In 2010, my husband joined the Army National Guard. That was also the same year we married, so we missed out on celebrating our first anniversary together because he was in basic training. We managed, though. Brad knew I would be at his brother’s at that time, so he gave a letter to his brother to give to me, wishing me a happy anniversary. I went outside to sit on the front steps and cry while I read it. Out of the four and a half years we’ve been married, I think we’ve celebrated two anniversaries together.
Currently, he’s preparing for his first deployment. Not to anywhere dangerous, mind, but he’ll still be away for most of this year and it’ll be yet another anniversary missed. Though, because of personal problems at home concerning his family, he may be able to opt out because this was a deployment for which he volunteered. However, that’s been a recent development. For the past six months or so, I’ve been living with the idea that 2015 would be The Year of the Deployment.
I’ve received all sorts of reactions and questions. Some people have been sensible in their compassion. That is, they offer to help out if I need it and wish my husband luck. And then there are those people you wish never knew about the deployment. People who appear shocked that I’m so calm about his leaving or who insist on reminding me about all the violence happening in The Big Bad World. I never know what to do with these people other than turn it into a joke or find a way to change the subject if I can’t walk away entirely.
Yes, it sucks terribly that my husband could be going away for over ten months of training and deployment. If he does go, I will cry myself to sleep more nights than not. But I’m not going to walk around wringing my hands and bemoaning my fate in this cruel life.
The other side of the negativity coin would be to always say how much I don’t like his deploying every time the subject comes up. What good is that going to do? My husband needs my support and he certainly won’t get it if I’m forever talking about how I don’t like what he’s doing. I think the biggest piece of advice I could ever give to someone whose loved one is facing deployment is to not harp on how much you hate him deploying.
The better thing to do, and what we’ve been trying to do, is focus on the positive. We talk about how much better off financially we’re going to be. He tells me what he’d like for me to do while he’s away and what we’ll do once he gets back. We tell each other that we’ll miss each other but we always follow it up with, “But at least we’ll have the house paid off” or something like that. Being negative never does anyone any good.
A few months ago, when it was confirmed my husband was deploying (unless something happened), I stopped watching the news so much. I’m aware of some things going on, but anything to do with conflicts the US might get involved in (or are already involved in), I didn’t watch or read if I can help it.
It’s not a case of “ignorance is bliss”. I know that my husband will (theoretically) not be in any danger whatsoever. But I’m a writer. I live in my own imagination for most of the day. Even when I’m not writing, when I’m at church or at the store or anywhere, a part of my brain is still churning out “what if?” scenarios. Right now, the news is fuel for the fire of my imagination.
I’m not an idiot. I know what is going on the world. But if I have the right to know, then I also have the right to not know, if only for the duration of the deployment and while preparing for it. Especially if knowing is just going to make me wake up at one in the morning, staving off a sudden panic attack because of a nightmare about something that will most likely not happen.
A little positivity goes a long way, I’ve learned. Though I’m not the wife of a full-time soldier, I still face many of the same worries and fears. I hope that my husband won’t have to go, that he can stay home to take care of the family problems we’re currently having. However, if he does, then I will try to face his deployment with as much grace and courage as I can manage so that he’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Be positive. That is really the best way to go.