Nick’s deployment is coming up. If we were having coffee, I would probably spend most of our time together talking about it. So let’s call this a coffee date where I just vent to you about submarines. Aren’t I a fun friend right now?!
I honestly feel like I have been preparing for Nick to deploy again ever since he signed a contract about 2.5 years ago. From that moment on, everything we’ve done has led to this moment. We moved to Connecticut for just 6 months so that he could go to a submarine school, and then we moved back to Hawaii so he could get on a submarine. I remember when we went to New Zealand three years ago, Nick was pretty sure he was going to stay in the Navy. I picked up a few New Zealand cards so that I could send them with him on deployment and write about our trip! That’s how long I’ve been anticipating this.
And to be honest, the anticipation can almost be worse than actually doing it. 3 years of anticipation for one single deployment.
The past year and a half has been stressful, unpredictable, and hard…. but also filled with moments of such joy. Nick would leave for a few weeks. Each time Nick leaves, I have learned, it takes me a solid week to get into the routine of not having him here. Whenever Nick leaves, everything changes. My sleep schedule changes, my routing changes, even what I cook changes, what I do at night and on the weekend changes. I read way more books when Nick’s gone and have lots of fun girls nights and eat all of my favorite foods. I hate to think that everything changes so much based on whether or not Nick is home, but that’s just the reality.
By the time I feel like I am really in a groove, Nick comes back. And I go into a frenzy of cleaning the house, cooking his favorite foods, and making plans to make “the most” of our time together. It’s exhilarating to see him after that time apart. There is no feeling like it.
It’s also exhausting trying to keep up with that and to try to manage my expectations for our time together. Because by the time I do all of that and by the time that Nick actually gets home, we’re both exhausted, emotionally and physically.
I think that the most frustrating thing about this past year has been the unpredictability. I never know if Nick is coming home for dinner or how long he’s going to be gone.
Aside from the emotional aspect of getting ready for a deployment, there is a ton of work to do. As one of my friends put it, we “crafted the shit” out of this deployment.
All deployments suck. One of the challenges for submarines, I think, is the lack of communication and lack of access to the internet for the submariners. I pretty much won’t talk to Nick during his deployment. So, we send all of the cards/care packages/letters that they will get for the entire six months with them when they leave. We can’t mail them a letter or a package.
I want Nick to feel loved during deployment. I want him to be able to feel good about himself and to have something to look forward to. I want him to feel connected to me. So, I usually write him a ton of cards. This time around, I am writing him one card per week, plus a few additional extra cards for the hard days. This is the part of deployment prep that I enjoy because I love being creative and writing him letters and putting fun little things in his cards, like puzzles and riddles and pictures. But it is a lot of work and it really hits me when I see all of these cards on the floor how long he will be gone.
It’s also really hard to write these cards because I want them to feel genuine. But at the same time, I have no idea how we are both going to be doing when he reads them. I just wrote the card to go in his halfway box and I wrote something like, “I have no idea how either of us are going to be doing right now but we’re halfway done and I love you and I’ll see you on the pier.”
I honestly think that the workup to deployment is harder than deployment will be. But maybe that’s just something I’m telling myself to make myself feel better!
Aside from all of this, I have forged such strong bonds and friendships with women who are going through this with me, and other people here who have been here to support me. It’s a crazy ride and it only seems to get crazier, but I’m ready.
Ugh… I couldn’t imagine seeing Kyle off for +six months and not having hardly any contact. That has got to be one of the hardest things in the whole world. You’re so prepared, though! I know this stretch of time is way easier for Nick because you’re at the start AND end of it. He most definitely has to look forward to each note and puzzle and day closer to seeing you!! And I’m so glad you have a close knit group of women at home to help you spend your days. I hope it all breezes by quickly and painlessly!!!
I can’t even imagine how emotionally draining it all has to be. I completely understand the getting into a groove when somebody is gone but I can’t imagine how it is for long periods of time. It also sucks that you can’t send him anything and have to have it all prepped before he leaves. At least he will have sometime from you while he’s gone!
This sounds so so difficult but it just shows how strong your relationship is as well! I’m hoping you have more good days than bad days. And the same for Nick! Did he write you cards to read as well while he is gone?
Bleck … preparing for deployment sucks butt! I can’t imagine anticipating it for that long! I’m glad you got to do some of the fun stuff, like making up care packages 🙂
This must be quite something to be facing down. I’m impressed by all your preparations, they’re so creative! Approx how long will Nick be away for? Does he do similar things for you in return or different?
I know it’s not the same AT ALL but when I travel for work I’m away usually 4 days per week, and the adjustment between going away and coming back is always really hard. Learning to mesh along with my husband again is always a little more difficult than I would have hoped. So I can only imagine how much worse yours is.
I definitely agree that the lead up to a deployment is worse than the actual deployment. Kyle’s first one we had 24 hours notice and that was far easier than the one we knew about months in advance. We are fairly certain that Kyle will be deploying again not long after we PCS this summer and I’m already stressed about it.
Sending hugs to you, friend. Pre-deployment has definitely been my least favorite part of this whole deployment thing because I felt like a huge ball of stress. I was actually a little relieved when he left because it meant the countdown could finally begin. I can only imagine how hard this is for you but I’m hoping the days will go by fast. <3
You are absolutely amazing! I am truly in awe of your strength. Sending love your way!
Your cards! Nothing like them, always so thoughtful and special. I recently came across one you wrote us after your wedding.
Your gift with words will uplift his spirit when he is gone. While it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around not seeing the one I love for an extended period of time, I know you have endured this and will get through it once again. Because that’s who you are – strong, confident, and amazing.
Deployments suck indeed! I love all the prep work you did for him, I don’t think I’d be that organized!! It’ll be hard not to see him/ talk to him but you got this, girl!! And if you ever need to vent or whatever, let me know!! 😉
Finding Ithaka is a website devoted to helping people emotionally prepare for submarine deployments. The website offers advice on how to deal with the stress of a deployment, how to maintain healthy relationships while away, and how to cope with the emotional aftereffects of a deployment. Spine Doctor Adelaide
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