The Deployment Diary

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Day 254 - An Interesting Email

I don't get too many emails from The Deployment Diary, but the few I get are written by such caring people. I feel so very blessed and thankful to hear from people who are so loving and compassionate. Wishes of a quick and safe return, offers of prayers or the most recent, a thank you.

It means so much to me that somewhere out there, my little corner of the net (often filled with Pity Party For One material and little else) has helped someone. What I write about my feelings gave someone an idea of what they may feel if their loved one must leave for Iraq. Due to this email, I'm determined to do a better job at this and take it more seriously by devoting more time to it. If it can help a person prepare for some emotions they may face - or more importantly, help someone avoid traveling the pity party trail on some days as I've done too often, something more positive than I ever imagined has come out of all this. Due to that, I will work harder at this and hopefully do a much better job.

I read an email last night with quite a few questions. I read it several times. It was already late, so I decided I'd better not start a response or I'd be up too late for a fourth night in a row. Somewhere between last night and today, I realized the questions were so good and so thought provoking, I'd answer here.

For YOU... what has been the most difficult moment of the deployment? Him leaving? The beginning months? The rumor mill? Anticipating him coming home? I look at your countdown and it just seems SO AMAZING to me that the army can take someone away for SO LONG.

It Was A Cry in the Closet Day touches on that topic a little. At each stage, I often think this is the absolute hardest and certainly the worst is behind me. Nine months later, when I think of the day he left, I still want to cry. It was the most emotional experience and the first time in my life that my heart hurt so badly that it felt like physical pain.

I have to say though, the worst is when the news reports his brigade has lost soldiers and the time span of them reporting and the families finally being notified. It is those times that I feel my spirit trying to break. It is those times that fear I've never experienced prior to this grasps my soul and slings me around in every direction until word comes that he is ok. He's been deployed before, but I've never experienced so much death and life altering injuries of people we know and care about. I've never had to contemplate how fragile our existences are and how quickly we can be robbed of a tomorrow.

I'm sure I will experience these days again before he is finally home with us and safe. I will never get use to them though. I will never handle them stone-faced. It is just not how God made me. We all have our breaking points and it is during those hours of not knowing if I'll ever see him again that brings me to the edge of my breaking point. It's worse than the good-bye, being a single parent for a year or living a lonely existence. It is the worst when I have the deep, almost primitive need to hide from the worry that one of those being reported could be him - and I cannot hide. It's there and I can only wait - and hope that this year separated does not turn into the rest of my life.

I try not to discuss the "potential deployment" with him.. as we have agreed to "cross that bridge when we get there"... but sometimes it just makes me very anxious. Did you have that same situation of "waiting for him to get the final orders"? How did you deal with that?

In a previous deployment we had 48 hours notice. This time, we had a little over a month notice that they would be going to Iraq and where. The orders were unexpected and sudden so we didn't have months of speculation. We had a date not too far off in the future and it was a mad rush to get everything in order and having to share our last few weeks together with his parents making last minute trips to see him. I couldn't enjoy our time together because I was constantly fighting tears and trying not to make leaving any harder on him than it had to be.

I really feel such sympathy for HIM... after all, he is the one who can't see his girlfriend, friends, family, home or dog for a year. But I still get to "continue with my life". So, I try really hard not to overburden him with MY feelings of "being left behind"... because I know that he will have many of his own feelings / emotions to deal with. Did you ever experience this?

Oh do I ever. I will write him about something that went on here that irritated me or a hard week with two little ones sick while I was sick ;). I get it all out and then feel like a heel. I know that my worst day here is better than his best day over there.

I can go to the bathroom and not want to gag from being in a porta-potty with 100 (or more) other people's business sitting there boiling in the heat. I can call my Mother when I want and talk for as long as I want on my cell's free minutes. I get to see our babies every single day in person, not through a photo.

No matter what, his job and surroundings are harder than anything I will ever experience. I admire him and everyone who has volunteered to serve their country. They go off and live in conditions worse than any prisoner in our country experiences. They keep us safe so we all can take everything at home for granted and not question the price of freedom because of the brave and exceptional people who pay that price for us. To say my very existence pales in comparison to the man I married is an understatement. Him and people like him are the true spirits of America and so few appreciate all they have done and continue to do in order to ensure our freedom.

Also, I know that I have never met you..... something tells me that if we met.. we would be friends.

I think you are right. We would probably be great friends!

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