The Heart and Strength of a Military Wife
This guest post is from a member of my Deployment Support group on Facebook. Want to join? It’s free!
They say that you know what you’re signing up for as soon as you agree to marry a man in the military. But the truth of the matter is that we don’t have the slightest idea what we are getting into. Yes, we hear about deployments, detachments, possibilities of moving away from family and friends, etc. But until you actually step into those shoes as a military wife, you really are clueless about the what it is really like being married into the military life.
In just the very short time I have been a Navy wife (coming up on 2 years), I have uncovered a strength that I never knew I even had, but have also realized I am going to be uncovering a whole new level of strength I didn’t think I could possess. In less then a week and a half I am going to be heart broken, empty, feeling so completely alone, wondering how in the world I am going to make it through all of this in one piece. In less then a week and a half, I have to say goodbye to my husband, my ride or die, my best friend, and my partner in life because he will be doing what so many other men and women are doing to protect our country and keep it safe–deploying for the next 7+ months.
Now I know that there are so many seasoned wives who have gone through many deployments with their spouses, (several of my best friends I have made since joining the Navy wives club are among them), and they all have given the same great advice: stay busy, keep your mind busy and it will help the time fly by. I know that what they say is true, but for any of those first timers about to experience a deployment as I am, I wonder if they are feeling the same emotions that I am. I am going to be real here, with it now coming down to just the days I have left with my husband, I find myself throughout the day start crying the second I start to think about it . I start questioning if I can really handle the inevitable to come. Then it turns into I have no clue how I am going to deal with this. I look around our home that we have built together. Every place in our home holds a memory of so much laughter, crying, fighting, playing games, and enjoying our one-on-one time we get when our girls are not home. Even though he hasn’t left yet, the simple glance across our living room sends a massive wave of loneliness through me that almost feels like a punch in the gut, and starts to take another chunk of my strength out of me. I start realizing that all the little things he does around the house that I’ve taken for granted will now all be on my shoulders. I am going to have to temporarily take on the life of a single mom, again. It feels like I can’t escape that feeling of emptiness I am already starting to feel, and he hasn’t even left yet.
But after a few minutes of mini meltdown, a new wave of strength seems to overcome me. I have to be strong. I don’t have any other option. Not just strong for me though–I need to be strong for my husband so that he knows he won’t have to worry about me while he is away. I have to be strong for my two girls because they are going to have adjustments, sadness, and their own emotions that I will need to be there to help them through as much as possible. The last thing I want my girls to have to deal with is stressing and worrying that mommy is so sad and lonely. So I just wipe the tears that had been streaming down my face, put my big girl panties back on and continue on with my day, making sure to enjoy every minute and second that we have left together.
It’s crazy how much your perception of time and the moments spent with your spouse changes immensely the instant you realize you have such little time left together. You cuddle longer, stare at them longer, say I love you more than usual, wanna just be in their presence every chance you get. I make sure not to look back and wish that we had done this more, or fought less, or stayed off our phones more, because that just takes away from enjoying the here and now, and that’s what matters most of all.
I know without a doubt I’m probably going to have moments of being a complete basket case from now to when we have to say goodbye. I dread the the moment he walks away from me and boards the ship, and he is taking half of me with him. I dread the seven hour drive home alone from San Diego and realizing that it’s here, and life is going to be so much harder, stressful, and lonely for the next 7+ months, I dread walking into our front door being greeted by complete and utter loneliness and emptiness. I dread when reality hits me that this is our new temporary life, and all the holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays that will be missing his presence. I dread the questions from people asking how I’m doing, have I heard from him, when will he be home? And just putting a fake smile on my face and saying I’m fine, not sure when I will hear from him nor when I will see him. But all the while wanting to scream and cry saying I’m not ok!! I miss my husband so bad it hurts, and I am so jealous of all of you that get to see your spouse every single day and don’t even appreciate it or understand how lucky you are!!
But through all the emotions, I know that I will be ok, because this is just one phase of my life that is making me stronger, helping me grow as an individual to better myself, my family, and my families future. I will have my quiet moments of weakness and breakdowns, but afterwards I will pick myself up, wipe away my tears and keep moving forward because I know I am not alone in this time in my life. I have my daughters, my family, the best group of Navy wife friends, civilian life long friends, to help pick me up when I am feeling down, and support me when I am feeling alone. But above all those people I keep strong and thriving for my husband, because I know that he will be dealing with some of the exact same emotions. My husband is my hero for his willingness to dedicate his life to serve and protect our country when others will not, knowing that entails leaving his own family for months on end and all the special occasions in that time period. The pride and love he holds for our country is at a level above most of us. I’m honored to be his wife and to be his support and hold down our home until he returns home to me.
The heart and the strength of a military wife is a rare one, one that is not for the faint of heart, and one that not many are able to handle. Military life isn’t what everyone seems to think it is. It’s not exciting or glamorous, or an easy life. It is far from that. It’s living paycheck-to-paycheck, it’s weeks and months of separation, facetiming, emails, care packages, and occasional phone calls. But I wouldn’t trade a single part of my life I have now. Thank you to all my friends I have made in these two short years. I am deeply indebted to you for always being there for me. I am proud to be a Navy wife. I am proud to be married to my husband, and to be doing my part in supporting his career protecting and serving our country. No matter the struggles and distance apart that lays ahead of me I will come out a conqueror because I have the heart and strength of a military wife.
This is a guest post by Rachel White, written the week before her husband deployed. I share it with you here to encourage and strengthen all those who are facing deployment. For more deployment support and encouragement, please visit my Deployment Masterclass.