As much as our lives change, for military families there is always a feeling of consistency. We can count on moving every few years, count on the chaos. We know we will make new friends and get new jobs. Even though so much of what we go through is crazy and turbulent there is a real sense of comfort in the craziness of our life after a while. I think that is what scares me the most about the decision my husband and I have made for him to go into the Reserves and not remain on Active Duty.
Wow, writing about it makes it feel more real. The Coast Guard has been our life for 10 years. The moving and the lack of control can be hard, but man, I am really going to miss that predictable unpredictability. He will be going to the Reserves which will allow him to keep a connection to the service and I believe will help ease the transition.
The decision was not an easy one but to be honest it was something I started thinking about when I got pregnant. My whole family recently moved near each other and it was getting so much harder for me to be so far away from them. What I didn’t know was that my husband was feeling the same way.
You see, I signed up to be a military spouse a long time ago. I did it with my eyes and my mind wide open. I knew it would be hard but I loved it too. What happened I think more than anything was that we changed. Our goals and desires changed. My husband wanted something different out of his career than he did 10 years ago and I am so proud of him for being honest with himself and with me, making a decision that was nothing short of excruciating. The Coast Guard has been really good to us. It has allowed us to see some beautiful places and meet some amazing people but it was time for us to say goodbye.
It has been a roller coaster of emotions the last few months. We have had moments of panic and terror along with moments of excitement and joy. We both know that this decision is the right one but it doesn’t make it any easier. Leaving behind a career and a lifestyle we have both loved and been so fortunate to have is going to be like ending a long term relationship. It’s going to be painful and sad but looking forward to the future is keeping us both focused on the positive.
What has surprised me most is how quickly it all happens. Once the decision was made to leave Active Service it’s been like a whirlwind. There is so much to do, so many things to complete and get in order. Take it from me, making lists and working together is the only way to get through it. I have lists all over my house and papers in piles on every counter.
To add to the craziness, not only is my husband separating from Active Duty but we are also moving to another state, which is a whole other level of stress. A final move is different from a normal PCS in many ways, should you go down this road yourself at some point make sure you do your research and don’t assume it will all be the same as it was in the past. Your entitlements during your final move are very different (I am sure they vary by branch) but do yourself a favor and get your information in order as soon as possible.
I will continue to write for the Homefront United Network as a reserve spouse. I am so very grateful for all the support and love I have received during my time as an Active Duty spouse. Even though some days were brutally hard, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so proud of my husband, of what he has given to this country and what he will continue to give. He will remain a hero in my eyes and I am sure a hero to our daughter. I know that our life from this day forward will be as full of memories and amazing experiences as it has been for these last 10 years. Looking ahead I know that our road will not always be easy and that adjusting to a life outside of Active Service will be difficult at times but we will handle each hurdle as we always have, together.