear. You take family photos, go on one last-minute trip, and try to think positively about them leaving.
And then the day before they deploy is here. You can’t believe this is happening. Deployments get canceled, right? You wonder if that would ever happen to you.
You have one last dinner, one last bedtime, one last night together.
You wake up, the day they deploy, knowing they have to go. Knowing this is real. Feeling numb throughout the whole thing. And then, you drop them off, you say goodbye, and the countdown begins.
So many military spouses have gone through all of this before. As soon as those deployment orders come, you start to figure out what is next and how you will get through. The good news is that you can find support, you are not the only military spouse going through a deployment, and that you will figure out how to make it through, even if it is just one day at a time.
What has helped the most after you found our your spouse received orders to deploy? What is your best deployment tip?