Deployments! My husband has been home from his last deployment for about 18 months now. He got back a little before Christmas of 2013. It was his 4th deployment and it was a very difficult one for me. I am not sure if it was because I carried the weight of the other three, if I knew it was probably going to be his last one or if I never thought he would actually be going until two weeks before. It was stressful , but somehow I made it through those 6 months and came out the other side.
I have 4 deployments in my past and they will always stay with me. The good times, the bad times, soldiers lost, new friends found, finding the good in them, trying to handle the bad. I was forever changed by the years my husband was at war. I am a different person because of them. They are my past and will always impact my future. They have changed the way I parent, how I make friends and have clouded choices I make in the future.
Looking back I tend to cringe when I remember all the bad. The hard nights, the sad nights, the rough days, the breakdowns and all of that. But if I really look into it, I know I have learned and grown as a person because of them. I know that in some ways, deployments changed me for the better.
As much as I hate having to take care of the house when my husband is gone, as much as I hate having to be the only one making certain decisions, it has made me into a more independent person. I have had to become one. I had no other choice. This isn’t to say I never feel like I need my husband because I do, just that I know I can do things on my own if I need to. It is a little freeing. And a little scary.
Through all the days I spent without my husband home, I have learned how to stay busy. I feel like I work hard to create a balance of just enough busyness not to drive myself crazy. I can find stuff for us to do, I can make plans to fill the calendar. I am never ever bored because I always keep going. I can’t just not make any plans because that means we will start to get too lonely and I can’t stand that feeling.
I know how people get through impossible things
If I hear about someone losing a child, losing a home, losing a marriage…I never tell them I could never go through what they are going through. Why? Because although I have never been through those types of tragedies, I know that when you are in a very hard and impossible situation, you do what you have to do to get through it. You cry, you vent, you pray and you make your way to the next day. You get through it because you have it. You have no choice.
I can sympathize with others
If I hear someone else is getting ready to send their spouse off to war, I can totally sympathize with that. I can be a listening ear, someone to talk to about it, I truly understand how hard it can be to say goodbye. I get it and I can help someone else get through it. I have experienced different types of deployments too. I have been through long ones and short ones. Scary ones and more mild ones. I get it and I can offer support to others who might need it.
I am not going to take my husband for granted
I am not going to wish him away. I am going to enjoy the moments together. I will remember how hard it was to live without him. To spend over a year without him in our home. I am going to try hard to always remember that. It isn’t always easy. When my husband went away for his two-week training with the Guard, it felt impossible. I really had to give myself a talking to. I have gone so much longer without talking to him, I should be able to handle this.