Dear Deployment: Love, Vanessa
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It’s been a few years since we’ve talked, but knowing that you’ll be in our neck of the woods again soon I felt like it was time to write.
As you know, my husband invited you over last time, and despite my saying no a few times, eventually I had to realize how eager he was to see you. I was incredibly frightened the whole time that you kept us apart. We have devastating and painful memories from when our teammate was killed in action. We were forced to grieve alone, without each other for support. That horrible instant made you a reality, a reality that was difficult to swallow. Did you hear my sobbing? Did you notice how I struggled to get out of bed some mornings?
But there was also so much growth and joy from that time. You brought my husband and I closer together, united us with this shared experience of loneliness. We have amazing and wonderful memories from that time – heck, my husband got to see a monkey riding on a motorcycle, which is pretty darn cool. So many heartfelt talks, shared laughs, and fun adventures, especially during R&R. Plus, you gave us one of the most precious gifts of all, our son.
And here we are, preparing for your return. While my husband knows you pretty well, and while I feel like your last visit made me stronger, this time around we have kids, and I worry about how your presence in our lives will affect them. I wonder how I should talk to them about you and about where their daddy is. I wonder if they will cry and sob as much as I did the first time I met you. I wonder how my husband will fare now that he has more loved ones to leave behind.
But in the end, I know you are a part of our family – you aren’t simply an unwelcome houseguest. You are that distant relative who stirs up emotions, creates drama, and tears us all down. But we can’t disown you from our family – we know that you need us, and just as we would for any other family member, we will answer the door when you call, and just pray that we’re stronger when you leave.
Vanessa writes about faith, family and life as an Army National Guard wife at Hearts On Guard. She and her husband have been married for 6 ½ years, have endured one deployment together, and have recently gotten orders for another. She recently made the move working full time to being a stay at home mom to their two young kids when her husband was selected for Army flight school.
*If you are interested in being a part of this series please see instructions here: Dear Deployment Blog Feature or email me at singingthroughtherain(at)gmail.com. Thanks!*
Tears flowing. Right now.
You hit the nail on the head, Vanessa. Of all of your writing, this has touched me the deepest.
Niccole, I know you’ve been battling with similar emotions, and I’ve been praying for you to have peace with our not-so-welcome guest. Just know that when and if our guys go, you will always have me to talk to, lean on, and cope with. Love you, friend!!! Tons!
Vanessa, I love your view of deployment.
This: “But we can’t disown you from our family – we know that you need us, and just as we would for any other family member, we will answer the door when you call, and just pray that we’re stronger when you leave.” So perfect.
I didn’t handle my husband’s first deployment well at all. I didn’t have your point of view. He deployed right away as soon as we arrived at our first duty station with our infant son, and I was so unprepared – I was figuring out Army Life while learning to be a Mom at the same time, and I was very bitter and angry about all of it.
I will keep your words in my thoughts when (whenever that may be) the next deployment comes around. You are so inspiring! On my way to follow your blog 🙂