Deployment

Deployment Truth

April 13, 2016

One of the most common things I hear when people learn that my husband deploys regularly is “oh I can’t even imagine what that’s like”.  And I very simply say that they’re right. Because no matter how sympathetic someone is, you just cannot understand what a deployment is like, what it does to you, without going through it.  But every so often, when I’m at my wits end and miss A so much it physically hurts, I desperately want to try. I want to tell them my deployment truth.

I can’t always put into words how a deployment makes me feel, but the main feeling is this: I miss my husband when he is deployed. I miss him when I wake up in the morning and he’s not there. I miss him when I come home from work and the house is empty. I miss him when I’m baking and there’s no one there to lick the spoon. And I miss him at night when I go to bed and his half of the sheets are cold.

The best way I can describe a deployment is this: imagine taking the person that you love more than anyone else in the world, your best friend, who you rely on more than anyone else. It could be a spouse or a friend or a parent. Do you have that person? Good. Now remove them from your life completely. They are no longer someone you get to see, talk to, or interact with on a daily basis.  

Now, you can only talk to them maybe once a week on the phone if you’re lucky.  You may get to video chat with them once every couple of weeks. Provided of course the weather is good and the signal is strong and you were both awake at the same time.

But go through the rest of your life like normal. Get up every morning and go to work or take the kids to school as if you haven’t spent all night tossing and turning. Cook and clean and take care of all of the chores, including the super icky ones that make you gag a little bit.

And then, to top it all off, take that person that you love more than anyone else and you can’t talk to and you can’t see and put them in one of the world’s most dangerous places. Stop watching the news, stop reading websites, stop checking the trending topics on Facebook. Because you never know when you’re going to read something that mentions the place where your loved one is. That mention may have nothing to do with your loved one; that mention may be on the complete other side of the country. But for a brief second, your heart is going to stop and you’re going to be terrified. And that terror will sit like a rock in your stomach until you hear from them. 

So imagine taking the person you love more than anyone else in the world, the person you rely on, your best friend. Take them and remove them from your life with only a few phone calls, maybe an email or if you’re really lucky, a voice chat to keep you connected. And then worry constantly until they’re home again. Worry about their safety, their health, their well-being, whether they’re happy. Worry whether they’re eating dinner at a good time or at all. Worry whether they got enough sleep to be able to do their job properly. Worry if right this second there is someone out there plotting to do something horrible to them. Every second of every day.

That is what a deployment is like.

I firmly believe every deployment is different and its story deserves to be told. If you’re interested in telling your deployment story, please reach out to me via email

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  • Wowsers. Thank you for sharing your story. The loneliness and anxiety must be unbearable at times

    My husband was a Canadian army brat(known here as DND) and I knew a little bit about deployment but the spouses of the deployed and the spouses of the civilians never got along well because one always came home at night and the others did not. I hope that you have lots of support within the army and outside the army.

    • Support is so key, Elyse! I’m definitely hoping that this blog becomes a good supportive resource for other military spouses and families.

  • My gosh. I know you said that people say this a lot, but I literally can’t imagine the physical pain that feels. I can’t even imagine. I think about going even a month without my fiancé and I tear up just thinking about it. God bless you for letting him make a sacrifice. Nothing tears me up more than reading and hearing about these stories. <3

    • Thanks for commenting, Chelsea! It’s definitely hard and there are many times that I hate it. Hopefully sharing my deployment truth helps everyone understand what military spouses and families go through during a deployment.

  • I am looking forward to a lot of things as far as military life but deployment is one of those things that I am dreading completely. I’m already having a hard enough time dealing with him being gone for basic training and now AIT, adding the danger to missing him is really going to suck 🙁 thank you for sharing your deployment truth.

    • Yeah, I definitely wasn’t looking forward to deployment at all. The good news is that there are a lot of other folks who go through the same thing (including myself and some of the other commenters here) so it can be done. You are way stronger than you think and will be so much stronger with a deployment under your belt.

    • Yeah, I definitely wasn’t looking forward to deployment at all. The good news is that there are a lot of other folks who go through the same thing (including myself and some of the other commenters here) so it can be done. You are way stronger than you think and will be so much stronger with a deployment under your belt.

  • thank you for sharing this – i have never had to face this situation and reading this is making me extra grateful. while my husband does travel a lot for work, he is always in a safe place and i get to communicate to him daily. i think the unknown would be so hard. thank you for sharing your truth with this

    • The worrying is definitely the hardest part and as a natural worrier, it’s especially hard for me.

    • The worrying is definitely the hardest part and as a natural worrier, it’s especially hard for me.

  • Thank you for sharing this. My brother just joined the army. He is at basic training right now and will graduate in a few weeks and go on to active duty. Its been tough not to see him and text him and call him whenever I want, but I know this is just the beginning… I appreciate you sharing the truth.

    • You’re welcome, Helen. And please thank your brother for enlisting! While it’s not all doom and gloom, I definitely didn’t want to sugar coat what a deployment is like for those still at home.

    • You’re welcome, Helen. And please thank your brother for enlisting! While it’s not all doom and gloom, I definitely didn’t want to sugar coat what a deployment is like for those still at home.

  • Ugh seriously- I can’t imagine. I would just be counting down the days every time =(

    • Oh I count down the days constantly! I have an app on my phone and everything.

    • Oh I count down the days constantly! I have an app on my phone and everything.

  • Spot on! And I’ll be sharing this later in the week!

    • Thanks so much, Sarah! I appreciate that! I’m sharing your post as well!

    • Thanks so much, Sarah! I appreciate that! I’m sharing your post as well!

  • Jen

    YES!!! Oh my goodness yes!

    • 🙂 Glad you think I nailed it!

    • 🙂 Glad you think I nailed it!

  • Laura Keenan

    So so tough! But I am very thankful for people just like your husband who are keeping our country safe!

    • Thanks so much, Laura!

  • oh my goodness. this is just so real and raw… i have so many friends who are married to people in the military and you all are so amazing. praying for you!

    • Thanks, Molly! Sometimes it can be a little too much, but most times I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • Being in the military myself and having a husband who is too, I am all too familiar with this. I count myself lucky, though, that I get to talk to him all the time! We message each other all day when he’s not busy, because he’s in a place where they have wifi. We also dated long distance for a while, so we’ve been apart before, but it is never fun!

    • Being able to message is HUGE! We were lucky this last deployment that we got to message pretty regularly. I’m not sure I could do it if we never got to talk to each other!

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