Last month and again this past week, Joan d'Arc, a contributing blogger on SpouseBuzz wrote about feeling left behind when their spouse leaves for one reason or another (first post here and second post here). A lot of milspouses weighed in on the term, with varying feelings on the subject. Some stated that their husbands are just doing their jobs and didn't choose to leave, with some going as far as comparing TDY/deployment to them going to work (a 15 month deployment is a little different from an 8-hour workday in my opinion.....just a little, though). Some said in a sense they do feel left behind because sometimes their spouses go off to some exotic, exciting place while they stay at home.
For me, I definitely do feel left behind. I know my husband didn't choose to leave, to leave me with the task of selling our house, to leave me with our troublesome puppy, or to leave me to cope with no close friends or family. He tells me all the time how much he wished he could be home with me, and this makes me feel good. I'm getting through it. I sold the house, our dog is behaving better than ever now, and I'm keeping busy for the most part, successful some days and failing on others. What I don't like about this deployment is the fact that my life has essentially been on hold now for 6.5 months, and will continue to be on hold for another 8.5 months (not to mention he doesn't come home for R&R until late November!) I'm normally a person who tries to live life to the fullest, but during these deployment stints, I'm sitting and waiting for my life to resume. I find it hard to take up anything new, because I want to do it with him. I mean, isn't that how marriage is supposed to work anyways? You're supposed to walk the path of life together, share life experiences. It occurred to me that even seemingly small things are affected by this feeling I'm experiencing. For instance, I haven't made much of an effort to decorate the house. Sure, I hung up whatever pictures we have (save the big, heavy ones for hubby!), but there's so much more I would like to do, but I haven't because I want his opinion and he isn't here to give it to me. I have a huge blank wall in the living room that's driving me crazy and I don't know what to do with it. A lot of women would just go ahead and do what they want, but I don't operate that way.
I miss having a man around the house. Although I pride myself in being a physically strong woman, I can't lift everything! I think Jon is pretty lucky for having a tough cookie of a wife such as myself. I mean, just the two of us moved our entire belongings to Tucson! One man and one woman carrying all the full boxes, couches, washer and dryer, and bedroom furniture--any typical woman wouldn't have been able to handle all that! I never want to do that again! Like I said, there are a couple heavy pictures I can barely lift above my head, let alone hang up on a wall. A TV has been sitting on my bedroom floor for months now because I simply could not lift it up to put it up on Jon's high dresser (I have really weak shoulders and can't lift much above shoulder height). These tasks all necessitate manly strength that I lack.
Another aspect of being left behind is having to deal with living totally different lives. I feel like we are going in different directions during this time. What is important and pertinent in his daily life right now are not the same for me in mine. That's a hard pill for me to swallow. Sometimes I scare myself that these differences will develop into something more and that he will be a completely different man from the one that I fell in love with and the one I know.
I think this deployment would go a lot more smoothly for me if I felt I had some purpose in life. When he was home, being with him and being happy was my purpose, but that is gone now. In terms of the rest of my life, I'm not doing what I want to be doing in the job area, I got rejected from nursing school last March, I'm far from the other people who matter to me most, and I feel stuck. I think these feelings, this need for a purpose, have been the reason for my strong urge to have children. Because I know when this happens, my life will change forever and my life will be my kids. I am ready to take the step and dedicate my entire being to this purpose. This deployment isn't the first time I've been thinking about it. I've been wanting a baby for a while now. If only Jon were ready too. I suppose we should give it more time, considering we've only been married a year now. But when will he be ready?