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When Deployment Falls Through

The last three weeks have not been fun. The day before my soldier was to get on a plane for a nine month stint in the ‘Stan, doctors finally figured out why he’d been having chest pain for several months: major blockages in the arteries surrounding his heart.

Yet despite all assurances at the time that he would be permitted to deploy a month after his surgery, his commanders have since changed their minds. There’s no deployment in the cards for this house.

And with that we enter some dicey military spouse waters.

First, there is my new public relations “job.” It is my solemn duty to somehow communicate our official line to all of our non-military family and friends who are confused about why my husband’s photos are still appearing on Facebook when he was supposed to have left two weeks ago. No, he won’t be deploying after all. No, we are not happy he is home. Yes, we wanted him to deploy. No, it’s not because I hate my husband and love separation. Yes, we know he would’ve been in danger. No, we are not happy he’s home where it’s safe.

And then there’s me — so full of complicated and contradictory emotions that I don’t know what to do with myself. I am (despite what we tell our family) elated that he is still going to be here, where it is safe. But I am devastated that my man, who just wants to be downrange with his unit doing a job for which trains so hard and has sacrificed so much, is stuck stateside in a boring desk gig. I am excited that he is around for Christmas. But I am heartbroken that I have to give up my beloved FRG leader gig. I am so happy that my son gets to see his Daddy every day. But I am annoyed that my plans to spread way, way out in my bed every night were thwarted. I am looking forward to our uninterrupted date nights. But I feel like a jerk for being the only person among my friends with an at-home husband.

In the midst of all this I am still supporting my spouse, still cleaning up after my boys, still working, still trudging along – trying to pretend like all is well and like “semper gumby” is my favorite phrase, even though it most definitely is not. I’m saying things like “it’s OK, babe, you’ll have another chance to deploy,” and “I’m sure it will all work out – it always does,” even though I don’t necessarily believe them.

As we navigate this complicated and sensitive Army life time, I am comforted to know that other spouses have come this way before me — that I am not the first person in the history of the world to deal with a husband who had his deployment fall through.

And so I wonder: how did you get through it? What tricks of the trade can you pass on to little ol’ me? Please help a struggling MilSpouse.

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.