Sunday, April 22, 2012

What I learned During the First Deployment

Before diving into the second deployment, I thought it would be wise to recall everything I learned during the first one. Okay, here it goes:

1. Staying as busy as possible - One of the most important things is developing a routine for every day and trying to follow it closely. The trick is to keep your mind on something besides the deployment. The second you let your thoughts wonder, the worrying consumes your full being. Is he okay? Did he eat well? Did he get enough sleep? Did he get through his night watch without any unpleasant surprises? Since I could not know for sure, my imagination went wild. I had to catch myself and consciously force my thoughts upon something more positive, which brings me to the second thing I learned.

2. No news is good news - This saying is probably never more true than during a deployment. My husband told me before he left that in case something bad happened to him, the Army would let me know within 24 hours. I do not know how true that is, but I recalled his words many, many times during our separation. He could not always write or call, so I had to be patient and persuade myself that everything was fine, since I was not told otherwise.

3. Living with your parents is awesome - If you can go back to your parents or relatives during your spouse's deployment, absolutely do it. I was especially blessed with the fact that my parents welcomed me in their home in Hawaii. Mom and Dad supported me all the eight months and kept me busy with the Saturday hikes, movies and concerts. I could keep my job and worked remotely. The time difference between Hawaii and North Carolina (6 hours!) was hard to deal with, especially with the NC morning conference calls at 3 am Hawaiian time, but my boss compromised a lot, too. Living with someone who can take care of you also keeps stress off your spouse's shoulders.

4. Do not watch news - The news will only get you more worried. Remember? No news is good news.

5. Communication is the key to a strong relationship - He could call me only a couple of times a week and emailed a couple of times more. But is it enough to keep the love fire burning? I found one more way to communicate my love: in addition to my emails, I wrote real letters to him almost every day during those long 8 months. That way, he knew what happened when he wasn't with me. I would then send the real letters in the care packages I shipped to him. My husband really, really appreciated the time and effort and said the letters kept him connected to me and to my life while he was away. 

6. You have to become your own temporary spiritual leader - When my husband was not there, I had to temporarily fill his role of a spiritual leader in our family. I found a nice church in Hawaii and realized that going by myself was not bad at all. You do not have to stop growing spiritually just because your husband is far away. Daily devotionals not only kept my focus on the Lord, but also helped me stay strong when I needed to.

When my husband returned, I worried that he had changed. That I had changed. That we would have to go though painful adjustment and learn how to live together all over again. Fortunately, it was not the case at all. We continued our life as if he had never left.  Little did we know that this was not the last time he would be gone for so long. 


  1. I love this! A lot of these would help with ANY kind of separation as well. Very encouraging!!

    1. Thank you, Kiki! I hope it will encourage others.