Over the last few days, I have noticed that the frame of mind that I am in when I wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day.
I can safely say that over the last 3 days, I had the worst frame of mind and had a tough time.
Having Shane gone has been…rough; to say the least. You don’t realize how dependent you are on a person until they aren’t there.
I’ve heard people saying “I wish I could send my husband off for five days at a time.” No. No you don’t. If you do, and if you are happy to see them leave, there is something deeper going on. I will never reach a point in time where I will be happy that he is leaving for a 5 day drill or a 17 day training camp. I wouldn’t wish “shipping your husband off” on anyone.
I didn’t feel that I asked for help all too much. But, having to do everything on my own has proved otherwise. If I’m wrapped up in cooking, I can’t ask for him to let the dogs out. I had to make my own coffee because he wasn’t home to be able to brew it before he went to work (which is before I wake up, now). Needless to say, I have had coffee one morning.
I wasn’t looking forward to this time alone. The kids had gone back to their moms so that means it’s me, fur Satan, and the dogs. I’m a talker (which I’ve also found out through this). I didn’t realize how much I talked, until I had no one to talk to.
I’ve battled numerous emotions; some of which I had never experienced before.
The first day he was gone was a challenge. I missed him so bad that my body physically hurt. It took every ounce of effort I had to get through the day at work. I wanted to go home, curl up in a ball and cry. But, I had to put that smile on, put cheer in my voice, and carry on.
The first night was just as hard. Not having him by my side made for a very empty bed – and trust me, queen sized beds are HUGE when it’s just you in it. I had a restless sleep. I woke up about every half hour or so. In total, I was looking at about 2-3 hours of sleep at most. Sometime during the night, I ended up with a panic attack.
You’re probably sitting there thinking “How dumb.” But seriously. I had never had one to this extent.
I was crying uncontrollably, had body shakes, I was sweating, if felt like my chest was being crushed and I couldn’t breathe. I literally felt like I was dying. It took me almost two hours to calm myself down to the point where I could breathe. It took another 30-45 minutes to relax enough to feel comfortable trying to get back to sleep.
Call it insecure, call it naive, call it whatever you please. But you truly don’t understand until you have been through this. Having your husband leave for a night or two on their own will is one thing. Having him leave because he is forced to is a totally different feeling. He may still be in the state (as a matter of fact, he’s about 4 hours away) but the fact that our communication had gone from pretty consistent every day down to very little, it, for the lack of a better term, sucks.
Every morning that I woke up, my first thoughts were “Another day without Shane.”, “I really miss Shane… I wish he was here…” or “I wonder what will be first to go wrong today.” or something negative along those lines. Every day just ended up snowballing out of control. I would sit and cry when I was at home and I would let my mind wonder and make up circumstances that weren’t even close to the case.
Perfect example of this was yesterday – which is also why I didn’t write yesterday. It was my birthday and I had been dreading it for months knowing that he would be gone. But, like any other day this past week, I woke up and the first thing that ran through my head was “Well, no good morning or happy birthday text. He must have had a late start or he got busy and forgot.” Que overactive mind. I got a response to my text about 10-15 minutes later saying that the morning had been busy. I understood, after all, that’s military style. But, as the morning went on, I didn’t hear much. By 9:00, I was convinced that he had forgotten my birthday. (Selfish I know.. but it’s the first birthday we’ve been together and he wasn’t here, so naturally, I wanted him to remember.) He hadn’t said much about it and we had talked more than enough for him to remember. I tried to pick my head up and carry on.
I thought getting my hair cut would help with my mood, no go. I thought shopping would help fix it, also a no go. I tried all these things to lift my spirits but all I wanted was for Shane to not forget. I was walking around Shopko and he called while they had some down time. We talked about his morning, we talked about my morning. He did manage to say “Happy birthday. Or I hope it turns into a happy one.” That’s all we talked about it. I wanted to be done crying, I wanted things to be ok, and I wanted to turn my day around. Talking to Shane helped but I felt like I was so far into my rut there was no getting out.
My parents came down for lunch and we were able to sit and talk. It was nice not sitting in a quiet house. By the time lunch was done, I was just about out of my rut; it was time to go to work.
As I was sitting at the desk, the leader of the Family Readiness Group (FRG) came in carrying a bag. She set it on the desk and said that my husband had given her instructions to deliver it to me, she gave me a large smile and said “Happy birthday.” I returned the smile, thanked her and started to tear into the bag. I had gotten an entire at home mini-spa kit. But down towards the bottom of the bag, there was a card with “Elizabeth Peterson” written on it…in Shane’s handwriting. Immediately I felt the butterflies in my stomach and the tears well in my eyes.
I pulled out the envelope and opened it and read it… then re-read it. And read it again.
Happy Birthday love!
Even though I’m up at Ripley,
There is no way I’d ever forget these special moments.”
He hadn’t forgot. He had gone through the effort of setting something up, even though he wasn’t here. It was the one of the happiest moments of my day.
I sent him a message thanking him for it and apologizing for allowing my brain it sit and create all these situations while he’s away. I felt like the World’s worst wife (still do). Never did I even stop to think that the reason he didn’t say much was because he didn’t want to ruin the surprise. Because I was being selfish and I wanted instant gratification.
I put to use everything I got in Shane’s gift. I dissolved the shower burst, lit the candle, ran the bubble bath, ate the chocolate and popped the bottle of wine.
I felt the stress melt off of me and it was the best feeling in the world. I hadn’t realized how much I had been carrying – or how much of that I hadn’t placed in God’s hands. Right then and there, I said a prayer and apologizing for failing (once again) as a believer. For believing that I could handle this on my own.
This morning, I woke up and my first thought was “I do miss Shane, and I love him but it’s taken me this long to realize that he has done everything in his power to make sure that I am happy while he is away. It’s time to have a good day.”
Even though today has been quiet, and pretty long, it’s been a decent day. I haven’t cried and I haven’t had thoughts pass my mind that shouldn’t be there. I have prayed, I have smiled, I have laughed. I’ve embraced today as a good day.
We are down to no more than 27 hours until I will be able to hug him when he walks through the door. I cannot wait but time only passes at one speed. So I need to make the best of what time I have left.
We need to remember to allow ourselves to ask God to put us in the right frame of mind for the day. We can’t do it on our own, we just don’t have that power.