He Just Left: the Second Stage of Dealing with Deployments

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It’s been a week since hubby left. The two days leading up to his departure, we couldn’t spend much time together. That was a total bummer. I watched him move from room to room, trying to get everything done. At one point, he put one of his military duffel bags downstairs and my son fell apart.

The day he left, I truly realized that you just can’t stop time…it’s going to march forward, no matter how much you don’t want it to. When he finally loaded the van, I told the kiddos to come into the living room and we gathered in a circle to say a prayer. I could hear the Littlest One sniffling and crying…she had not cried before that moment, at least not that I saw. Hubby said his round of good-byes, including to my mother. She offered to stay with the kiddos while I drove hubby to the base. She seemed to take it just as hard as the rest of us.

I drove him to the base where he had to run errands and then the moment came: it was time to say good-bye. I had parked the car away from the other troops that had already gathered at the front of their building. In the car, in those final moments with him, I kept thinking, “I love his hands. I love his hugs, I love his face…his hair”. By the time we stopped embracing, I could tell he was pulling himself together and putting his stoic armor and mask back on again.

I didn’t stick around to wait for the bus to come to get them. I headed home, not fanatically crying like I thought I would. As I pulled into my driveway, I saw that my mother’s car was not there. When I entered the house, neither were my kiddos. *sigh*   I called my kids and told them to tell Lola (Filipino word for ‘grandmother’) to come back home. I didn’t appreciate saying good-bye to hubby and then coming home to an empty house.

Today is Day 7 of him being gone, though his official 7-month countdown won’t begin until he’s “inprocessed” at his gaining base. I’ll not be telling the kiddos that. So far as they know, we’re one week in.

I don’t have time to feel lonely right now. In the week I’ve had to become a single parent, I am exhausted. I’ve been going to school twice a week and busying myself with papers and studying on my days off. My girls are trucking along. Saying, “I miss Papa” doesn’t reduce them to a pile of tears. But my son is another story…

Every day has been a struggle to get him to school. One day, he had a migraine. The next his side really hurt. The following day his stomach hurt and he felt nauseous….my patience is already wearing thin but I have to remind myself that he’s not faking–these are probably physical manifestations of the emotional pain he’s feeling.

I got a phone call from the school 3 of the 4 days he went, asking me to calm him down and seeing if I want to bring him home. Of course I do…but I won’t. It’s not best for him. I’m sure what I’m going through with my son will earn it’s own blog or two over this deployment. For now, I’ll end this blog with this:

Thank you to all my friends and family who have reached out to me so far. Your phone calls, texts, and just checking in has meant so much! Thank you most of all to my beautiful friend who set up our short summer vacay–it has really pumped me and the kids up and we have something to look forward to midway! Thank you to all of my thoughtful friends for reminding me that I can reach out to you–I know you mean it, and I’m sure I’ll be taking you up on it over the next 213 + days hubby will be gone. I love you all! 

Writer: CJ Heath

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