Deployment/PCS

Counting the Days: The Moments Before His Deployment

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“If you’re getting this email…”

My heart sinks when opening emails from my husband’s unit lately. Emails filled with dates of pre-deployment briefs and links for supportive resources have me wanting to immediately hit the trash icon, erasing them from my computer screen and forgetting I ever opened them. The date in which I have been avoiding for too long is coming fast, faster than I ever anticipated. I feel all at once the dread I should have been dealing with is now coming at me with full force, overwhelming me.

The days with my husband are numbers now. It’s becoming hard to not focus on that fact. Every morning I wake with a rush of anxiety, plagued with the thought of him leaving getting closer and closer. Trying to catch my breath each morning, I begin by prioritizing my day around the notion of blocking the constant reminders of the deployment from my mind. It’s not that easy. It seems everything lately is directly related.

The simplest of tasks can now trigger emotions. Making the bed and thinking my husband needs a new pillow, or folding laundry and wondering if my husband should get new shorts, all come to a halt when I realize he won’t be here to enjoy those items. And what were supposed to be joyful moments, like deciding what to get him for his upcoming birthday, are now discouraging. What do you get someone who is going to war? That’s a sobering question. Even watching television and seeing previews for movies I know we would have seen together in theaters are trying. It seems the littlest bits of life have the ability to make my heart sink to the pit of my stomach, while I choke back a nauseating lump within my throat.

Time means everything to me now. Every moment spent with my husband is cherished. I only wish I had more time to myself with him. Because this will be our first deployment, we have made the choice to use my husband’s pre-deployment leave to visit everyone in his family. This means multiple trips from state to state. As if the idea of my husband deploying wasn’t stressful enough. I am overwhelmed by the planning and the logistics of these trips – five different cities in 13 days. The momentum will be extreme. And as if the breaks on a cable car have snapped, time will fly by. And selfishly, I ache because I will have to share these last few days.

I anticipate the rush, and then the sudden stop of time. Our go-go attitude will end abruptly the day I drop my husband off at the buses; a day that many spouses dread. How this moment will play out haunts me. This will be my first trip to the buses, and I anxiously wait to see how it will affect me – how will this affect my husband?  My biggest fear is because I have no one at home to care for; I will have no one to show a brave face to. I don’t want the fact that I am alone to be a crutch in which I break down and let self-pity consume me. I would like to say I am stronger than that, but I would be lying.

However, even though I know that all these feelings are new and foreign to me still, I do understand that everything will be ok. I’m not completely alone here. This may be my first encounter with a deployment, but I am sure it won’t be my last. I almost feel that all these emotions and the anxiety are a way of passage as a military spouse. Silly? Yes, but it helps. I may be dreading this deployment and feeling overwhelmed with fear, but I am still proud. All I can do now is enjoy the time I have left, and try my best to not count the days.

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2 thoughts on “Counting the Days: The Moments Before His Deployment”

  1. Everything you wrote here hits so close to home, Nicole. The days leading up to their departure are enough to give someone an anxiety attack. Its all you can think about and its thrown in your face every day. I can tell you that I felt all the emotions you’re feeling and then some while J was getting ready to leave. But I can also tell you that when he got onto that bus and I drove away, I felt relief- that the deployment was finally starting, which meant that I was finally one day closer to him coming. I hope you can find that peace after A leaves. And though I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times, it will go by fast. I promise. And we’re here for you. Great article!

  2. Girl, you got this. Great article. Just remember, like you said, the moment they get on that bus – everything stops. Just hold on, hold on until he goes and you’ll have time to let it all out. The first time J left, I didn’t even make it down that damn hill before I had to pull over, full blown hysterics.

    In hindsight, maybe let some of it out before he goes! But seriously, just hold on these next weeks. You’ll get through it. Previews get me too, every damn time. And expiration dates.

    and we’ll be here, once he’s gone. Looking forward to the emails from the FRO that state, “if you’re getting this” and it’s a redeployment window 🙂 Or that gallon of milk you buy that’s doesn’t expire the day after he’s supposed to get home.

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