I have not talked to Andy since Wednesday. I received a text message on Thursday morning from him, so I guess technically it has been since Thursday, but I do not really count a one line text message as proper communication. I know where he is, I know that he is busy, tired, working, and frustrated. However, I would feel a whole lot better if I could just hear his voice. He has been gone less than a week, and already the worrying of the military wife is beginning.
The absence of phone calls is one of the many consequences of a deployment. You are never entirely sure how much technology your spouse will be able to access until they arrive there, and you will not know that until he or she calls you from that point. Also, a deployment is not like a TDY, where your spouse is staying in a hotel or has his or her cell phone. They are somewhere that is a combat zone – this does not imply any comfortable settings. Andy did his first deployment to Iraq in 2003, and things were still pretty rugged at that point. He called when he could, usually waiting in line to make a 10 minute phone call or sneaking a private phone call when he could. He might have been able to email every so often. And this was before the ease of Skype. I literally did not see my husband for four months. Deployment conditions have improved since then, but my only experience is several times in Iraq. Afghanistan is new to us, and I now sit here worrying and wondering what things are like for him. I wonder when he will call and what things will be like. I have started avoiding the news, even though I am a new junkie, because I do not know what I will see and what it will make me think. In short – I’m on edge, just waiting and wondering.
All military spouses go through this during a deployment, no matter if they talk to their significant other daily or hardly at all. Until Thursday, Andy was still in Europe, and I felt comforted knowing that he was in a relatively “safe” area. Now that I know he has begun his journey to his assignment, that feeling of comfort is gone. It sounds like nothing, but I would feel so much better if I could hear his voice. Once I hear it, I will know how he is and what he is really feeling (I can always tell how he really feels just by the sound of his voice). I will be able to tell him about all the little things at home and to tell him how I thought of him when a certain song was playing today.
I like to think of myself as an “old” military wife. I’ve done many of these and experienced the ups and downs. As I mentioned earlier this week though, it just never gets easier, and you never get used to the emotions and anxiety of a deployment. I can only imagine that if it is this hard for me, it has to be even more difficult for Andy, who is trying to get acclimated in a new country. He will be out doing his job, which he loves, but he also experiences the same fears, anxieties, worries and loneliness -except he feels these for the four of us. While we may be apart, at least we are suffering together, if that is even a little comfort for us.