Today has been exceptionally rough for me so I figured I would take to writing again. My husband deploys for work (not military, but military support) I cannot go into detail about exactly what he does, but that’s all you need to know. He is gone for a very large portion of the year, usually 4-6 months at a time.
People ask me consistently how I do it, I don’t know how to answer this question. It’s like asking you how you handle your significant other going to work every day, you just do. When I respond with “I don’t know” (because honestly how do you even answer that question?) I always get the retort “I could never do it.” Which again how does one respond to that? So, I give a slight smile and move along with the conversation.
No one will ever begin to understand what it is like to be without the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. It’s constantly having to answer questions of “how long is he gone for?” and “when will he be home?” promptly followed by “oh that sucks”
Yes, we are aware it sucks. We don’t need reminded.
If you honestly want to know what it’s like, let me enlighten you.
Having an absent spouse is like having a part of your soul gone for an extended period of time. Your entire life pauses but keeps going all at the same time. There are things you don’t or won’t do without your spouse (pause) but life never really pauses so you go into this kind of purgatory that is composed of routines and schedules.
Then there’s the worst of all, the what if’s and the how’s. What if something happened to him? What if he never comes home? What if the last thing I said to him wasn’t “I love you”? How am I going to spend the rest of my life without him? How will I raise our daughter? How will we survive without our pillar of strength? The worry of where your spouse is, what they’re doing, and if they’re safe. There will be days that you can speak to them non-stop all day, then there will be days like today…
No one understands that these questions run through my mind every single day. These questions that are legitimate because they are real, they are questions that no one ever wants to ask themselves and that no one ever wants to imagine having to answer.
I understand that anything can happen to anyone at any given moment of any day. However, when your spouse is home these questions just don’t seem to cross your mind nearly as much as they do when your spouse is in a particularly dangerous location.
If you’re lucky you get to talk to your spouse every day. Most of us are lucky, lucky for the technology that is around today thanks to Skype and the internet we can stay in touch like never before.
Can you imagine what it was like before those things existed? NO THANK YOU.
There are days that feel like you are just glued to your phone because that is your only way of communication to the love of your life, it’s your lifeline. Then there are days when you don’t hear from them at all.
Your mind, body, and emotions go into overdrive and never stop until you hear from them. Checking news outlets to make sure there’s no bad news from the location they are, checking your phone about a hundred times even though it has not gone off at all.
When your phone does go off your heart skips a beat hoping that it’s them only to find out it’s someone else and you get angry. You get angry that they haven’t contacted you. You get angry at yourself for getting angry with them because let’s face it, they’re working. Then you get angry all over again because someone asked you when they’re coming home, AGAIN.
The best thing you can do is to keep busy during this time. There is no time in my life where my house is as spotless as the day I don’t hear from my husband. If I don’t keep busy my mind will go into this dark rabbit hole and I’ll never get out of it. I must remain strong for my sanity, for our daughter, for the life that we have built. While I rely on him for his support, he also relies on me for my strength while he’s gone.
There are so many emotions that go along with having a spouse that deploys, there’s no way I could possibly describe them all. Just know that we all have our ways of dealing with it, just let us handle it the best way we know how.
You don’t have to understand why we do what we do when our spouses are gone, but you do need to support it and realize we are doing the best we can without our soul mate.
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” — Elizabeth Edwards