My son was just about 22 months old when my husband first went off to war.
I was pregnant with our 2nd child and had no clue what to expect. It was a whole new world for me. I luckily had a group of other wives whose husbands were in the same Company with mine. This made it a little easier to say goodbye.
I remember after the men got on the buses. Sitting with a few other wives. Waiting to see them drive by so we could wave one more time. As we sat there, we really didn’t know what we were really dealing with. We didn’t know then how hard it would be. How long the deployment would end up being. How many men would not come home. How scary it would be. We really had no idea how lonely we would feel.
I went home to my house with my little boy and we started the deployment. At first, it felt like I could handle it. My mom was going to come and stay with us for two months when the baby was supposed to come. I knew I would be busy with a newborn and a two-year-old.
My son was born, my husband came home for R&R, then he left again. My mom went home. My son got sick. He got better. Spring came.
As the months went on, it got harder and harder.
The feeling of loneliness took over me. I remember sitting in my bathroom, after my son went to sleep, wondering how I was going to get through that time without my husband. He is the one person I could talk to about anything. Even the silly things. The everyday things. The things husbands and wives talk about.
By this point in the deployment I wasn’t even able to talk to him that much. I think the longest we went was 30 days. 30 days without anything from my husband. I felt like I was in a weird place. I knew I was married, but I didn’t feel like I was. I knew I had a husband out there that loved me, but it seemed like it was something from another time. Your mind can really play tricks on you.
Having a community to depend on is the #1 thing you can do when you reach this point of the deployment.
When you feel so lonely and you would give anything to have a real conversation with another adult. When you crave your husband’s touch, but you know you have to wait for it. Having a community of other wives to talk about this with is what got me through those months.
When they told us that our husbands would be extended during the surge in Iraq in 2007, that they would not come home after a year, we all met at McDonald’s to let the kids play. We cried together and tried to figure out how we were going to get through it. We knew we could not handle this alone. We knew we needed each other.
So while I still struggled with that loneliness, especially at night, when the house was quiet, I was glad to have a circle of friends around me who got what I was going through. That I could vent with, cry with and get through the deployment with.
They made all of the difference!
How do you handle loneliness during your spouse’s deployment???