To the Military Spouse Starting Their First Deployment This Year
With a new year brings a lot of promise. We can’t help but think of all the things we will achieve, all the ways we will grow, and all the fun we will have. But for those with a deployment in the near future, things aren’t quite as exciting. Instead of looking ahead to the potential a new year can bring, there is dread. Instead of being happy about the new year, there is sadness, thinking about everything their spouse will miss.
If you are a military spouse starting your first deployment this year, know that what you are feeling is normal. Deployments are scary, and if you have never been through one before, you have no idea what to expect. You might be worried you won’t be able to make it through, you might be concerned your children will not understand, you might not see how you can say goodbye to the person you promised your life to.
The reality of saying goodbye for a deployment is that somehow, you do it. You drive them to where they need to go, you hug and kiss goodbye, and then you go home. And while you might do all of this with tears in your eyes, you will somehow find yourself in a place where you are ready to take on the months ahead.
So, to the military spouse starting your first deployment this year, make sure you are prepared for when they leave.
Figure out what you might need to make it through the time apart. Talk to your spouse about expectations, how to handle your finances, and anything else that is important to the two of you. You can never be 100% prepared for a deployment, but you can do things to make the transition a little easier.
Make sure to figure out a way to make friends at your current duty station.
I know that making friends is hard to do. Not everyone is nice. Not everyone gets you. But finding at least a couple of people to go through this deployment with will make the deployment easier. You will have people to walk through this hardship with and that is a good thing. Get out there and connect with groups and events at your duty station. They might have a lot going on that you can take part in and eventually meet people who will become your friends.
If you have an FRG, try to connect with them.
FRGs are not always the best, there can be a lot of drama, but sometimes the FRG is going to be the place to go to get through this. These are the spouses that doing EXACTLY what you are doing, for the same amount of time. If nothing else, maybe you can find a few other spouses through the FRG to meet for coffee once a week or get your kids together for a playdate. Don’t write off the FRG before a deployment just because you have heard they can have issues.
Buy a journal, write in it often.
Writing in your journal can be an excellent way to express yourself during the upcoming deployment. The journal would be a place to vent out about a bad day, complain about whatever is bothering you, and write our your feelings on everything that is going on. No one has to read what you write, not even your spouse. The journal is just for you and having one can be a good tool to have during your deployment.
Once the deployment starts, you can begin your countdown.
One day down means another day closer to them being home. There is something about the pre-deployment period that makes life difficult. You are both so stressed out about what is going to happen, that sometimes, once they leave and your countdown begins, you can feel a lot more in control of the situation. Know that no matter how many deployment days you see ahead of you, each day is a step forward and getting through each day can be a cause for celebration.
As you look at the rest of your year, not sure how things are going to go, know that there is support out there for you and your situation. From blog posts to websites, to books, to Facebook groups, to groups at your duty station. From a good friend you can hang out with a few times a week to a family member, you can call on your hardest days. Find the support that works for you and know that deployments eventually end and your spouse will be back with you again.
What are your best tips for getting through a deployment?