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He’s Home, But He’s Not Home

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When going to events or just neighborhood gatherings, I am always the one standing there; with a baby on my hip while my other 3 kids are running around my feet. I’m always the one standing there, talking to other “single” wives.  I am always the one standing there being asked, “is your husband home?” because I’m always the one standing there without him beside me.

“Is your husband home”? This is a hard question to answer. My response every time is, “he’s home, but he’s not home”.  While other military wives understand my answer, my non-military friends do not.

Yes my husband is on U.S. soil and for that I am very grateful for. But to be perfectly honest with you, he might as well be gone, because he is barely home at all. His car sits in front of our house, collecting rain spots and dust. His clothes are all neatly hung up on his side of the closet left untouched, while his shoes lay underneath perfectly lined up.  His toothbrush is missing from our sink, along with his razor and shaving cream. His cologne no longer lingers in the air.

Yes my husband is “home”, but he’s not! He isn’t home to tuck the kids into bed every night, he’s not home to take out the trash, he’s not home to kiss me and hug me when I need it most, he’s not home to help the kids with homework, and he’s not home when the entire house to include me are all having meltdowns.

When he is “home”, we try and fill up our hours together with as much as possible. We fill the time with love and laughter because we need to make those memories count and store them away for all the days, weeks and months “he is home, but he’s not home”.

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17 thoughts on “He’s Home, But He’s Not Home”

  1. Defintely a great description of our lives. I feel this way so often that I don’t often think about it or try to make sense of it. Glad to see I am not the only one who feels this way! We are all together on this one! 🙂

  2. Great post Amber. I can’t imagine how tough that is because I’ve never had to go through that but I know the days will come later on when we do have children and when my husband does leave..

    I’m sure for you, It’s nice to know that you have your “military sisters” as I like to call them, that understand what you are going through and don’t have to explain it to them (which sometimes makes it harder) like you do to your non-military friends.

    Again, great post!

  3. Ahhh, we are going to be having a lot of those days as soon as Leave is over & “prep” time begins for the “real” not home days- it stinks!!

  4. I love reading your writings. This article is the life all of us milspouses live -it’s the life I am living right now as I type this. “He’s home, but he’s not home”.

  5. I am the spouse of a retired Marine and I live this every day! Some days are better than others and those are the days I LOVE! He would much rather be in Iraq fighting the war than at home feeling like he doesn’t belong or has nothing to offer. I want to make it better but all I can do is love him. I miss him so much on the bad days!

  6. That is exactly how I have been feeling lately and it is only the beginning of workups for him to be really ‘not home’. We have been away from deployments for 3 years now so this is hitting me hard. I feel so alone sometimes and I know it will only be worse later on. I so despartely need more ‘military sisters’ but we are new to this base and it is SO hard to meet friends. Anyway I just wanted to say you are not alone. Thank you for posting this.

  7. Yup, I know that feeling. I think all mil spouses can understand that feeling. It’s funny because civilians think that “is your husband home?” is such a simple question, and they look at us like we’re crazy when it takes us an hour to answer it. Right on girl. It’s so great to hear other people talking milspouse speak. 🙂

  8. Ugh!! You nailed it. Those days are not always easy. However, very much part of our life. Mine are about to start again, soon.

    Great post. 🙂

  9. You know I honestly though it would get better or easier the “next” deployment. Knowing what to expect is half the battle – but experiencing it all over again is the other half.

  10. I know this sounds horrible, but sometimes I wish The Hubble was deployed for this very reason. When he’s deployed, it’s much easier to deal with his absence…if that makes sense. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. Wow, another great one Amber! When I saw the title I wanted to cry though…because my hubs came home four months ago and it still feels like he never came home at all….someone else who looks and smells like my husband is living here, but it’s not HIM on the inside any more. I miss him more than I can say, and it really sucks that I can sit RIGHT NEXT TO HIM and say “he’s home, but he’s NOT home”. I’m glad he finally went back to work, because I think it might help him find a new ‘normal’ but also because it justifies the loneliness. It makes SENSE to miss him if he’s physically gone (to work), but if he is here, how do I wrap my head around this empty “I miss you” feeling?

  12. I have said that exact same phrase to my civvie friends myself–and then, of course, had to spend several minutes explaining it. Well said, Amber.

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