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So, how am I doing today? I’m definitely much better than I was a few weeks ago when this was too fresh to even share in coherent terms. I was writing away, but nothing made much sense. It was all true, but just not quite postable, and I know that’s not a word. WordPress is underlining it in red. It took me this long to be willing to dig deep enough into it to really mold it into something even remotely worth reading.
I feel almost back to normal. I’m still not able to get enough sleep no matter how late I snooze, but I’m not nearly as grumpy or irritable. I feel like I’m back up to about 90%. Having Aimee come visit for 24 hours was very helpful, even if watching her drive away was indescribably tough. But her visit didn’t do for me what I feared it would do… throw me into a deeper funk. Praise the LORD! I had literally dreamed that I told her mom not to let Aimee come because it would be too hard to see her.
I had a fantastic few quiet times with the Lord during which He reminded me that He’s in control, has my back, is in my future, knows my pain, and is my comfort. Standing on that, I’m doing really well. I look at it this way: People are always telling me, “Thank you for your service… I know your husband wears the uniform but thank you for your sacrifice, too.” Up until now all the sacrifice I’ve offered has been easy. Traveling to exotic places, adventure around every bend. And regarding deployment, while it was not fun, it did help us to get a LONG way toward becoming debt free and every two weeks I had a good reminder that we were making progress. I call it: sacrifice with reimbursement. This particular move, however, has been a true sacrifice. I feel like I’ve finally given something up for the sake of my country. It wasn’t easy, fun, didn’t feel good, and just stinks all around.
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I know of others who have had the experience of deeply connecting with others in Korea, Japan, Alaska, Hawaii, as well as Germany. (I’m lumping Alaska and Hawaii in this category because, though they are CONUS, they are highly isolated from the rest of the US and offer many of the same aspects of tight-knit-living I’m describing in these posts.)
I know of others who have struggled with coming back from overseas or from otherwise isolated duty stations.
If you have had this experience, what are some of the ways you have healed? What was your biggest tool to overcome the grief? What was the “thing” you missed most about your temporary home? Did the grief come immediately upon your return or did it hit you a few months after moving back? Did you feel like anyone understood you or did you feel, like I did, that you were alone in this. (Sharing what I have so far on my blog and on Facebook has brought me a long way into realizing that this is a very normal grieving process… I just didn’t anticipate it to this degree.) What advice could we share with those who are facing the same return-adventure so that they will be better prepared to handle their own grief? I remember after my first baby I went through a period of postpartum blues. No one had ever told me about this and I felt like the worst mother in the world. It passed very quickly and I was very sure to tell all my friends, as they started having their babies, that this could happen. For those who did experience it, they came back and said to me, “Thank you so much for telling me about the blues. If you hadn’t warned me about it, I think it would have really freaked me out. Knowing what it was, and that it would end, helped tremendously.” What would this be called? Post-overseas-living blues? No clue, but there’s got to be a way to prepare for it better than I was prepared.
I’ve really started to feel better, almost normal, in the past week. At this point, I’m starting to feel the fog lifting. I think a lot of my healing was in the awareness of what was going on. I’d like to see this grief either prevented in my friends’ hearts as they return or at least some of the edge knocked off.
Thank you for reading along, and I do hope there will be some who share their experiences. The following poll is just for kicks and none of the questions are required. You can go in and answer just one, or answer them all. Totally up to you:
(Question number seven was supposed to be a “multiple choice, check all that apply.” For some reason it’s showing up blank. Funny!)
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For Part 1, click here.
For Part 2, click here.