They tell you not to trust the date you are first given for your spouse’s return from a deployment. That is good advice. Deployment dates change all of the time. Maybe by just a few weeks, maybe just a few days, and sometimes by a few months.
Being aware that nothing is set in stone is a good idea. You don’t want to get disappointed. You don’t want to disappoint your kids. And as much as you want to have a firm date, you know you can’t ever really get one.
However, when your spouse’s deployment gets extended, it can be one of the most stressful things you have to go through. We went through this in 2007, and now, more families are going through it due to the new restrictions about troop movements due to what is going on in the world.
A deployment extension means, having to wait longer than you ever thought you would for your spouse to return home from deployment.
A deployment extension means you will probably always assume a deployment will get extended in the future, just to protect yourself.
A deployment extension means that there will be more missed birthdays and more missed holidays.
A deployment extension can truly mess with your emotions. You know dates could have changed, but that still won’t prepare you for actually going through it. You know you are strong enough to get through even a few more weeks of a deployment, but you also feel yourself starting to break at the thought of even more time apart.
When a military family has to go through an extension, it creates a lot of fear. Will the deployment be extended even longer? Will we ever get a homecoming date?
When a military family has to go through an extension, it can be hard to relate to other family and friends who don’t have to go through it. It can be hard to relate when people are talking about spending too much time together when all you really want is your loved one back in your arms.
When a military family has to go through a deployment extension, the stress levels can be very high, and everyone can be very emotional. There will be tears, and anger and frustrations, even when it comes to little things in life.
My heart goes out to any military family going through this right now. You thought the deployment was almost over, but now it needs to go on a little longer. You thought you had gotten through the worst of it, but now you still have too many days ahead of you. You might be feeling like you are alone in how you feel, but I assure you, you are not.
When I found out my husband was going to get extended, I felt defeated. I felt like I didn’t have the energy to make it through any more deployment days. I was so sad, and so frustrated that this was happening.
For us, a deployment extension meant that my husband would be gone over a year. I am not sure how many military families are facing that right now. But being deployed over a year brings up even more struggles and frustration. There is just something about hitting that year mark that is just so sad and frustrating.
But whether you thought you would have a four-month deployment and now looking at six months, or a nine-month deployment and now dealing with them being deployed almost a year, you are allowed to grieve a delayed homecoming.
Your feelings are real and it’s okay to be frustrated that you are not going to see your spouse when you thought you would. Yes, you know how important it is to keep people safe and travel restrictions are apart of that. But that doesn’t mean you are not going to grieve what was or what your expectations were before this happened.
I can tell you to stay busy, that’s really all you can do but these days staying busy is harder then it used to be. Maybe staying busy will be working on a household project or taking a long drive with the kids every day.
I can tell you to reach out to friends, which is important. But during this time you can’t all get together like you used to. You can’t meet up for coffee or a playdate, and that adds another level of frustration. Thank goodness we still have our phones and social media.
I can tell you to take this one day at a time, but I know how hard that. I know that the long days don’t want to move and that it seems like the deployment will never be over. I know how hard it is to wait even longer than you thought you would have to.
This time in history is a hard time for everyone. We are all missing something, but for those military families going through a deployment extension, they are missing a part of their family, and that truly can be heartbreaking.
If you are not going through this right now, have compassion for those who are. This is something that could happen to any of us with a spouse in the military and has happened to many of us in the past. Let’s come together as a community to get through this, and help one another through the days ahead.
18. “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine