November 15, 2007

Look to the future to get through the present

Well this week seems to have flow by without much effort from me! I am feeling the effect of the stress though. I’m sure most military spouses who have faced a deployment will agree that the hardest day is when you have to tell your loved on goodbye. The fear, uncertainty and loneliness are the ticket to a club that many are not anxious to be a part of. But for me, the second hardest day for me is the day my husband packs his bags. There is just something so ominous about watching him stuff his belongings into those large green bags. And in many cases, it takes a few days to finish.

The reality of it hits as I sit there watching his go over the packing list and account for all of his belongings. I feel like I’m in a daze. He talks to me, explaining some new item or retelling a story that he is reminded of by some object. I smile, make comments, but I’m not really there. I try to watch TV, but the sound and picture don’t really register. I try to get some homework done, but the words on the page seem to swim before my eyes and I can’t type a coherent sentence. On Tuesday, most of the units on post were on holiday for Veteran’s Day, but I came into work for a few hours just to escape it all. I was so thankful when I had to return to work on Wednesday, even though it meant I didn’t get to spend time with George. I just needed a break from thinking about what has become a looming shadow. I can’t even think about celebrating for the holidays.

This is about the only time we argue, the stress finally getting the best of us. I remember that I got mad at him Tuesday night because he spilled some pumpkin pie when trying to hand it to me to bake. When I think about it now, it seems so insignificant.

It helps to have friends who understand – both spouses who have been there and Soldiers who have been on the other side. It helps to know I am not crazy and that they or their spouses react in some of the same ways.

George jokes that I have the easy job, just staying here and waiting, but is it really easier? I know that he understands how hard it is and he is trying to make me feel better. I think it’s hard on all families, especially for people like me who hate not being in control of a situation. Anyone who knows me jokes about my OCD behaviors, but they only get worse in situations like this. Boy, my house will be so clean over the next year or so!

It helps to have a support group, filled with friends and family. Having something to do also helps to make the time pass faster. The installation here makes it easier to do that by offering classes, programs and activity groups where you can learn new things and meet new people. Finishing my masters and working at the MP unit with the families also helps me keep from counting the hours/minutes/seconds he’s been gone.

All in all this is just the beginning of another chapter in our life. We both look to the future when we’ll be together again, talk about starting a family of our own and dream of things we’ll get to do together once he’s home. It makes it easier to look to the future than to be saddened by the present or past, and that the thought I have to hold on to if I’m going to make it through another goodbye …

Until our next cup of tea …

8 Tea Party Guest:

liberal army wife said...

that disconnect - yes, I remember it. and I still get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see the duffel bags.


Alice said...

You wrote so well about this. Your anxiety is palpable. You and your husband are in my thoughts.

see you there! said...

Michelle, although my DH is retired now, he spent his career in the Navy and then Merchant Marines. I've been through the seperation anxiety.

It might make you laugh but there is the other side which I call "together anxiety". It can take a while when they retire and you are together All the time.

I'll be here checking in on you!


lime said...

thanks for being open about the way things affect you as time goes by. wishing the two of you good days as the time draws close

Tommy said...

Got your e-mail today but didn't get to e-mail back. We are working on the Thanksgiving issue and Tuesday is layout day. Thanks for your kind words. We are battle buddies. Use me. Love you sugar.

stitcherw said...

I'm so sorry that our world and everything going on in it puts people in this situation. Your entry was beautifully written, the seperation and the stress I can't even imagine. {{hugs}}

ABW said...

I love the things that you write. The days of packing are hard on me too. I also hate the few days after he leaves when I am busy picking up the things that "didn't make the cut" to go with him and putting them away. I have been known to video tape him packing because of the stories that often go along with it. Hang in there...

smilnsigh said...

i'm thinking of you, at this time. The date must be pretty close now. -sigh-

All we in Blog Land can do is offer a Cyber Hug... and offer to listen to you, when you need to vent. No matter about what!!!!!!!!!!!! Amd I mean that. No matter about what or how "silly sounding" or etc., etc., etc., If it helps to vent in your blog, please vent away.

And as another OC person, I appreciate how not-being-in-total control can be sooo hard. Courage.