I am a PROUD deployment survivor. Although T and I talked extensively about the hardships of deployment before he left, nothing could prepare me for the stresses, the trials, and the tribulations of deployment. The weeks prior to D-Day, as I like to call it, I was in denial. There was no way to convince myself that he was actually leaving. It definitely hit us the hardest the night before D-Day. As I sat with T, helped him pack his sea bags, and med bags it was impossible to hold back the tears. At the end of our last night together he crawled into bed with me he began to sob as he held me tight. (Shh, don't tell him I told you that, he'd kill me. Our little secret?) I knew at that moment this would be one of the hardest experiences to date and the ultimate test to our relationship.
Day one I was a wreck. Day two I was even worse. Day three I was mush, unable to concentrate at work or school. Day four I was a zombie from staying up all night and crying. (Don't worry, I wont go on a daily itemized list of how devastated I felt, you've all been there, you know.) One day I had am epiphany. This deployment is an OPPORTUNITY for us, a stressful opportunity, but an opportunity none the less.
For the duration if his deployment I learned how to be someone else's support system as well as my own. I learned that the saying reigns true, absence DOES makes the heart grow fonder. I fell more and more in love every day. I learned that this life would never be easy but love will always trump the hardships. I learned to never take any moment for granted. Every minute on the phone and e-mail sent was cherished and every love letter was saved. I found a wonderful Mil spouse/ SO community that had supported me through every phase of deployment. I took the opportunity to get close to T's family. Talking all the time and flying out to see them twice during deployment bonded us tight and for that I am very thankful. To top it off, I grew tremendously as a person. I always viewed myself as a strong, independent, and dare I say flawless, woman, but during and after deployment I was that women times ten. My strength and faith in God to keep T safe grew exponentially. I also learned how to be the same in dependant women while DEPENDING on others to keep T safe and help me through the hard times.
Before I knew it, I was getting into a groove. I got used to writing letters every day, sending packages every month and waking up at 3am to a tired, haggard but loving voice on the other line. And then soon enough he was home! (Click the linky for the full homecoming story!) I can keep going on and on but for the sake of time (baby girl is napping, this time is precious to get some stuff done!) all I can say, is our first deployment was a true blessing. While I was waiting at the Motor Pool for the buses to roll in, the sense of accomplishment took over me. WE BOTH ARE DEPLOYMENT SURVIVORS. Our relationship stood the ultimate test, and WE PASSED! Now we know we can make it through any situation we may face in our life together.