I have been wanting to write this post for a long time now. It has been over a year since his homecoming and yet it still feels like yesterday. I doubt that feeling will go away for a long time, but that’s okay because the feeling is a friendly reminder of just how strong our love is.
I personally think it takes a strong heart to make it through a deployment. Your heart takes a bit of a beating when separated from someone you love. Especially when that someone you love is on a ship in the middle of the ocean, in a war zone or wherever his/her deployment takes them.
When I found out my other half was deploying my heart felt like it literally broke in half. My husband (then he was my boyfriend) and I were only together for about a month before he left. That doesn’t sound like long but him and I go way back. We grew up together and he is my best friend’s cousin so we have know of each other since I was about 7 years old!
The night he left was horrible. I didn’t have the correct paperwork to get on base and see him off so someone he was deploying with had to pick him up from the gate. It wasn’t exactly the way I pictured seeing my boyfriend off to his deployment. I cried, and cried….and cried some more. I had so many things going through my mind!
Even though he was gone, life continued on. Thats the thing that kind of helped me through. Knowing that no matter what you are going through, no matter what is happening, the sun will always rise and set another day. Life goes on with or without you, it never stops.
You never know when you will hear from your deployed loved one. I remember sleeping with my cell phone right next to me with the ringer volume on high every single night. I also remember the first phone call I missed of his. One of the worst feelings ever because I had no idea when he would be calling me again.
The advice I always heard from people was to stay busy. I tried my hardest to stay busy, I was always going to Disneyland (I lived 2 blocks away at the time), going to family events and other miscellaneous things but it didn’t help much. It didn’t always help because whatever fun thing I was doing to keep myself busy I kept wishing my boyfriend was there to experience it with me! So it did help BUT it also backfired a little bit.
My boyfriend and I wrote each other a ton of love letters. Every single day I wrote on a note card and at the end of each week I sent him all the notecards, so he got a letter from me each week. On one side of the notecard I would journal what happened that day and on the other side I would draw him a picture or write a beautiful quote. I also drew him a bunch of pictures and sent him a bunch of cards. He was so sweet he put them all up where he slept!
I also sent him some care packages and an awesome package for his birthday! It was full with a ton of confetti! A few things I suggest you put into a care package for your loved one who is deployed is:
- Printed photos of you!
- Some of their favorite sweets and candies
- Hand sanitizer
- Sun block
- Granola Bars
- Word Search or CrossWord books
- A book or two they would want to read
- Extra toothbrush and toothpaste
- Anything else they love and don’t have access to (that is okay to send of course!)
I was even lucky enough to receive a care package from him! He sent me a bunch of stuff he bought for me while in Dubai!!! I was so surprised when I got the package in the mail! I knew then that he was a keeper!!! He also emailed me photos of himself…THOSE were the best surprises, and of course…I cried every time I received them!
Even though I was trying my hardest to stay positive, at one point I let the deployment get to me. I caught myself feeling anxiety almost every day You know that feeling… when you feel like there is a heavy weight on your chest and you feel like you cant breathe. Yeah, I got that…and it was the worst at night. I even started to feel depressed. I sometimes felt like doing nothing but going to my room and just laying there feeling sad and depressed. This was all towards the end of the deployment. It slowly got better when he returned but it took a little while. Don’t get me wrong I was so happy when he got home but no matter how much I tried I just couldn’t shake the depressed feeling.
Towards the beginning/middle of the deployment my boyfriend brought up the great idea that we should read the book “The Five Love Languages”. WOW. I suggest anyone in any kind of relationship (boyfriend, husband, mom, dad, sisters, friends) So pretty much everyone in the world to read this book. It is amazing and such a good read. It is one of those books that will help you out in life! Any ways, he suggest we read the book together while he was deployed so every few nights we both read a chapter and when we got to talk on the phone or in an email we would talk about it. I love my husband so much for bringing this book into our lives and because he was the one to suggest reading the book together, how sweet is that?
One thing I hated doing was watching and reading the news while my boyfriend was deployed. Everything I saw made me nervous and scared. It made me over think things and I made it a point to stop reading and watching the news for a while.
I LOVED receiving emails from our FRO. Most of them were filled with important information and updates, they kept me staying positive!
Before he left he gave me two rubber/plastic bracelets. One was yellow and one was camo print. (In the last photo of this post you can see them on my wrist) I had them on during the entire deployment! For a whole 7 months they were on and I only took them off 1 time and that was when I did a photo shoot! I still have them and I will never, ever get rid of them!!
I have all of his letters and the bracelets in a red heart tin 🙂 I cant wait to show them to our kids and grandkids some day…
During the deployment my husband (boyfriend during the deployment) was amazing. He had big flower bouquets and teddy bears and balloons sent to my work every month!!! I couldn’t believe how much effort he was putting into us. He had so much on his plate already (being deployed and all…)and yet he still was the best boyfriend ever.
Every Friday I promoted R.E.D. Friday to my friends and family. For those of you who do not know, R.E.D. Friday means “Remember Everyone Deployed”. Every Friday until everyone is home we wear red to show support for those who are gone on deployments. Even now (a year later) I still promote it and wear RED every Friday!
When it came closer to the end of the deployment I was watching those amazing Youtube videos of homecomings and loved ones coming home early from deployment and surprising their families. Those still to this day tug the strings of my heart and make me cry like a baby. I don’t know exactly why I was so engulfed in watching those videos and crying , maybe it was because I loved seeing the happiness in their faces and eyes, or maybe because I just couldn’t wait to feel that feeling to. Whatever the reason, I watched them weekly.
I had the most crazy mixed feelings days leading up to his homecoming. I was relieved that it was coming to an end (missing someone so much for 7 months straight is exhausting!), I was happy, anxious, nervous and so much more! Actually, I was also a little bit stressed out. They kept changing the dates of when they were coming home, and also the times so we (My husbands cousin and I) were there waiting for him to fly in almost three hours early!!!
We patiently waited outside with everyone else. They barricaded off a little waiting area outside by where the planes land for the friends and families to wait in. When I first saw the lights of the planes coming in for landing my heart started to race. I couldn’t believe the moment I have been waiting for, for 7 months was here! As both planes landed EVERYONE started cheering and screaming. That got my heart racing even more. I had no idea what plane he was on so it was a waiting game. We were not allowed to leave the barricade so we had to wait for them to come to us. One by one they all walked up, women were running and jumping into their loved ones arms and crying, my heart was racing and I was like a hawk looking for my love.
When I finally saw him I ran up to him and jumped into his arms and squeezed him as hard as I could. I don’t even think he saw me coming I jumped so quickly in his arms! I cried tears of happiness and joy. I couldn’t believe it was over. It felt unreal. I knew that if we could survive a deployment together, we could survive anything. Two months later we were engaged, and the rest is history 🙂
Here are some photos from our homecoming, enjoy 🙂
Going through a deployment is very hard, but the end is worth the wait.
If anyone has any questions feel free to comment below, or even if you just want to talk feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who are going through a deployment right now, stay positive and remember that today you are one day closer to your love coming home! Be as supportive as you can because just as much as you miss them and want them home, I know they feel exactly the same way, if not more.
After going through the deployment I now live by the words”Live each day as if he is deploying tomorrow”