Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Getting Through "Goodbye"

Now that FM has reached his destination for the next 52 weeks (50 now, but who’s counting?), and we have yet again said our “goodbyes,” I am reminded of the concerns I first had about being forced to part company so many times.  How would we react?  What would the aftermath look like for me?  And all other logically puzzling questions.

When I began looking for encouragement through the stories of various bloggers and searching through military support websites pre-FM’s enlistment, most tales I came across focused on reassembling the ruins left after a soldier deployed or started a long and arduous tour.  Honestly, I would be lying if I said I didn’t become concerned that I would not be able to handle the send off, that I would end up being “that girl” in the airport, or stuck on the couch for three weeks curled into fetal position with nothing but a box of aloe-infused tissues and P.S. I Love You on replay. (Great movie by the way, but an epically bad choice pre-departure, DON’T DO IT!)
Going Green: Our Army Adventure[s]
Resist the urge!!
But I have never been a wallow-er.  Sure, I get sad, sometimes cry, maybe even spend a few hours vegetating to a TV marathon of Law and Order: SVU, but I cannot say that I have ever really experienced a true depressive state.  Mostly because I just refuse to allow myself to do so, I am all about self deprivation and dusting off the coattails when I trip.

Going Green: Our Army Adventure[s]
Wait for "chom, chom" sound!
So I had a mental powwow with myself.  And I said “Self” … “we cannot allow this to happen.  This is going to occur multiple times over the course of this military journey, so we need to set some ground rules for this whole situation.”  Thankfully nobody responded, or I may be blogging to you from a very different place today.  But post that mental sit-down I knew I would have to make some serious promises to stay on track and out of the crack of the couch with the thousands of rolled up, sloppy tissues, ‘cause ain’t nobody got time for that!!   

Going Green: Our Army Adventure

Here’s what I have found, after three separate “see ya laters”, to be super useful in getting over the goodbye hump.  Hopefully they are helpful, or at least hopeful, to getting back to life as normal before your soldier went off on their merry way.

1.       Wallow, but not too much.  The number one, unbreakable, most important rule that I set for myself before FM left for BCT, was not to wallow in the dark house, under the covers, for days at a time.  That really does not help anyone (except, perhaps, your wallet due to the decrease in electricity bills), and sitting around sobbing will not change the fact that your soldier is on their way elsewhere.  Sure, it’s sad.  I cried quite a bit when I returned to my half-empty, mess of an apartment alone after dropping FM at the airport, but by that evening, I was already setting the powwow plan in motion.  And the desire to wallow has decreased with each departure we have experienced so far. Woohoo!

2.       Come up with a solid plan for battling Tyrannosaurus-Tears.  I promised myself one good breakdown per diem.  One. That’s it.  If I felt one coming on, and it was far too early in the day to turn in my voucher, I pushed it off, looked my sorry excuse for a human in the mirror, and actually yelled at myself to cut it out! Somewhere around mid-day I purged some tears, and let no more major breakdowns occur that day.  It kept me from a) going through my stock of tissues too quickly b) feeling like the world was ending c) not getting anything done.  Once again, far less tears the more goodbyes we have done.
3.       Find something to distract your attention.  Upon FM’s first departure, I set myself up for a great DVD marathon of Gilmore Girls, and coupled that amazingness with packing up all of my belongings to move.  Not great, but not too bad either.  Second departure, I was leaving him after BCT graduation, so my focus was on getting my behind back home by myself, navigating three airports, connecting flights, carrying all of my severely over packed luggage (with a broken handle after the first connection), and not passing out due to extreme exhaustion, lack of food, and general fear of flying.  Again, not great, but it realigned my focus to something other than my gloominess.

Departure three was, in my opinion, epic.  Of course I hated dropping FM off at the airport.  It was not a fun morning due to the 4AM wakeup call/drive, or the fact that he was going away for the next year to a foreign country on the other side of the planet. However!  Before I knew his leave dates, some of my bestest best friends had asked me if I would be interested in going to a Bon Jovi concert that night.  Of course I said yes, who wouldn’t go see Bon Jovi for $30?? And it turned out to be the best decision made, because while separating from FM for the foreseeable eight months was tough and depressing, the prospect of being in the presence of Bon Jovi that evening helped to turn everything around.  By the time I returned home in the wee hours of the following morning, it was pretty hard to be super upset, and I am very glad for that because I was certainly dreading this particular tour departure.

Going Green: Our Army Adventure

4.       Let it out.   If you blog, blog away.  If you journal, journal it up.  If you recite slam poetry, go slam it down.  Write songs, write your heart out.  Practice Krav Maga, go all Fight Club. Like baseball, go hit something.  I think you get the point here.  Whatever that thing is that you do to release stress and let it all out, go do it.  Personally, I like to write, so blogging is the key here.  I also love wine, so I certainly have made it a point to vent on multiple people over a glass or two (maybe even a bottle, or cask).  

5.       Make sure to talk it out with your soldier.  As soon as you can get a hold of them, do.  Make sure they are okay, keep the anxiety level down on that front, and if you have time, talk it out.  Chances are they are feeling much like you are, but are perhaps better at hiding it.  Get the closure you need from the one that can truly make it happen, and get over the murky feelings.

Going Green: Our Army Adventure
How can you be upset with this face? Gets me every time!
In the end, everything will be a-ok, but saying “see ya later” can be hard.  Just try to remember that life certainly will go on, with or without you paying attention, and it would sure be a shame if we didn’t pay attention to life!  
So… clean up those sloppy tissues, dust off a good DVD series, get tickets to a great event, and pick yourself up by your super tough military bootstraps, because you can totally do this!

Going Green: Our Army Adventure
What are your awesome ways for dealing with departures and saying "see ya later"?  Share your tips and tricks!

PS. Don’t forget to head over and link up to the Wednesday Walkabout,
hop around, and discover some new blogs/friends before they end
the walkabout in two weeks!!

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  1. While I don't know what it's like to have my love deployed, I do live in a large military town and have many, many military wives as friends. I hope that you are able to get through the tough times with your head held high and that the weeks pass by in a blink of an eye!!

    1. Thank you. So far, I've been quite alright, and certainly can't complain! :)

  2. Ah deployments! They are different for everyone, but they still suck for those left behind. I have to agree with you, watching P.S. I Love You shortly after they leave is never a good idea :)
    I'm here if ya need anything.
    P.S. I'm a new follower from the Wednesday Walkabout :)

    1. I appreciate the support, and that movie is rough no matter when watched. :) Glad to have you following along!

  3. You can do it Lauren!! If I've made it over the hump, so can you - considering I am such an emotional mess at times. The best advice I can give you though is don't hold in your emotion. You'll feel 10000xs better if you just let it out despite what your better judgement would tell you. Will your man be taking a mid-tour leave?

    1. Sort of. B/c someone dropped the ball with his paperwork after AIT he was forced to take extra time and is now "in the hole" for leave, so it'll be more like a 3/4-tour leave instead of 6 months... Or I might just hop a plane to Korea, who knows!

      And I'm actually doing much better than I thought. I'm glad to have a ton of other bloggers going through the same. Yourself included :)!


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