Fourteen Emotional Stages of Deployment
As any military spouse will tell you, one of the hardest things on a marriage is being away from your spouse for long periods of time due to deployments, field rotations, unaccompanied tours, extended TDYs, or even voluntary geographic bachelorhood made necessary by unique family circumstances.
Being separated is an emotional roller coaster that we are all too familiar with. My husband’s first deployment was shortly after we got married. I know, typical story. It has been a while since then and I am coming up on deployment number two.
Facing deployment this time around is definitely different. I keep asking myself, how did I get through it last time? Will I be able to be as strong as I was then to get through this deployment?
To prepare myself, I decided to dissect my emotions through questions I asked myself during the last deployment. I also provided answers to myself of what I need to do to get through this process as painlessly as possible.
- Can I do this?
- How am I going to get through this?
- When are you leaving?
- What, you are leaving so soon?
- I can't believe you are gone.
- I can do this.
- I can’t do this.
- Oh, you’ve been gone for that long?
- So, when are you coming home?
- Seriously, when are you coming home?
- You’re coming home!!!
- You’re home!
- Yep… you’re home.
- I love that you are home.
The answer to this is yes!!! Always YES. You are going to be fine. Everything may not go smoothly, but you will be okay in the end.
One day at a time with the support from wonderful family and friends.
There are so many things that need to be done before your spouse deploys. It is a good idea to figure out what needs to be done before departure, like see family, take a vacation, or take care of paperwork (i.e. tax stuff, wills, life insurance, power of attorney, etc.).
It is okay to freak out at the limited time that you have left with your spouse. It is okay to be sad, but know that they are coming back. They will be back (repeat to yourself when necessary).
That moment you realize that your spouse won’t be walking through the door at the regular time does pull on the strings of your heart every now and then. But take each day one day at a time (see last sentence from #4).
That is right, you CAN do this! All it takes is just a simple reminder to just put one foot in front of the other.
This is going to happen. You are going to break down (maybe once or several times), but luckily you have warned all your family and friends and they are just a phone call away. You don’t have to be alone. You are going to be okay (repeat to yourself when necessary).
This is the part where you accidentally forget they are gone because you are a rock star, cruising through this deployment. You are finally getting into a stride where you are like, “it isn’t too bad.”
Just like with any race you turn the corner and you see the finish line. You are going to make it. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Your patience is running thin. You are starting to get excited butterflies in your stomach again, just like your first date with your spouse. The thought of them being gone another day is excruciating and downright unbearable, but it is all about to change.
Then you realize that the wheels are in motion, that your spouse is really coming home. You jump around your house and dance to “Walkin’on Sunshine”as it blares loudly over your home stereo system (do people still have those?).
Finally you are standing there at the re-deployment ceremony, not paying attention to anything being said as you stare at your spouse hoping that everyone is released soon. You can’t wait for your spouse’s arms to be wrapped around you.
You finally have your spouse home and after the third time tripping over one of three duffle bags you smile and realize, yep it’s finally over. All the annoyances are worth it.
What kind of emotions do you experience when your spouse is deployed or gone for long periods of time?