Some of the hardest days of my life as a military spouse have been the days I have had to say goodbye to my husband. To give him one more hug, one more kiss, and hope and pray he would return to us. To watch him as he said goodbye to our children, knowing that they will be in different stages when he returns.
Saying goodbye is never easy.
Saying goodbye to your spouse as they go off to war is one of the hardest things you will have to do as a military spouse.
Our goodbyes have been different depending on the deployment and the situation. Some we have stayed around for a while and waited until we saw him leave. Others we have dropped him off and drove away before he got on the bus. I learned after the first deployment that leaving earlier was easier for all of us.
If you are getting ready to have to say goodbye to your spouse for a deployment or other reason, here are some ideas to help get through that day:
1. Do your goodbye your way. Different people handle the goodbyes in different ways. Your spouse might have a certain way he wants to say goodbye, you might have a certain way you want to say goodbye. Take some time to talk things over and figure out what works best for your family.
2. Cry if you need to. If you need to cry, do so. I believe for some of us crying is getting the sadness out and it is a step we have to take to get to where we can accept what is going on.
I have said goodbye to my husband and cried in the car and I have said goodbye and no tears came until I got home. It just depended on my mood. It’s okay to cry if you need to. Deployments are sad. Tears might come.
3. Plan the first few days. If you can figure out exactly what you are going to do after you say your goodbyes, it will be an easier start to the deployment. You might want to plan to rent a movie and order pizza, you might want to get together with friends, you might just want to go to bed early and call it a night. Make a plan and then you will have some direction once you leave the drop off location.
4. Call a friend. Or not. Some people want to talk to others as soon as they have said goodbye, others want some alone time. Think about what would work best for you. If you feel the need, call a friend or family member.
If you don’t want to talk to anyone, don’t feel like you have to. Take the time to get used to your new normal and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for not calling them as soon as your spouse has left.
If you need to notify family, send out a group text or message. Let them know you will be up for chatting in a few days. Most people will respect that.
5. Remember, goodbye means the countdown can begin. Waiting for a deployment to start is so rough. Once they actually leave, the countdown can begin. Each day you mark off your calendar is one day closer to them being home. As you say your goodbyes, remember that the deployment or time away is just a short period of time in the scheme of things. Time will pass and they will be back with you again.
If you are in a place where you will be saying goodbye soon, I am not going to lie, doing this will probably be one of the hardest things you will have to do. Know that you are not alone in what you are going through and that a lot of other military spouses around you are feeling the same way.