Initial Jumbled Mess Of Thoughts

Honestly, this is an incredibly weird period and I haven’t been ready to talk about it.  I’m not sure I still am.  I feel disjointed, like all my body parts aren’t talking to one another.  This post is going to be rough and unpolished.  I need to get a lot of stuff out there to start putting them in order for myself.

He left and I never got that sad, dreading feeling like I thought I would.  There was too much to do, too  many people to meet, and I just didn’t let myself accept that it was really time to let him go.  (Note to DH’s everywhere:  don’t introduce wives on the day you’re leaving.  We don’t care.  We won’t remember each others’ names.  It’s too late.  Just let it go.)  We said our goodbyes and I gave him a hug and a kiss and we went our separate ways.  We were laughing and joking like it was any other afternoon.  The whole thing feels so fake now.  No tears.  No fighting not to let go.  No savoring the last touch.  I want a do over.

It was about half way home from brigade headquarters that I started to realize that it wasn’t just a kiss goodbye.  I’m doing it all on my own now.  Even that I stuffed way down and ignored.  That night I went up to brush my teeth for bed and he had spilled after shave on the sink.  The bathroom smelled like him so much.  But the medicine cabinet is empty.  His bath towel is missing.  My heart clenched shut.  He’s gone.  I like to save at least one t-shirt of his to curl up with and smell when I start to feel weighed down, but the small pox vaccine he had to get ruined that.  (That thing is soooo gross.  I will not miss that oozing buboes.)  I had to wash and disinfect all his clothes.  I feel robbed of that too.  Everything’s clean and put away.  No stray socks of his littering the floor reminding me of his bad habits.  He’s practically erased.

And people keep calling.  People kept calling when we were trying to say goodbye.  Note to everyone in the whole world you doesn’t have to do this:  DON’T!  We know you’re thinking of us, but we just need space.  I can’t get my own emotions straight.  I don’t want to describe to you how I’m doing or how I’m feeling or relive the exact events of our goodbye.  I want to sit stunned in my own home, quietly, half pretending that this isn’t happening.  If I can ignore his absence for even a little bit, that’s time that I don’t have to bear the pain.  So many people feel the need to check on me, but they can’t do anything to fix this.  Leave me alone for awhile.

He called this morning from Kuwait.  I accidently hung up on him the first time.  I lay there trying not to feel like shit that I missed his call.  I can’t start this so early.  I won’t get every single phone call.  I can’t beat myself up for it.  He called back, thank goodness, and my heart soared.  Just hearing his voice made me feel so much better, but that false feeling of cheeriness was all over the place again.  That’s not me.  That’s certainly not me right now. 

I wonder if whether they want to or not, mil spouses go into auto pilot and stuff their emotions down when times like these happen.  The need not to burden DH with my emotional needs just happens whether I want it to or not.  It makes me so mad.  It makes life easier…in a way…but I feel like I have no control in how I react.  I’m going to explode soon.  Big bursts of anger or almost tears spurt up at odd times.  It’s all under the surface, but I can’t let it out yet.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop the emotional mess once it’s let go.

I stand by my original feelings that I wanted someone here.  I wish Red could have been here right now.  I think I would feel less obligated to stuff it all way, way down and keep going.  I want that release and help–just not in the format of a stupid phone call asking how I’m feeling.  Just come and make me dinner.  Wash his clothes for me so I don’t feel like I’m erasing him out of my house.  Talk to me until I’m too tired to notice that I’m crawling into an empty bed.  Force me to go shopping with you so I have a reason to shower and put on something other than sweats.  Just hug me and don’t say anything when I need to cry.

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Gone

He’s gone.  That’s about all I really feel like saying right now.

Countdown

We’re into the final days before DH’s deployment.  We’re down to where there’s not much left to do but actually leave now.

I’ve been doing better than I thought I would.  I haven’t gotten crazy weepy or anything.  Just been plugging along.  In a way, it hasn’t felt like it’s this close yet.  There’ll always be one more day to get stuff done.  Last night as the weekend came to a close I felt my first twinge of desperate sadness.  I didn’t feel frantic because I was going to be alone though.  It was more just missing him.  It’s going to be a long time with no hugs or cuddles  in bed or holding hands.  So I guess that’s better than in the past.  It still hurts like crazy though.

What really got to me is how there’s no way to go through this process with someone.  DH cannot help me the way I would like him to.  He’s busy with packing and mentally focusing on his men and the job he has to do.  I can’t help him with that either.  We’re already in two separate spaces, and he hasn’t even left yet.  I couldn’t even go to the legal meeting to get my power of attorney or listen to the stupid FRG people.  He had to do that by himself.

We talked about asking someone to be here with me when he left.  I know I can do the time apart, but I worry about that initial goodbye.  I want to have the option of being so sad that I can check out from the world for awhile.  Someone else would be here to feed the dog and make supper while I moped for a day or so.  I didn’t want someone else (his mother, for example) that would be so sad that I would have to take care of them, but an impartial outsider would be nice.

We asked my best friend if she’d be here for me, and she said she’d come down in three weeks.  I love her to death, but she doesn’t get it.  I don’t need someone in three weeks, although I’d love to see her anytime.  I was trying to explain how I wanted to be alone when he left, just not alone.  She took that as giving me space right away.  She’s not a mil spouse, and it shows.  I want a pro-active woman who can step in and get the job done but isn’t going to yammer on about how it’s going to be ok and how she knows exactly how I feel.  I know tons of other people have gotten through this shitty time, but it doesn’t make me feel better.  They’re not me, hurting right now, going home without my DH.  When there’s no one else who can come and help you, you’re really alone.

I think that is what’s making me saddest right now.  It’s one thing to be alone but know that you’re only alone because people are just busy elsewhere.  It’s a totally different alone to know that there are no people to come at all.  It’s so frustrating because I want so badly to be pro-active about my emotions this time.  There’s always been something I could do to help the situation.  Not for this crap fest though.  I have found nothing and no one that can ease the suck.  So what happens where there are no more options?

Done

My thesis is done!  I turned it in yesterday and am soooo happy to officially be done with all coursework for this degree.  I thought that having written that many pages, the actual quantity would be less daunting.  I was wrong.  Editing all those pages was still a monumental task that took longer than I anticipated.  But that makes it that much more awesome that I made it through and am totally finished!  All I have left is to attend residency in June where I’ll graduate.  It stinks that I have to wait so long to officially be able to say that I have an MA, but the hard part it over.

I learned, among other things, that a Masters is no joke.  It’s tough.  It’s a lot of very hard work.  It’s frustrating and exhausting.  It will tie you up in mental knots and spit you back out again.  Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared for starting my Masters.  I was a good writer.  I had excellent study habits.  This degree destroyed what I thought I knew though.  It pushed my writing ability past any limits I had and forced me to juggle more work than I thought possible.  Unlike my Bachelors, I feel like I accomplished a monumental task with my Masters.  I worked my butt off and produced an original body of research that can carry its own weight in the world of history.  That’s so totally kick ass.  Man, I am incredibly proud of myself!

Deployment: Sharing With The In-Laws

DH got home last week just in time to meet his mother who had decided only a few short days before that she was coming for a visit…without checking on our schedules.  Thankfully DH got come right as we were pulling in from the airport, so I thought I was in the clear.

It turns out that DH came home with bronchitis and a sinus infection, so one long emergency room visit later he got medicine and spent the rest of my MIL’s visit in drug-induced nap.  Oh yay…

The whole thing was no one’s fault, and I’m sounding really negative about the whole thing but the few days went fine.  What irritated me was first, she came practically unannounced.  My husband had been gone, and had he not been crazy ill, I would have wanted to “welcome him home.”  Plus, this is my home with my schedule and there’s a lot that goes into getting ready to go to war.  It would have been nice to be able to rearrange some things before she got here.

Secondly, she came when she did because she “couldn’t handle the real goodbye” that’s coming up.  I was not looking forward to having to deal with a very weepy, uncontrollable woman when he left, but I think it’s totally sucky to back out like that.  Yes, it’s going to be hard, but it’s part of the deal.  It’s going to tear me apart inside, but there’s no way I’d miss it.  What about DH?  As he boards the plane, I want him to know that his loved ones are there waving him off.  But as much as I don’t agree with it, I can be sad on my own terms now.

Thirdly, if I have to hear from my MIL one more time how crappy my furniture is or how she never snoops by takes my things without asking while at the same time being told by DH that I’m being too sensitive–I will scream.  My MIL is a lovely woman, but she has such a strong, self-absorbed personality that really grates on my nerves after a few days.

I needed to vent, but who am I to dictate how a person greaves and prepares for their loved one to be gone?  I think I was more frustrated that my coping was being impacted by someone elses.  It’s easy to forget that I have to share DH with other people when it’s just the two of us here.  The fact is that whatever goodbyes I want have to redone with lots of other people.  And I need to remember that when he comes home, all my happy excitedness will have to be shared and redone with lots of other people too.

Kneading Some Lovin’

I tried my hand at making bread today.  My mom gave me super sweet Kitchen Aid mixer a couple years ago, and now I finally have both the counter space and time to use it.  (We always call it the John Deere because it’s big and well, we’re Midwesterns and we’re weird like that.)  I got out all my attachments and spent all day…mostly waiting.  Ha!  The mixing and baking don’t take that long, but waiting for the dough to rise is a couple hours.

The bread came out pretty good.  The smell of yeast is still floating around my kitchen.  It wasn’t that pretty–certainly not store quality–but it tasted divine.  I’ve been itching to try making bread, which has gotten worse since we’ve gotten used to our commissary and found out they don’t sell bread we like.  The recipe made two loaves, so I froze one for next week.  Next time I do the recipe, I think I’m going to tweak the flour amount because this batch was super sticky.  More sticky than it should be.  I got dough places that it ought not be…trust me.

I would have to consider this baking experiment a success.  It didn’t come out perfect, but it was more than edible.  I think in an effort to keep myself interested in cooking and eating somewhat normally while DH is gone, I’m going to try new recipes fairly regularly.  I can freeze parts for later in most cases, but I might find a few new yummy treats that I can send in DH’s care packages or make for him when he gets home.  I’ll try and post my successes and failures in the cooking world as they happen.  Is that too Julie and Julia?  I haven’t seen the movie, I swear.

Week 1 Thoughts

DH has  been gone for a full week, and it’s taken me about this long to realize some things.

1.  No matter how busy I keep myself, I’m still lonely.  DH has even commented that I’ve been super busy, busier than I am when he’s around.  I’ll admit that.  Some of it’s just timing–we hadn’t been here long enough for me to do some things, but I have been making a point to have something to keep me occupied every day.  I’ve started volunteering at the local historical society.  Their archives need a lot of work, and I want to keep my hands in the field even if I can’t get a job in it right now.  I’ve started therapy, been going to the gym regularly, gone shopping a few times, worked around the house, played with the dog, and worked on crafty projects–all in week 1!  It’s making the time go by faster, I’m feeling proud of myself, and I enjoy what I’ve been doing.  None of that gives me someone to talk to though.  I miss chatting over supper or as we drift off to sleep at night.  It’s not like I don’t tell DH the important stuff on the phone, but it’s not the important stuff that I miss.  It’s the laughing over a silly commercial or discussing the news that I want back.  My grandmother has lived alone for almost 25 years, and I honestly don’t see how she has done it.  I’m flat-out lonely.

2.  Even though I feel bad, I’m productive and am finding enjoyment out of life.  This is a huge change from past times DH has been gone.  I think I’m more proud of myself for recognizing that I have issues and trying methods to lessen the separation anxiety than I am for actually staying busy.  It’s also giving me things to talk about with DH when otherwise I would be feeling crummy that I had nothing to report because I never left the house.  I am concerned about keeping up this level of activity though.  I’ve had to really, really push to keep doing things every day and it’s only been a week.  After four, six, eight months, will I be able to keep this up?  I think I wouldn’t burn through my deployment activities list so fast if I could only land a job…

3.  A dog to keep me company was a great idea.  It makes me feel like a crazy person a lot of the times because I’ve started having loopy, detailed conversations with him just to talk to someone.  But he has lessened my fears about being home alone at night and has kept my days regimented.  Food and a walk at the same time, every day.  No matter what I feel like, he does have to pee, and cleaning up the floor from an accident will only make me feel worse.

4.  Cooking for one is a pain and will not get easier with time.  Continuing to eat right has been another big goal for me while DH is gone.  It’s just so difficult to do.  I don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up afterward, especially when no one is here to help me.  I don’t get hungry the same way when I’m alone.  Going to the gym is sort of helping.  It’s making me more conscious of health in general, which keeps the benefits of a good, balanced meal on my mind.  Mental health can be greatly influenced by food and excercise, and I have seen some positive effects lately.  I ordered two cookbooks specifically for cooking for one person, so hopefully that’ll inspire me to keep going.  It should at least take the guess-work about how much to make without creating leftovers for the next month.

5.  I need to make some friends that I can hang out with on the weekends and evenings.  I can’t rely on only being around people when I’m out and about.  I’m not actively engaged with people just because I’m out of the house, and it will cause me to constantly be gone.  I can’t keep up this pace, and I need real (and not dog) conversation.  This is only going to get worse when DH cannot call regularly.

So…maybe some things to keep looking forward to and a recognizing a few new speed bumps that I didn’t expect.  The real length of this separation is quickly sinking in.

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