TBT: Afghanistan Deployment

Jeremy left for his first deployment to Afghanistan on November 3, 2010.

76606_453861516818_6808194_nHe had to report to Camp Pendleton around 2 am to get his weapon and load up on the busses so they could drive to March AFB and fly out.

We decided not to sleep that night, instead we stayed up cuddling on the couch watching movies and enjoying our last few hours together.

I was surprisingly unemotional the entire day. He loaded up his bags and we drove his truck to base. He checked out his weapon. We waited around for a few hours (because it’s the military and there is always waiting lol).

He left with a fairly small group of Marine, probably 25-30. The rest of the unit had left a few days prior and his detachment would meet up with them in Afghanistan.

A few other wives were there, only about 4-5. Most were crying. A few left before the busses came, probably to get home and get their kids to bed.

One other wife stayed until the busses left. I didn’t know her at the time, but we ended up being good friends when her husband and Jeremy became friends during deployment.

I didn’t cry when he got on that white bus. I didn’t cry when it drove away. I didn’t cry when I drove home.

But when I got home and saw the gifts that Jeremy had left me; a teddy bear with a voice box in each hand that he had recorded with his voice, flowers, and my favorite chocolate; I cried.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

And when I woke up in the morning; alone. One day down out of 7 months; the end seeming so very far away…I cried again, for the last time of that deployment.

I missed my husband, of course. But I felt that the best thing I could do for him during this deployment was to be strong. Be strong for him so all he needed to worry about what his job. He didn’t need to worry about me, about if I was sad or depressed. He had a job to do, and my job was to help him do that job to the best of his ability.

To be continued….

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TBT: Our First Separation

After a fun summer filled with visiting Jeremy’s family in Wisconsin, I started my Junior year of college in September 2009.

Shortly after, Jeremy was selected to go to NDI School, which is kind of like a “promotion” in his job. It didn’t result in an increase in rank, but he was selected to go to the school which would allow him to specialize in a new MOS.

The school was 4 months long and was in Pensacola, FL…which means we were going to be separated for the first time in our relationship.

Jeremy left in the beginning of September and we spent three months apart before I went to visit him in December on my break from school (see next week’s TBT for my trip to FL!).

I didn’t handle the time apart very well.

We had just moved into our new apartment, which was about 30 minutes from where all my friends lived, by my college. At the same time, my best friend has recently gotten married and was living with her husband enjoying the honeymoon stage, aka spending a lot time with her husband and much less with her friends.  I hadn’t made any friend with any of the other military spouses in Jeremy’s unit, since we were so recently married.

I spent a lot of time alone, which resulted in a slow slide into depression.

I decided to start seeing a therapist after a few weeks.

My decision was prompted by the knowledge that Jeremy had at least three years left in the military, and I was his wife. That meant that I was going to be away from him again at some point in our marriage, probably for much longer than 4 months. I needed to be able to be okay with the separations. I needed Jeremy to know that he could leave me to do his duty to his country, and not have to worry.

It was my first experience seeing a therapist, and I had a great experience. Military One Source set up the whole thing, from finding me a local therapist to arranging the first appointment and making the payments.

I learned how to cope with the separations. I started a routine to fill my time. I took a ceramics class, started volunteering to fill my time. I went out of my comfort zone to make new friends in the military spouse community. I filled my time with things that I enjoy, which made the time go by so much faster.

I addressed my cognitive distortions that were resulting in my depressive feelings.

The techniques I learned during those three months apart prepared me for the following two deployments. I’m so glad I didn’t let myself wallow in my negative feelings, that I took action. Because separations and deployments don’t have to be all negative. Yes, there will be bad days, but they don’t have to out weight the good days.

7523_144885981818_8356871_nThe MCAS Miramar Air Show – October 2009

I always wanted to go and I didn’t let Jeremy being gone keep me from having a great time. My friend from college went with me.