While I firmly believe every deployment is different, I am just as certain that they all hold a common thread for military spouses (beyond them stinking of course). I think military spouses go through the same five stages leading up to and during each deployment.
Five Stages of Deployment for Military Spouses
Denial: The word “deployment” has been thrown around with some very loose timelines attached to it, but you know nothing is for sure until it’s happening. So you ignore the possibility and continue on with your daily life. After all, the military may change their mind and the deployment won’t happen, right?
Anger: The timeline is no longer loose. In fact, it’s very real and soon and happens to coincide perfectly with roughly 80464 things you really wanted your spouse to be here for. You rant and rave at the military for picking the worst time possible, wonder why your spouse couldn’t have been an accountant and slightly resent your friends and family who aren’t military spouses.
Bargaining: What happens when your spouse leaves for a deployment? Your washer breaks, the dog gets sick, the car starts making a funny noise, you get stuck with extra hours at work and so on. It’s at this point that military spouses start bargaining with the universe; bargaining for more wine, chocolate, sanity, time, etc. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But we keep right on bargaining. This stage can go on for quite a while for military spouses, depending on how feisty Murphy’s Law feels.
Depression: Your birthday/anniversary/favorite holiday/least favorite holiday/family vacation/friend’s wedding is coming up and once again, you’re going to do it solo. Cue the tears. Military spouses are some of the strongest people I know, but I know very few people who are totally cool spending their wedding anniversary with Netflix and their wiener dog. It’s at this point that military spouses may shed a tear or two and feel just a little sorry for themselves. Luckily, this stage doesn’t last too long.
Acceptance: At this point the military spouse has gotten the deployment routine down and is functioning like a semi-normal person again. The house is under control, the dog is no longer peeing in the bed and things don’t seem so difficult anymore. Military spouses kicking butt! This happens almost simultaneously as the deployed spouse returns home.
What do you think? Do these stages of deployment ring true for military spouses?