Deployment, Navy, Personal

In Search of Pre-Deployment Advice


I’ve been googling things like “Tips for Emotionally Preparing for Deployment” for a few weeks now. Kyle is leaving soon, and I need help. I have so many questions.

Can I fall apart? Should I cry for a day, and then move on? What is a normal adjustment period if I decide I can’t get out of bed for a few days? I just don’t know how to handle all of this.

Obviously I turned to the internet for advice. 

But it’s all disappointing.

I don’t want to be told to gather important phone numbers or to know where important buildings on base are. I did that when he left me a few days after moving in to our new house. I already know that people will say insensitive things and that I should try to be patient with them. And the tips for handling kids just don’t apply to me.

I need someone to tell me how to handle the sick feeling I have when I think about how long he will be gone. I need someone to tell me whether bottling up my feelings will make it worse, because right now it sure hurts more just to feel them.

Why hasn’t anyone written anything about that? Surely I am not the first one to feel like this. I am just a kid – what do I know?

When I was 10, I started sleepwalking almost every night into my parents’ room. When they were able to wake me up and ask what was wrong, I told them I was homesick. This continued throughout my teenage years. I would often fall asleep in my own bed in my own room, only to wake up on the floor of my parents’ room curled up inside the same Disney princess sleeping bag I used when I was 10.

I moved nine times by my 16th birthday, and it was as though my subconscious self realized I didn’t belong “here.” I was remembering somewhere else, and something was always wrong.

Around the same time I started sleepwalking, a neighbor’s house had caught fire and burned down. My sister had nightmares about our house doing the same. My mom put a big family portrait in our shared bedroom and told her that, even if our house caught on fire, the most important things in the world were those six people, and we would all be safe.

A house is just a house, but our family would be together. She used the same line on me – a house is just a house. The family makes it home.

But what happens when the family isn’t there? The six of us are in four different states, and my husband will be in the middle of the ocean, and the only one in this house will be me. When I wake up on the couch after falling asleep in my bed, what do I do? What makes this house a home then?

Generations of military wives have lived through deployments and the best advice I am finding online is “stay busy.” Is that really the only thing you can say? I need more than that.

I need you to tell me, when I am alone and afraid, what makes this place my home.


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