Life: Inside-Out

Deploying Active Duty, and Deploying as a Reservist

My husband and I have learned a lot about the differences of being in the service as an Active Duty Soldier, and being in the service as a Reservist.  Aside from the schedule being quite different (instead of your Monday-Friday routine where being a soldier is your full-time job, you report to your Duty Station for one weekend a month as a Reservist, with one extended training each year), the entire state of mind is different.

We’ve also learned that Active Duty deployments, and deploying as a Reservist, are quite different in terms of transition.

As an Active Duty Soldier, my husband’s unit was given 1 month of Leave upon returning from Deployment.  At the end of leave, the routine of reporting to Post for work resumed.  The transition of being in a Deployed state of mind to returning to life state-side, was more subtle, since everyone lives within a reasonable distance from Post, and therefore from each other, and they were reminded that they are still Soldiers, within a month.

As a Reservist, however, we are learning that the transition is much more abrupt.  Reservists, from my experience, are likely to not only live in different towns, but different counties, and even states from another.  After the Homecoming Ceremony, which we sat anxiously and impatiently through until the Soldiers were released, everyone scattered to their families and back home.  The soldiers had a little over 3 months “off” before they returned to their monthly drill weekend duties.

Because the Reserves aren’t generally a full-time job for Soldiers, once home from deployment, soldiers are thrown immediately back into their civilian lives, taking whatever time their employers granted before returning to work.  But, for the most part, the Military is not an everyday aspect of these soldiers lives…it was something that they did one weekend a month, 2 or 3 weeks a year, that they suddenly went to Soldiering daily for months, and now, you don’t have to Soldier any more, with little time for that part of yourself to turn off.  There’s no gradual transition like there was as an Active Duty soldier.

I find this to be problematic.  As a Soldier who was deployed, you go from never being alone, to being a Soldier mentally day-in and day-out for the better part of a year or more.  All of a sudden, you’re thrown back into your Civilian Life.  You find that the civilian friends that you had before deployment have changed, that you have changed, and they don’t understand you any more.  You’ve experienced something that you can’t quite explain to someone who hasn’t lived it.  You may have experienced something that you don’t want to have to explain to anyone, something that you don’t want to have to relive.  Something that you might be ashamed to admit to your non-military friends, because they wouldn’t understand.

I recall the sick interest that people have when speaking to a Veteran, and wanting to know if they’ve killed someone.  I can’t think of anyone I know who has, who is also proud of having done so.

I digress.  Life is different when you return from a deployment; and even though you can go into a deployment knowing this will happen, no one can adequately prepare for just how those you leave back home change.  Or, how your soldier will have changed when he or she returns home.

And I have my own reservations for how long the Soldiers were on “leave” before returning back to their drill duties.  I cannot speak for all soldiers, but I know that my husband was in communication with his chain of command and some of the soldiers that he deployed with between Homecoming and Drill.  I do not know if all soldiers were kept in communication with or not.  But the abruptness of everything has taught me that next time, my husband and I are coordinating at least monthly social events for as many soldiers as we can gather.

Think about it – you’re never alone for months, and all of a sudden you’re not constantly surrounded by a group of your peers.  That would make anyone lonely after an extended period of time.  So, to make the transition a bit easier, I recommend to anyone who is in the service to stay as connected as possible between deployment and resuming your Military duties.

As civilians,  we can come up with scenarios that we can understand as being similar to empathize, but honestly, there’s nothing like it unless you’ve lived it.  Stay connected with your civilian friends, as they will keep you connected to your non-military life, but also make it an effort to stay connected with your military friends, as they are essentially a part of your family, and they will keep you grounded.  Regardless of your current status with the service, do not let yourself become disconnected from your peers; and don’t let your peers become disconnected from you.

Advertisements

Looking Back on 2016

It is the final day of 2016.  Most people would say that this year was a terrible year…at least, that’s the consensus that I get from Facebook and social media.  I’m not bragging when I say that 2016 didn’t seem all that bad for us.  It’s just my personal observation.

Was it the best year?  No.  But it was better than 2011 was for me.

 

The year began with my husband already deployed – he had been deployed about 6 months by the time January 1, 2016 rolled around.  I was three months into my job.

 

Between the deployment and my job, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and about life.

 

I’ve learned (more) patience.  Patience with myself; patience with my loved ones; patience in my work; and patience with others.  Admittedly, I still struggle with patience sometimes, but I’m more cognisant of it.

My husband taught me patience, because I would not receive a call or Skype from him every day while he was deployed.  Sometimes this was out of his control, sometimes this was his choice.  He would not call me if he had had a rough day and was in a bad mood, and knew that all he would do on the phone with me was complain or argue.  I learned to be more understanding of his needs, and not just the needs and wants of my own.  I would much rather have conversations with him that made me laugh, or that I could look back fondly on, that having arguments with him.  Because of this, we laughed a lot with each other, and were never angry with each other on the phone during his deployment.

Living with my parents during the time of his deployment also taught me to be more patient with them, and others that I love.  Admittedly, it was more difficult to be patient with my parents.  I love them dearly, but there’s forever the struggle while living with them again of being their child, but also being a grown adult.  Having been a child to them longer than I have been an adult with them, there’s learned roles and behavior that has proven more difficult to outgrow than outfit that you absolutely hated to wear that your mother just loved to see you in.  However, in becoming an adult, I’ve recognized my own behavior and tendencies, and learned to control the child-like outbursts of learned behavior in reaction to their own parenting tendencies.  While my parents will always be my parents, they are also among two of my best friends.

Between learning to be more patient with my husband and my loved ones, I’ve also learned to be more patient with myself at work, as well as with my work.  I absolutely love my job – which having worked jobs that I absolutely hated, is so refreshing to be able to say! – however I did expect more of myself in my first months of employment than was possible.  I had to be patient with the learning curve of learning in the in’s and out’s of the Organization, of learning the details of my duties and reports that I am responsible for generating.  And with patience, and slowing down, I have learned so much in my job, and continue to excel.

 

2016 has also taught me more about love.  To love more deeply, more openly, and more genuinely.  2016 taught me this through Homecoming, Holidays, Family, Giving, and even through Loss.

My husband’s unit came home from deployment in late April.  There is nothing like the feeling of having your loved one away (for so long), and to have them come home.  I am extremely sympathetic to those who will not get to experience this feeling – my heart goes out to you.

Family means more to me than anything, and fortunately both of our parents could be with us for the homecoming, and have been able to be together for the holidays this year as well.

However, this year has not gone without loss.

First, my husband’s grandfather passed away this spring shortly after his homecoming.  It was unfortunate that my husband hadn’t been able to see him since his last night that he was home on leave; thankfully his grandfather was in good health at that time, and his last memory of him is a good one.  My husband had spoken with his grandfather on the phone while he was in the hospital, but had not been able to see him as my husband was battling the rhinovirus and didn’t want to make his grandfather’s condition worse.  The phone call was a good one, as it was a better day for his grandfather and he was in good spirits.  However, only days later, his health failed, and he passed away.

Most of the family was able to come together for the funeral, which was a wonderful time spent together remembering the memory of the man who passed away.  There were tears, but the day overall was a joyous one of a celebration of the life that was.

 

Shortly after, in the summer, a heavier loss came into our lives.  For one of the soldiers in my husband’s unit took his own life.

I’ve debated writing about it – I don’t want to take any chance of disrespecting his memory, his family, or anyone effected by suicide.  It’s not easily that I write about this, but I write it fully out of respect.

I do not know the details leading up to this soldier’s decision, and I will not write about the details of the suicide, because that is no one else’s business than those who needed to know.  However, unfortunately, this soldier felt that it was better for him to end his life, than anything else.  No one knew what was going on in his mind, that this was a decision he had been thinking about and finally decided upon.  But suicide hits you in ways that you didn’t expect.

You feel remorse; you should of known, you should have done something to prevent it, to be there.  I saw the guilt rip through the unit as news of his suicide hit.  I saw the guilt in my husband.  You spend months with someone, and feel like you should have done more.  No one really knew how to process the news.  In hindsight, everyone said they would of done this or that to prevent it, to of proactively been there for him, for everyone.  But no one knew, because the soldier didn’t say anything.  Everyone came home and became immersed into their lives again by their loved ones, by their jobs…  The soldiers had MONTHS of civilian life after deployment before they were reunited as a unit again.  I could go one about the hindsight of soldiers coming home from war, without any support or system in place to help them decompress from being and thinking like a soldier to resuming life as a civilian again, but I digress.  That’s for another day.

The soldier that took his own life, is one of many, by my speculation who come home from deployment/war, and feel lost, or without cause.  And in 2016, for the first time in the 7 years that we have been involved with the military, we have had to experience a suicide of a soldier.

It is with loss that I have learned to be more loving, to give more of myself to others in need.  Military or civilian.  You never know who is struggling with their own inner demons, their own silent battle, who just needs a “hello” or a hug, a smile or a kind deed.  These gifts are free to give, but can mean the world to someone.

I feel like so many people function under the notion that it’s easier to just do nothing.  Which, is a true statement.  But, what kind of world are we going to turn into if we don’t do?  What would a world look like without human compassion?  Is that a world we want to live in?  A world that we want to pass down to our future generations?

2016 was a “bad” year for a lot of people, why would we want to continue in such a way that 2016 actually looks “good” in hindsight or comparison to the years to come?

 

Otherwise, for us 2016 was an unsettled year.  Homecoming also means “transition”, so we spent a few months getting to know each other again, getting used to living with each other.  We went on a few local trips and made memories together, but everything did feel rushed.  Now, as the year comes to a close and we embark on a new year, everything finally feels like it is settling down, like we have found our groove.  I have a bright outlook for 2017 (politics aside), and hope that for the rest of you, that 2017 is a wonderful year, and brings you joy when you sit down on December 31, 2017 and look back on the year.

 

Happy New Year, and I am sending a hug from me to you if you find yourself in need of one.  Or, even if you don’t.

 

Life Since Homecoming

It has been roughly 4 months since my husband’s unit returned home from Deployment.  My apologies for my extended absence from writing – life has been a whirl since Homecoming.  We moved into a new place to live (a rental), and we only took what was a short reprieve before jumping back into life.

Homecoming was a wonderful, and wonderfully-awkward, transition.  For us, since we managed to keep up and continue good communication during deployment, in a sense we picked up right where we left off.  On the other hand, there was some adjusting for both of us as we learned how to live with each other again.  You know this person intimately, you love this person, but they have not been a part of your daily life or your routine decisions for an extended period.  It’s like playing a game of song and dance, as you find yourself feeling like your starting to date this person again, as opposed to welcoming home your spouse from a day at work.  We didn’t feel like strangers to each other.  Rather, it was hard to believe that the person that you’ve been missing, who has been halfway around the world from you, is now in the same room as you!

Fortunately, as routines go, because we moved into a new apartment shortly after he was home, we did not have any angst about “how things are done here”, since we were figuring out our new space together.

For the two of us, aside from figuring each other out, how the time had changed us, the transition was wonderful.  We spent a few extended weekends away, some with family and some just the two of us, and otherwise jumped back into life.  He took some brief time off before returning to civilian work; which in hindsight, was not long enough, because he’s felt like he hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since he got home.  Not only have we moved into a new apartment, my husband has also taken on side projects to help others, and with the help of our parents, has built ourselves a shed!  It’s only been recently that we’ve been able to finally relax.

Life is calming down a bit, and we are fitting into our routine with each other.  Needless to say, I am absolutely loving having my soldier home.

 

 

Homecoming Woes…and the Guilt

Homecoming is coming up so close, and I wish that I could say that it was coming up quickly.  But, I saw a meme on Facebook that described it perfectly.  It said something like each month averages 30 days, but the last month of deployment is 2,956 days.  That’s exactly how this month feels.  The last two months seemed to fly right by, for me, at least.  But not this one…it’s only April 11.  ONLY!  I hate it.

 

But as excited as I am that deployment will be over (eventually), I’m also in a state of anxiety about it.  And that, has me feeling guilty.  Because Homecoming should be a wonderful moment, right?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I AM excited to have my husband home soon.  I AM excited to continue our life together and not 6,000 miles apart.  [Holy f***, six-thousand miles.  Until just now, I hadn’t actually mapped it out.]  And I certainly would rather have him home than deployed, or anywhere with out me, really.  But, having been apart for so long, there’s a certain level of anxiety that I think every spouse goes through leading up to homecoming.  At least, I think, I haven’t surveyed the populous to know for sure.

 

People who know me and know about my husband’s deployment tell me that I “must be excited that he’s coming home soon!”  And, I am.  But I’m also nervous as hell.  We’re married, so it’s not like we have a relationship that family has.  Family is family, and family loves family no matter what.  But we made the choice to get married, and now we’ve been apart for so many months, and experienced so many different things without the other to share in the experience with.  Have we continued to grow together, despite the distance, to be in sync upon his return?  Is our trajection in life still on the same path as the other, or have we gone off-course?

Granted, this deployment has gone extremely well for us, in regards to our relationship.  I don’t think we’ve had a single argument, which is a win, especially compared to the first deployment.  Not to say that it hasn’t been frustrating for either of us, we just haven’t taken those frustrations out on each other.  But even though we are doing great together, now, I worry about life resuming.

 

Let’s face it, during a deployment, even though life goes on, you basically feel like you are putting your relationship on “PAUSE.”  Life has moved on around you, you have grown and changed and furthered yourself, and likewise so hasn’t he or she.  Can your relationship resume with all of the personal growth that has occurred with each of you?

This scares me, because I know that neither of us are the same as we were before he left for deployment.  This isn’t a bad thing, I think we have both grown in great ways; I just hope that we are just as compatible as before.

 

Then, there’s the whole anxiety about appearances.  Some of the wives from my unit have done WONDERFUL had getting healthy and working out during this deployment for both themselves and their spouses.  Me?  I wasn’t as dedicated to any set work out plan for a long time.  Near the start of my husband’s deployment, before I started working, I wasn’t doing much of anything.  Then I started to work full time, and eventually started workout classes.  I’m currently on my second course of a high intensity workout class, I work out once a week with one of the women that I work with, and I try to get my own cardio in at least once a week.  So, on a good week I am putting in 3 days to weight and core training and cardio.  As time goes on, the more committed I get to it.  I even woke up one day a few months ago with this new urge to start running!  My husband is a runner, and I want to get healthy and fit (and lean), and I want to run.  I actually haven’t run yet, because of the winter that we have had it has either been too cold or too wet for the majority of the days that I would have been able to run, but I am looking forward to starting soon.  I am fairly confident in myself and my appearance; I still have some improving to do, but I know that my husband loves my body, so I’m not too awfully worried.  Even still, maybe we’ll leave the lights off the first night back.

But, I am so excited to be able to say that my skin has finally mostly cleared up!  I’ve battled acne ever since puberty, and NOTHING seemed to resolve it completely.  Only a few months ago was my birth control changed, in conjunction with two topical prescriptions, and I have made the realization that my skin would react negatively if I consumed gluten!  So, in changing my medication, and changing my diet, my skin looks the best it has looked in years.  It’s an entirely new sensation for me when I touch my face for it to feel smooth in my hands.

Even still, I have doubts and wonder will I look good enough?  Will he still find me beautiful?  Will he like what I have had done with my hair?

 

There is a lot that rides on Homecoming, and it is extremely nerve-racking!

 

Yes, I am excited that my husband will be coming home.  But I have moments when that excitement is overruled by anxiety and worry about what’s to come AFTER Homecoming.  Will life continue to be what we thought it would be, with our plans before he left, or will life take a shift?  And will that shift be for the better, or not?

Valentine’s Day At Our House

This morning, while lazily eating a bowl of oatmeal and watching the Sunday Morning show on CBS with my Mom, Charles Osgood introduced an Opinion monologue from comedian Paul Reiser (anyone else remember the show Mad About You?)  The link to this realist’s view of Valentine’s Day is found here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/paul-reiser-on-irritating-valentines-day/

 

I open with sharing this article with you, because Paul summarizes how I (read: we) view Valentine’s Day.

Sure, when I was a teenager and started dating, I fell into the belief that Valentine’s Day was a HUGE deal, and I should be spoiled beyond belief on this day.  That my boyfriend’s efforts on this day spoke volumes for 1. how well he could spoil me, and 2. how much he loved me.  We fought the crowds with other believers for reservations at restaurants, or seats at the movie theater.  Even then, I wasn’t sure how I felt about receiving bouquets, but I remember receiving them, and the biggest heart-shaped-box possible of chocolates.  I never said I made it easy for any of the men in my life.

As I got older, and my relationships also matured, I began to see Valentine’s Day from an outsider’s perspective.   When I met and started dating my husband, I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan of Valentine’s Day.  And I certainly wasn’t a fan of bouquets.  The boxes of chocolates, however?  We reserve February 15th for discount Valentine’s Day candy shopping.  And that’s how I like it.

But we do not celebrate “Valentine’s Day.”  We do not buy into this massive hysteria of celebrating our relationship one day a year, which this year happens to be the coldest day of the year.  We don’t fight crowds at a fancy restaurant, or anywhere else couples congregate to celebrate our relationship.  We love each other 365/66 days each and every year, and share in and show our love throughout the year.  Although, because I LOVE greeting cards, I will buy my husband a card or two for almost each and every holiday, Valentine’s Day being no exception.

This year, we are celebrating Valentine’s Day apart due to deployment.  Which is a whole other reason that I do not observe Valentine’s Day.

We’ve just gotten over the loneliness of missing each other through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  Now piggy-backing on all of these Holidays that we DO celebrate, and this holiday that is devoted to devotion.  Like I really need one more reason to miss my husband, am I right?

I certainly don’t scoff at others’ demonstrations of love with their loved ones on this day – I am not one to dictate how everyone spends today or celebrates their love.  That would just be ridiculous and awfully mean of me to do.  But if you’re not in the mood to celebrate, or just haven’t ever felt the need to celebrate your relationship one day a year on this date, I am here to tell you that it is OK!

Still feel the need to celebrate while your significant other is deployed or away?  Get together with the ladies and celebrate “Galentine’s Day” instead!  (I don’t have a fancy word for the guys, sorry).  Or, pamper yourself today!  If today just doesn’t feel like any other Sunday for you, don’t sulk about it.  Do something that brings on fond memories of your relationship; watch a romantic comedy.  Cook yourself a meal – maybe something your loved one doesn’t care for or cannot eat if he or she has food allergies or sensitivities.  Or do something creative and/or good for you; paint, read, exercise, find something on Pinterest to replicate.  If today means something to you, you should feel good today!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, however you recognize, or don’t recognize, today!

Is That The Light, Getting Closer?…

I am excited.

I am finally excited.

The light at the end of the ominous tunnel is no longer a portentous, evasive, distant object in the way off distance.  And still, while the light isn’t “static” yet (being that I do not have an official date that I need to keep secret on my blog for obvious OPSEC purposes), but I do know that there is a particular weekend that I can plan on.  And THAT is something to be excited about!

I finally have a countdown that I can literally and figuratively count on.

You know, unless the military decides to change things.  (That NEVER happens, right?)

But I’m finally exciting about something.  Deployment doesn’t seem so daunting anymore; I know it’ll be over sooner than I can imagine, I’m sure.

Deployment. Will. Be. Over.

I just need to let that sentence sink in right now.  Like, wow.  It’s only a matter of time until my husband is home and in my arms again, and we are picking up where we left off and resuming our lives together.  We’ll be enjoying each other’s company in one of our favorite vacation spots.  This, I am especially looking forward to!

To everyone else currently experiencing a deployment, I hope that the light at the end of your tunnel is also getting increasingly closer, and that homecoming will be upon you before you know it!

Best wishes for you all!

When Do You Hit Your Deployment Wall?

I’ll start this off by being rather blunt; I am drinking wine today.  375 m, to be exact.  One bottle of Cellar Door’s Treasure, to myself.  (It’s a small bottle, so really it’s only two full wine glasses.)  No worries.

To continue to be frank, I’ve hit my wall.

It’s been a while into this deployment; we are better than half way through.  And, to be honest, it’s actually gone rather well.  While my husband and I have had some serious conversations, the vibe has overall been really good.  Our relationship has stayed strong.  Other than a few times that I have put my foot in my mouth and soured the mood of conversations, we have shared so many more laughs than our previously deployment.  He has also made the conscious effort to make most of his phone calls to me when he’s in a good mood, and hasn’t called me when he’s feeling argumentative.  And I’m always just so thankful to hear from him, that I have no reason to argue with him.

But, all that being said, I am so over this deployment.  I am ready for my husband to be home.  To have our normal routine back.  To have date night’s again.  [Good God how I miss our date nights and weekend get-aways!]  Recently, two events have come and gone that we had made a habit of doing together; the Ice-Bar at the Samoset, and Whiskey-Tasting nights at a local pub that we enjoyed thoroughly last year.  This, and not having him home to decorate for Christmas with, and to celebrate together with the family… Going through the motions of everything and staying busy helped, but now that life has slowed down a little, I realize just how much I’ve missed him being with me, and being a part of everything this year.

I’ve hit my wall.  I’m bitter.  I don’t mean this against any of the wives sharing their joys of how far we’ve come through this deployment, and how close we are to it being over, but every time I see someone post about homecoming, and their vague countdowns, I feel bitter emotions stir inside.  And it’s not their fault.  But it’s because no one really knows when this deployment will be over.  Sure, we have an idea of a hypothetical month, if we’re going by how many months we were told this deployment “might” last, but we really don’t have any concrete information.  Did deployment begin when the unit was shipped off to train before going overseas?  Did their orders begin with D.E.E.R.S. effectively has their status as changing to “active”?  Do we start the countdown when they left American soil?  And no one has even a vague idea to their return date.  Even speaking with my husband…it’s all vague and hypothetical.

And people ask me, “when will he be home”?  And all I can tell them is a season, and I don’t even know how accurate that is.  I hope that he’ll be home by a certain month, but he may not be.  So I’m finding it really difficult to get excited about that month, because it may come to pass and he still won’t be in my arms.

I was having a conversation with another spouse, and she pointed out that I am disconnecting.  And although I felt it, I hadn’t thought about it enough to give it a name.  During the week, because I have a full-time job that keeps me focused, I am able to get up and go, and DO.  But on the weekends, unless I have a plan, I find it difficult to stay on task…or pick a task.  I’ve passed it off as just feelings of exhaustion, from being all go-go-go all week long, that come Saturday, it’s nice to just relax, to have nothing to do and thus to do nothing.  But as I lay in bed and think about it, those days I just lack the motivation sometimes to get up because I have nothing to look forward to.  And this wife pointed that out to me, and made me realize that I need to make my own plan if there is not one already made.  Sitting around and doing nothing has not been working for me.  So, I need to make a plan to spend time doing hobbies and things that I enjoy.

I did start a little this weekend; although she did tell me to make it my plan to get out of bed by 8am, I stayed in bed longer.  But, Saturday I took care of a few things in the morning, and after my husband called I worked out to Just Dance for a while.  And, for the rest of the afternoon, I worked on my self-employment business while binge-watching “Hoarders.”  I felt that it was a productive day.

Today, I didn’t work out, but I feel like it was just as productive.  I did some laundry and some chores around the house, baked gluten-free brownies, did some more work, watched the Patriot’s game, cooked dinner from one of the meals that I received from “Hello Fresh“, which I decided to try as a trial with a discount offer.  [The meals were really delicious and simple!]

I plan to have more of a structured plan for next weekend, and hope that this is a trend that will continue and help to get through the remaining time.  Today I realized that it’s the routine that I had with my husband that I miss, that leaves me feeling lost and without cause the rest of the time that I am not at work.

I don’t want to sound completely helpless, because I am not.  I get done what needs to get done, I do get out of bed every day, I just find it difficult to find motivation to find other things to do once those things are done.  It’s emotionally draining, and therefore physically draining, to miss the one person in your life that makes your life worth living.  Believe you-me, I never thought that I would give someone else that much power in my life, but I love him so much, and love absolutely everything that we have done together, that doing (new) things without him is almost unconscionable.  And this is the time of year that we have always done something special together, as mentioned before, after the holidays have passed.  The holidays are about family, and that quiet time after was always about the two of us.

I need to remind myself that this deployment will come to an end.  And I encourage you to do the same if you are struggling.  That one day we’ll all look back on these months and amaze ourselves at how well we handled everything over all, in spite of how many times we may have cried, regardless of if we felt like we were managing poorly.  Another day forward is another day closer to homecoming.  And always remember to never compare your coping with anyone else, unless you’re either going to improve your situation, or help another to do the same.  We all manage in our own ways, and while there are “poor” ways to manage, if you are trying, if you are moving forward with the best intentions, you are doing well, and I applaud you.

We will get through this, and be better and stronger at the end of this.  Regardless of how much longer that we have to go, we will make it.

The Lonely

Before I get into this post, let me be clear that I do not have a case of the “Bah humbugs”, but rather, I’m having a blue Christmas. And not the pretty-blue-offset-by-white-and-silver-decorations. I am sad. I am lonely. I am missing the tradition that I can’t have this year.

Let me discuss the reality of this deployment and the FRG, compared to last time…

The first time my husband deployed, we were stationed at an active duty base, and I/we made the decision that I was moving home. Home was separated by 2 states from our base, and almost every spouse I knew moved to their home states as well. For most of them, it was across the country; either south or west. I consciously separated myself from the FRG, as it scattered and only became a thing of phone calls and check ups.

THIS TIME, we are with a Reserve Unit. Which means there is no “base” like there was before. Everyone lives in their respective states and towns. Some spouses and families are able to live within an hour radius of “Command”. Others, live a bit further away. I am one of those. I live roughly 3 hours from command, which means that I live 2-4 hours away from a lot of the spouses and family members of the unit. As you can expect, there’s not A LOT of get togethers scheduled, and numbers are down when there are. So this, and the fact that this is a reserve unit, so the majority of spouses are employed and not full-time housewives (a lot of us were when we were Active Duty), means we are all busy with something.

So, there is no real feel of “community”. I’d say this is what I so desperately want this time, but I am not desperate for it…I just recognize that I’m lacking it. I am thankful for the spouses who I have gotten to know, as well as for my family who is here for me, but no one knows the struggle of deployment  of a spouse, like another spouse. Same as how I can’t speak for parents of a deployed child.

I’m sad, I’m moody, I’m stressed because I haven’t heard from my husband in 4 days and I don’t even know his location. I need community. I need deployment to be over, and my husband, and our soldiers, to be home. We’re always one more day down, and one less day left, but it’s so difficult this time of year to see past the absence.

Truth be told, I didn’t think it would bother me this much. I have a full time job that I love that keeps me busy and preoccupied, and enough going on socially that I don’t think about it all of the time. But it’s caught up with me. I guess you just can’t outrun the lonely.

What I Am Thankful For, Thanksgiving 2015

Can you believe that today is already Thanksgiving?  I know that I can’t.  It might be because the weather here has been more like late-September or October than it has felt like November.  Even with the one blip of a snowfall that we received, it doesn’t feel like the calendar is already flipped to Novebmer 26.  But the calendar also feels off, becauae of deployment.

In a way, time stands still in the absence of a loved one.  I know the days go by, but the days do not feel the same when you’re spending them without your significant other.  Even still, this year I find that I still have a lot to be thankful for.

1.  My Husband, My Best Friend, My Confidant, My Soul Mate
Of course, number one is my husband.  Even though we are separated by a few miles (a few thousand), I am thankful for him in so many ways.
Firstly, for being my husband and loving me.  I really do not know where I would be without him.  (He would answer this sarcastically, updating me on my would-be physical whereabouts).  But, when I say this, I mean emotionally.  I have never loved this deeply, shared so much with another person, or been so committed to another human being.  His emotional well-being plays a huge role in that of my own.  I want for nothing more than for him to be happy and healthy and safe.  If any of that is jeopardized, I feel it, too.
But I am thankful for him also, because he is a Soldier.  He is a remarkable young man; one of many that our country is fortunate to have enlisted and serving for us.  I am thankful that he, and his brothers and sisters in arms, have each other to rely on and serve with.
I could go on and on about all of the ways that I am thankful for my husband, but in sum, I am thankful for who he is : both who he is to me, as well as everything that he is as a person.

2.  My Family
Secondly, I am thankful for my family.  I use the term “family” to encompass not only the family I am directly related to, but also the family that I was fortunate to marry into.  I feel very blessed to have the relationship that I do no only with my own family, but that my husband and his family have the same relationships with their family, and that our two families blend so seamlessly.  I truly am thankful for you all.

3.  For Having Enough
Regardless of what  I have or do not have physically, I am thankful for having enough of what I need, and or recognizing this.  I may not have everything that I want, I may never have everything.  But what I do have is enough.  And “enough” is plenty to be thankful for.

4.  For My Health and Well-Being, As Well As That Of My Family
While we are not all in 100% the BEST heath, I am not about to divulge mine or my family’s personal health concerns. (Anyone else watch The Real Housewives of Orange County and think of Brooks?)  But that being said, I am thankful that we have the health that we do have for as many days as we can have it.  You never know when something will happen to you, or you will receive a diagnosis that will change your life, so I am thankful for as many good days as we are given.

5.  For Having Friends and Support
I am thankul for all of the wonderful people that I meet, and how important some of them become to me.  Whether we have been friends for years, were or are coworkers, or are other military SO’s and we share a bond that is different from civilian relationships, I am thankful for each and every one of you for coming into my life, and being who you are to me.

This list is written personal to me, but it is not in any means meant to bring up begrudgement for the “haves” and “have nots.”  But instead to encurage you to be thankful for what you have, whatever that is and however that applies to you.  Today is a day that we pause, and are appreciative of who we have in our lives and what we have (not necessariy materialistically).  But may you always have enough of what you need.  And may you always recognize what that is, and appreciate it.

May you and your loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving.  May you spend today and the holidays with the ones you love – either physically or in your hearts, may you laugh and be filled with cheer, and create memories to hold onto.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑