Lessons From Deployment

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Hello Friends! Long time, no post. I’ve spent the last month or so coping with deployment feels and goodbyes and all of the things I’ve dreaded since I started dating my boyfriend. And as I sit here watching Army Wives (a great guilty pleasure for my first deployment, never mind that my boy’s on a Sub) I can’t help but think about everything I’ve learned so far.

He hasn’t been gone for that long. We’ve still got more than halfway to go, and I have a feeling that this is all going to get tougher before it gets easier. But just the limited time that we’ve spent apart has shown me my capacity to love a sailor. I never thought I’d date someone who’d be gone for months at a time. I’m a very emotional person, I always figured I’d become a basket case if I dated someone who had to leave. I’m finding out I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was.

“I exist in two places – here and where you are.” Margaret Atwood

So I’m quieting the voice in my head that tells me I don’t know enough to write this post, that he’s only been gone a few weeks and I’ve been sad most of the time and I’m in no place to give advice. None of that matters.

The point is deployment’s hard. Whether it’s for a month, six months, or a year, it’s hard to say goodbye to the person you love most. But the good news is that no one’s alone in it. And with all of the help that I’ve already gotten from other “MILSO’s,” I want to return the favor.

Here are three lessons I’ve already learned about deployment:

  1. No One Can Prepare You for the Goodbye
    • Dropping him off on the boat at 1am on a Sunday was not a walk in the park. I’m super proud of myself for doing it, but I hated driving off without him. I was exhausted and sad. It pretty much sucked. But no one could prepare me for it. I wondered if I’d bawl my eyes out or if I’d cling to him like that could stop him or if I’d be perfectly fine. To be honest, it was a bit of a combination, but everyone’s experience is different.
  2. Hearing From Them Less Doesn’t Mean They Love You Less
    • I struggle with self-worth issues. I had them before I met my boyfriend and I still have them even though he loves me through it. So when I go days without hearing from him, I have to fight the feeling that he’s not thinking of me, or that he doesn’t care about me so much. It’s not true. In fact, the way he feels about me is so obvious sometimes it makes my heart swell. But not hearing from him can make the self-doubt monster rear its ugly head. I have to keep telling myself he’s thinking of me, even if he can’t always write.
  3. You Are Not Alone
    • Ever since I started being vocal about my relationship with a submarine officer, so many people have reached out to me to offer their support. Every single message says some variation of “I know what you’re going through” or “let me know if you need anything!” I know more people than I realized that have a loved one in the military. And tagging my posts/pictures with “milso” or “navy milso” has led me to some really great online friends as well. They’re all a great comfort to me when I’m feeling lonely.

“May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” Genesis 31:49

Today I’m thankful that the days aren’t dragging, that I get a little closer each morning that I wake up. It’s hard when all I really want is a hug from him. But it’ll happen soon. For now, I’ll keep looking at the flowers he sent for my birthday, reread his few emails over and over and over again, and pray that God will watch over us both.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons From Deployment

  1. I love reading other Milso’s interpretations of deployment; they’re all so different. But I definitely agree with the three lessons you narrowed it down to. The goodbye is easily the worst part of everything.. And when it’s over, you really do feel like you could handle anything. Best of luck to you and your man!

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