Day 1 emotions of a deployment –
I feel like there is honestly no way to prepare yourself for Day 1, which includes dropping your loved one off at the base, unit, airport, etc. You may think you are prepared and feeling great but honestly nothing can prepare you for the mixed bag of emotions that are to follow what I call the “walk away”.
This is my second deployment and my husbands third. I thought I was fine going to the unit where I would be dropping him off. We turned the corner on the country road and he reached for my hand. The only thought that came to mind was this is the last time I am going to feel his warm hand holding mine for the next year, and I LOST IT. I was a full on mess, tears running down my face. I tried my best to avoid making eye contact and thank you sunglasses for making it easier. I had to hold myself together, after all I need to be strong for our little ones (7, 6 and 2).
I was fine while we hung out at the hanger. We took a lot of pictures and had fun avoiding the fact that this was the last day we would spend with him for until he returns. I was fine really until we kissed our last kiss and he closed my car door and walked away. Not that I should broadcast this but as I was balling my eyes out in my car watching him walk away wiping his face occasionally because he too was tearing up. Just as a reminder your spouse goes through these same emotions, but the military helps them to cover it up a little better with all of the training they go through.
It’s always hard to say goodbye, it never gets easier. I said goodbye or see you really soon several times because he is a Citizen Soldier, this is not his full time job. We do not see the uniform everyday, we only see the uniform when he’s going to his 1-weekend a month, Annual Training or when he is leaving for a longer training (up to 6 months).
So back to the day 1 emotions. One thing I would encourage is that you let yourself go through the emotions, do not bottle them up. This deployment made me feel like my world turned upside down. I had so many emotions that I was battling – heart broken, lonely, overwhelmed, weak, angry, jealous, and most of all I felt like I couldn’t breath and I felt paralyzed.
It is okay to go through the emotions, saying goodbye to a loved one is hard. You have that person as a part of your life day in and day out and all of the sudden you are dropping them off and kissing them for the last time until they return home, and yes you have to have in your head they will return home.
This is what I know – We will rise to the challenge, God will give us the strength to get through this. I know that I can do this, I can raise three children, work full-time, balance a budget, manage a household and still take care of myself at the end of the day. But as for day 1, I’M GOING TO, CRY UGLY CRY, like make up running down my face cry. For tomorrow Day 2, I may cry when something challenges me. But Day 2 you move on, you pick up the pieces (sometimes the left over laundry that didn’t go with your spouse) you laugh, you love, you connect and you live.