May 16, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
Surviving a husband's deploymentDeAnna Lewis
(Note: The following article is reprinted from the May issue of Essayons, the deployment newsletter of the 875th Engineer Battalion of the Arkansas Army National Guard. DeAnna Lewis' husband, Spc. Alvin Lewis, is the chaplain's assistant currently deployed with the 875th. They live in Smithville.)
Survive. By the dictionary's definition it means to remain active; endure. That is what I have been doing since this deployment began ~ I have been finding ways to survive until this is all over with.
Having never been separated from my husband for more than six weeks, and having never been through a deployment, I really didn't know what to expect. I am a reader, so I got online and started looking up all sorts of information that is offered from those of previous deployments. But nothing could prepare for the experiences that my family and I would face.
I guess of all the emotions that one feels in times like this ~ frustration, anxiety, elation, depression, guilt ~ the one that has been most overwhelming for me is the feeling of loneliness and the feeling of losing time. Even though others have stepped in to go places with me and help keep my mind off things, I still find myself wishing my husband were here to share in the events.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of the occasions and precious memories that he has missed, and even though I have tried hard to take pictures and videos to chronicle the year, nothing will ever be able to give us back the time we have lost together as a family. For us, time moves on, although slowly and in different time zones.
There is a huge hole in our family and each one of us is trying to deal with it in our own way. My oldest son, age 11, likes to talk about all the things he and his dad will do, such as hunting and camping trips that were missed out on this year, when his dad gets home.
My middle son, age 4, began this journey throwing tantrums and crying uncontrollably. After a few months, those incidents lessened and now he talks about our family vacation last year that we took right before the deployment. For him, that is probably the last time he remembers us being together as a family, and he just wants to hang on to it.
And then there is the youngest, age 2. She just goes around saying, "I miss my daddy. You miss my daddy?" She repeats this statement until you acknowledge that yes, you miss her daddy, too.
However, all is not bad. It has been a proud and humbling experience to be the family member of one serving our country overseas. People always talk of the soldiers who have gone before, so that we might have a better life. There have also been families who have waited for them and kept things moving along until they came home.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my country in this way and to give back to the families who have sacrificed so that we can have a better life. Now, I am a member of this group, and I have a job to do.
I take very seriously the picture that I portray of this deployment to others. I try never to be negative of military issues when others comment. I simply state my support for those answering the call to duty.
I have to fight to keep myself and my family moving along, fighting, enduring, until our soldier comes home.
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