The Deployment That Never Goes Away

The Deployment That Never Goes Away

The Deployment That Never Goes Away

It’s been almost 7 years since that awful 15-month deployment ended. It still touches me in different ways. You hear about those in the military never forgetting about the deployments. And this is true. But the spouse, she or he never forgets either.

A Military spouse is never going to forget how hard it was to let their spouse go, how lonely the nights were or how happy they were when they finally came home.

We’ve been through several other deployments since then. However, the 15-month deployment was the one that sticks with me the most. It was a hard deployment and not just because it was so long. We lost a lot of men, especially compared to the rest of our deployments. It seemed like every week we heard the news that another soldier had lost his life. Three of my friends lost their husbands during that deployment.

It probably didn’t help that we were overseas away from family. I was one of the lucky ones and my mom was able to come visit for two months and my dad for about three weeks. My brother was even able to visit for a week. Not everyone was so lucky. A lot of extra loneliness that deployment.

The day before Thanksgiving 2007, I went to pick up my husband. Finally, the deployment was over. Peace. At least temporarily. It was over. The deployment that would never end was finally over.

That deployment shaped me into who I am today.  Who I became as a parent. Who I became as a wife. Who I am as a person.

I went 11 months without seeing my husband. My little boy was three weeks old when daddy said goodbye during R&R, he didn’t see his daddy again until he was 11 months old. I can hardly talk about this without breaking into tears. It is something that seems so unreal and seems so impossible. How did we even get through that? How did we go that long without seeing each other? How did we make it through…?

I don’t really know.

We just kept going. We just didn’t give up. We couldn’t give up. We had no choice but to stay and get through it.

I don’t think I will ever forget what that was like. I don’t think anything could ever be exactly like that. I think that we will always be affected by that in some way. I had friends that lost their husband during the deployment. I have friends that lost their husband since that deployment.  I think it changed everyone.

When I hear that the Military is going “back” to Iraq, I think of that deployment. I think of the families and the men and women that will have to go back over there. I think of everything that happened and I hope and pray that deployments will not be like that again.

I know that the Military will go to war. It’s expected. I just wish there was some way to make it a little bit easier. Someway to make it so that it wasn’t so gut-wrenching. Little things that would make it a little bit easier. Such as giving people plenty of time to regroup and spend time with family. To get back to some kind of normal before they have to deploy again, before they even have to think about deploying again.

Because you never forget the deployments.

Whether you were the one deployed or the one who stayed home. You never forget them. They stay with you forever. The smallest thing can remind you of them. Can take you right back.

So even though our 15-month deployment was in 2007. Even though it was years ago. Even though my husband deployed since then. It is the one that I always think about. It is the one that will stay with me forever.

Is there a deployment that hit you harder than the others?

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11 thoughts on “The Deployment That Never Goes Away”

  1. As someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with the military, I really, really appreciated this post. I can’t imagine going through that, being on your own with a three-week-old baby and watching him hit all those milestones without his daddy. Thank you guys so much for your sacrifice.

  2. You are so strong—I have never been away from my husband or family for more than a few days. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what it would be like.

  3. 15 months. I can’t even imagine. The longest I’ve gone without my husband is one year. Unfortunately I wasn’t by any family members so I leaned on friends a lot.

  4. 15 months is a long time, most Canadian deployments are 6-9 months so I don’t really have a frame of reference for that. But I do entirely 100% understand the rest. They make you who you are and they stick with you. We were newlyweds nd 20 years old the first time Dh went to Afghanistan, I feel like we both grew into adults then.

  5. Wow that sounds like a long time. My hubby left two weeks after our daughter was born, but came back 7 months later. I can’t imagine going so much longer without her seeing him.

  6. I have absolutely nothing constructive to add and no words of eloquence that quite express how this tugged at my heart. I cannot imagine and thank goodness for strong women like you.

  7. Julie, Thank you for this post. For talking about what families go through. Everyone is always trying to be so brave in times that are (understatement) so hard. I think talking about it helps others to know we are not alone or weak. It just STINKS and we are all stronger than we could ever imagine. Thanks again.

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