Military Life

I’m Not Ignoring You. I’m Just Getting By.

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s not you. It’s me.

No, this isn’t a break up letter, but rather an attempt to explain why I might seem, well, weird lately. At times, I don’t answer texts or calls or when I do, seem distracted and short. Other days, I want to talk and talk.

I keep you guessing like a wayward lover—some days I’m up for a shopping date and girls’ night out, and other days I’m in my jammies 24/7. You’re understandably confused, and I just need to let you know: I’m doing what I can to get by right now.

You know my husband is in a Very. Bad. Place. And though I know you love him too and worry about him, you’re still able to get on with life and forget sometimes.

I can’t.

The deployment ache is real. There’s an underlying sadness to everything. The world is painted in faded, watercolor shades for me right now. My head is cloudy, I don’t think as clearly, and some days I feel on the verge of tears every waking hour.
When I’m sitting alone at my kids’ soccer games, when the fall leaves are changing and I turn to point it out to him and he’s not there, when something good happens and I rush to tell him first but can’t…happy or sad, no matter the occasion, it’s not the same. But I have to pretend and carry on anyway, for my family’s sake and so I can get through this next year with some semblance of sanity.

Let me give you an example.

It’s a Friday night. After waiting up for the teen to arrive home safely, I battle my old pal insomnia (nothing helps this, so please don’t recommend herbs or supplements or alcohol—I’ve tried it all) and I finally fall asleep. At 2 a.m., my 8-year-old climbs into bed with me, having falling victim to another nightmare and needing comfort and assurance that her dad is OK. After a restless night that is one in a series of endless restless nights, I wake up bright and early to get my four kids up and head out to various soccer and baseball games.

Lunch? Grabbed hastily from the base shoppette because it slipped my mind to pack it. Oh yes, I was supposed to be the team mom today and forgot the oranges, so off I rush to the commissary, while asking a friend to keep watch over my youngest on the side of the field.

Back home, overseeing homework and chores, play time with neighbor kids, picking up the house, refereeing a disagreement between the 10-year-old and her best friend, saying not only no but heck no to an impromptu sleepover involving three other kids at our house (I’m the “mean mom” this week), figuring out dinner … after all this, finally the kitchen is wiped down and children settled, and I sit down for a breath, a free thought, and to zone out for an hour with my Netflix.

Then you call or text and invite me over for a glass of wine. It’s low pressure, you say. Come as you are. I love you; I appreciate you checking on me. Sometimes it’s a yes, but today it’s a no. You take it personally. Please don’t. You push, saying I need to get out, I need some me time. This doesn’t help. I am soul weary and cannot muster the social part of myself today. Please understand.

And please keep calling and texting me.

I know I sound confused and difficult to understand…do I want you? Or not? Yes to both.

This too will pass. I promise I will be my old self again someday. Just not today. I hope you will hang in there, I hope you will think of me and keep checking on me and take what I’m able to give, which admittedly is not much these days. But for now, please understand.

It’s not you. It’s me.

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