About half way through Seth and I’s deployment, I came across a blog post written by an Army wife titled “Why You Will Rock This Deployment” or something similar. And it was absolutely amazing. As a military wife, it is so awesome to meet or connect with someone who is going through the exact same thing as you because, let’s face it, we are living an extremely unique lifestyle that no one really gets unless they are living it. That doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate other peoples’ empathy. It doesn’t mean that we want to be this little exclusive clique of people who “get it.” It doesn’t meant that we think less of other people that aren’t living the same lifestyle that we are. All it means is that when we interact with someone who is going through exactly what we are going through and gets it, it’s really special.
The blog post I stumbled across was that for me. Big time. Every word she said spoke to feelings I had been experiencing the last several months. I laughed while reading it. I cried while reading it. It was huge for me, and I went back and read it probably once a week from that point on. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but something about reading this girl’s post who felt exactly what I felt, did exactly what I did, and thought exactly what I thought meant so much to me. It was like talking to a friend who was stepping along the deployment right next to me and having the exact same experience.
So that is why I decided to write this post about my deployment experience. But I have to get real with you before I start…I’m nervous about this. It is very important to me, and I’ve been writing it in my head for the last nine months. It will be the most personal thing I have ever posted on here, and it’s out of my comfort zone. But if it makes one person, just one person, feel the way I did as I read that blog post, it will be worth it.
So, to the wives.
Before Seth (my husband) left, I would not have considered myself a very independent person. We have been dating since my freshman year of college and spent basically every second that we could together since then. The longest we had been apart before this deployment was three months, and even that was hard for me. AND it was just for training. This was a deployment…real life. Potentially dangerous. So many things could happen.
The thought of my absolute best friend, my favorite person on this planet, leaving me for close to a year was so overwhelming, I just couldn’t even accept it. As we approached the deployment, and as it got closer and closer and closer, I remember feeling like I was being pushed towards a cliff, dragging my heels into the ground, but being pushed forward despite my efforts. I was being pushed towards this cliff’s edge, and I had no idea what was going to happen when I fell off that ledge. How I was going to handle the distance, how lonely I was going to be, how much I was going to miss him? I just had no idea.
I tried to stay in denial for as long as possible, because there is really no point in thinking about it 24/7 and ruining your last few weeks/months together. But as the few days before the deployment arrived, there was nothing I could do but accept that it was happening. And soon.
The day before he left, I switched between feeling numb and feeling absolutely devastated. During the numb phases, I was able to actually enjoy our time together and still pretend it wasn’t happening. During the devastation phases, we would just hold each other and cry, not even able to comprehend being away from one another for nine months.
The night before he left, I could barely fall asleep, and I was experiencing a depth of sadness that I have never felt in my life. I was absolutely crushed that he was leaving. My heart was just aching; I felt almost physical pain.
The morning he left, I woke up around four am and drove him to his building. I sobbed the entire drive there, holding his hand so tightly I probably left a bruise. The actual goodbye was quick, neither of us wanted to prolong it. He walked away – I got back in the car. Again, I have never felt anything in my life that is equivalent to the devastation I felt at this point. It was like a hole had been ripped through my chest. I felt like I was going to be sick to my stomach. I had to pull over when I was on my way home because I thought I was going to throw up. I finally got home and fell asleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I was still sad, but it wasn’t quite as bad. I took a shower, and when I stepped out, I saw that Seth had written “I Love You” on the mirror from when he showered earlier that morning, hoping I would see it when my shower steamed up the bathroom mirror later that day. This triggered more ugly crying (ugly crying was a pretty significant part of these few days).
These few days were also filled with some pretty pathetic moments…like spraying his cologne on my clothes and my pillows and ugly crying, again. I let myself feel it, I let myself be devastated. I figured it would be good to get it all out of my system and then wake up the next day and move forward.
And that’s pretty much exactly what happened… I woke up the next morning, and I felt SO much better. I felt good. The hardest part was over, the goodbyes were over, the first day was over. This deployment that we had been dreading for a year had finally started, and now the countdown could begin. Now we could stop dreading something and look forward to something instead. I was extremely surprised how quickly I felt okay again.
I went to work, and my amazing students filled my desk with a million little things – pumpkin spice lattes, Starbucks’ gift cards, sweet notes, handmade scarves and hats, candy, and SO many other things. I had a tight support system around me, and they really lifted me up during this difficult time.
Here’s the thing…when your husband deploys, people come out of the woodwork with overwhelming support and love. I developed some extremely deep relationships with people because they were my people when my person was gone. My students, my colleagues – they were my people. And for that reason, they hold a special place in my heart that no one else will ever be able to fill.
The rest of the deployment felt like it was never going to end – it felt like it would last forever. I was okay and happy for most of it – I definitely wasn’t depressed. I had a great year; got to know some amazing people, I loved my job, I worked out a lot, developed my blog a lot – tons of positive things happened. But it still felt like the deployment was going to last forever. I kind of felt like I was on autopilot for the entirety of his deployment. Despite the positive time I had when he was gone, he was still gone.
I had good days and I had bad days. I had WAY more good than bad, but there were still tough days sprinkled in every now and then. And on those bad days, I felt like I couldn’t do it for another four months, six months, two months – whatever it was. I felt like if he didn’t get home that second, I was going to lose my mind. These days came more often when crazy stuff was happening in my personal life that I felt I needed him there for. A hard day at work. Family drama. Boone’s broken foot/surgery experience from hell (uugghhhh). Seth is my rock – he levels me out and makes my life so bright and wonderful. Without his calming and stabilizing presence, the drama in my personal life was exacerbated, and I felt like I needed him more than ever.
But, like I said, the bad days didn’t come nearly as often as the good days. And for the most part, the deployment was way easier than I thought it would be. And it continued to get easier and easier as the months whittled away. I remember when there were four months left, that seemed like nothing to me, and I finally felt like I was on the down hill slope of this year.
That portion of the deployment is kind of fun because you are so freaking excited for them to come home, you can hardy see straight. Imagining the homecoming just plasters a huge smile on your face and puts you in the best mood. It keeps getting closer and closer, and your excitement continues to mount.
Finally, it was almost over! BUT, the week before he got home threw me for a total loop because I was not expecting to feel how I felt. I was expecting to be so excited he was coming home that I was bouncing up and down every minute of the day. I was expecting these days to be some of the best of my life. Instead, they were some of the most confusing days of my life. I have never been more confused by my emotions than I was throughout the several days prior to his homecoming.
Instead of feeling excited beyond belief, I was extremely nervous and anxious. So much so that I didn’t even feel that excited about seeing him again. I was so scared. Once Seth left, I built a new life for myself here. I got used to him being gone, and that was the norm. A lot had changed in my life, and I had changed as a person. I had grown stronger and very independent. I was terrified that we wouldn’t click like we did before, that our marriage wouldn’t be as wonderful as it was.
I was worried about the independence I had built and how I would feel when Seth came back into my world. It wasn’t going to be just me anymore, and I didn’t know what that would mean for my life – that scared me.
And I felt EXTREMELY guilty for feeling these things. I felt like an awful person for feeling anything other than blind excitement. So, to sum it up, I was feeling stressed, nervous, anxious, scared, worried, excited, and guilty. See why it was such an emotionally confusing time? The second I saw his face, all of that went away. The blind excitement was all that was left over. We clicked right back into place for the first few days.
The first few days were paradise. Like a honeymoon on steroids. Hands down the best days of my life. But then, as things started to settle down, I was feeling some hesitation on my part. We already know that Seth is deploying again next year – we already have a tentative date. And because of that, it’s like my mind was trying to self-protect; I wasn’t letting myself get used to him being back or be totally thrilled about it because I knew he was leaving again next year. “Yeah, it’s nice he’s back right now, but remember – he is leaving again next year. Don’t let yourself be as stupid happy as you were before he left the first time or else it will be just as hard when he leaves again.” << That’s what it felt like my mind was saying. It’s almost like how when you go through a breakup, you are very cautious to jump back into things with the same person because you are afraid of being hurt again. I know we have another deployment coming up, and if I keep my distance, it won’t hurt as bad when he leaves again.
We were still having a wonderful time together, and I was still so happy he was home, but there was definitely some significant emotional hesitation on my end. After several days/a week or two of that, I realized that if I didn’t snap out of this frame of mind, I was going to waste the time I did have with him. So I just let it go. I let that hesitation and that trepidation go, and that’s when things really got good. Better than honeymoon good – real life, real marriage, real Annie and Seth good. I felt like we were back to the fun, goofy couple that we were before the deployment. I know that it’s going to be awful when he leaves again next year, but I have to make the most of this year while I have him.
I talked about the beginning, and I talked about the end. But what was the middle like? The big stretch of in-between, where you are just figuring stuff out. The middle for me is more like a bunch of little things than an easy, one paragraph description…
Skyping and choking up when I saw his face. Hearing his voice made me feel homesick, even though he’s the one that’s away from home.
Thinking it will never end. Ever. But, listen – it DOES end. It really does, even though it feels like it never will.
Cathartic ugly crying in the shower and into your pillow. I don’t know what it is about sobbing your eyes out, but I always felt so much better afterwards.
A mix of awful days and amazing days. Sometimes I thought, “I literally cannot do this. I can’t.” But then you do. You get through that day, and you wake up the next morning feeling better. And every single time that happens, every single time, you get a little bit stronger. And by the end you’re tough as nails. Every hard day makes you better in the long run. It makes you stronger, and it makes your marriage stronger.
Days where I honestly didn’t even think about the fact he was gone. I got so used to it and kept myself busy.
Emotional pride when the National Anthem played at sporting events.
The development of my relationships with other military wives who were going through the same thing I was.
SUPER binge watching marathons. Thank you Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon ?.
Popcorn for dinner.
Clean houses and very little laundry. But then one second later missing the mess and the clothes because it means he’s home.
Hearing creepy sounds at night and wishing he was there to keep me safe. (Also…spiders.)
Avoiding the news like the plague.
Avoiding homecoming videos like the plague (until a few weeks before your homecoming).
Counting down the days and thinking that six months sounds the same as six years.
An unbelievable support system that I never realized I had.
Becoming WAY more obsessed with my animals (if that’s even possible).
Learning to do things alone and being totally fine with it – eating out, going to church.
Some days feeling literal, physical pain because I missed him so much, and some days feeling like I could tackle this deployment and five more in the future.
Staying busy, busy, busy, BUSY. Going hard from when I woke up in the morning to 9 o’clock at night so that time flies and I wasn’t just sitting around, thinking.
My biggest rock throughout Seth’s deployment was my relationship with God. When I felt like I was falling, when I felt like I literally couldn’t do it for one more day, He held me up. He pushed me through. When I was sad, I would read Bible verses about casting your anxiety and worries and problems on Him. About Him carrying our burdens and struggles on His shoulders to release the weight from our own. I read about how passionately and intensely He loves us, and my relationship with Him filled the gaping hole that Seth’s absence left in me. He made me so strong when I was at my weakest points.
I met a lady several months ago who was married to a World War II soldier. Not only did he fight in the war, but he was a prisoner of war from soon after he deployed until the War was over. I asked her, “How in the world did you even get out of bed in the morning? How were you strong enough to live your life when you knew the situation he was in?” She said something back to me that I thought of every day for the remainder of Seth’s deployment: “What was I going to do? Sit around and stew in my circumstances, letting my fear cripple me, or trust God? Difficult circumstances like the one I was in give us a chance to practice our faith. Faith doesn’t become real until you practice it. It’s easy to go float along in your easy day-to-day life and say you have “faith.” It’s during times like these that you really know whether or not your faith is real. And the hard times are when your faith grows.” I’ll never forget her words, ever.
So this was my experience, wives. And maybe it is WAY more dramatic than yours. Maybe it is similar to yours. Maybe yours was just totally and completely different…but this was mine. People tell me all the time that I am so strong. That they could never do what I do. But here’s the thing…deployments are what make you strong. I can’t take credit for any of it – it’s not a personal accomplishment that I gained strength while Seth was gone. You HAVE to be strong to get through a deployment – you have no choice. These months shape you into a strong, independent person because you have to be that strong, independent person. Even if you aren’t strong right now, you will be. This experience will bring out that strength in you.
Here’s the thing. As you can probably tell from this post, I am kind of a baby. If I could, I would spend every single waking moment of every day for the rest of my life with my husband – he is so, SO awesome, and we have such a great time together. I’m not saying that to brag about my marriage – my point is this: if I can do this, you definitely can. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to being away from Seth, and I got through it and was totally fine. Yes, some days are tough, but most days are good. Yes, it feels like it’s going to last forever, but it doesn’t. It ends. And then you get to experience his homecoming, which is literally one of the most exhilarating days of your life. It topped my wedding day by a laaarrggee margin.
If your husband is about to deploy or if you are right at the beginning, you’ve got this. It won’t be as bad as you think – I promise. Stay busy, and it will end. If you are in the last few months, you rock! You are so close to being done. Don’t feel any guilt or confusion about strange emotions you experience the days/weeks before they get home and the days/weeks after they get back. Everything you are feeling is normal. There’s nothing wrong with you or your marriage. Everyone feels weird.
Deployments suck, but there are also huge positives. Your marriage grows so much through the experience. You become so strong as a couple. You are like this team that is working together to push through this really challenging time, and each day you get through, you become stronger and stronger. Once the whole thing is over and you made it through, other problems that the world throws at your marriage seem like nothing. Like a grain of sand compared to a boulder.
You become independent and do awesome things for yourself. I got super involved at work, devoted a lot of time to the blog, changed my lifestyle to eat extra healthy and work out every day, losing almost twenty pounds in the process – the point is, you get time to work on YOU.
On top of all that, on top of the challenging parts and the good parts, you get to be married to your hero. I’m not talking about the little fluffy, “Ohhhh he’s my hero,” thing that people say because it sounds sweet. I mean, legit. He is sacrificing everything he has for you, for his family and friends, for his country. Leaving everything he knows and everything he loves for close to a year, working twelve hour shifts seven days a week because he wants to serve his country, because he is that selfless and wonderful. You get to be married to your hero, and that is one of the coolest things ever. You get the honor of being married to someone who is doing something so meaningful and selfless. And if he is willing to give up everything to serve others, then we can be strong, support them, and stick right by their sides through the tough stuff – the deployments, the training, the cross-country distance from family and friends. We can be strong for them, because they deserve strong, tough wives who will be there no matter what the Army throws at us.
Whatever phase of the deployment you are in right now, you’ve got this. It won’t last forever, and you will come out so much stronger on the other side. If I can do it, you can do it – trust me.
I am so glad I came across this on Pinterest. Thank you for your post. My husband is getting ready to deploy in a month and I am beyond nervous.
Thank you for your post! Like the others above me, I was so happy to find your post. This is our 3rd deployment but our last deployment was 10 years ago. My hubby has been gone for a week now. The first few days are always the hardest for me. Thank you for sharing a part of your heart with us.
I don’t know when your other half is going over again but I wish you both the best!
Ashley R says
This was a great read. I felt like I was rocking the deployment and then COVID… all our trips and events to pass the time we’re gone. I had to teach a son and work from home as a single mom. However that said, I stayed strong and we just got through each day and the time kept moving on. I have one month left (covid extended them two months making it a full 12month deployment). I have the same scary feelings as you do about the return, I know it’ll be fine but I get so anxious. I acknowledge the anxiety and then I push it away and say “everything will be great”.
Annie Chesson says
Ughhh, a covid deployment!!! That was probably so isolating, I can’t even imagine. You had a whole new obstacle thrown in. Plus the extension of time – ughhhh. The worst! I’m so glad you’re almost done Ashley! You’ve crushed it!!
I am that person you wrote this to.. You don’t understand how bad I needed to read this.. My husband just left the other day.. We have a one year old and we literally haven’t been apart from each other longer than 5 days before this.. I feel like I’m dying inside.. I suffer from anxiety and depression, I have been for years and it is so heightened right now. I’m trying to stay strong for our little girl but it’s so tough.. Thank you for writing this, it helps me know that there is hope..
Annie Chesson says
It’s SO hard at first Kayla. You’ve got this!! You’ll get into a routine and it’ll get easier as more time passes! There will be hard days, but you’ll crush it and you guys will come out stronger on the other side!
I’m so glad that I found your post. I’m six months in and have just a few left to endure. I was starting to feel great and looking forward to all of the fun times ahead, but today I miss my husband so much. I miss him everyday, but it’s almost painful today. Reading other’s experiences is so helpful. It’s nice to know that other spouses can relate to what I’m feeling and we are not alone. We got this!
Annie Chesson says
Yesss you can be doing so well and then you have those dips where it’s extra hard. You’ve got this! You’ll hit an upswing again and you’re SO CLOSE to the end! So glad you found some community and encouragement in this!
Emily B says
Oh my gosh, I don’t know how I’m just seeing this blog post. It’s me. I’m the person you wrote this for. So many of my feelings written out so beautifully! This deployment has been extra tough with everything going on and not being able to stay as busy as I planned to. But we’re on the downhill and I am trying to stay strong! Thank you for sharing!
Annie Chesson says
I’m SO glad you could connect with this post, Emily! People like you are the exact reason I wanted to write it! Feeling like someone really gets it meant so much to me. I’m SO glad you are on the downhill stretch!! So many exciting things to come!!!
Nicole F says
Wow, what a great read. Thank you. Thank you for the raw, unedited version of what deployment is like. I believe you and I to be very similar so it is good to see how well you managed this deployment. We are 24 hours away from our first deployment as a couple (newly married for 5 months) and my emotions are all over the place. But one thing I know for sure is the appreciation and honor I have to be married to a true hero. There is no better feeling! I know that when good and bad days come, faith will always remain and I will rely on my faith more than ever for these next 6 months. Thank you again for you pouring your heart and letting others know that it’s going to be ok. God Bless you and your family.
Annie Chesson says
24 hours before deployment is one of the hardest times of the whole thing!! Ugh – I feel for you! You’ve got this – it’s hard right before and it’s hard right when he leaves, but other than that, it won’t be as bad as you think! And you’ll come out stronger on the other side 💪🏻. You can do it!
Nicole F says
Thank you! I have been hanging in there and taking it one day at a time and I find myself referring to your post for comfort. Again, thank you!
Briauna Hoff says
I cannot emphasize enough how much this helped me. Reading this felt like it was me reading my own journal. You are so amazing and the kind of people I try to surround myself with. I have 2 more months but there are definitely some days I feel like giving up. It always helps to know you are not alone. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing this! ❤️
Annie Chesson says
Briauna, thank you so much for your comment! People like you who can relate and take comfort in this are the reason I wrote this post in the first place. We’ve got to stick together as a community!
Mine deploys in 2 1/2 months and I’m a wreck as time is approaching quick! But, this story gives me a lot of hope and motivation. I hope you’re coping great with the deployment. I’m here to talk and be on the same boat as you:)
Annie Chesson says
Ugh, that part leading up to it sucks! You’ll get through it and come out stronger on the other side, but I know the first part that you’re in right now is rough. I’m sorry, Naila! Keep your head up!
Three years later and your story is still reaching people. My boyfriend deploys in 5 days- I have been in denial as well, but reading this gave me so much hope and made me feel like I’m not alone. Thank you so much for sharing your story!
Annie Chesson says
Aw, thank you so much for the comment, Kayla! I’m so glad you found this. It’s SUPER hard not to be in denial, and honestly…I don’t think being in denial is that bad – it helps you enjoy those final days more! You’ve got this – you guys will crush this deployment and come out so much stronger on the other side. And YOU will grow so much through it as well.
I need advice. My husband and I just pcs’d after the cat 5 hurricane in October that totally devastated both my hometown and Tyndall AFB. My husband just left on an impromptu deployment. We spent the first 5 months of our marriage(got married 3 weeks before the storm) with each other 24/7. We’re the stereotypical “hey I just met you a couple months ago and I see us together for quite a while, if not forever” military couple and got married 5 months into knowing each other. Everything between us has been amazing and he’s my best friend. We’ve had some disagreements on this as he volunteered completely for this and my saying we were ready as we’re going through quite a bit still with getting settled. I’m having an absolutely horrid time and it’s only day 1. I don’t know anyone where we’re at as we’ve only been here 4 months and I have a really hard time with making friends and reaching out to people nearby. It’s also my first time living completely alone and I’m absolutely terrified. We have no idea when he’ll be back and I’m in full panic. I’m not religious, so that’s not in my cards, but any advice would be great. I have been trying to relate to and talk to other wives, it’s just so hard as all the ones I’ve met and seen here are some of the most snobbish I’ve ever seen(even as a military brat, it wasn’t as bad) or they aren’t in the same situation and haven’t been paying me any mind and are basically telling me to get over it. Please help me
Annie Chesson says
Hey Alyx! First of all, day 1 is always the WORST, so that’s not an accurate picture of how the deployment will be, so don’t get too discouraged about that! You just have to try your absolute hardest to find a new normal and live your life without your hubby. Do positive things like getting into a workout and healthy eating routine, making some friends, joining a group at the gym or FRG – stuff like that. Getting to know people is hard and will push you out of your comfort zone, but my advice would be to do it anyway even if you aren’t good at it! Try super hard to build that community, and then once you’ve started and have a few people, it’ll be easier. Some Army wives are extremely snobbish and hard to be around – just avoid those the best you can, there are amazing ones out there too!! You got this – try and stay positive and remember that the beginning is always the hardest!
Heather Cosby says
This post ❤❤❤ Nail on head. We’ve got approximately 9 days left and I’ve never been more nervous/excited/scared in my life. I’m glad to know it’s not just me and I’m not broken. Beautifully written friend!!!
Annie Chesson says
I’m so glad this post resonated with you, Heather! 9 days left!! CONGRATS! You are basically done. Best feeling ever when it’s all over!
I am not a wife but a girlfriend, and I can completely relate to everything, having been through our first deployment together this past year. Thank you so much for posting this. I truly appreciate the peace of mind it has given me.
While nothing will bring me as much comfort as having my husband back home and by my side, you got incredibly close with sharing your experience and your words. I’m in the very beginning stage of my first (his second) deployment, and I feel like I’m crumbling more and more by the second. We are coming up on a year of marriage but the first four years of our relationship were spent long distance, so you would think I’d be okay with separation by now. The goodbyes don’t get any easier by any means whatsoever, and I know from past experiences that I always get through it, but it’s like I’m totally blinded to that fact right now. That’s why I was searching for an article like this, just so I could have someone who knows what it’s like to reassure me. I’ve been ugly crying like crazy, hyperventilating, sick to my stomach, you know, the works. I absolutely can’t stand being apart from my husband and my anxiety amplifies that, and I know I’ll be coming back to read this plenty more times to bring me some comfort over and over again. Thank you for this, and thank you especially for the reminder that the beginning is incredibly hard but it only gets better and we only get stronger through the process.
Annie Chesson says
You’re right, no matter how much separation you deal with, you never get used to it and it really doesn’t get any easier! The beginning is always hard. I’m so glad that you found some comfort in this letter and some companionship knowing that you’re not alone in these feelings. Just comfort yourself with the thought that the beginning is always the hardest, and you will get used to him being gone and get into your new routine, AND take comfort in imagining that amazing homecoming! It’s seriously so awesome that it almost makes all the crappy parts worth it :).
Thank you. I’ve been sitting on my bed scrolling through Pinterest crying and trying to distract myself. My husband leaves for deployment in two days and I’m a hot mess. We got married young and in five years the longest we’ve been apart was for him to go to basic training. I can’t thank you enough for this post. Even though I’ll never meet you, I feel less alone. I feel like there’s a hole growing in my chest, but I feel a little less dread. I’m reminded to look at the bright side and to remember that I’m proud of my man and that he is proud of who he is and what he’s doing.
Again, thank you.
I needed to read this.
Annie Chesson says
You are in such a tough part of this season, Jen! The few days before a deployment are nothing short of miserable. The dread is just insane. But – I PROMISE you it will get better super soon after he leaves. You’ll get used to it, you’ll get into your groove, and you will rock this deployment. It’ll make you stronger as a person and as a couple! And that amazing homecoming almost makes it all worth it :). You’ve got this! I’m so glad my post could bring you some comfort and knowledge that other people out there have experienced and felt exactly what you do right now.
Annie, hopefully you’ll see this comment. My husband just left for his basic training today. He’s on the National Guard and I feel so devastated, so distressed and so sad, I don’t know if I can do this. We’ve been together for 11 years and married for 8 years, no kids yet. And we’ve never been separated that long and we’re so much dépendant on each other. We’re like two dumb kids in love with each other and only live for each other. I’m 29 and he’s 31. I feel so sad Annie. I have a job and I’m still a student, which keep me busy but I can’t even focus properly anymore. I’m writing to you because your letter resonates so much with every single thing that I’m feeling. Will it go away soon ? Will our relationship change after his basic training amid AIT ? He’ll be gone for 6 months and he’ll be back for Christmas in 2 months but I feel like these 2 months will be like 2 years. I have my parents and my sister with me to help me get through this but I just feel like it’s not the same anymore with not having him around anymore. I was so used to him. Please, I need help, feeling like I’m in so much pain and I really want to keep myself strong for him. I believe in God but lately, I’ve been feeling not really close to Him anymore. Please respond to me if you can.
Annie Chesson says
Aina, I remember my husband’s basic training and how difficult it was for me. In a lot of ways, basic is even worse than deployments because the only contact you have is through letters! After so much time together without any separation, I know being apart is so difficult. BUT – it will get better. He left today, so you are literally in THE toughest part right now. There was much, much ugly crying happening on my part when I was on the first days of both of our deployments. So you are not overly sensitive or weak – is it straight up HARD stuff, girl. But I’m telling you – you will get used to him being gone, you will get into a new routine, and you will find a new normal. And going through this and coming out the other side together will make you stronger independently and as a couple. Also, when you get super sad, just picture that homecoming and how amazing it will be. I can’t even tell you how often I daydreamed about ours when my husband was gone! You will get through this and rock it – promise! Just give yourself some time to be sad – that is totally okay (and needed!).
Thank you so so much for your answer Annie ! Your answer definitely put things in a better shape for me, especially coming from someone who has experienced the same things and knows better about the situation. No one in my relationship has never go through it so it’s really hard to listen to their advices, sometimes it just goes wrong. Also, I am feeling a little bit okay because currently, my husband is still on his week zero and apparently, they allow them to use their phones in their dorms at night so me and hubby were able to call, to text a little bit and to talk to each other. It helps to relieve the pain. I am just feeling a little bit anxious when they’re going to start the red phase and this time, he won’t have access to his phone anymore and I apprehend the days or weeks where I wouldn’t be able to talk to him at all. I know there is the option of letters but you know that it’s always different with actual talk over the phone. All my close people keep saying that with time, it’ll get better and the firs few days are always the hardest. I am kind of scared also he will change after his basic training and AIT and that our relationship will not be the same anymore. It’s not that I don’t trust him or our love but I don’t know if my fear is normal or not in this situation. I keep myself busy with school and work until he comes back but it’s when I go back to our place that I get sad the most since I’m so used to see him around. Nightime are the worst too because he’s not there by my side anymore. I feel so much pain sometimes it wakes me up at night and then I feel like I want to throw up every time. I really hope this pain will go away. I’m trying really hard to follow your advice about picturing his homecoming but sometimes, it is not enough…
Hi Jen, my husband just left for his basic training as well today and I feel like a complete mess. Feeling like my chest is going to explode, the pain of missing him is already so bad. I saw that the dates of our husband leaving for the basic training are not that far from each other so that’s why i’m reaching out to you to get advices or probably to see if we share the same experiences with our feelings. I’m feeling dumb to miss him extremely so bad like that.
Annie. Thank you so much for this. My husband and I have been together for 10 months and we eloped 3 weeks ago because he’s deploying soon. He’s been gone for those 3 weeks for training; left two days after we got married and comes home tomorrow.
I’ve been dreading his deployment with every part of me. Trying to be strong for him, crying into my pillow or in the shower so he doesn’t see. Reading through this, you put words to exactly how I’ve been feeling. I’m sure you know exactly how much it helps to know there’s other wives out there feeling the same way. I’m going to save this and read it whenever I need that boost of encouragement. Thank you so much Annie.
Annie Chesson says
Thank you for this comment, Sarah! Ugh – that is so hard. I feel for you – the dread is the absolute WORST. Sometimes I say that if we just didn’t know about deployments until the day that they were happening, life would be so much easier! That day would be horrendous, but the torturous build up and dread wouldn’t be there!
I do know how much that helps, knowing that someone else out there can relate to exactly what you’re feeling, and I’m so glad that I could be that for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever have a particular crappy day and just need to complain!
Thank you so much for this. I am a Navy spouse, withour first deployment beginning only a few hours ago (came home, sobbed, ran to the hamper for the most recent shirt he had worn so i could clutch it while i napped- you know, a fine moment), and now feel a good bit better. Still crying though. The funny thing is, I deployed twice myself while in the Air Force, once while my husband and I were dating! I now realize that being the one who has to wait behind is ten times tougher, minimum. I know i am strong and will be just fine, and that a weekly sobfest will be in store for me, but so will growth and independence. Your words help so much. I’ll be back for more fromyour sweet blog. Thanks again!
I just wanted to let you know that a couple years later and this blog is still helping struggling military wives with deployment. We are in the middle of our first one. I’m usually ok (except for my weekly tear fest) until holidays roll around and I’m just bummed out all day. Nothing can give me back the days taken from spending time together but trying to see it as a “heroic” thing, helps. Thank you for sharing.
Annie Chesson says
Stacey, thank you for your comment! I’m so glad you were able to find some comfort here. I’m with you – holidays are the worst! It all feels almost worth it once you get to that homecoming day, though :). Stay strong!
I just had to save this because I experienced all the emotions along with you while reading it. I am about to face my first deployment and I am trying to get myself ready for it. I want to ensure that I know the in and out so nothing gets me by surprise and that is normal to feel whatever I will be feeling. Reading your post just made me feel more comfortable because you told us the in and out of every single phase I will be facing in a couple of months. But one thing that got my attentions is how you casted your anxieties on God and what better way to feel better when our God is the one helping us through it. Thank you for sharing this experience 🙌🏽
Annie Chesson says
Thank you so much for the comment Kristen! I’m so glad you took some comfort from this post. You will kill this deployment and come out so much stronger on the other side!
I’m on Pinterest a LOT and this post is by far the best and most relatable I’ve come across! I had chills while reading it and have felt every emotion that you described. I am in the midst of a deployment – about the half-way point. While it is not my first, this one is a double whammy – my husband AND my son are both deployed. I am an ’empty nester’ and ‘seasoned’ Army wife, but a deployment is a deployment and they suck equally each time, lol. Thank you for sharing your personal story. It is exactly what I needed to read today! God bless!!
Annie Chesson says
Hey Jennifer! I’m so glad this post hit home with you! It’s true that the deployments don’t necessarily get easier the more you go through. I hope your hubby and son both get home safely!!
I am hitting the 3 month mark of my hero’s deployment…never been beyond that & not sure how to do it?! Like you said, you adore your hero…I feel the same. Your story warmed my heart and was precisely what I needed…thank you so much for sharing!!
And they say that deployments make or break marriages…for our own marriage of 20 years with nearly 20 years in the military, the experiences have truly helped us create the marriage others might only read about. I feel so blessed we have become strong together and we grow closer with each challenge. I guess it’s a choice…what are we going to do? As you said, just lay down & be defeated? Or rather, perhaps we will grow :)
Annie Chesson says
Hey Pam! The first one is always so hard and you never know what to expect. But you’re through the worst part! I’m so glad this post hit home for you. I hope the rest of this deployment flies by for you!!
Shelby P. says
Thank you so much for this post; I’m so glad I came around it. It’s our very first deployment for the both of us and it’s been a tough road especially being that we had just gotten married about a month prior to him leaving. We’re in that last stretch of a few more months till he’s home and I honestly cannot believe it’s already almost here! I’ve been doing what everyone has told me to do: stay busy and it’s worked tremendously, given that I am a nursing student and that in itself is a whirlwind of busy. I have noticed an increase sense of independence since he’s been away and it’s given me the strength as a wife that I can do this and it does feel good when non-military friends of mine tell me how they can’t imagine how I do it. Even though yes, I’ve had my bad days and my good days (more good than bad), but I’m definitely at that stage where you know it’s getting so much closer than you were months ago and you just want it to be over already. I definitely agree that the military community is such a strong little fraternity in itself and I never knew that fully till I became an army wife myself and I am so grateful for the other ladies I’ve met in my husband’s unit that are going through the exact same emotions. Ugh, I just keep telling myself “just a little bit longer….just a little bit longer”.
Wow, thank you for being transparent for us, Mission Accomplished, you have touched my life! I am new to the Army. My husband was in the Army before we married but then he went civilian and we’ve lived a very comfortable fun life together. He just recently decided that his dream was to go back in as an Army officer, so after 7 years of blissful marriage to my best friend, I find myself 6 weeks into his OCS training after he rejoined. I too am a big baby, very dependent on him, and completely in love with spending every waking moment with him. Even as a Christian and a counselor, I have struggled and really been working on positive ways to grow during this time without changing too much of who I am as a person and wife for when he returns. I have No other military wives to befriend in my hometown where I’m staying while he completes his training this year, and I feel like God has stripped everyone from me on purpose to get me alone, to make me independent, and grow in Him. Despite knowing I’m growing and have God so close to me in the middle of this season, I’ve also Never felt So Alone in my life. This isn’t even a deployment, I think to myself…It’s only the first 6 weeks of training for a long 13 years in the Army…what in the world have we gotten ourselves into?! I’m SOOO proud of my husband, but I’ve felt so emotional, and scared at times…even fearing that we wouldn’t know each other when he gets back. I guess that’s the good days/bad days part of it. I honestly just did a random google search for “wives during OCS Army” and your blog popped up first. It’s the First time in the last 2 months that I have felt encouraged, understood, and validated in ALL these feelings. I’ve trusted God, but you’re right, it’s so nice to have support from other wives, especially Godly ones who are devoted to their husbands. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for writing this letter. If no one else ever reads it, please know that God used you to touch my heart forever. I pray blessing for your family and your journey.
Annie Chesson says
Sarah, I’m so glad you found this post! I promise you will be stronger than you think as your husband leaves for various training and deployments. Don’t think that because the first 6 weeks of OCS are hard that you will be crushed by a deployment – those “short” trainings are super hard, too! The first times away are the hardest, even if it’s a long training versus deployment. One thing I think you should stop worrying about is changing who you are while he’s gone. You will still be you no matter what positive changes you make. You will just grow stronger, more independent, and more resilient. Don’t put your life on hold when he’s gone, even though that might sound harsh. It’s better for the both of you and your marriage if you keep living and improving your life and yourself while he’s gone instead of just living to wait for him to get home. My favorite thing to do is throw myself into a healthy eating + workout program. It makes you feel productive and awesome, and you know you’re improving yourself while he’s away. You’ve got this! I know military life is a struggle sometimes, but it will bring you some super unique and awesome experiences along with the hard ones, and your marriage will be all the stronger for the mountains you overcome together!
Andrew Thomas says
Your post brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me that I’m normal, and not insane for thinking such crazy thoughts. My CW2 could come home in two weeks, or in 4… he’s been gone for 10 months, and will leave directly from his demobilization to Virginia to take 7 weeks of classes for his rank (CW2 to CW3)… I braced myself all these months that he would be back and we could begin the seasons of 2018 together, and now he won’t be back until almost June which is 12 months since he left. The garden will be planet, the porch will be ready for summer enjoyment….. I will be in full swing with work.
I write him letters of encouragement EVERY DAY… custom stamps, our own wax seal…. and we skype x2 a day- but lately I have not had the desire to do that at all, in fear of him not receiving my letters anymore if he comes back early… I am not super excited about his return because I want things to be perfect at the house and don’t know how I’m going to get it all done….. worried we won’t be as compatible when he comes back, but have no solid proof to follow through with that thought. I was SO strong this entire deployment but nearing the end, I’m in an agonizing state of mind, and am just so weary. I want it to come, and I don’t…….. but thank you for sharing your story….. It’s provided helpful insight, and hope that all will be ok… and most importantly- to TRUST GOD. And, I do feel that I will NEVER take for granted the precious moments we do get to spend together…. always remembering this time we were apart, and PRAYING he retires before another deployment….. ha :) Blessings your way, to you and yours.
Morgan Barnes says
I really needed to read this today. One month into a six month deployment, and I’ve been pretty down the past few days. You definitely accomplished your goal. I cried several times, I smiled and laughed, and I felt understood. I can 100% relate to wanting to be around my guy all of the time, he’s my rock and my absolute best friend. I don’t even know you, but I want you to know that you made me feel so much better with your words. The military community has a way of making you feel connected to people that you’ve never even met. So thank you, very very much.
Annie Chesson says
I’m SO happy this helped you, Morgan. I know exactly how you feel, and you’re right the military totally has a way of making you feel connected. It’s my favorite part of military life! You’ve got this girl! You’re past the worst part. You’ll be in my thoughts!
Thank you for this article. We’re a week out from our first deployment and I’m struggling to keep it together. It really encourages me to hear someone else’s experience when they’re married to their best friend. I feel so blessed to have found someone who I love every moment with and I’m scared to death of things being different when he comes him home. I feel encouraged. Thank you!
Annie Chesson says
You’re in the worst part! I was really scared of it being different when my husband came home too, but we fell right back into things like we were before. The nerves leading up to the homecoming are really more of a struggle than the actual homecoming. At least that was my experience. I know for some people, reintegration is more of a struggle, but there are TONS of resources online with lots of great advice on ways to make reintegration go more smoothly. I know for me it helped to make a conscious effort not to just keep going on with my independent life that I’d formed over the last 9 months, and to intentionally make him feel included and needed in my life, like he still had a very necessary and desired place there.
I want to thank you. Your words have truly comforted me.. I have a few close military spouse friends, but for some reason something is holding me back from reaching out. My husband of 16 years left yesterday for his longest deployment yet and I just can’t seem to get it together! I feel like the tears, ugly crying, and the sick feeling in my stomach won’t every go away. We’ve been through many Deployments/time apart (training/school), but none as long as this one, and none that ever made me feel the way I do now. So, Thank you again, Your words let me know that the way I’m feeling is normal and I am not alone.
Annie Chesson says
Hey Julee! I’m so glad you could find some comfort and relatability in this post. Deployments are the worst! But you are definitely not alone – you’ve got a tribe of army wives around you. You should reach out to your ladies! You’ve got this!
Amber C says
Thank you so much for this post. First deployment is coming up and I am sooo sad :-( it hurts. My stomach literally hurts. But this gave me some motivation and comfort as I read it. Thank you for taking the tim to write it out for other wives.
Annie Chesson says
I know exactly what you mean – it’s crazy how you can experience almost physical pain from how much you are dreading it! Don’t worry – you are in the worst part now. Once he actually leaves and things get moving, it gets WAY easier!
Sylvia Chesson says
Dear Annie, thank you for sharing such a tender and real story :- ) Though all of your readers will not be wives of those deployed…there are many with similar occasions of loss or temporary loss and all that goes with it. Your voice will help them /find their voice also so they may talk about their experiences. Thank you for giving them this opportunity.
Bless you for your strengths and growth during this trying time. It will serve you, your husband and your family well in your future :- ) What does not break us…makes us strong!
Love you Annie! Your Aunt Sylvia
Annie Chesson says
Thanks for the comment, Aunt Sylvia!!