From Alpha to Zulu: Life as a Military Bride, Delta

Delta is for: Deployment

Before I get started with the “D”-word, let me just pose this. Where the heck did June go? My gravy, y’all! Here we are with Independence Day staring us down, and may I just add on to that, we’re mostly still closed down.

I digress…

Deployment. This is the magical time in one’s career as a military bride in which your spouse goes away for three months or more in full combat gear, normally. Deployments aren’t all created equally. Some are safer than others. Some are shorter than others. They are the best of times and the worst of times.

This is what I can guarantee will inevitably happen to you during deployment. The car will break down, you’ll have at least one flat even if the tires are new, the pets will fall ill, you’ll have at least one family emergency “back home,” at least two major appliances will go out and one will most likely be the washing machine on the day no one has clean underwear, the HVAC will stop pushing cold air and housing will argue with you until you’re blue in the face over fixing it, everyone will get the flu at once in your household, and, a few weeks into the longest few months of your life, you will find out that either you, your fourteen year old daughter, OR your son’s girlfriend is knocked up.

And that’s an easy deployment.

Between 2004 and 2013, a span of nine years, MarshFox was away on business for a total of six years. Yes. You read that correctly. SIX YEARS out of nine, he was away taking care of the world’s problems while I was at home struggling with the reality that was being in the rear and taking care of all the problems that reality wrought. That time span doesn’t even cover the year between 2002-03 he was gone. Three of the tours in that seven-year span were one-year deployments and two of those came back to back. And yes, I experienced every single deployment crisis I listed above, and more if I’m being honest. Those are just the most memorable highlights. I wasn’t the only woman during the 2012 stint to have to email her spouse and tell him to call home, it was important, only to inform him once he had the time to call that he was going to be a 37-year-old grandpa. Fun times! The deployments of the Middle Eastern campaign saw a generation of kids raised without both parents out of necessity of national defense. The cause doesn’t negate the impact it had on our families, however. Our families paid the price for everyone else’s safety, in spades.

While it was no bed of roses by any means, I can’t say that it was all bad, either. I learned to be the most independent gal on the planet during those years. I learned to stand up for myself and my kid. I learned just how tough I really am. I developed close relationships with my fellow spouses, friendships I still hold dear today and will forever hold. And, I’d be flat-out lying if I didn’t say that while the homecomings didn’t make up for all the time lost, they were certainly not shabby in the welcome back to the neighborhood department.

All that morale crap they try to drum into you at the family readiness meetings? Lip service as far as I’m concerned. “Get a hobby, go to work, make new friends, go out to dinner, take a class…” It fills a few hours a day, but it doesn’t erase the fact you’re living alone, raising a family alone, dealing with all the deployments crises alone. It distracts you for a few hours a day, but it doesn’t keep you from lying awake at night wondering if your spouse is okay and longing to touch them. It doesn’t keep the fear at bay. No amount of pottery making keeps you from being scared. So, while, that’s all good advice in theory, and certainly does help to an extent, don’t expect any of that to magically make things okay. And it sure as shit doesn’t fix the washer or the HVAC or the car. It will keep you from being isolated, though, and really that’s the purpose of all that morale crap, because no one needs to go it alone. It’s just not healthy. So, if you’re a new bride and deployment is imminent, my advice is, don’t stay home alone with the shades drawn. You do you, but don’t stay isolated. Again, not healthy.

The bottom line is, everyone has their own way of dealing with deployment. Nothing is going to be easy; everything is going to be hard. The months apart will feel like a lifetime, and the reunion will be way too short-lived. And that’s the reality of living life in the fast lane with a Marine who deploys and often.

And, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love my Marine. I love what he did for thirty years. I respect all he is and all he’s done. No, looking back, I’d do it all over again, no question.

My latest release, Reclaiming Raylyn, delves into what happens when a wife decides to skip out on the reunion and take her life back. You can pick it up in e-book or paperback at Amazon today.

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