While I know that this deployment looming over us is not quite the same as dealing with the death of a loved one, it often feels like it. I find myself going through the same seven stages of grief. Each deployment brings about the shock and denial. "No, it can't be time for another one already." "But we just started getting back into a family routine again." Soon after the shock wears off, the pain and guilt stage sets in.
During this stage, I feel like I'm somehow letting down my children. It hurts that I can't give them everything that they deserve. While Micah is gone, something as simple as the fact that I can't teach my little boy how to pee standing up can bring me to tears. In my heart, I know that all they really need is my love and reassurance, but sometimes my mind takes over my heart. No matter how hard I try, I just can't be the "father" who takes them to father/son fun night at school.
I move on from the pain and guilt and get into the anger stage. Somehow this stage seems to linger on throughout the deployment, so I'm sure I'll write about it more at a later date. Tonight though, I'm writing about my current state of grief: stage four. As you can see by my title, I'm finding myself depressed, reflecting and lonely. I can't believe how on target that description is.
I consider myself a strong woman on the whole. I've always been independent and never let anything stand in my way. Anyone in my family can attest to that fact. My parents never thought I would get married because of how stubborn and independent I am. However, these deployments have left me vulnerable in ways that I never imagined.
AHHHH...who am I kidding? I am entering stage four, but I'm not there yet. No, I am still in stage three...I'm ANGRY. I don't really have any person that I am angry with, its just this stupid deployment on a whole. I HATE telling my children that daddy's going away for a year. I HATE spending the last few months together trying to make sure everything is in place so that the boys and I can survive alone. I HATE feeling like I'm just not good enough. And what I HATE the most, is how I let that anger get in the way of our last few months together.
It is so hard to just sit back and enjoy time together when the deployment is constantly there in my mind. As the boys are playing outside, I think about the unfinished swingset and get angry that I can't finish it by myself. I end my volleyball season and become angry because I won't be able to play next year if I can't find a babysitter. I enjoy Cam's 4th birthday party and get angry that Micah won't be there to see him turn five or leave for his first day of kindergarten. I look toward our mini camping/Jeeping trip and get angry that we won't be able to enjoy it next year. And all of this anger is slowly taking its toll.
With this being our third deployment, I know that at some point the anger will lessen and I'll come to accept all that's happening. At some point, I'll be able to look at the blessing of spending extra time snuggling with my boys or being the one they come to when they need something. At some point, I'll appreciate all my husband does around the house before he leaves instead of just keeping a list of the things he still has to do. At some point, I'll feel like me again. I'll find the strength to let go of the anger and just enjoy the ride. At some point...but not quite yet.