Look for this piece in the June 25th, 2007 issue of the Navy Times.
It’s late afternoon and the newspaper is spread out all over the coffee table. I’m looking for a specific article when my husband walks through the door. Just home from work, he seems a little more mellow than usual.
Me: Hey, how was your day?
Him: Good, what are you doing?
Me: I’m looking for an article.
Him: Oh, well I have some news.
Me: What kind of news? (This can’t be good.)
Him: I might have orders to Afghanistan.
There are probably many Navy spouses who have had this same conversation with their spouse; I just never thought I’d be one of them. I had forgotten a couple of months earlier we talked about putting his name on “the list”.
The first thing that races through my mind is 365 days, only rarely is someone deployed for 6 months. Then the tears almost come, but I switch focus because I think for sure he is not “serious”.
Me: Are you sure?
Him: Yes, pretty sure.
Me: How sure, give me a percentage.
It’s been my experience that most the sailors in his shop all want to go, only a few will do anything to avoid going. I understand he wants to make a difference and do his part, I respect that. The obvious thoughts and questions start to swirl around in my head. The first ones completely self absorbed:
That will mean we miss two Christmas’, two of my birthday’s and maybe even the oldest son’s graduation from boot camp later this year.
Well maybe I’ll get on a fitness kick and by the time he gets back I’ll have run a marathon. Not likely, but it’s a possibility!
He normally coaches Fall soccer, so that won’t be possible.
Still more questions:
What about reintegration and that word “anticipatory grief”, how will I deal with those issues? How will I find the new FRG information? Where will his unit be located?
Like a good Navy spouse I immerse myself in finding out all I can about IA’s. During the research I discover there are over 13,000 IA’s in Iraq and elsewhere in Central Command. That’s a lot of family members on the home front.
I also read about different incentives the Navy offers to Sailors who volunteer for an IA.
I think its great the Navy is providing these incentives. Although, I know my husband is not volunteering because of “incentives”.
Now the waiting begins, waiting that is filled with anticipation and a bit of anxiety. Even if he isn’t selected this time, I know a new tasking could be right around the corner. The husband is very excited and for his sake I hope he gets selected. As for me, I would much rather have him home safe and sound. Living without your best friend is no fun and I wouldn’t normally recommend it, however if it happens I’ll look forward to the day when God willing I can join one of my mil-spouse friends whose husband has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan who recently said to me, “When I’m 80, I can say I lived and that I was apart of something bigger than myself. I’ll know my family made a difference.”