About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weary.

There are so many aspects to surviving a deployment that it is hard to prepare for them all. A deployment is a long haul, a marathon. And as with a true marathon that people run in, there are many highs and lows.

The beginning is really hard. I remember the months of August and September being filled with depression and fear. Will we ever be together again? Will she survive and come home to us? Sure, those are morbid thoughts, but when your spouse is in harm's way, there's no avoiding those thoughts. Mentally, you go through all of the contingencies and try to prepare yourself for the worst. Add to that the fact that you are in the early stages of the deployment and feeling the sense of loss and heartache. Laying in bed at night is probably the hardest. I would look over and see the other side of the bed still made, untouched. The pain was like a wound that was still raw and fresh. Each new day seemed like it lasted for a week. I remember thinking that the calendar had never moved slower than then.

But, just like everyone else going through this trial, I learned to adapt. As the months went by, the kids and I got into routines that made our life busy. Soon there became less time to worry about all of the bad things that could happen. We made the best of it and life went on. Halloween and Thanksgiving came and went and we kept going. Time began moving by more quickly and the days brightened a bit.
Then came what has been the worst day of the deployment: Christmas. I know, it is supposed to be a happy day, focused on the kids. It is a day when we celebrate the birth of the Savior. For me, though, I found it impossible to celebrate. In the days leading up to that day, we decorated my parents' house and got it ready. The kids were pumped, of course. Me... I couldn't help but notice there was one stocking missing above the fireplace. Every day I would walk by and see it. And that pain that I had managed to suppress and push away came roaring back. So I did what anyone else would do. I put on the best possible face I could Christmas morning. I did everything I could to make it a great morning for kids. Even though I was dying inside, I strove to make sure the kids didn't experience that. That afternoon my mom basically took charge of the kids. And me... well, I got hammered. I'm not proud of it, and I've not done it again. See, all I wanted to do was get through that day. No amount of encouragement from anyone else made even the slightest difference. It was a battle against the clock. I needed that day to end.

As January dawned, things began to look up a bit. The countdown until R&R began and the depression began to lift. It was also around that time that I began to view the deployment as an opportunity for self improvement. I began blogging and started what would become my most important blog series, "Deployment Doesn't Equal Defeat" in which I talked about how simply surviving a deployment wasn't enough. I wanted to thrive and grow. At the same time, our routines continued and time began to pass even faster.

And then, R & R arrived! Finally, at long last, the wait was over and my wife came home. Our reunion was amazing and was just what we needed. We did a vacation and got reacquainted. It felt so good to be a family again. But... 2 weeks of bliss is still only 2 weeks. Before we knew it, the time had come for her to go back. And my old companion pain returned to my side. Sure, we were well into the second half of the deployment, but that didn't mean anything to me as I once again looked at the other side of the bed... again empty.
And now, more months have passed and we are now in the final half of the final month. As the finish line approaches, I find that I'm not bubbling with excitement. Instead, I'm simply existing, trying to make it to the finish line without stumbling. Plenty of people who mean well have tried to be encouraging by saying "You're almost there!" and "She'll be here before you know it" and finally "You can do it!". I find, though, that none of that helps. You see, I'm simply weary. My second wind is long gone. My legs are giving out and my lungs are burning. Perhaps the finish line is just around the corner. For me, I think I've stopped running. I think I'm walking now, hands on my head, trying to get a breath. Weariness has set in and I just want this to be over. There are no more lessons to be learned, no more "bright sides" to be found. When the end comes, I don't want a victory celebration or an awards ceremony. Like the tired runner above, I'll be relieved that it's over. Like him, I don't want to celebrate with friends. I just want to go home.

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post. It is so good to have someone out there understand. I am so excited about Rick coming home in a few days, but there is another part of me that is just so...done. I don't want to do that one last clean thru the house. I don't want to DO anything. Just get there. And a big part of me wants to hug and kiss Rick, hand him the checkbook, they keys and maybe a list of chores and drive off for a week. I won't. I might not even want to, once he really is here. But right now, that is how I feel.

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  2. When my husband came home for R&R I found that half of his heart was still in Afghanistan with his guys (he was the Commander of an all male Company). A two week period of time when you are together is not enough it seems. By the time he got used to being in the States it was time for him to go back.

    I found it more difficult after R&R. I prefer to have it at the end because the days do seem to drag on and on. They go slower than before. The things that kept you going just don't seem to matter anymore. Know that you are so close yet so far away is excruciating.

    Thank you for putting this feeling into words. Not many people do understand. I hope you get the relief you are looking for soon. You will make it because you have to. My heart goes out to you because I know all too well how this feels.

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