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Overcoming Frustrations

Finding Myself In Lonely Paradise

Driving on the interstate, trying to hold back the tears, telling myself, “I can do this, I’ll be just fine” was tough to believe. I just left my husband at the airport for a 6-month deployment. It was his first deployment. It was mine as well, as a wife. This was 5 years ago but I still remember that day in December. It was a week before Christmas. Looking back at it now, I have grown in every way and it became one of the best experiences I could ever receive. I have always believed that you could take lifes worst moments and turn it into something positive if you allow yourself to. It’s one of the most difficult concepts to learn in life. Sure, a deployment may not sound so bad as some other life “circumstance” but at the time it meant being alone for your first Christmas together without family and friends and “stuck” in paradise.

At the time we were stationed in Hawaii. Absolutely loved it but felt lonely without the love of your life being by your side. The first deployment was the hardest. He deployed 8 months after we moved to Hawaii. I felt like we were just getting settled in and he had to leave. I was working a full-time job so I was thankful it took much of my free time but once I arrived at home that is when it would hit me, that I was alone. I would turn on the television just to feel like I wasn’t alone. Keeping your cell on you at all times is what I believe all military spouses do. It becomes your lifeline. Sometimes it’s the only way to listen to their voice. You quickly realize e-mails can cover up what is truly happening overseas. Only the sound of their voice can assure you if everything is ok or if they are upset, hurt, or depressed. My cell phone became a part of me, I despised it. I had to make sure I had it on me at all times. If I missed his call, I could not call him back. You learn to wait for the next call, whenever that would be. Waiting for his call, waiting to hear any news, waiting for his return, you learn to have patience.

The first couple of weeks, I moped, cried, got angry, and frustrated. Throw in being confused as well. Being new in the military world is very baffling. Learning ranks, job titles, the culture, the rules, the list goes on and on. It was a time to just let go. Knowing myself, it was a must for me. If not, I would carry these feeling throughout the entire deployment and that is no way to live for half a year. For that Christmas, I spent time alone on the beach. I needed to be alone. Thoughts of how my husband was doing would race through my head. After those couple of weeks were over, I told myself to pick myself up and move on. I believed I could learn many things while my husband was gone and I sure did! You take advantage of the time apart to really get to know yourself. Since at the time we didn’t have children, it was easier for me to get things finished. My first “accomplishment” was to make our temporary home our own. I decorated and finished painting rooms. It was just the way I wanted it, it became our home. Wondering what to do next, I looked online for sewing classes. I always wanted to learn how to sew and this was my chance. I sewed some curtains and pillows, started very basic. Afterwards, I was able to volunteer for an organization that sewed quilts for children who currently had a deployed parent. One memory I have is of a 4 year old who looked at the quilt I finished, it was a quilt for her with a picture of her daddy printed on it. She pointed at the picture and yelled, “Daddy!” She then looked at me and told me she missed him. I shed a few tears and so did her mother.

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