The Deployment Diary

Sunday, May 15, 2005

It Never Gets Any Easier...

When my husband and I met, I had absolutely no knowledge of military life whatsoever. I didn't even know enough to be dangerous lol. My father had gotten out of the service before he met and married my mother. So, when dating my husband who was a drill sergeant when we met, I just assumed that all soldiers worked from 3 or 4 in the morning until midnight or later every day lol.

We dated less than a year before we married. My entire experience with the military up until that point had been the hours he worked on the trail. His recruits were in OSUT (One Station Unit Training) where they go through basic and AIT together, so the cycles were pretty long. Although he worked long hours, other than pulling duty (and I took him supper when he pulled duty so I still saw him) - we were only separated for several days each cycle when they did their FTX before graduation. This was years before Victory Forge had been thought of lol.

We married in May and he finished up his two years on the trail several months later. By August or maybe it was September, he had orders to another duty station. Right before Christmas that year, we arrived at his new duty station and settled into a two bedroom apartment in the civilian community. That's when I was introduced to the real Army lol.

I remember the first field problem he went on after the holidays that year as if it happened last week. We'd been there less than two months. He was going to be gone three or four weeks and I'll be honest, I was scared.

I worked for a law firm in the town right outside the installation's gate, so I had a full-time job to keep me busy. We had a small dog and two cats to keep me company at night. But, living alone in a new town, in a "new to us" apartment where I didn't really know anyone other than my husband and the nice lady who was the apartment complex's manager - well, it was quite intimidating.

Those first few nights, I cried a lot. I'd get home from work and eat a bowl of cereal for supper. I'd get a shower and get my PJs on. Then it would hit me: I'd only killed an hour and a half tops - and I still had another eleven or so hours before I could get dressed and go back to work lol. At least at work, there were people to talk to lol. It was truly a very lonely time.

One night while sitting on the couch crying, covered up in a throw and having my box of tissues next to me, I remember worrying that maybe I just wasn't cut out for this type of life. It was pretty apparent by my puffy, swollen eyes and stuffy nose from all the crying that I was not handling my first military separation very well. And, "he was only in the field for goodness sakes! It wasn't like he was sent off to war or something" I'd think - and start crying even harder.

And then it came to me. I thought, well - this is all so new. Newly married, new to Army life, new to the community. Maybe I should cut myself a little bit of slack here. I remember thinking that I couldn't wait for us to be married for a few years because surely, by then, I'd be adjusted to Army life. I'd be used to all that is so new and scary at the moment. And most importantly, the separations would become easier to endure as I got used to him having to be away from home.

Whew. There.

It may have taken several days to come up with a way to console myself, but finally, I felt better. From that moment on, I seemed to handle our first "military separation" better with my "this is all so new, it will get easier as time goes by" outlook.

Years passed. Then a decade. And time kept marching on as well as my husband's career. Each separation coming and going and the horrific realization that it had NEVER gotten any easier. If anything, each year that we are married we are closer, we are more in love with one another and have built a strong life together. And it NEVER gets any easier to say good-bye.

Never.

Whether he's deployed to a combat zone or, like now, spending some time in the field, it's never easy to go even ONE day without him - without at the least, being able to hear his voice.

He left at 1:30 am and I was, of course, awake. Waiting so I could tell him I love him and to be careful. To hear his voice, to give him a hug and a kiss. It's the last of any of those things for a few weeks since no cells were allowed on this trip and there will be no email in the woods lol. It beats the heck out of the months of not hearing his voice after they rolled out of Kuwait and into Iraq in 2003, but it still doesn't beat having him home - or only a phone call away.

And it never gets any easier.

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3 Comments:

  • Shannon, I have been meaning to sit down and email you.. but everytime I do.. I don't really even know where to start! UGH! Things are leveling out these days, but wow, when the bad days come THEY REALLY COME! I promise to email you this week and boy oh boy.. I'm glad I didn't know the "it never gets any easier" thing before. Note to self: as hard as I thought this would be.. it has been 100 TIMES HARDER! Chat Soon.

    Shelly

    By Anonymous Shelly, at 5/16/2005 7:22 AM  

  • Hey Shelly! It's so good to hear from you! I'm glad things are leveling out some and I hope they continue to.

    As anyone can tell from reading here, I'm close to nutcase when it comes to my husband lol. I just don't handle certain aspects of military life very well and i readily admit it lol. It's just part of who I am. So just because I find that separations never get easier, it doesn't mean everyone else feels the same way - or will feel the same way ;).

    I know plenty of spouses who actually look FORWARD to the shorter separations like field problems. They say it gives them a good break from each other and makes for honeymoon type feelings when they are reunited. I'm just weird lol, so keep that in mind when you are reading here lol.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 5/16/2005 8:15 AM  

  • I'm like you in this respect. Dh has not deployed yet for a war zone but even the minor separations leave me in tears, wondering if I'm cut out for military life.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    Here's hoping that the next few weeks go by quickly.

    By Blogger Homefront Six, at 5/17/2005 1:17 AM  

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