It sure has been a long time since my last post! As you may have noticed by the title, I am going through the first deployment of my military relationship. My Marine left in early December, a few weeks before Christmas, and I spent all of my time and energy in mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the lonely nights, weeks without communication, and a wandering, worrying mind for the next 6+ months of my life.
The night before he left was awful. I cried a lot, and make frequent trips to the bathroom so I wouldn't wake him. I hardly slept at all. The morning of departure, everything was so surreal; most likely a mixture of lack of sleep and my mind going 1000 miles a minute. We went through his packing list one last time and went through our usual routine where we sit in the garage, I read off the gear list, and he packs it in his seabag while I put a check mark on the list. We do this before every training op and gear inspection, so it was easy for me to forget what was really going on. On the inside, I just wanted to scream and cry and hit something. But it was really important for me to stay calm, and at least PRETEND to have a good attitude about the whole situation. As strange as it sounds, I actually had a lot to be thankful for. This wasn't a combat deployment. I wouldn't have to cringe every time I turn on the news. (Which by the way, Rule Number 1 of being a military wife is to never, ever, ever, ever, believe the news. Take whatever they have to say with a grain of salt, and wait until you hear from your family readiness officer (FRO) before jumping to conclusions.) Eventually the time came to pack up the car and drop off my husband at the designated spot.
I will just make this part short and sweet. The military is all about "hurry up and wait." So that's what we did. In my head I thought I would say goodbye, get my last kiss and hug and watch him get on the sad white bus. It wasn't like that of course. It was a long drawn out process, and it sucked honestly. When the time finally came, I stayed behind to watch him get on that bus. He didn't see me standing there, but I watched him every step of the way until the doors closed and I couldn't see his face behind the tinted bus windows.
The other wives had formed a small huddle. They were crying and holding each other. I was ashamed that I couldn't cry with them. My feelings were too raw, and I couldn't feel anything but anger. I was mad that I had to be at work in an hour. I was mad that no one wanted to give me a hug, or shoot me a text to see if I was okay. Most of all I was mad that my husband was going on a whole new adventure without me, and I was getting left behind to pick up the pieces and carry on...alone. I kept thinking about how pathetic my life was. "Emma, what are you doing here? You have no family here. You get to go home to nothing but cats for the next six months of your life." I know this doesn't seem very positive or encouraging, but let me get to the point. It's okay to be angry, as long as you don't allow it to consume you. Deployment is like the grieving process, and there are several different stages before you get to acceptance.
It is now April, and I am fully adjusted to the "Independent Dependent" lifestyle. I have had to change three tires, unclog my bathtub twice, and learn to use a drill. I have eaten approximately 32 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, finished two-thirds of a cross stitch blanket, watched all the seasons of "Army Wives" on Netflix, and turned into an avid runner. (I did my very first 5k yesterday!) I am completely under control emotionally on a normal day, until yesterday. I got an email from the FRO titled, "Lava Dog Inbound Arrival Info." My Marine is coming home! Now what?! Of course I am thrilled, but I have to re-learn how to be an actual wife, and not someone who sends care packages and cleans up after a one person meal and only has to run the dishwasher once a week. It will definitely be a new experience, and I'm sure you'll hear allll about it!