You never thought this day would come, you held on to the hope that something would change. That they really wouldn’t have to go, or that you would get some extra time together.
But it is now the night before they deploy, the last night to say goodbye, and you are trying to keep it all together.
A part of you is relieved. The deployment can begin. You can start your countdown.
The sooner they leave, the sooner the deployment will be over. And then life can get back to normal. At least on the surface.
You have been through this before, but this time seems different. Deployments always seem so different, no matter how many you go through.
You are worried about your kids, you are worried about yourself. You want to rock this deployment, but right now you are just wondering how you will make it through each day. You want to thrive vs just survive during this deployment, but that seems like a big task.
Your anxiety is up, your anxiety always goes up when they deploy. You think about all the things you can do to help, you hope that something does.
On this night before they deploy, you think about all you have been through together. You remember your dating years, your wedding, your first year together. You think about your future, what may be, what you hope will be.
You are fully aware of the dangers of serving in a war zone, but you hope and you pray that your spouse will come back to you. You hope and pray your friends can have that happen too. You hope and pray for a deployment where everyone returns…not sure how possible that even is.
You hope you can find your groove this deployment like you did last time. You figured out how to do this before, you should be able to do it again. Your friend circle has changed, but you hope that you can make plenty of good memories with your new friends, just like you did last time.
As you watch your spouse, this night before they deploy, you think about how many times you have had to watch them go.
When they left for basic training, a few years into your marriage.
When they deployed the first time when your son was only a year old.
When they left for JRTC, to prepare for this deployment.
You remind yourself you have been through this before, even though you will never get used to saying goodbye. You remind yourself that you are strong and can support your spouse in this way. You remind yourself that you are creative and always figure it out.
But you are worried too. Worried that this deployment will be too long. Worried that this deployment will be too hard. Worried that this deployment might break you…hours before they even have to go.
You want to enjoy this last night together. You don’t want the time together to be filled with tears. There will be time for tears later.
On this night before they deploy, you try to focus on what you can accomplish when they are gone. You make a list of deployment goals. You make notes of what you hope to get done.
As you lay your head on your pillow that night, you hold back the tears as they hold you one last time before they go. You know the morning will come soon, too soon. You know this time together is limited.
You drift off to sleep, and before you know it is the morning of the deployment. They are already up, getting ready. You don’t want to get up, if you do, all of this becomes reals. But you do it anyway.
And soon it is time to leave, to get into the car, to drive them to where they have to go.
And then you are saying goodbye. You are letting go. One last hug, one last kiss. And one more just because.
They say goodbye to the kids, they say goodbye to you, and they walk away, to start another deployment, another time apart.
As a military spouse, you know deployments are part of the deal. You know that saying goodbye is a part of the deal. You know that this won’t be the last time you will have to say goodbye.
But you also know that you are strong enough for this. You are strong enough for another deployment. The time apart won’t always be easy, and the days might be more difficult than normal, but you are committed to getting through, even if just one day at a time.
Are you getting ready to go through a deployment? Make sure to check out my other deployment posts to help you through.