Compassion isn't something that's come easily for me over the years. For eleven years, we've been sending soldiers to "war". For seven of those years, I've been pretending to be a civilian, rather than an Army wife. Now, after six cancelled/or otherwise deployments, my husband finally gets his turn down range, or whatever the term is for Afganistan. We drop him off tonight.
I don't expect sympathy from others, because I've never felt I've given enough of it myself over the years. I haven't wanted to cry out on the rooftops about his deployment. I haven't even wanted to tell my children. But word has gotten out; we've had to tell many people and our children. I'm often surprised when other people thank us (or my husband, more correctly) for our (his) service. I stopped thanking people years ago, probably because where we live, deployments and Army/military service are both so commonplace.
He's not gone yet, but at this point, he may as well be. There's something that happens emotionally when it's thisclose to dropping him off-- it's like we both shut down because there are too many emotions to feel. Mostly, I just try not to think about it. I don't think about not having someone to sing with in church (we love to harmonize). I don't think about not having him next to me in bed. I don't think about never hearing his ringtone. (Now THAT is the tear jerker today.) I don't think about not having to fold his laundry. I don't think about the fact that my son will be asking every ten minutes, "Dada home?" and how we won't have the opening of the garage to look forward to. All this time, he was my reason for living, and I don't think I've ever really felt that until now.
In my naivite, I've done my best to ignore the inevitibility that I would greatly feel his absence. I'm glad, in a way, because I've been able to enjoy most of the last month with him, emotional as I've been. But now I have reality to face, a reality that thousands of other women have faced before three or four or five or a dozen times. I'm ashamed I've had so little compassion for them.
People tell me they'll take care of me or watch out for me. I'm shocked how many people care. I don't deserve that! Ultimately, I'll be fine. For now, I just want to be left alone, to comfort my children and allow them to comfort me. To find solace in God and the peace I know He wants for me. I do feel blessed, to have escaped deployment this long, but it was inevitable, really. And in a lot of ways I think it will be good for us, and for me. And I don't need to talk or to cry on anyone's shoulder. I just want to be left alone to deal with my emotions by myself. Maybe next week or next month I'll accept offers of compassion or what not, but for now, I need to deal with this in solitude.