When trying to come up with a subject for the letter "D" for the A-Z Blogging Challenge, I had a little trouble. There wasn't anything that readily came to mind relating to "D" when it came to my writing (besides "dialogue," and yelling, "Damn computer!" at my laptop when Word freezes up on me doesn't count), so I thought I'd make this a little more personal.
Hubs and I knew going into this life that they would come up periodically, and they have been a regular occurrence for us over the past four years or so, and will be in the future. Just like going on business trips, tackling endless spreadsheets, spending hours on your feet, or dealing with irate customers might be par for the course for your job, it is the same for us. It's expected, and it's something we signed up for.
That doesn't make it any easier, though. Each time my husband deploys, he takes a little bit of my heart with him, though I have noticed that it takes less time to bounce back after each time he leaves. The first few weeks are usually the hardest because your memories are so strong and they're still so enmeshed in your daily routine, but as time goes on, you fall into a rhythm that makes your days go by more smoothly. Nothing feels completely "normal," but you have to accept that. In some ways, I think it's harder for those who remain home; we have reminders all around us of who is absent (the empty side of the bed, the vacant chair where they sit for dinner, etc). I know it's hard for them as well and they are incredibly busy doing what they need to wherever they are, and that helps distract from the loneliness.
The key is to stay busy yourself. Work, seeing friends, doing housey things, projects, pets...you need to do things that take up time and make you happy. And for God's sake, get your ass out of the house! You can't just sit at home and mope. You do find yourself looking forward to the little communications you can have with your loved one. Phone calls are typically short and the connection sounds like you're both using something Alexander Graham Bell had on his workbench, but at least you get to hear each other and chat for a few.
Internet is okay - again, the connections are awful, so video chat is hard to do unless you can both stomach looking like a stop-motion animation movie, but instant messenger makes a good substitute, as does good old-fashioned email. Old-fashioned email. Ha. Just the fact that we can communicate every other day makes me thankful for what we do have, whether it works or not. I have a hard time imagining how things were in the WWII era and earlier when everything was done by hand, and how difficult not hearing from each other for weeks, months, or even at all must have been for the families.
I try to send care packages out at least once a month, which are always appreciated, and makes me feel happy that I get to send him something tangible that I touched. It's sappy, but whatever. It makes me happy.
There is one big plus that comes out of my husband being gone - I'm much more productive with my writing when he's not around to distract me, and all I have to worry about is myself and the cats. When he's home, I guiltily miss my long, uninterrupted stretches of writing time, but the trade-off is worth it; I'd much rather have him home safe and sound. Another positive is that it makes you appreciate the one you love so much more, and the time you have with them as well.
p.s. No, that's not us in the picture. Google stock photo, but the emotion is there, and accurate. :-D