This is perhaps the hardest schooling I’ve ever had to go through in my life. Yes, that’s right-worse than 3000 word papers, worse than memorizing the entire human anatomy and latin phrases. Deployment is an education that no matter how much you study the cute little pre-deployment literature that the army hands out or how much you talk to others who have been through it before, you can never be prepared for the event when it happens.
At times in my life, I have been a strong independent person-which incidentally seem to be the times when my husband and I were together and had been fighting like cats and dogs for days on end. As a matter of fact, we had been fighting right up until he left for deployment and quite frankly, I think we were both a little relieved to get rid of each other for awhile-sort of like an extended vacation from each other fully paid for by Uncle Sam.
I was actually in India at the time my husband first left for deployment so I didn’t feel the full effect of coming home to an empty house or even missing the way he used to leave cupboard doors open or leave messes on the counter. Fast forward several months to his r&r. Since I was going a bit crazy in India with the joint family living arrangement and cultural isolation, my husband agreed with me that it was a good idea to come home for these last several months to get a job and try to save up as much money as I could. He wasn’t able to come visit us in India due to some government travel restrictions, so I flew back home to see him for r&r and then to stay there in Texas.
His r&r vacation was great-we had a wonderful time and it was a breath of fresh air to the regularly occuring fights we’d had over the phone since he’d been deployed. Then, the dreaded day came-the day he had to pack up and return to the sandbox. The day he left, I felt so empty, like someone had squeezed out my heart like a tube of toothpaste and didn’t even but the cap back on out of courtesy.
It’s only been a few days since he left and I’m still feeling like the wind has been knocked out of my sails. Although my thoughts are not returning to him literally every five minutes anymore(I think it’s actually gone down to about half-hour intervals now) I’m still struggling. I waiver between bouts of crying, feeling sorry for myself, jealousy(how dare that couple be so happy in front of me!) more crying, loathing the army, and the occasional eating binge-which I think is an attempt to plug up that emptiness inside.
So needless to say, I think you get an idea of why you can never fully prepare for a deployment. So if you ever find yourself facing one, just accept those little pre-deployment brochures with a smile and know that no matter how much you read, study, or memorize, deployment is one of life’s little schoolings that you will need to experience from the trenches in order to fully understand it.