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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Preparing for Deployment

preparing for deployment

From time to time I get emails asking for advice from an army wife's perspective. It flatters me that I'm asked. I love being an army wife. I'm daily proud to be married to my American soldier.

A few months ago I was asked, by a new army wife, about deployments. This was my response to her...

Yes, my husband has deployed. Twice. The first time was in 2003. He was gone for 16 months. That was before the 12 month "boots on ground" rule. The second time was in 2010. He was gone for 12 months.

{He's also left us for months at a time for schools and training. These can be equally as hard.}

Preparing for a deployment is never easy. Emotionally, it's tough. Physically, it's tough. {because you are now mom and dad and everything in between} Financially, it can be tough, if you don't prepare for all the stuff he'll need and want to take with him so he'll have some comforts from home.

Deployments are hard. For you and your soldier.

My biggest piece of advice would be to be patient. With your soldier and yourself. {especially if this is your first deployment} He has so much going through his mind as far as leaving his home and you and family and you and the house responsibilities and you. He's going to miss you. And if there are children involved he'll miss them too.

Have I said deployments are hard?

Be patient with yourself. You are trying wrap your mind around being without the man you love and can't live without for at least the next nine months. It's going to be hard. The first few weeks you may walk around in a cloud of sadness.

It gets better.

You'll get calls from him and emails and letters. You'll hear his voice and know that he's ok. Every day is one day down. One day closer to having him back in your arms.

Start thinking now on who you can go to for support. Who can you call when you're sad? Or, you may not want to talk to anyone at all. I didn't want to for the first few days. I just wanted to be alone. Watch a movie alone. Read a book. Go to bed early.

But, there are times when you want to talk to someone. Need to talk to someone. Who is that someone for you? Do you live on post? The army has moved you far away from close friends and family? Are you friends with another wife whos husband is deployed? If you don't know her well, get to know her. One of my very best friends now is someone I could call at any time, day or night, and she was there. Her husband was also deployed.

You don't live on post? That's okay, too. Are you close to your sister? Have a best friend you can talk to? They may not completely understand what you're going through but they can help pass the time.

A tip: Use the deployment as a time to do things you may not have been able to do while your soldier is home. Like, stay up late, go to a chick flick at the movie theater, craft all night, leave your crafty mess all over the dining room table, watch soap operas, eat junk food for dinner...ha! These are a few things that just wouldn't fly with my hubby.

Of course, these aren't all of the answers to preparing for a deployment. But, it's a good start.

Do you have questions? Suggestions? Leave me a comment. I'd love to add to this. Let's make prepping for a deployment as easy as possible for our fellow military spouses.

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Jamie Harris said...

I MISS YOU!!! Im glad your not having to do this again, but I miss having you here for all the talks!

Angela said...

you are one strong woman, Melissa. xoxo