deployment separation stronger

How to Survive a Deployment

These stories were submitted by website visitors.


Karina’s Story

My fiancee is in the Army and this is his first deployment. He left at the end of January and came back for his mid-tour leave on April 6th for two weeks. Then he went back and I won’t see him again until next year, around Jan or the first week of Feb (if they don’t extend). I’m in the military as well.

I’m in the Coast Guard, but even though I have a lot to do I still feel down at times, and picking myself up is hard and causes me tons of tears, questions, and sleepless nights. What has helped me a lot though, is working out.

When I’m at the gym, my purposes are:

1. To get rid of all the anger, stress, sadness, and emotions that come within.

2. To get a nice body that I know my fiancee would love and admire.

Hope that helps, it has helped me. And trust me, when he came back for his mid-tour leave, he noticed it and told me that I look sexy. I got toned, got my stamina higher, lost a few pounds, and I actually do much more at work.


deployment separation stronger

Pat’s Story

To stay busy during your husband’s deployment you can get more involved with your kids since it helps the whole family. I have 3 kids; a 16-year boy, and 7 & 9 yr old girls. I stay up and wait for my son to come home each night. Often the best conversations about his life are had over a late-night snack.

I also make sure to have girls’ days out with each of my daughters individually. Usually, I take one girl each Saturday to help me do errands. We have a “special” lunch at their favorite fast food place and talk about them.

My girls are also involved in 4-H (which supports military kids) and I go to the monthly meetings and volunteer wherever they need me. Make sure you have family dinners most days and go to church on Sundays too.

One of my problems is sleeping alone while my husband is deployed. I shouldn’t have trouble (as I am always sleep-deprived), but I couldn’t seem to fall asleep at night.

Now I use the “herbal contour neck wrap”, from AAFES. When I go to bed at night, I lie on my side and drape the neck wrap over my shoulder. The weight of it is like having your husband’s arm around me, and the herbs in it make me sleep better.

Make sure you keep it in a Ziploc bag during the day so the herbs stay fresh.


Becky M’s Tips for Deployment

As much as we like to pretend it isn’t true, we are Military wives, and our life is an interesting mix of wonderful and terrifying. The deployments we face are challenges that most people will never have to deal with.

It is hard, it sometimes takes every bit of emotional strength we have, and sometimes it is so hard to deal with it that we want to give up. But even in the hardest times we face, we pull ourselves together and keep moving forward.

We stay strong for our husbands and families. We know that it doesn’t help our soldiers to hear us totally broken down, and we know that our families don’t understand what is happening as well as we do.

They need us to be their rock, and sometimes it feels so unfair to have to be “fine” when we really aren’t, but we still put on a happy face when they need us. But behind closed doors, we all break down, and we all have our ways of coping with the person we love being thousands of miles away. Those things we do for ourselves help us combat fear and loneliness.

Mostly for me, it has been a learn-as-I-go adventure, which hasn’t really worked out the greatest for me. I should have listened more to other wives about how they got through because learning the hard way is not the smartest decision when you have other wives around to help you out and give you advice.

I am a military wife too and I know it’s tough to wake up every day not knowing what your husband is doing, where he is, or when he will be home. My hubby has been gone for a while now and it has been hard, and really hard at times. But I’ve gotten through it mostly unscathed by doing a few things for myself every day, whether it be taking a bath or sitting down with a cup of coffee and just taking some quiet time to reflect and deal with everything.

The moments we steal for ourselves may be the best thing we have. We do get so wrapped up in making sure our husbands have everything they need and that we are strong when he calls that we tend to forget to take care of ourselves sometimes.

When you spend all your time and energy making sure everyone else is set and forget yourself, eventually, you won’t be able to be there for everyone else. So take the time to take care of yourself and make sure you are okay emotionally and physically. You may be everyone’s rock but you also have to be your own.

If you feel like crying, just take a minute and cry; it isn’t a crime to cry. Sometimes when I feel sad, I will put on a sad song or movie and give my tears a little help coming out because I too suffer from “too proud to cry syndrome” sometimes. I have learned that not all tears are bad and that crying because I miss my husband isn’t selfish.

If you are having one of those days where you have had about a million things go wrong and you wish with everything you have that your husband was there because he would make it all better, just let yourself cry.

Letting all those tears and emotions build up isn’t a good thing. When you let it build up and refuse to let it all out, it adds more stress that, trust me, you don’t need. Plus, if you let it build up too much when it finally takes over, you will cry so hard and so long that you think it will never stop! I learned this lesson the hard way, it wasn’t very fun, and I don’t recommend learning the hard way.

Before my husband deployed, I was convinced that I wouldn’t write many letters. I figured it would just be one more thing on the giant pile of stress that I was already dealing with, and again I was wrong.

I write a letter every night, sometimes more, and not because I know my husband loves getting letters, but because it’s like therapy. Well, ok, it helps to know that my husband likes the letters, but that wouldn’t stop me from writing them.

When something happens that I just have to share with my husband, sometimes I just write him a short note or email. I’ll put the short note in the next envelope I send him a letter in. Letters don’t have to be three pages long to mean something. A sentence can mean more than three pages, depending on what is said.

I heard a song once that said, “I can’t wait to recount them; it seems like nothing really happens until I share it with you,” and I never believed that until I went through a deployment. But a lot of things happen in the months that they are away, and sometimes you get scared that things are changing too much and too fast while they are gone. But sharing the things that happen really makes it feel like they are involved more, even from half a world away.

Another thing that I am so grateful for is that I have a group of amazing friends here on post; the ones that have been there before giving great advice, whether it be not to watch the news, or if it is how to get those customs declarations forms filled out properly to send that care package over there without many problems.

Other military wives are more understanding of what you are going through. They will listen, and they will let you have your moment to cry or to be scared. Lots of time, if you are in need of assistance because something went wrong with your washer, that shelf you tried to hang yourself fell down for the tenth time today, or if your yard looks like a jungle, those that have husbands at home will lend them to you to help you.

One thing I really learned the hard way, though, is that some people don’t understand or won’t understand how hard a deployment is on those at home. They think because we aren’t in danger, we have no reason to be stressed out and sad. I have had people tell me things like, “You knew this was coming” or “You signed on for this.” Thanks for pointing that out, people. Yes, we did know a deployment would come our way, and yes, it’s part of military life, but that doesn’t make it easy.

I find myself wanting to say, “So you are saying because you see a baseball flying towards your face when it hits you, it shouldn’t hurt because you saw it?” But I don’t because it isn’t worth the time, and if they are saying things like that, then they don’t need to be my friend anyway. I know that sounds mean, and I am to the point now where I don’t really care. Again, we need to take care of ourselves, and listening to something like that is a step in the wrong direction.

Along the same lines, there is a little game that I refuse to play, and it is played a lot in the military. I call it the “my life sucks more than yours” game. It’s stupid. I don’t care what branch or MOS your husband is in; separation is hard, no matter what. It could be a week, a month, or a year. It is still hard. Sometimes it seems like a competition that basically revolves around who has the highest level of self-pity.

How is that helpful? It has become another way to find out who my friends really are. If someone is going to jump me because my husband’s deployments are shorter, they don’t need to be involved in my life. I really try to avoid that kind of negativity because, in the end, it comes down to the old saying, “Misery loves company.” I don’t want to be that company.

In the end, it will all be worth it when we see our husbands get off the plane or bus or whatever, but sometimes it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s there.

Just do your best to take care of yourself while taking care of everyone else too, and be proud of yourself and how you are coping. Deployment is a challenge and when you face it head-on and get through it all, you will find that you are a much stronger person than you ever imagined.

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This article was written by a visitor to the site. All of our contributors served in the military, are married to someone who serves in the military, or have a child who serves in the military. These Army soldiers and/or family members enjoy helping others by sharing their experiences.

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  1. This is my boyfriends first deployment and it maks it really hard because he lives in Kentucky and I live in Oregon so he will come see me for a few weeks and go home and this time he goes home (tomorrow) he will start training for his deployment may 28th so tomorrow is the last time I will be with him for a year. ): we aren’t married yet we have talked about it but decided to wait and see how this first deployment goes first. I was just wondering since I don’t live on base and have a lot of other wives and people to help me get through it what I could do? I’m going to do the gym thing but I need more than that to keep me distracted

    1. Hi Samantha, while I can’t offer any advice I am in the exact same situation as you are, I live in Texas and my boyfriend lives in Seattle, he’s coming to visit me tomorrow then leaves a the end of the month to go to training before he is deployed next Spring. I was wondering if you could give me any advice, any way to prepare myself since it looks like its been a few months since you posted this. thanks!

  2. I just want to say thank you. This was so helpful and it really helps to be reminded we are not in this alone. Thank you so so much.

  3. We are facing my husbands first deployment in 2 months on short notice. I am a nervous wreck and so emotional. Im so glad i saw this letter. Thank you! You have helped me more than you can imagine.

  4. I currently got engaged to my fiancee who has deployed this past September. While trying to focus on school, I find it hard to not think about if he is ok especially if he can’t call often. We had internet but it got shot down, so he no longer has internet. We plan on getting married when he comes home, however we wanted to know if he has to do any paperwork on getting married if we just get eloped during his R&R time home? Also How difficult is it to set up a wedding while they are in Afgaistan, what is the time span in which you find out when a soldier is coming home and out of danger? Do they go home where family is, or do they go back to their base where they are stationed. He is currently stationed in Texas and Im in Mass. Also when you move near your soldier, how do u get all your stuff packed and sent there without it beeing pricy?
    Please someone help with answer these questions , thank you 🙂

  5. My husband and I have been married for about 8 months… And he started his training in Sept. Then I seen him Probably 3 times before his deployment date at the end of Dec. I’m not used to being alone. I lived with family thru college and unitilyp marriage. Due to.his previous job I didn’t get to.see him a lot.. but I knew I would. But I have no support system. His family doesn’t care that I’m alone, and the main reason is because I’m not pregnant. They would then call to check up on their new whatever. But since its just me, I’m obviously not that important. And since we don’t have any kids its nothing to.really keep me that busy. I don’t want to tell him I’m not expecting. He left with hopes that I would be pregnant. I wasn’t working before he deployed and I don’t want to get a job and start having break downs at work. I attend school, knit and crochet. But that’s about it. I’ll Probably start working out 7 days a week, but I just can’t stop crying. I go to school come home and sleep or cry. I could be in class and feel like crying. And since I don’t have a stable.friend base its just me. I honestly don’t trust those frg chicks like that. I feel like I will be skinny and crazy in 6 months. Oh he doesn’t get a mid-tour leave. I don’t know what to do.

    1. You definitely need a support group of some sort. If you don’t want to reach out to the FRG ladies, then consider finding one online. Volunteer to keep you busy and help you meet new people. Are there groups at school you can join? It sounds like a job may be good for you – it will at least keep you busy. It’s really not good to have your identity so tied up in him that you literally can’t function if he’s not there. I know it’s hard but take advantage of this time to discover who you are. Good luck!

  6. my fiance got deployed 6 months ago he is coming home by december ,This past months have gone by fast its crazy I try to keep myself busy but it doesnt matter what i am doing he is always in my mind.This has been one of the hardest thing I have ever done (being away from him) Now that the time is getting closer the days seem to go so slow! I get frustrated I ask myself why the first months that are normally the hardest they went by fast but now 3 months to go and wow! I feel the days so long and boring its crazy! Today has not been a good day I feel sad I feel like crying .Any advice how to make the last 4 months go by fast.Bwt I am so lucky that we get to txt everyday bc he is not in a combat zone but still is very dangerous whats hes doing and its so hard being away from him. Cant believe the day is getting closer but inside me I feel that this deployment will never end 🙁

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