Thursday, April 08, 2010

Deployment and the Stages of Grief

Our next fabulous guest blogger is Sara of the blog "Welcome to the Blog of an Army Wife."  She describes her initial reaction to deployment when husband, Joe, first leaves. 

I was talking to a (civilian) friend of mine earlier today and probably complaining a little too much. I've known this girl since I was 8; she's been my best friend for a long time. She even knows Joe. At one point she gives me a reality check and reminds me that Joe is just deployed, not dead.

But it got me thinking, a very dangerous thing for a wanna-be psychologist to do. In college, I read a book called "On Death and Dying." by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She outlines 5 stages of grief.

The stages Kubler-Ross identified are:

  1. Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
  2. Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  3. Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
  4. Depression (I don't care anymore)
  5. Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
I fully believe I am going through these stages. The day I left Joe at his company I came home and couldn't believe what I had done. I walked around the house repeating, "what have I done, what have I done? This cant be happening."

And then yesterday, I ventured outside of my apartment. Every time I saw a man in uniform I could feel myself getting angry. I even mentioned it on Twitter and some people agreed with my statement and even said the emotions were normal.

So today? I stared at my phone until noon. "I just need a phone call. I just need to hear his voice. I just need to know he's okay. Please call me." And at noon, I heard his voice. And my day got noticeably better. It dawned on me that I hadn't eaten since Thursday morning (I get what we have coined Depression Fasting, I actually forget to eat when I'm sad or upset. And when I am hungry, nothing sounds appetizing). I had even opened a box of girl scout cookies so I would eat something and they had been left on the kitchen counter.

So maybe depression is next? I'm not a depressed person, so this could get interesting.


Wikipedia defines it as a response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed.

There is this huge void in my life right now. I knew I would be lonely. Anyone could predict there would be a little depression and a lot of sadness. But the stages of grief? I never saw this one coming.

~ Courtesy "Welcome to the Blog of an Army Wife"
For more information, visit Army Well-Being: Deployment Cycle Support.


Army Well-Being said...

Yay! We're thankful for Sara sharing this sometimes-unexpected but very real predicament for Army spouses. Thanks, Sara!

Valerie said...

You just put perfectly into words the story of my life for the past seven years. On the eve of yet another deployment, this time I know what is coming but knowing changes nothing. I just know that I'm Proud and I along with all the other Army wives out there will make it through this deployment too.
Blessings to you all.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post... and very true...have been through 2 deployments and gearing up for a third. Keep your chin up! :)

Shelly said...

So very true and being aware of these feelings and knowing that they ARE normal is half the battle. That is one of the reasons why educating ourselves as spouses is so important. Army Family Team Building has a class that covers just this topic and more. In addition, they offer the opportunity for spouses of many different experiences to network and find out that they are not alone. I have seen these classes really make the difference between a family that just gets by and a family that thrives. Yes, even during deployment! Contact your local Army Community Service, all of the classes are FREE! Sorry this turned into a rally for AFTB but it is very easy to be passionate about such a great program. Great article and I hope it sparks a lot of discussion.

dancilhoney said...

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent blog Your info and additional strategies/techniques were very inspiring and will be very useful to me. grieving steps

Armymom08 said...

I am not an Army wife, I am an Army Mom! I so appreciate you writing this. This so fits Army Moms as well. I do not live near a base, I do not have a support system, I take that back I have a wonderful group of over 935 other Army moms that support each other on Face book. We feel these exact things as moms. Our hearts break into a million pieces when we give our child that hug and say see ya later before the fly off to the sand box. We wait for the phone to ring. Actually I sleep with my land line and my cell in my hand every line. I watch to see if he shows up on line. God forbid if I hear of something happening overseas. his first deployment I was afraid to come from work or anywhere for that matter afraid the Army would be in front of my house waiting to give me the news I didn't want. Again Thank you

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