May 9, 2011


Remember this post HERE, the one where I was worrying and dreading Pat's trip away shortly after he returned from the deployment.  He's going to visit injured Soldiers at BAMC and WRAMC.  Well, he's leaving today, and it may be really awful of me to say, but there is a part of me looking forward to temporarily going back to the way life that I feel so used to.

I'm shocked at how hard reintegration has been and is for us.  Do you know how many times I wanted to write a post about how this deployment had brought us so close together and it honestly had improved our communication.  We did such a great job listening to and supporting each other through the deployment.  And maybe R & R spoiled me because it was close to perfect, at least in hindsight.

So what happened?  We've never struggled this much after the other two deployments.  I know we are both responsible for the struggles and to work through it.  I think I saw this problem coming towards the end of the deployment, but I thought when he left Afghanistan things would be easier.  When his job switched and he took over responsibility for hundreds of Soldiers, that took all his focus.  The phone calls in which we bonded over our shared life were fewer and farther between.  The e-mails were not replied to because he didn't have time.  He was exhausted and just not there when we did talk.  I thought it was my turn to support him, and that is what I did.  Unfortunately, even after coming home his focus hasn't switched to the family side.  He's so looking forward to our upcoming vacation, but hasn't take the time to try to bond and reintegrate with the kids (or me for that matter).  I see a recipe for disaster, and he's not listening.

Speaking of not listening, when we talk it's like talking to a wall.  His idea of a conversation is let me run my course and then grunt and the conversation is over.  I am frustrated and angry.  I am tired and sad.  I am wondering where my husband is.  Did he not come home from Afghanistan yet?

I know that this post sounds so bad.  But it is my belief that there is no point to having a blog if you aren't going to be honest.  Sometimes one person's honesty will help others, and I know it usually helps me to share my feelings.  Sean just woke up and as I went to get him, I got the urge to delete this post.  I hate sharing so much of my life, but I think it is important.  So I'm clicking publish, and taking deep breaths as I share this struggle with all of you.  
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Damsel said...

Shelly, I'm so sorry that this is so hard for you!

I strongly encourage you to contact the social work services department of the MTF on your base. Make an appointment, even if it's only for yourself. The counselors there have mountains of experience with these situations and they can help you try to understand what's going on. If he'll go with you, great! If not, go yourself. There is no shame in making an appointment. Schedule your kids into hourly care at the CDC if necessary and do this for you.

I really hope and pray that things smooth out for you quickly.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think it is wonderful that you posted this blog. Your struggle is not unique and many other families have similar difficulties with the reintegration process.

Second, it sounds like your husband switched to a CC job while deployed (please correct me if I am wrong)? I can see where that would be incredibly stressful on the marriage. My husband was a CC when deployed but he took command almost a year before the deployment so we had a lot of time to adjust to the long and stressful work hours. My heart goes out to you for having to deal with all of that while he was deployed. There is a reason why one is in command only for a couple of years at is an incredibly straining time.

Third, everyone goes through periods of their marriage where they are not communicating in a manner which they would like to. We've been lucky on not having issues after deployments but we struggled recently with my husband wanting a shift in career focus. For the first time in over six years of marriage, we had different long-term goals...and talking the differences was sometimes a painful process. You are not alone.

Fourth, I am sorry you are going through this...there are so many emotions associated with homecoming. The ones described in your post are often the forgotten ones. Stay strong, use the break to your advantage, and continue to use patience when trying to get 'back to normal'.


Kristen said...

It *is* hard. Your situation sounds a lot like our last deployment. ArmyMan came home with a TBI and I don't know if it was the injury or just the added deployment, but he came home different.

He also came home and almost immediately into Company Command- which was like a deployment except I was still doing his laundry and dealing with tired, cranky moods on the weekend.

To be honest, it's still a work in progress 3 years later. I let him use the excuse that he needed to concentrate on work, and allowed him to make work a higher priority. In hi s mind, putting all this effort into work and being successful is something he does for *us* but frankly it's BS.

*hugs* it's a tough feeling.

Poekitten said...

I'm sorry reintegration has been difficult! I don't have any words of wisdom but I can and will do the best thing I can do...pray! You guys will be in my thoughts:)

Monica said...

We haven't been through reintegration yet (happening in October), so I don't really have any advice. But again, thanks for sharing and being honest. Now I'll know if/when we go through this that we're not the only ones. I sincerely hope things get back to normal for you soon, and I'd also recommend trying out the military onesource free counselling sessions. We did that a few years ago and they REALLY helped us a lot. *HUGS*

Erin said...

I think it is awesome that you are sharing this struggle with everyone. It is important for people to understand that everything isn't always perfect after homecoming. I understand those crappy phone calls. Last deployment, when my husband would call, he would be so exhausted that it was like talking to a robot. Hopefully the vacation will help bring you all back together.

Lisa said...

I don't think you should feel bad or wrong for describing how life really is. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Dawnll said...

Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers...I know it has to be frustrating and I can't imagine.
I noticed a big difference in my son when he returned- I didn't get to see him face to face yet.
I am just starting to notice a little more normalcy and it has been months.
Hang in there.
I am glad you use your blog to share, it is important to you and all of us.

Colleen @ Mommy Panda said...

I don't really have any advice, since my husband is still in Afghanistan, but I can sympathize with you on things being different once they come home. I have been with my husband since we were 17, and when he would come back after training somewhere else, it would take a SERIOUS adjustment period. We both developed new habits in each other absence, and it is HARD to be faced with all of these changes all at once. Just know you're not alone.

Jenna said...

I love your honesty. It is comforting to hear that we are not alone in the reintegration process. After the "honeymoon" phase of homecoming wears off it is not butterflies and roses.

I hope that things get better for you. Couples counseling may be beneficial, or even individual counseling. I'm doing individual counseling and I love it.

Big *hugsssss*

BSS said...

I had such a hard time dealing with reintegration last time! I had no idea it would be so hard-- it was harder than him leaving, I thought. Thanks for sharing this, I know it can be quite an issue for military families!

Jessica said...

I really appreciate your honesty and I am so glad you did click publish.
Reintegration is very hard...I will be praying for your family.

Kristi said...

Thanks for sharing the truth! I'm new to this and I have a lot to learn. Watching people like you being real and facing the challenges helps me to learn. So thank you!!

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