A First

Today at work two guys were standing at the front desk with a handful of papers.  Everyday similar soldiers come up and ask to “clear” or for me to check to see if they have any outstanding materials so they can continue with moving to another duty station.  I plopped down in my chair and asked to see their ID card.  They were “clearing” for deceased soldiers.

My heart stopped.  This was what it looks like to have this happen.  I couldn’t catch my breath.  It was my first encounter with death during deployment.  It was my first realization that my husband might not come home since he left.  It hadn’t sunk in that the long breaks between phone calls could mean something else.  I hadn’t started worrying about seeing “those men” at my front door.

I am now.

I just didn’t have it in me the rest of the day.  I was sad and withdrawn and felt like I needed to do a lot of thinking by myself.  I had the stupid idea to straighten the books with call numbers in the 355’s this afternoon.  It’s the military history section–obviously one of my favorites.  I started crying right in the aisles after seeing book after book with titles about military wives, dealing with deployment, survivors benefits, combat stress, and military suicide.  It was my first time since he left that I just lost it in public just because I was afraid.

I feel more a part of the mil spouse club now, but certainly not in a way that I’m happy about.  I understand similar experiences of other wives now.  I’d been living in a bubble trying to avoid thinking about this stuff.  I dread month six, seven, eight…  I’ll be so much more tired and stressed.  I’ll be teary constantly.  In a way, I’m jealous of his family who doesn’t have to see soldiers all the time and run into instances like today’s.  They can keep their bubble safe if they want to.  I want to take back this first and forget it forever.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wiley
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 09:13:03

    Ouch. I can’t imagine how tough that must have been on you. I went through the same realisation a few weeks ago, though mine was not spurred by similar circumstances. But the stress of constantly wondering if he would come home suddenly hit me.. it’s strange how when that happens I wanted to retreat further into gloom to process it.

    Whatever works, right?


    • solwindchime
      Mar 27, 2010 @ 18:37:23

      You do! I think it’s because no matter how much you try and remind yourself that it’s coming, it still feels like a surprise when it happens. A friend of mine who’s been through 18 (!) deployments tried to remind me that this whole process goes in stages. Somehow I’d forgotten that. Hope the next stage doesn’t knock the wind out me quite so badly.


  2. Trackback: One Of Those Days « Solitary Wind Chime

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