The Beginning of Our Second Deployment Journey

Deployment Photo Edited*Per OPSEC requirements, he did not leave today.  This post was inspired by what I wrote in my journal on the actual deployment day, which will remain unknown to the general public.*

Today, Mark left for his second deployment to Afghanistan.  It’s hard to believe.  While the feelings are familiar, they are harder the second time – because you know EXACTLY how they are going to feel.  You anticipate them, but then feel knocked down anyway.  You blame yourself for feeling sad and emotional, because you did know what was coming.  Couldn’t you have then prepared yourself properly?  Couldn’t you have successfully guarded yourself against those “wimpy” emotions?  What did I do wrong to feel this way…again?

I found myself tearing up easier this time, and I was tempted to not fight them as I’d done before.  He was also more gruff than the first time.  We had a smattering of lighthearted moments, but for the most part, things were serious.

After dropping off his bags on post and closing out his apartment, we went back on post to the brigade headquarters.  Others were already there, and it was more fragmented than I had imagined.  For the first deployment, there were only about 25 soldiers leaving, and we were all gathered in the same place.  It felt more family-like.  But this time, groups of families and friends just stood by their cars throughout the parking lot, and some even said goodbye right away.

I waited by my car while Mark got issued his weapon, which took about 30 minutes.  I had the irrational fear that he wouldn’t be allowed back at the car, without having a goodbye, and I was so glad to see him walking back.  He messed around with his weapon and we took a few pictures, but mostly we were distant.  However, I was able to draw him close as I read Psalm 91 aloud, my right arm holding him to my side.  It was a tender moment and important to me that we prayed “the soldier’s Psalm,” but it took ALL my strength to keep my voice steady.

He hung out at the car for about 20 minutes, and then he said he needed to go.  It was still about half an hour before they were going to make all the families leave, and I felt a little upset that I was being told to go earlier.  But I knew it would make things harder for both of us if I protested, so after he put on his backpack, I hugged him tightly.  I said, “You be safe over there,” which he brushed off by saying, “I’ll be FINE.”  We kissed, I hugged him again, we said “I love you,” and I tried to hang on for just a few more seconds…but he firmly pulled away and picked up his weapon.

“All right, gotta go,” he said sternly, and began walking away.

“Call when you can!” I said after him, my voice starting to wobble.

He looked back and raised his hand in acknowledgement as he marched on.  Battling tears, I got in my car and happened to catch a couple more glimpses of him as I drove away.

And with that, he was gone.  Our second deployment had begun.

~Malori~

How does your first deployment goodbye compare to your second, or third…or fourth?  *Hugs* to all of you going through deployment right now, too.  We are all in this together!

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4 thoughts on “The Beginning of Our Second Deployment Journey

  1. My husband (then fiance’) deployed when we were still a long distance couple so I didn’t get to see him off, or welcome him home at all. I know if and when his second deployment comes along and I have to officially see him off I will be a wreck. I will probably cry uncontrollably like a baby because I will miss the crap out of him. I don’t know how people hold it together! I know it’s important to be strong for them but sometimes that is really hard. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Hi Miranda! You will be okay….the toughest part is as you watch them walk away and then as you drive away. I’ve found that reality doesn’t hit until then. As long as he’s there and you can see and touch him, it’s not “real” yet…at least not for me. However, everyone handles goodbyes and deployment differently. I know that you will find the coping mechanism that works best for you! Thanks for stopping by to read. :)

  2. Oof. Goodbyes, especially for deployment, are so so hard. I want you to know that I’m sending you hugs and good thoughts as well as prayers for Mark’s safety.

    When my husband deployed, he was stationed in Germany and I was staying in Dallas. I got to go visit him for a month but had to go back home before they had their big send off so our goodbye was in the Nuremberg airport. I’ll never forget how heavy I felt walking to my gate and how miserable I was the entire long flight home. Saying goodbye after R&R was equally as bad, and again, at an airport. For his upcoming deployment, I’ll get to be there for the official send off and welcome home, which I’m happy about, but now that I know how rough deployment is, I’m honestly more scared than I was the first time around.

    • Thank you so much, Amy! I really appreciate everyone’s support and prayers…we couldn’t get through this life without those things!

      That heavy feeling is the worst. Since his first deployment was only 5 months (he was a “late deployer” with the unit) we didn’t have an R&R, and now they are cut out with the Army deployments being “only” 9 months. I can imagine it would be SO hard to say goodbye a second time during the same deployment! Stay strong….as much as it hurts to see them march off, it is definitely worth it to be there for them. I’m grateful for both times I saw him off.

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