Today is a Spouse Spotlight as we look at deployments. My friend, Katelyn, who we met at our last assignment shares what she learned from about herself during her husband’s deployment.
Although being married to an Active Duty Service Member always provides the possibility of your spouse deploying, I honestly never really believed this was something we would have to go through. That all changed the day my husband, Coy came home from work with the news that he was selected for a deployment. When I heard the news, I broke down in tears. I was sad, terrified, confused, anxious, you name it. To me, this was the most terrible thing that could happen to us, but for Coy, it was an exciting opportunity to serve his country, do his part to contribute to the bigger picture, and respond to the call that he had a desire to complete. It was extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around his take on the deployment when all I could see what the uncertainty that it brought to our lives.
After several tough conversations, I realized that this was something that I wouldn’t ever fully understand and what my husband needed from me, was acceptance and respect, not anger and distress. If Coy felt like he was being called to serve his country in this way, then I knew that it was a call from God. I put all the energy I could into supporting him and praying that we could see the blessings and joy of this trial through the anguish that was stirred up in my heart.
Waiting for the Deployment
We received the news of Coy’s deployment about four months before he had to leave, but even with the amount of time we had to mentally prepare, his day of departure still snuck up on us. We tried to put on happy faces, but who were we kidding, this sucked. That day—those goodbyes—it was incredibly hard, and unfortunately it didn’t really ever get any easier.
The day my husband left and throughout the deployment, I tried not to wear my emotions on my sleeves, but this was one of the hardest things I’d ever gone through and I felt like my sadness was more than justified. So, when I needed to, I let myself be sad. But at the same time, I tried not to let his absence keep me from having a good time and doing things that I enjoyed. I needed to find a balance. That is when I really started to learn a lot about myself and how I function.
Learning to Function
I know everyone handles different situations in various ways. So, I know my coping mechanisms are not the same as everyone else’s. But I had to figure out what worked for me. I needed to get myself into a routine. Since I worked from home, so my days were very flexible. I quickly realized that I needed some structure to create balance. So, I set up a schedule for myself which included work, exercise, and down time. In all honesty, that kept me sane.
I am an introvert. I can easily become overwhelmed, which brought me to the realization that I needed time by myself to recharge. There were days when I had to turn down invitations from my sweet and caring friends. They were amazing to check up on me so regularly. Not because I am antisocial or didn’t want to spend time with them, but because I needed time to myself. I needed to be able to get out of my head. Stop thinking about everything that was going on around me, and recharge—which usually involved binge watching something on Netflix.
The day Coy came home inevitably invoked all the feels. I tried to keep with my routine and stay busy until his flight was scheduled to arrive. That way, I wouldn’t go crazy. Once the plane landed, we still had to wait almost 2 hours before we could see each other because of some issue with baggage claim. I will never forget the feeling of being back in Coy’s arms. In that moment, the time that had passed since he left—the longest 7 ½ months of my life—had disappeared.
Having my husband back by my side was amazing, but we did have to readjust to each other a little bit. Coy was completely comfortable back at home. Which I am so glad he was, but I had become accustomed to being home alone and following my daily routine. While the interruption was more than welcome. It still did take some getting used to him being physically present in my life again. It was a strange, but oh so wonderful feeling to pick up where we had left off.
There was nothing easy about Coy being away for almost 8 months.
Although I was lonely, I did not go through this deployment alone. I had a great support system in my friends and family. But honestly, even though we were thousands of miles away from each other, Coy and I were each other’s best support. We were the only ones who truly knew what we were going through. And because of that, we were brought closer together. I can’t say that I would want to do this all over again. Because I know God is always in control and He has blessed our marriage with the strength we need to face any trial. I know we can handle whatever comes our way.
Katelyn is an independent artist and owner of Weaving & Weather. She weaves one of a kind bamboo scarves and sells them on Etsy and at local craft fairs. Katelyn and Coy have been happily married for 5 years and travel wherever the Air Force takes them. Currently, they live in Alabama with their cat, Gabby and puppy, Jim. For more information about her handwoven scarves, follow Katelyn on Instagram, and Facebook.
This is Day 10 of 31 Days of Deployment Stories, if you want to start with Day 1, Click Here. Yesterday I talked about my Uncle’s experience in Vietnam. Tomorrow I will be sharing what it is like to be on Amphibious Navy Ship Out at Sea. And don’t forget to join my weekly email list if you never want to miss a post. Join Here.