This was never going to be an easy post to write, I really debated whether I even wanted to write it but I promised myself I would regularly document the good, the bad and the ugly of being part of a military family and deployment is part of that, no matter how many tears I cry writing!
Today it hurts, my heart actually hurts.
The day before my husband deployed was nothing short of horrendous, I really was on an emotional edge and anything and everything was setting me off, I just intermittently cried through the day. It is like ripping a plaster off, the anticipation is the worst bit and that day felt like it went on forever, it’s like a deployment slap in the face, it is actually here and you are looking up at this huge mountain ahead of you unsure if you can make it to the top.
We went out for a nice meal the evening before he went, took lots of pictures and said “I love you” every sentence. I went to a pretty dark place that night before he went for a moment, the problem I find is when faced with these deployments our minds are under stress and I went to an irrational place where I started to worry he wouldn’t come home safe, OK so there is danger where he is but there is danger in London isn’t there so I have to rationalise or it is going to be a looooong 6 months or so!! Fear is a horrid emotion and sometimes something we can’t control, he talked me down but it is still sitting on my shoulder scaring me.
It is ALWAYS the way that they leave at midnight isn’t it, the dead of night, in his uniform he hugged me in bed and then I heard the door bang as he left, my heart broke as I watched round the curtain him walking to the car to take him to RAF Brize Norton.
The plaster had been ripped off, he’d gone.
The reality is from that point I don’t know when I will see my husband again, I find that really hard because I have no point in time to aim for right now, hopefully in a few weeks we will have some R&R dates which will break the huge chunk of time up.
This initial period is painful, it hurts and you wonder if you will make it through the next week let alone months, but I have been here before and I am reminding myself it does get easier as you find your groove and routine. Even seeing some of his clothes in the washing basket and putting them through the wash made me sad, I won’t be washing his clothes for so many months now.
I’m taking a day at a time, I cancelled Zumba tonight as I just couldn’t face it but I did remember to put the bins out, I didn’t have cereal for dinner again tonight I made myself cook but I did get a parking ticket yesterday….it is going to be ups and downs for a week or so and that really is OK.
It is OK not to be OK sometimes.
Our daughter is binge watching Netflix and I feel like that is her coping mechanism for some escape, I’m here for her and if she wants to chat I am all ears. My husband bought her a book voucher and gave it to her the day he left with a note saying to buy some books to read while he was away, I loved that idea.
So for now I can’t hear a sad song on the radio, I can’t watch a happy couple walking hand in hand down the street and I have already written my first bluey full of I love yous but this horrid feeling of being lost and broken won’t last forever, nothing ever does.
Tomorrow is another day and I am hoping some kind of sleep returns soon as that has been lacking and everything is worse when you are overtired isn’t it. I have been documenting the realities of every day deployment over on Instagram stories and you can follow me for more HERE there are so many of us separated from our military loved ones, sharing really is caring because we are stronger together.
Lots of Love, Louise xx
p.s If you see me PLEASE do not say “oh it will fly by” like some have the last couple of days, right now it makes me want to slap you
p.p.s I did an interview recently for Mental Mutha a site helping us keep the conversation going about mental health, I talked about how deployments can affect emotional well-being, have a read HERE
Oh Louise I totally get this. I was exactly where you are a few months ago. I can’t say it’s been easy but keeping busy has helped me as the time has gone on. We had a very early R and R and I’ve been waiting for him since mid November. We still have the last leg to go and this is where I struggle most… The anticipation that you mentioned the day before…. Omg I’m like a volcano waiting to erupt. We argue and I pick faults with things because I can’t bare the thought of him leaving or the fact that I can’t control it. Christmas was the hardest thing I’ve done. Just me and our 2 kids. I didn’t crumble till they went to bed. I had to be positive for them. Living away from the military patch I think has made it easier. Not seeing the soldiers in uniform everyday knowing I couldn’t hug mine….. I have a wonderful support network around me and they have all been a crutch at one point or another… My friends came to me with a full Sunday roast cause they saw I was struggling a bit. When they first leave it feels like a full on break up. You feel like you have lost them. Even though you know in your heart that they are still yours for that first few weeks you grieve for the loss. It does feel like a whole lifetime will pass till he is home, but when he does, and you see him hug his kids all of this will have gone away and you’ll be lost in each other all over again. Sending you and your family lots of love…. Xxx
Yes!!! it is like a break up that is exactly how it feels, I just don’t understand how after all these years and this being our 7th deployment why I’m not a pro at it by now!!! We really all do just do our best and muddle through don’t we…we are all smashing it. Thanks for comment and sending lots of love xxx
Oh my dear, I have tears running down my face reading this. I know it doesn’t help your pain, but I do totally understand. My hubby left on 1st December and he doesn’t get R&R and we don’t know a end date, hopefully 7 months max. I also spent Christmas alone with the kids (4 &1) because family Christmas plans fell through. We (aka I) hit my biggest low on Friday, I couldn’t stop crying and knew I needed somehow to get out of the hole, all I wanted was a hug but no-one was around as I live in our own house. Cancelling Zumba is exactly what you need – be selfish, have some you time where you just curl up in a ball, cry and hug his clothing or watch loads of tv / Netflix. I really struggle with the loneliness, especially the lack of adult conversations (although to be fair he was hardly around pre-tour!).
There’s a great quote which resonates with me – You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.
Some days you won’t want to be strong, and that’s okay, let out those emotions and frustrations, it’s nails being the one left behind <3. Celebrate the awesome days which have surprisingly gone really well – and you will have them, believe me. You have got this, you are amazing and you are so very loved by both your kids, hubby, friends and family. Sending you massive positive and strong vibes your way
adore this comment, thank you so much for making me feel empowered. You really don’t know how strong you are until you have to be the strongest you’ve ever been, love that. Thank you xxx
My heart goes out to you Louise……….nothing I can say as I will never now the feeling you go through but I do know you are a strong person deep downguess that strength needs prising out to start with.
Thanks Kate xxx
I wish I could click my fingers and take away all your heartache right now for the empathy I feel. I wasn’t going to leave a comment but I couldn’t bring myself to just read your post and not say anything, remembering how I felt time and time again.
I can only give you comfort that I, and I guess so many of us, know so so much what you are feeling; so at a time when you possibly feel quite alone, please know you are not. I agree with the others, be selfish, do what you want to do, take up the offers of help that you normally wouldn’t. Please know that there are us lot out there who have read this and it has resonated and struck a chord of utter empathy which could hopefully take away some of the pain. Heavens knows why it feels like we’ve lost them, when we haven’t at all. It is a hardship that no-one can understand unless you’ve been through it and you described it so eloquently. Distraction is good.. my dog was and is still my saviour on that front despite now having 2 kids to distract me. She’s always know when I’d hit the very bottom. Look after yourself and try and do something you enjoy once a day if you can.
Just THE best advice, try to do something you love everyday, I really really am going to try and adopt that mantra. You comment made a tear come out, you really don’t know until you’ve lived and breathed it and all of us who have just get that feeling in your tummy you can’t explain. Sending lots of love xxx