Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Holding Fear at Bay

A friend of ours in town is getting deployed again.  He's headed to Afghanistan before the month is up.  This news has hit me harder than I would have expected.

People I don't know well, but who are aware Ian's been deployed at some point, sometimes ask if he's home, not realizing that he's been back since 2010.  I don't get unsolicited political commentary about our engagements overseas as often anymore.  Nowadays when people feel the need to remark on Ian's status in the Reserves they say something along the lines of, "Well, isn't it great he won't get called up anymore?"  As if all is fine in the world.  As if we no longer have troops stationed anywhere.

But he can still get called up.  There is no way to predict the odds on that today.  The first time we literally had six days notice and the thought of reliving that terrifies me.  I try not to let the idea of Ian being gone again invade my thoughts, but I can't control my dreams.  I'm not sleeping well lately.

The practical side of me considers the fact that the logistics on my end of another deployment (should it happen) would be easier.  The kids are older and our business is more established.  I've been through it twice and know what my options are and what resources are available.  The emotional side of me wrestles with the truth that if it happened again my children would suffer that particular kind of fear that accompanies having someone you love deployed along with me.  They were young enough the first two times that only Aden really remembers what it was like to have her daddy away at war.  Mona only has vague recollections of a time when he was gone, and Quinn has no memory of it at all.  For that I'm grateful.

But fear is a strange beast.  It lurks and lingers.  It can even blend in with your surroundings so that you forget about it for long stretches at a time.  For something so volatile it possesses a strange patience.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about how Ian could get deployed again.  Not a day goes by that I don't push that fear aside and get on with what I need to do.

Because the reality is if the threat of another deployment weren't a factor there are plenty of other forms for my fears to take.  I'm really no different from anyone else.  The real fear is loss, however it presents itself, and there is so much I don't want to lose.  I have my family and my health and my home and I appreciate it all so much.  Sometimes the problem with having good perspective is from that angle it can seem like the only way to go is down.


  1. Ah, fear...never a pleasant thing. I guess unless it's our resident herpetologist's slight fear of getting bit by a venemous snake when he's looking for copperheads. I think it's very natural to see something happening to another person/family and immediately worry about your own situation. Some people go right into gratitude, but I tend to go straight to worry and fantasize about how it could happen to our family. I hope fervently that Ian never gets deployed again. I also hope equally fervently that you get some sleep...that is never good. Hugs!

    1. I think worry for me is part of wanting to be prepared, but some things we can't control. Writing about it helps get it out of my head, though, and that helps. Thanks for the virtual hugs!

  2. Just nodding here in understanding. I still have an occasional dream about the military even though my husband is out.

  3. Thank you for sharing this post. It's beautifully written and articulates the human experience exquisitely.

    My husband was diagnosed with a long-term but still terminal illness 6 years ago. We were given 10-20 years as a prognosis. So, I feel that clock ticking and fear even though things have gone as well as they possibly could. This part of your post resonated with me, just substitute Ian deploying with my husband's tumor growing back and you've written my life exactly:

    "Not a day goes by that I don't think about how Ian could get deployed again. Not a day goes by that I don't push that fear aside and get on with what I need to do."

    I send warm thoughts to you and your family.

  4. I've never dealt with a deployment, but I can definitely understand the idea of hearing about something scary / bad happening to someone and it being "close enough to home" (so to speak) that it strikes that fear. I identify most with your last paragraph and especially the last line.
    And I hope your husband does not get deployed again! That would be very hard, regardless of kids' ages.

  5. You know, you go so long without a deployment, you're lulled into a false sense of security. "Oh, it couldn't happen again." And then, you hear it's happened to someone and it's there in your face and you can't escape it. It *could* happen.

    I'm a planner by nature. Deployments come up so quickly sometimes and there's little time to plan and it sets off anxiety and worry--not that there wouldn't have been anyhow, but having less time to prepare makes it all the worse somehow.

    Yes, you've been through two and you could certainly do so again, but that doesn't mean you want it to happen. I understand the fear and I'm sorry it's lurking.


  6. This was a beautiful piece and example in my opinion of what truly wonderful blogging can be. You have captured your own fear and then in a larger less specific sense all of our fears so beautifully. Do we ever get past these? Such powerful writing, thank you.

  7. It's the worrying that's the hardest for me. I'd almost rather deal with the emergency, the immediate happening of the big things I fear than wait, worrying. But in this case, no, I hope the actual dealing with this never happens to your family again.

  8. So sorry it's a fear you have to live with. I know exactly what you mean about fear lurking and lingering and occasionally rearing its head. Of course the only thing you can do is push it away, but it's easier said than done, isn't it.