During deployment, it’s easy to get bogged down in our own looming sadness and the promise of months of loneliness. For me the one thing that combats these feelings is being with others. Surprising for an introvert who is uncomfortable in social situations! During family day, before deployment, seeing all of the families gathered made the coming separation seem less…mine. Of course, it is mine, and my children’s. Our time without my husband is a personal loss. But being with all of those families, the parents, siblings, spouses and children of those serving alongside my husband, was very reassuring. It was a reminder that while we are sad or lonely or busily trying to get through the day, there are hundreds of other families experiencing those very same feelings.
During times of separation, community is essential. So few military families have the luxury of family in close proximity, and yet we need those connections. We need that support. Whether it is a church community or local friends, it is so important to have people who know what you’re going through, who can lend a helping hand when needed, who are willing to check on you because they care about your well-being. It is just as useful to feel needed. When given opportunities to care for others, the focus isn’t on me. Being plugged into my church community means that I can prepare meals for families in need, I can volunteer to give another parent a much-needed break and I can give others the same love and caring that has been heaped on my family. We are counting down the days until my husband is home. Until then, we are well cared for and looking forward to more opportunities to care for those around us who need it as much as we have. I know we can carry on, doing what needs to be done until our family is whole once more. The community, truly the family that we have built here ensures that we are not just ‘getting through this,’ we are thriving.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Winters is a Navy wife and a stay-at-home mom to three children ages 6 and under. She and her husband, a Surface Warfare Officer, know what it means to build resilience as a family through stressful transitions and exciting changes–they are expecting their fourth child in a few months while he is deployed. When she’s not busy home with their three children, she enjoys crocheting, reading and expressing herself through writing. This is Elizabeth’s first guest blog for NavyNavStress. She hopes to offer relatable perspective for families during the many stresses and excitements of Navy life.