Got Him

Please excuse the forthcoming absence.  I’ve got a husband to get to.


There’s not much time left, so I’ve been busy, scarce, preoccupied… This has to be the most difficult time of the whole deployment. I’ve been wanting to write, and have sat down several times to do so, but it’s so difficult to put this transition period into words.

Honestly, I feel hurt. I feel damaged and bruised. I did an awesome job here by myself. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I’m proud of myself. I wasn’t a snotty, babbling mess. I have a more social, fulfilling life now than I have ever had. I am happy. But at what cost? I struggled to learn how to ask for help. I had been rejected and let down so many times that I grew a very think shell. I finally got to a point where I believed that there are people out there who care and will help if I ask. Then DH leaves and I’m back to being self-reliant. True, it’s a bit different, but he could not and was not there emotionally for me. I don’t blame him even the tiniest bit, but the fact is, I had to re-grow some of that shell to get through these months. I don’t know how thick it got. I wonder how hard it is going to be to break that down again. I have such an absolute personality. It’s either/or with me. It’s everything or nothing. I either have a shell or I don’t. I wonder whether I know how to take out a pre-fab shell when I need it and when to put it away.

I completely underestimated how much this deployment was going to stress my marriage. I have a great marriage. We complement each other amazingly well. We have a ton of fun together. We trust each other 100%. We’ve done a lot of long distance in our relationship, so I guess I assumed it would just be another one. We’ve gotten good at being apart, as sad as that is. Deployments are way different though. Don’t ever underestimate their power to screw up every aspect of life all to heck. All I can compare it to is the biggest, nastiest fight you could ever have with your spouse. That feeling after the fight where you want to wrap yourself up in that person and heal your relationship, that hurt you feel when someone you loves hurts you, and those quiet healing moments you crave to fix the cracks that appeared while you were arguing—that’s that this feels like…only on crack. It hurts your heart in that unique way. The only problem is there was no fight. There isn’t a resolution with one person being wrong and saying they’re sorry. How do I heal from a fight that didn’t happen?

This makes me sound so unhappy when I’m really not. I’m so incredibly in love. I’m happy to the point of exploding because it can’t come out fast enough. I don’t hear people talk about the other feelings though. Those are the feelings that I’m not used to and don’t know what to do with. This is such a weird process. It’s the most emotionally intense thing I’ve ever done, and I really thought getting through suicide and self mutilation took a lot out of me.

Mutant Fruit

I picked two big buckets of the biggest pears I’ve ever seen today.  Some were like softballs…especially the one that fell and almost cracked my sunglasses.  A black eye for DH’s homecoming would make for extra special memories I suppose.

The pears were warm from the sun and delicious right off the tree.  They’re going to make the yummiest canned pears and pear butter tomorrow.

The caramel pear strudel I made tonight isn’t half bad either!

My Mind Is Working Like This Today

It’s very, very close, and we’re both starting to feel weird about it.  I’ve sat down several times wanting to write something to sort out the jumble inside, but it’s not going well.  I’m going to us this as my jumping off point for later.

Happiness.  Bliss.  Giddiness.  The romantic silliness starts before he even gets home.  Life is filled with daydreams and giggles.  Excitement in its purest form.

Disbelief and maybe even denial.  It can’t be happening already.  It was never going to end.  A refusal to believe that life could be getting so much better instantly because if you believe it and it doesn’t happen, you might not make it another day.

Fear.  Worry.  Apprehension.  You’ve both changed so much.  What will he need?  Will you know how to help him?

Plans, plans, and more plans.  Make them.  Scrap them.  Make new ones.  Do a ton of research and then change your mind not because of money or time but because you’d rather do nothing.  Because it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re together.

Cry a lot.  Cry because your neighbor decorated her fence and you have to see it every time you go outside.  Cry because it’s almost here.  Cry because you still have to wait.  Cry because you can’t move time faster.

Think bad thoughts about every person who gets their soldier back sooner.

More pride than you ever thought possible for your soldier, for all soldiers, for yourself for being apart of this incredible community.

Love and hate this process simultaneously.

Suit Of Green

 I was at library training all day today.  I had high hopes.  It sounded fun, and I’ll always take an opprotunity to be away from the office for awhile.  It was hosted by the academic library here on post that works almost exclusively with a career course for soldiers.  It’s a small library, and honestly, it would melt my heart if I could work there.

Anyway, the librarians there kept calling soldiers “green suiters” in the most derogatory way I’ve ever heard.  I have never been more offended.  They aren’t wearing a “green suit.”  It’s a uniform, and they wear it proudly.  These librarians are all civilians, some having worked in military libraries for decades.  I would bet none have military spouses though.  Why look down or belittle your main customer base?

I expected better from people who work on post with soldiers everyday and see how their lifestyle stresses them and their families.  It’s not a catchy nickname, and I immediately had a bad taste in my mouth about the library and the librarians who work there.  Bad form, ladies.


From across the world, from a shit hole that’s trying to kill him, my love sends me this song and tells me he’s thinking of me.

And suddenly everything’s perfect.

Culture Of Silence

I have a govie job, so I have to attend the yearly trainings for everything under the sun.  One of those trainings is for suicide prevention, which I had to attend earlier this week.  Initially I was excited to go to the training.  Not only is it a paid break from work (whoo-hoo!), but I’m always excited to see any kind of initiative toward opening discussing depression and suicide.

Everyone’s heard of the increase in soldier suicide rates, and it’s all over the news how more money and resources are being allocated to help soldiers with mental illness.   A movement is starting that will hopefully encourage them to seek help and change the stigma associated with depression in the military.  I think it’s wonderful and long overdue, but I know it’s going to be an uphill battle.  I personally advocate for mandatory, regular screenings but that’s a whole different argument. 

The training was solely geared toward PTSD and soldiers, and in my opinion, it was done very badly.  The guest speaker, Sam Rhodes, was unprepared and inarticulate.  He sounded uneducated and spent more time trying to relate to the room full of soldiers than he did stressing a point.  More time was spent in his presentation on self-promotion, his book, and all the attention he’s getting from the national news than it was on how to reach soldiers suffering from depression.  As a person who claims to have been suicidal before, I expected more.  Say what you wanted to hear, Sam.  Tell soldiers exactly what you needed people to say to you but didn’t get because they didn’t know.  I don’t want to hear how you’re working with horses or see pictures of you at a book signing.  I’m glad you have the courage to speak out about your struggles, but don’t waste your audience.

It’s great that Sam Rhodes is advocating change.  Just because he’s one of the only former soldiers out there stumping for a change to how we recognize and treat military depression and suicide, doesn’t mean he’s the best answer though.  I think we can do better.   His book is (yes, I’ve read it) needs a thorough editing and proofreading.  The sloppiness degrades any argument he makes.  I agree that to end the stigma associated with PTSD leadership needs to be more accommodating to soldiers who need and want help, but come on.  If you’re going to be the spokesperson for the issue, act like you’re not working out of your basement even if you are.

I was slightly bummed with the training itself, and not just Sam Rhodes.  I know I’m at a military institution with a ton of returning soldiers very soon, but don’t forget about the rest of us.  That’s why I was so happy to see SpouseBuzz talking about mental illness for those of left on the home front the other day.  We suffer too.  Deployments and military life are stressful.  Anticipatory grief can be horrible to deal with on your own.  It’s ingrained in soldiers to be tough, to suck it up, and deal with the danger, fear, and worry in a solitary, stoic manner to get the job done.

Military spouses feel the same way.  Don’t complain to your soldier, he’s got enough on his plate.  Don’t show worry at home, the kids shouldn’t be burdened with it.  Civi friends don’t understand.  Families are too far away.  The military machine doesn’t care because you’re just the dependent of a social security number.  This life is emotionally abusive a lot of the time, and we have to be tough and deal to make it until the next challenge is in front of us.  Military spouses need just as much attention in the big push to confront military depression and suicide as their soldiers.

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