If you’ve made it this far with me, congratulations and thank you! I’m going to try and wrap it up with this one, so it might be a tad long.
Holidays are really important to me, so to have my husband miss out on a whole year’s worth of holidays was not easy. We made it though. My parents tried really hard to make the special days special for my kids.
My husband was scheduled to end his tour the first part of April (’09). By March, God had made it clear that we would be returning to Indiana when he was finished with his deployment. We still had our house, and the church had offered the opportunity to return (albeit in a slightly different ministry position). It was nice to at least know that much at the time. It wasn’t exactly what we had thought would happen, but the way God orchestrated it made it abundantly clear that it was our path.
Anyway, we all eagerly anticipated that date in April when we could be together again. Because we had some things that needed to be done in Indiana before the move back, the plan was for the girls and I to fly there first, and then have Ron fly there as well. The girls and I would be at the airport to welcome him home and then we would stay with friends for a short while, get the things done we needed to, and then all fly back together to CA.
Things didn’t exactly work out quite that way however. The Army moved up Ron’s departure date, so he ended up getting to IN before us and had someone else pick him up from the airport. For some reason, that really bothered me! After being apart for a year, I wanted to be the first one to welcome him home!
The plan changed to Ron picking US up. He got lost on the way to the airport, so the girls and I sat for quite a while waiting for him. It was a strange and lonely feeling. I guess what’s most important though is that we eventually found each other and were finally together again.
The stay with friends was slightly awkward, and we all ended up getting sick with the stomach flu, so that first week back together was not the most pleasant. There were some post-deployment emotions that neither of us expected and it was not easy to have to deal with them while not in our own space and with extra people around.
By the time we got to CA to pack our things up, we were somewhat frazzled. We realized reintegrating our lives would be a process. After being apart for so long, you get used to doing things a certain way. The girls struggled with processing some emotions, and Ron and I struggled with figuring out how to be together again. It sounds strange that that would have to be done, but it did.
It actually took us the whole next year to work through residual issues from the deployment. I had become somewhat independent, the girls had to get used to Dad being around again, Ron had some emotional issues surrounding what he experienced while deployed, and we dealt with a lot of anger. I think what made it harder is that all this kind of took us by surprise. Nobody told us to expect this kind of stuff or that it would take so long to work through things. There were times during that year when I wondered if we would survive. It’s sad, but it is no longer a surprise to me that marriages don’t survive deployments.