Right now I am sitting in a hotel room. My husband’s schedule with his reserve unit has been changed so that he now goes in every day, and because the Reserve Unit isn’t exactly right around the corner from us, we have our own hotel room so that we can spend as much time together as we can until he deploys.
Deployment…I can’t believe it’s almost here. We’re counting down by days, now, no longer in weeks or months. I can’t stop my mind from wandering when I’m spending time with my husband that “these are the last moments that I’ll have like this with my husband for a long time.” Holding hands. Talking and laughing about stupid, funny things. Our many inside jokes. Watching the TV shows and movies that we both enjoy, that I know I can’t bring myself to watch without him. The emotional and physical intimacy. Falling asleep and waking up together. I’m trying not to get too sad about it while he’s here, and instead just try to enjoy the time we have left together as much as possible.
Which leads me into a conversation that my husband and I had last night, that I think is important for others who have a deploying spouse or family member. We got to talking about what my husband wants to do with his last days at home and time off coming up. Myself and our families want the time to be what he wants it to be, but at the same time, are coming up with all of these ideas that we want to make the time special for him. Which, just creates more stress for my husband. (He doesn’t do well with scheduled commitments in general.) We all know that this time is about him and what he wants to have and to do, and it can be difficult for loved ones to put aside their own bias of how they want to make the time special for the deploying soldier. But as my husband reminded me, he is the one leaving; the rest of us get to continue our lives like normal and do all of these things “back home” that he will not be able to do and enjoy for a while. And it would be damn-near impossible to do absolutely everything that all 6 of us want to do to make his last days home as ideal as possible.
On the other hand, however, I know how you feel if you’re thinking, “Well sure, he is the one leaving, but I am the one being left here without him.” I’ve been there, too. And you’re not wrong. Find some common-ground. I like to think about making the time 40-60 if not 30-70 between the two of you. You want your days together to be just as memorable, but try to gear your activities towards their desires instead of just your own.
It’s easy in these final days for your stress and anxiety levels to rise, as well. For both of you. Try your best to manage these feelings and to not take them out on each other, or your children. Remember, you’re going through this together, and you should work at being each others strength when one of you is feeling anxious. Make sure you have your support systems set up to help you through the deployment. It may take a couple of weeks, but once you find your routine after your spouse deploys, the time will go by a little easier – try to keep this in mind if you have anxiety about just how you’ll manage without your significant other. Same for your deploying spouse – if they have anxiety about leaving, about going someplace unknown or returning someplace not desirable, and generally about the unknown – they, too, will find a routine in their work and duties. Routine and distractions help.
So, while I’m literally “just waiting” right now for my husband’s work day to end, when deployment is right around the corner, we can feel like we’re just waiting. My advise is to take time together and with your family/families, stay busy, and do something special.