Watching the News During Deployments

When my husband was on his first deployment, I struggled with this. Every seasoned Army wife told me to turn it off and to never watch it, especially when he was deployed. I did pretty well with it. The internet seemed to be my downfall so I had to rearrange my homepage and make sure I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the lead stories just by going to Yahoo or Google. If I ever saw “One soldier killed in Iraq/Afghanistan today”, I couldn’t help but to click on the link. So it was best if it was out of my sight.

During the first deployment, I was flipping through the channels and saw the headline “Special Operations Soldiers Killed”. I wasn’t looking for the news and had no intention of seeing that but I did. And my heart stopped. I hadn’t heard from my husband in several days and my mind started racing. I did my best to convince myself that my husband was fine, that there were thousands of special ops soldiers and that the report had not even specified that it was Army, much less a unit.

But the damage was done and I knew my heart and stomach would not feel right again until I heard his voice. And luckily I did hear it again. I was so happy and relieved to hear his voice but at the same time felt guilty because that meant someone else wouldn’t get that phone call. It’s a very strange set of emotions.

From that point forward, I decided no news at all. I would no longer randomly flip through channels on television and I deliberately skipped the news channels all together. I set my homepage on the internet to my yahoo so I could decide what would be on the page and what wouldn’t be. If someone called and said “Did you hear what happened in XYZ today?” I’d reply no and don’t tell me. In restaurants, I’d sit with my back to the television and I’d leave the room when I was visiting friends or family and they stopped on the news channel.

This was great for helping me to keep my sanity. But it also meant I knew absolutely nothing about what was going on in the world. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. As Army wives, we have all heard the saying that no news is good news and I have to agree. In the sense that the statement was originally meant as well as that it was good for me not to be exposed to it.

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Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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