The Deployment Diary

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Day 259 - Are You Worried?

In the past week, I've been asked by several people if I'm worried about my husband coming home. Are you worried about how he'll act? Are you worried you both have changed? How will you be comfortable after a year of not living together, not seeing each other and not even being able to talk all that often?

The simple answer is no, I'm honestly not worried.

I think it was month six that I had a complete meltdown, emailed my closest friend with all these fears and worries about his return. She, with all her compassion and wisdom emailed back that my feelings were all very normal. Hang tight. I did - with the thought, "This too shall pass." And it did, for a while.

Last week I mentioned a phone call I had with a friend who is having trouble after her husband's return. Not long after, I read online about someone else having similar problems.

After talking with my friend having trouble, I'd sent my husband an email about how people change and some of the trouble some are having when they returned. I mentioned the LT who came back to our installation, got drunk, tossed a chair through a window in a bar, assaulted a police officer, later was found he was drinking with his subordinates and screaming he was a "war hero" to the jailer. Ironically, his jailer WAS a war hero - although retired; a real hero.

Not long after, my husband called on a Sunday. He mentioned the three soldiers who killed a buddy for getting them kicked out of a strip club in Georgia (I believe it was). He said these are folks who would have wound up in jail - war or no war. He said too many people are using the war as an excuse to act stupid. Yes, some folks see some bad bad stuff and will need help dealing with what they've seen, what they've experienced - but they don't kill their wives and they don't kill their buddies. He explained it so much better than I am, so please don't take issue. I'm not giving this conversation the credit it deserves. He just said, some people are assholes, plain and simple. They were before they left and being in Iraq now gives them an excuse to be an asshole whenever the mood strikes them and have a crutch to blame it on.

He said a lot of people will have problems with their relationships when they get home and the majority of them had problems before the soldier ever deployed. These problems aren't repaired just because they are separated, they are strained even more. They come back and think all will be perfect and when the same problems are waiting on them, the relationship skids to a halt. The spouse blames the war, the soldier blames the war, when in reality the exact problems were alive and well before there ever was a war.

He told me he's changed a lot in the past months just as I have, but he feels they are all changes for the good. He says he appreciates things now that he'd taken for granted. He says he has more patience. He said, "I'm not coming home having turned into an asshole. I can guarantee you that."

Through the weeks, we've talked a lot about how we think things will be when he returns. If nothing else, my husband and I are excellent communicators. We love talking to each other and always have. My favorite time of the day is always after he gets home from work and he tells me all about his day. Or, when he returns from the field and he has so many funny stories to share. I love listening to what he did, what his soldiers did and who said what ;).

I tell him I'm worried about all the tears. That he'll get sick of seeing me burst into tears for no other reason than the fact I'm so overwhelmed with happiness that he's finally home. He says he's worried I'll get sick of him being right up my butt lol. The entire 30 days he's on leave, he's going to be stuck to me like glue.

Do I think there will be things we'll have to work through? I'm sure. He's coming home to retire. That frightens me more than him coming home and having problems with anger and aggression. I know he is stressed about finding a job, paying the bills, being the man of the house and supporting his family. I would like to get at least a part time job opposite hours, just to help bring in some extra money AND get out of the house some. He says no, he's always supported this family and if he has to work two jobs, that's what will happen. We planned for me to stay home and we're sticking to that plan according to him. According to me, we'll just see about that ;).

There's also all the losses they have suffered. He lost two of his good friends in the same incident. Soldiers have suffered some horrible injuries and their lives will never be the same. Young soldiers with young wives and small children have lost limbs. I don't think he's dealt with it. If anything, he's put it aside to focus on his job and just making it through. At some point, the emotions from the memorials and the loss will come to the surface. I plan to be there when he's ready, to listen - and to be his rock to lean on if needed.

I can't think of a time my husband has ever yelled at me or our children. I cannot imagine him coming home and doing so. My friend, they've always been yellers, as long as I've known them lol. That is there normal. It's just escalated, I think (not being there, I can't say). I can remember coming home from being at their house and my husband saying he couldn't imagine us talking to each other like that. I agreed. We have this mutual respect for one another and if we do get mad (all couples have arguments), we do the silent thing for a day or so, then sit down and talk about it.

No marriage is perfect, but if there ever was a good marriage through and through it is ours. We have our ups and downs, but we face them together. Just as we'll face this reunion and the settling back into normal life. It's just another experience that brings us closer together and makes our foundation stronger. I look forward to us making our way back together, getting reacquainted, sharing our lives. I cannot wait to face life as a team again and work through what life tosses our way - together.

I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to it!

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