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Army Life: Reflections of a Career, Part 2

Posted by on 15 March 2009

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First off today, I’m going to start by answering some questions (from Debbie) that were asked on my original post on this topic.

1.  Did you chronicle things from everyday life so that you could share it with hubby in a letter or when he was home?  I never really chronicled things.  I learned early on that I had to have the same routine whether he was home or not.  That meant that if he was gone, he should pretty much know what I was doing at any time.  Certain events rated special letters or discussion during a phone call. 

2.  Are there things you’ve forgotten to tell him about?  Yes!!  HAHA  When you get a chance to talk to each other, there’s often more important things to talk about.  You take notes to remind yourself, then they just seem not to matter any more.  However, once we had Miss K, many things did become important as opposed to when it was just me.  I remember one  time I told him something that had happened like 2 years prior!!  HAHA 

3.  Are there things you’ve told him recently that he never knew about?  (No need to be specific.)  Oh, I think we’ve had a couple discussions about things that have happened while he was gone.  We’ve always been really open and honest with each other.  Good….or bad, we talked about it and that’s part of how we “succeeded”.  I know that I would hold some of the bad back, just so he wouldn’t worry and he’d find out later and he just kinda gives me this look and I smile. 

4.  (Here’s an easier way to word my garble above…) How did you communicate with each other when he was gone?  Communication while they’re gone is always interesting.  You don’t know from one TDY to the next deployment what things will be like.  He’s gotten on a plane and I didn’t hear from him for weeks.  I’m not much of a letter writer and neither is he.  Mail also isn’t dependable, depending on where they are.  The Man went to Korea twice and the phone bills almost were the end of us.  The first time was a bad phase of our marriage and the second time, Miss K was a little thing.  Deployments are the worse though.  I’m not trying to disrespect anyone, but I hear all these wives now complaining that they didn’t get their “daily phone call”.  PLEASE!!  There was a time we were lucky to have a monthly and really lucky if we had a weekly call.  He wasn’t even Special Forces and sometimes I wasn’t sure where he was or what conditions were.  I’m sure that doesn’t really answer the question, but I’m trying!! 

Since I’m on the flow of communication, I think I’ll stay there.  I don’t know if I’ve shared this story or not, so bear with me.  On his last deployment to Iraq, Miss K was bit (attacked) on the face by a dog.  The person’s dog who bit her belonged to one of his solder’s and his wife.  This woman didn’t want me to report it because she was afraid they’d take the dog away.  (DUH!!)  She’s begging me at the hospital not to tell them and I look at her, about ready to slap her, and simply say “it’s either the dog or my baby gets giant needles in the belly or whatever those horrible rabies shots are”.  Her mouth dropped open and she said “oh yeah”.  To make a long story short, she ended up telling her husband before I told mine.  Her hubby worked with/for mine, so he decided to tell Lean Green “to break it to him”.  AH, wrong!!  This sent him into a panic and he gets into a truck and drives to the next base to call me.  I assure him that she’s fine and will heal nicely.  When he would call to check on her, I didn’t tell him that I was awake for almost 4 days strait because the medicine they gave her caused her to have nightmares about the whole incident.  No way to sleep during the day, I had Miss K to take care of.  All that kind of information waited until he got home so that he wasn’t worried about us.  He needed to focus on his job and the situation there.  Just worrying about us could be life or death for him. 

When you’re deployed especially, you hear news from everyone else and the rear detachment.  It’s usually a story.  Many times it’s a lie.  It’s almost always exaggerated!!  If you don’t love each other and most importantly, respect and trust each other, there’s just no way you’re going to make it.  Actually, it’s often best just to not even discuss the things that you hear.  If you stay centralized on each other and your life, whatever else is being said doesn’t matter.  Sometimes what you hear is good though.  Lean Green doesn’t like to talk about himself.  He doesn’t feel like he has to talk about what he does.  But on his last deployment, the other wives told me that their hubby’s were bragging him up and down.  Now to talk to my man, none of that happened.  To them, he was doing his own job and basically the job of his “boss”.  When it came time for awards, they all said that my hubby didn’t get any higher award because his “boss” got the same thing and it wouldn’t look good if someone lower in rank did a better job. 

Ah the politics!!  I don’t miss it!!  You get to a certain rank and you can’t associate one on one with lower ranks.  If you have a party, you have to invite everyone, not just a certain person.  The officers that think they rule the roost.  The wives with the noses that wipe each others butts!!  OOPS!!  Off on a tangent there.

Anyway, communication is so important.  Neither of us are letter writers, but we always said enough at the right times that we knew it was all good.  Journals are a good thing, but I haven’t had a diary since I was a teen.  Each couple/family has to do what works for them.  I did like to send cards.  They often said what I wanted to.  Lots of photos.  When we had Miss K, I’d send her art work.  He’d get presents for special days and holidays.  Boxes of goodies are amazing for the spirits when you’re separated.  Sometimes, he’d just go to a school and be gone a couple months, but even that’s hard.  He’d really have to focus to pass the class, so we couldn’t have late night conversations.  We also couldn’t afford all the long distance calls.  We always just made the best of what we had.

I can only reiterate that so much of the communication and making seperations, no matter how long or short, is trust.  If you can’t trust each other, you don’t havemuch.  Give each other the love and respect that each deserves.  Goodness knows that we did so much wrong, but we also did so much right.  Without communication, the good or bad can’t flow to keep the marriage going. 

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