The hardest thing about being an Army family is dealing with deployments. We try not to complain. We know what we signed up for. We knew our soldier would have to leave us on a regular basis. As a wife, I knew that my children would spend much of their life without Daddy to help them get through the days. I knew that I would spend many nights alone. I knew that it was for the greater good.
It’s ok, but it is not easy.
I find myself crying all the time, over everything. It’s traumatic. I’ve seen him leave in my head hundreds of times. I’ve imagined Christmas and Easter and a million other special moments without him. It never gets easier. I know I am not alone in these thoughts. One of my dearest friends, who has been through multiple deployments and is one of the strongest people I know, said she woke up one night and just felt sad.
Just really sad.
It’s hard. It’s hard to hug your husband and say, “I’ll see you in a year.” It’s even harder to push away that nagging voice that whispers, “if you make it home.”
We’re not supposed to think about it. We’re supposed to hope for the best. But we all know that no soldier is completely safe. We all know that someone isn’t coming home. We know the knock could be at our door just as easily as anyone else’s.
Amidst all the discussion of budget cuts and political transgressions, military families still cope with this reality. Most Americans never think about the wars. It bothers me. Lately I’ve been so sad and so wrapped up in the inevitable deployment date that I feel like I’m walking around in some alternate universe. Everyone at the stores and on the street is just going about their business. My civilian friends and extended family are just living their lives. I’m constantly lost in my thoughts and my worry over the coming year. The only people I really feel connected to is my Army family.
I know they understand. Their tears and mine are the same.
The other day our Brigade Commander said that if Americans rarely think about it, then we are probably doing something right. I’m sure he knows more about these things than I do. But still, knowing that we are probably doing something right doesn’t make it easier to ready my children for a year without their Daddy. It doesn’t quell the fear that burns in the pit of my stomach. And it doesn’t bring my soldier home swiftly and safely.
All I can do is hope that he returns to us. Once he’s over there I can send letters and care packages to give Dallas and his buddies comfort and to make myself feel better about being lucky enough to get to stay home. To sleep in our house with our children, without any worry that war is going to come to my neighborhood. Even though most Americans don’t think about it, I hope they know how lucky they are to get to stay home too.