When my husband was in college, it never occurred to either of us that he would have a career in the military. Once he graduated, we weighed the pros and cons and within a few months he joined the Navy and took his oath.
Before we knew it, it was time for him to go to OCS (Officer Candidate School) and as much as I prepared myself for my husband (of less than a year) to be gone for months, I found that I was far from prepared.
He was under enough stress when it came to getting ready but I unfortunately added to his stress.
In some ways I felt like he was abandoning me and I started picking ridiculous fights with him. I found that by doing so, I was distancing myself from him emotionally so it would be easier when he was gone.
I quickly learned that I would just end up feeling guilty and wanted to tell my husband how sorry I was but it wasn’t like I could just pick up the phone.
For the next 12 years his deployments never got easier and I missed him just as much as the first time he was deployed.
Sure, I became more self-sufficient all of those times I was alone (I pride myself on being somewhat of a plumbing ninja with all of the sinks and toilets I fixed over the years) but there was a huge part of me missing.
Being a military wife is like being on the most thrilling but at the same time one of the scariest rollercoaster rides that you can experience.
Like being a mom.
I’ll never forget when I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter and we were living in Washington, D.C. My husband came home from work and I just knew something was going on. He told me they want to send him to Afghanistan in the next few weeks and he’ll be gone for a year.
I felt so selfish and guilty that I wanted somebody else to be deployed instead of my husband but after a very tense next couple of weeks, someone else was sent after all.
It turned out that once the powers that be found out my husband was recovering from a broken foot, he was deemed too much of a risk.
In all the years that he’s been in the Navy, the one thing that’s like fingers on a chalkboard to me are the times he was deployed and the most frequent comment I would get is Well, that’s what you signed up for.
It feels like the person saying that is dismissing my feelings. That’s probably why my mother-in-law was the worst offender when my husband was deployed.
Just because my husband is in the military doesn’t mean that it’s easier when he leaves or that we miss each other less. I feel in some ways it’s much harder because of the danger involved.
So, if there’s a military spouse in your life, give them a shoulder to lean on. And a hug. Hugs are always good.
Do you have a spouse in the military or one that travels frequently? How do you handle the separation? What would you like people to know?