Saturday, August 7, 2010

When it rains it pours...

This weekend you get the privilege of hearing from my friend Jessica.
I so enjoyed her post because it shows how no matter how long or how often your spouse deploys, 
chances are we're all in a similar storm here at home.

Hi! I’m Jessica, but before I dive into this post I wanted to share little bit about me. I’m originally from New Mexico, which is where I met my husband, but thanks to the United States Air Force, we now call ourselves Georgia peaches. We met on New Year's Eve in 2006 and endured a long-distance relationship for four years. It turns out that we grew up living 10 minutes from each other, but we didn't meet until he was already stationed in Florida. How's that for timing?

My airman asked me to be his wife on Valentine’s Day 2009 and we got married a year later—just five months ago. The week after we got back from our honeymoon we upgraded our family and brought home a puppy from the shelter. Then, two months after tying the knot, my husband deployed—our second as a couple, but our first as husband and wife.

I didn’t believe it when fellow military wives told me stories about what happened when their husbands would deploy. One wife I know had her air conditioner go out the week he left—NOT an enjoyable experience when you live in Georgia—and another told me her house flooded during his time away. I also know someone who came down with a serious case of strep throat and bronchitis and passed it on to her infant. Then, of course, there’s a very close friend of mine who is pregnant and won’t have her husband there for the birth of their third child.

Before his deployment we made sure I had everything I needed in case something happened. I got Power of Attorneys and we created our wills—something I never thought I would do at 26 years old—and made a document with every piece of information I could ever possibly need to know about my husband. All of his bags were packed and he was ready to go. We said our goodbyes and I tried looking at the deployment optimistically…but life had other plans.

The day after my husband left I found a nail in my car’s tire. Luckily, I was on base when I noticed the nail and a Firestone happened to be about five feet away, so they easily replaced my tire. A few weeks flew by without any sort of incident, so I thought I was in the clear. No way would this deployment get the best of me!

A month later I noticed my puppy acting a little strange so I took her to the vet. Not only is she apparently allergic to Georgia (did you know you can give dogs adult-strength Benadryl?), but she also had an ear infection and I had to treat her and my house for fleas. I called an exterminator and he came out that day and sprayed for fleas, ants, ginormous cockroaches, and other creepy crawlers.

One night I went over to my friend’s house for dinner and promptly left my keys in my car. Thankfully, USAA’s roadside assistance popped the lock in no time at all.

But that’s not to say that I didn’t completely breakdown that night—my dog still wasn’t feeling well and was being ornery; I was extremely tired and PMSing (can you tell where this is going?) I never knew I could get annoyed with my cute and innocent puppy, but she made me cry that night. I broke down just having to deal with everything alone.

Before I knew it, our Donut of Misery said the deployment was coming to an end, which gave me a giant sigh of relief. But then, five days before my husband was supposed to land in America, things went downhill. I got a call from home saying my great aunt—like a grandmother—wasn’t doing well. Without being able to talk to my husband I packed my bags and took the next flight to New Mexico to be with my family. My Tia passed away the day before my scheduled flight back to Georgia, which left me with a heavy heart. It was difficult to leave and not stay for the funeral, but if I didn’t catch that particular flight out of New Mexico I would have missed my husband coming home. His plane landed six hours after I landed, and being in his arms again never felt so wonderful.

Throughout our time apart I tried to stay positive, keep busy, and carry on with my day-to-day life. I thought I had to stay positive and brave all the time, because up until that deployment I’d only heard about how strong military wives are while their husbands were away. What people don’t tell you is just how terribly lonely and hard life can be. And to think, we were only doing this for a little over two months (I give so much credit to those who endure longer deployments—don’t worry, he’ll have a longer tour soon).

When I wasn’t spending time with friends, going to Bible studies, or working out, I would spend my evenings with a bag of sour cream and onion chips and two of my favorite men: Ben and Jerry. And I would cry. Sometimes it would only be a single tear, but other times it would be more of a this-really-sucks-and-I-wish-I-wasn't-alone-but-I-will-get-through-this cry. I could usually hold myself together without losing my cool, but you can only hold on for so long. I think people see military wives as these super-women who have it all together and never break down, but I think it’s only natural to break down "when the going gets tough" and that's what helps make us stronger for the next obstacle.

I had several non-military friends and acquaintances tell me on a regular basis that they didn’t know how military wives handle being separated through a deployment. Whenever someone would say that to me I replied, “Honestly, it’s really tough and some times you just have to be able to make it through today and hope tomorrow is a little bit easier.” And you know what? Tomorrow is almost always better.


Amanda said...

Wow... I actually teared up at your post... The most I've been separated from my husband for deployment is 3 weeks but even in that 3 week time it seemed like everything broke!

ashley said...

Jess, I adore you! I'm now sitting at work holding back my tears!

The good news is that you made it through the storm and I can guarantee that the next deployment will be that much easier!

Goodnight moon said...

It seems like we always have to deal with so much when our hubs are deployed, heck, even when they are just gone training. Thats when you know something BIG is going to happen that we have to take care of. makes us soooo much stronger! We should get a metal for surviving our deployments!

Great post Jessica!

hmb said...

Congrats on making it through your first deployment. It doesn't matter how long it's hard to be separated from your spouse!

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

I LOVE your homecoming pictures, Jess!

And I'm so sorry for your loss. That's never easy but deployments seem to compound things. While G.I. Joe was in Iraq my great-grandmother died so we've seen this first hand.

I'm soooo glad you and your man are back together now!

Leah said...

Good post! When my National Guard DH deployed for 15 months, our furnace went out. I live in Michigan and it was FIVE BELOW ZERO. And I hate asking for help! It's true...most of us do get through it but I always say we don't always get through it well. We all have our moments!

Leah said...

I also meant to say that just last week when DH was away for three weeks at AT, my beloved Grandfather was in the hospital in a bad way and then passed. DH couldn't come home...not immediate family, in spite of the fact that this man raised me alongside my parents. So whether it's 15 months, or 21 days, it can feel like forever!

Amanda said...

You're right. Tomorrow is always a new day. Sadly, in my time as a military spouse I've learned to prepare for 3 things in the house to break while my husband is away. That seems to be our pattern. If they don't, it's fantastic!

Rusti said...

Wow... you are amazing, and I'm so thankful that tomorrow IS another day, and that it's almost always better.

Unknown said...

You're incredible. I am dreading our first deployment. We're from AZ and are now Georgia Peaches too!