I knew the "d" word would apply to us eventually. I guess I always assumed we'd have more warning, though. Right on the heels of Spike's 13-month rear-detachment command (during which he was at the office 60-80 hours a week, called in at nights and on weekends, unable to leave the immediate area, and only able to take 5 days of leave--can you tell I'm frustrated?) he will be transferred to a unit that is deploying. At this point we are told it will be for a year, not for 9 months. We found out two weeks ago, and we're looking at a departure within the next month to month and a half.
I'm sure everyone with a soon-to-deploy spouse is angry at something. My "something" is the fact that I practically lived with a ghost for the past year, and now my husband will be gone altogether. However irrationally, I feel that the Army asked us to put our personal plans on hold last year , and now we have to defer all of that--travel, weekend adventures, visits to see family, and heck, dinner without being interrupted by a work call--yet another year. It's like I'm watching the grains of sand in our pre-child, just-us hourglass trickle away unused. I'm tired of my husband being told that I, his wife, am not allowed to be his priority.
I know, I know, I'm hardly the only one who has experienced this sort of thing. But it's much easier to be angry than to let myself feel all of the other emotions. Shock, terror, worry, anxiety, and even anticipatory grief. If I let myself explore beyond the anger I just break down. The intensity of it scares me. I start to cry, and literally feel like my world is crumbling around the edges. I wonder how I will manage to exist for that long without Spike here. I feel as though the lights in my world are about to be turned off indefinitely. Thinking about spending more time with friends, going home to see my family, and picking up new hobbies doesn't help; not really.
That's when I realize how fortunate I was to have Spike here with me last year, no matter how hard he had to work, how tired he was when he came home, or how little freedom we had. At least I could touch him every day, kiss him at night, and know that the person whom I love most in the world was here and loved me back the same way. When I think about him leaving, I realize just how much I need him to feel whole and happy.
It really amazes me that millions of men and women have gone through this same tsunami of emotions during this decade-plus of war. I know that a majority of them had to feel the same way I do, but in most cases, you'd never know it. We're so good at putting on the "It will be hard, but I'll be all right, so don't worry about me" face. I'm already doing it myself. We don't let many people see that while we're continuing on with daily life and doing what needs to be done, there's a part of us that feels like it's hurtling toward a breakdown.
Logically, I know that I can "do this." We can "do this." Spike and I grew closer and fell more deeply in love during this challenging rear detachment command, so I know we will survive a deployment. But it's still scary as hell.