Today’s post is a part of my Deployment Truth series where fantastic military spouses (and maybe even a service member or two) share what a deployment is really like from their perspective. I’m so excited to have Jen of Marathons and Dog Tags sharing her deployment truth today!
Hi everyone! My name is Jen and I blog over at Marathons and Dog Tags, I have been a military spouse for almost 8 years. My husband, Kyle, is a captain in the Army and we are currently at our 4th duty station. We are the proud parents of 2 furbabies, Emma and Fishy, and soon to be parents to a baby girl of the human kind!
I am excited that Rachel asked me write a guest post for her deployment truth series. Deployment is something that most military spouses will experience at one point or another, but is hard to understand unless you have been through it.
Kyle and I had been married for about 2 years when he deployed for the 1st time and it was not a traditional deployment. He was deployed to Haiti 2 days after the earthquake happened in order to provide relief. We had very little contact, which consisted of one very grainy, delayed phone call to let me know he was there and okay. It was still considered a hostile place due to the presence of Al Qaeda in the mountains there. It was only a 4-month deployment but it was difficult because it was not traditional, we had no idea how long he would be there.
Our 2nd deployment in 2011 was much easier even though it was Iraq, we had regular contact, and I knew his schedule everyday because it never changed. He came home after 6 months and they were the last combat brigade to be in Iraq (well that has since changed).
You are never truly prepared to have your significant other 7,000 miles away. However, you learn to cope, and you learn how to adjust and get through everyday. Our first deployment I worked full time at a law firm and that was amazing. The 2nd I threw myself into volunteering with our FRG (family readiness group) and finding things to keep me busy. I was able to fly home to see family quite often and that was a huge blessing.
While we haven’t experienced a deployment in 5 years, we still deal with frequent separations. My husband currently works for one of the Army’s training centers and for the 1st year he spent 3 weeks in the field every month, so I was back in the position of figuring out things to occupy my time. He now has an “office” job, but is still unavailable for those same 3 weeks a month. I am lucky that I have school to keep myself busy, and I find things to do around the house or I volunteer.
It is all about finding things to keep you busy and to not dwell on the separations because that is not healthy for anyone. Too often I encounter spouses who fall apart and have a difficult time dealing with the separation, it is important to provide them with the resources and honestly to just be there for them. Not everyone is going to deal with deployments and separations the same, it’s important to understand that. I was lucky enough to have an amazing support system of friends as well as family, it was crucial.
While separations are difficult I am also grateful for them, it showed me that I can do it, I can come out of them better than I went into them.
Don’t y’all just love Jen? She is one of my favorite blog friends, and not just because she is a dachshund mom too. I totally agree with her advice to stay busy during a deployment (or any separation), but I LOVE her idea of volunteering with her FRG! What a great way to have time pass a little faster and give back to your fellow milspouses!