The Lonely Army Wife

Half of my heart is on its way to Afghanistan.

J deployed Saturday afternoon and as expected, I'm an emotional wreck. Even now I'm tearing up typing this. I was fine a few minutes ago. It's as if you're telling yourself you will not cry, then someone asks if you're okay and you immediately start balling when you try to speak. I intended to write this post as calmly as possible, but that's obviously not going to happen. I'll have to take "water breaks" because my eyes are drowning in tears and I can no longer see my computer screen.

Okay, I think I'm okay....wait, nope. I'm not okay you guys. My heart hurts. If you ever wondered how it feels to not be able to function like a normal human being, have your spouse shipped off to another country with no promise of coming back. I am a walking ball of emotion. Who am I kidding, I'm lucky if I make it off this couch.

I don't even know where to begin because my mind is all over the place. All I know is it's going to be a long 9 months. Part of me wants to be alone and the other part doesn't. I don't want to become a hermit crab but I also can't bring myself to just hang out with people like nothing happened. It'll take time, and I wish I could at least fast forward this next month so I can start feeling like a normal person again.

Deployment is not what people think it is. Lately it's been shown as some sort of vacation for soldiers who don't have to worry about anything and the wives back home get a free pass to do whatever they want. The send offs are filled with glamorous photos of smiling couples and the welcome back has families holding crazy signs awaiting their soldiers, and the in- between is nothing but skype calls and endless emails. That isn't real life.

There was nothing happy or exciting about this past week knowing what was coming Saturday. There was tying up loose ends, taking care of billing cycles and packing duffle bags full of camouflaged gear. Saturday morning came tight hugs and tears. The hanger for departure had numerous families praying for a safe trip and countless wives so choked up they couldn't get a word in. There were no beautifully posed pictures or a quick good bye that had me instantly on the freeway back home.

There was only a girl, left alone sitting in the car crying her eyes out because she just watched her soldier walk away from her. When something like that happens, you have no idea what to do with yourself. I sat there for an hour just crying. I didn't know I could cry as much as I did, and once I finally started to stop I felt so out-of-body, like it wasn't real. Just completely dumbfounded at what just happened. My other half was now gone, and I didn't want to go home to an empty house. 

The only reason I have these pictures is because the wife of the other soldier in the photo with J sent them to me.

What kills me the most is when people tell me "Well it shouldn't be too hard since this is his second deployment." ...excuse me? That doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to my husband. In fact, it's even worse because I have to be away from him yet again. Not to mention this time is completely different than the last time he left. Yes, it's for 3 months shorter but that also means we do not get an R&R. In 2011 the first 6 months I was living in Vegas with a roommate. I had 2 jobs, I attended school, and there was always places to be and people to be with because of the city. The last 6 months I moved back to California with my father and continued to work 2 jobs and attend school. My family and friends were there for me and there was always someone in the house.

Not the case this time around. I am on the other side of the country with no family and very little friends. The friends I do have are leaving because the military is constantly moving people. Friends are not a permanent thing in this lifestyle. I'm in a big house all by myself and I've never lived alone before. If one more person tells me it's the same I will punch them in the face. Yes, this isn't my first rodeo, but the circumstances are completely different and in all honestly- I'm terrified. 

I get a little hurt when other wives tell me to 'suck it up' or that this is their 3rd or 4th or whatever deployment. So? Since when is this a competition? Does that honestly make it okay for me to be able to just brush off the fact that my husband just fucking left and there's not a god damn thing I can do about it? We're supposed to be here for each other and support one another in this time of need. I don't care if your husband leaves for 2 days on a business trip, 2 weeks for training, 2 months for basic, or a deployment. The point is he left. 

I'm not saying I want to wallow in my own misery and feel sorry for myself the entire 9 months, but shit give me some time to adjust. The wound is still fresh, he JUST left 2 days ago. I don't even know when I'll get a call that he's there. Hell, it could be a month before I hear from him. Deployments are not filled with daily skype calls, you can go days or weeks without hearing from him and you start to think the worst. Every time someone knocks on your door you have a mini panic attack inside that on the other side there's a man with a flag standing there to tell you your brave husband died in battle. Then the day finally comes where you get a phone call at 4 in the morning, only for it to be full of static and last 2 minutes. 

But you'll drop everything for that phone call. You'll interrupt a class, you'll walk out of a movie theater, you'll take a break from your shift just to hear a few loving words from your husband. It's not the greatest way to live, but it's the one I've been dealt with, and I have to make the most of it. If not, I'll simply go insane. The emotions will get the best of me and I can't let that happen. 

So here I am- sitting on the couch at 2 in the morning, wearing J's dirty t-shirt from Friday because it still smells like him, dreading going to sleep because I don't want to be in the bed alone. I know I'll probably spend the next hour holding my pillow and crying, but I've accepted the fact that I'm going to be emotional for awhile and I just have to let it out. I'm no where near stable, but I'll get there soon. I just have to keep myself busy and hope September gets here in a heartbeat. Fingers crossed.

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  1. Hugs! My husband left this weekend, too. I might have started crying yesterday at work (though I'm glad I didn't have a full on meltdown like the first time he deployed). And you know what? We're allowed to be sad. The ones asking us those stupid questions are also the ones who say that they know what it feels like because their husbands once went on a long business trip.

  2. I can only imagine how hard this would be, and my heart goes out to you. It's terrible that people want to make it a competition or tell you to suck it up. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. I'll be thinking of you and sending best wishes for your husband to be home safely.

  3. Hi there... We don't know each other, but I was still very touched by your post. It saddens and disappoints me that these other women, who you might even consider your support group, brush you off like that. Shame on them. I guess I'm lucky I don't know the pain and fear you're going through, but my heart goes out to you completely. I hope these next few months go by quickly, and before you know it, you'll have your solider back home, safe and sound.

  4. I'm so sorry you have to go through this again. :( Maybe a road trip is in order to take your mind off of it for at least a weekend. I'll send you care packages, too!


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