Hot And Colds

The in-laws just left this morning, and the hubs and I are glued to the couch sick.  It’s been a busy week.

There’s been no air conditioning at work for over a week and a half, and the summer reading program for kids just started.  It’s like a race between me and three hundred kids to see who can get the crankiest the fastest.

I’ve been wrestling with TriCare on getting a referral for a therapist.  As always, the referral process is cumbersome and slow, but you know, I will be going to a person eventually.  A friend of mine pays out of pocket for her therapist, and I hate hearing her struggle with her mental health versus the cost of care.  It shouldn’t be a factor, and it makes me so thankful for my frustrating, stupid TriCare referral system.  I originally wanted to talk more about that now, but this cold is taking over.

DH surprised me by coming home a couple days early, which was lovely and unexpected.  I don’t know about you, but after a long absence when the phone calls start to drop off, I sometimes daydream that he can’t answer his phone because he’s on a plane coming to see me.  Now that he’s actually delivered once, my daydreams are going to go wild.  Speaking of absences, we got notice for the next deployment.  Boo.

Now back to my kleenex box.  At least there’s AC at home.

Got Him

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

Countdown

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.

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.

Focus

I cannot get my mind to focus.  I want to lay on the couch and watch tv, but once I’m there I can’t stand to sit still one more second.  I have this undeniable urge to get up and do anything at all.  So I get up only to find that I don’t care about what I’m doing and can’t seem to wrap my mind around the task at hand.  My mind is acting so weird.  I can’t write dates down.  I’m transposing numbers.  I can’t look at a piece of paper and type what I see.   And I’m tired, so very tired.

I’ve said many times…it’s deployment brain.  I hate it.  I hate feeling this disorganized and apathetic.  I feel like I’m coasting with glazed over eyes.  I want that burst of energy to sprint to the finish line.  Instead I get a case of the blahs.  Great.

Is this common?  Do I have to feel this detached to survive this intensely emotional period?  It’s very unsettling to feel nothing at this point.

Now Please

I. Am. Ready. To. Be. Done.

This is the week of redeployment briefings.  Company, brigade, and battallion…you name it, I’ve heard the same non-information at all levels.  The Army is nothing if not consistent in their lack of information.  I’ve never sat through so many meetings hearing nothing.  Hearing that we’re all excited to have our men home.  Hearing that it’s coming.  Hearing that we’ll be told when there’s something to tell.

All it does is amp you up and let you crash back down while you keep waiting.  It’s not close enough to clean or buy food or decorate.  It’s just close enough to be within reach and unbearable.

But I can’t bear to miss one just in case.  Hope is a painfully cruel mistress.

I was doing pretty good until these meetings started.  I could still ignore it was out there and function.  Until Monday… I had a panic attack just driving out to the meeting because it was in the hanger where he’ll be arriving at.  It felt so real I couldn’t take it.  I was just so incredibly excited and nervous.

I’ve been meeting some great women though.  We’re bonding so quickly and so strongly because we’re all starving for any shred of information.  It’s sad that we’re just doing this now.  I wish I’d met them months ago.  Once our men are back I probably won’t hear from them much.

I’m torn between inviting everyone I know for his homecoming and forbidding anyone from showing up.  I’m so proud of him.  I want everyone there to be proud of him too and cheer him home and celebrate his accomplishment.  But I want a moment just for us as well.  I’m so excited it’s painful.  I want help and support because I know it’s only going to get worse, but at the same time I want to do it all on my own until the very end.  It’s going to feel like it’s killing me, but this deployment monster is something that has to be done alone.  I could surround myself with people, and I’d still feel isolated.

Homecoming Potpourri

I think the end is harder than the beginning…

I am so over waiting.  I want to be done and want to be done now.  I know it’s just a handful of weekends more, and I’m busy or working most of those weekends, but can this just move a little faster please?

We’re so close that we’re talking about “after”.  We’re making plans for block leave and wistfully talking about the first meal back.  I’m talking to my boss about days off and changes to the schedule.  I’m mentally starting to clean and straighten up the house.  I’m doing all this and I really don’t know for sure when all this will occur…I’m just guessing around a general time.  But I want whenever it’s going to be to get here now!

I’m surprised at how weepy I am.  I had my moments where it all caught up with me, but the end–the happy time–isn’t when I thought the tears would come.

The FRG meetings are coming out of the woodwork!  I haven’t met any of these women before.  We’ve actually had very few meetings, at least that I’ve been told about.  They’re here now though.  My first “coffee” was Friday night.  Socially, I’d consider it a bust although I did meet one other lady who’s as lost as I am.  I also learned how to make those fluffy yellow bows.  I didn’t think I’d care.  I didn’t think I was this nervous.  The head ladies, all who have multiple deployments under their belt and go to all unit homecomings, were talking about their banners and how they decorate and all that stuff.  I’d thought about it awhile ago, and that stuff just wasn’t important to me.  It just needs to be me and him in that hanger.

But then I made a bow.  And I saw her unfurl her hubs’ banner.

I am a little ashamed and a little excited…I bought a banner.  BuildASign.com is doing a wonderful promo for military families.  They’re giving away free signs.  You just have to pay shipping.  They’re super customizable, heavy-duty, vinyl signs.  You can upload pictures and it comes out clear.  I saw one on Friday.  I took one of their pre-designed banners and deleted just about everything on it to write my own text, so don’t feel limited to what you see.  I also bought an obscene amount of ribbon today.  I’m going bow crazy.  When you drive up to my house, you actually see the back fence first, so I think I’m going to hang the sign and decorate the fence with a ton of bows.  I want my hands free for hugs at the homecoming, but who doesn’t love a huge, embarrassing sign that all of traffic will see as they leave post?

We’ve done a lot of long distance in our relationship, so this is not our first separation.  But this is not the usual absence.  I didn’t think until Friday’s FRG meeting that this is a time to celebrate an accomplishment.  These aren’t just “We Missed You” signs.  They are “Congratulations” and “We’re Proud of You” signs.  I’ve been coming at this whole event like we were simply back to living under the same roof again.  It’s so, so much more than that.  I think that’s what makes this suddenly so overwhelming.

This post is rather disjointed, but it’s how I’m feeling right now.  I look at the calendar a dozen times a day and the time is slowing to a crawl, but my mind is racing.

And I can’t stop smiling. 🙂

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