Deployment 4: Zero Day

RebeccaUncategorized4 Comments


Tonight I am raw, gaping.  Tonight the pain is so harsh that I am numb.
My eyes are swollen from crying and my lips are swollen from hundreds of Jason’s kisses today.  Kisses that I won’t be getting again until this deployment is over.

Tonight, Deployment #4 began.

For anyone who hasn’t lived through this, it’s nearly impossible to explain.  It’s not the 9 months we’re expecting him to be gone; this is the shortest deployment we’ve done.  It’s not even the lack of mid-tour that has me destroyed, or that he’s barely been here the last year.  It’s the fear that gnawed at me today as I lay next to him, the fear that this time we won’t be so lucky.  I’m terrified that I won’t get to kiss him again.

We lay there together while Iron Man napped in the room next door, and I found myself trying to memorize every detail of his face, his skin.  Trying to burn everything about him into my memory for the just-in-case that’s been weighing on my mind.  After 13 years together, logically, I know everything about him, but on Zero Day, everything is so much more precious.

It doesn’t feel real.  Looking around, his clothes are in a messy pile, his sweatshirt hangs from the banister.  His Mets hat is lying on the floor where he haphazardly tossed it.  I see him in every piece of this house, and I can still smell him on my skin.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was coming home tonight.  But he’s not.  That’s what’s different this time; the tears are there, the fear, the ugly cries of misery that escape me when I’m not expecting them, but I still can’t fathom that we’re really here again.  He’s really gone.  How did these months of dwell time pass so quickly?

I can’t bring myself to pick up his stuff yet and put it away.  I will tomorrow.  Or the next day.  I just like seeing it there.

This “See-ya-later” was more difficult on all of us.  Captain America nearly broke Jason down, and he took me tumbling over the edge.  After all, ten years ago, when he was born, Jason left for OIF 1 in April.  Ten years later, it’s April again; he’s still leaving.  There are so many times when I look at our little men and think, “they don’t deserve this.”  Jason said the same, his face stricken as he placed little notes on their pillows, but my response is always the same.  “They deserve you.”  They do.  I know he feels awful, like he’s leaving us on our own again, but he is the best father I could ever imagine for these boys.  Ironically, this is the Month of the Military Child, and while this life might not be fair to them, I know they are loved beyond measure.  There is no better father for them than the one they have.  I do secretly wish Jason could love them from a little closer to home, but we know his duty, and we’re here to support him just like he supports us.  We’re a team.

Tonight, I don’t know what to do with myself, or the eerie quiet that falls over the house once I’ve soothed the tears and put the boys back to bed for the fifth time.  I know our routine, this isn’t our first ride at the rodeo, but there’s something so inherently off about it.  I’m still dazed at the thought that he’s really gone, and the worries begin.

Please, God.  Let him be lucky this time.  He’s always been the luckiest person I know.  If there’s a raffle, Jason wins it.  He barely survived OIF 1 and has those scars to show it.  He kept his eyesight by millimeters.  He took a bullet in his fuel tank last deployment and still landed safely.  Please, please, please don’t let his luck run out.  He is my world, my soul, my everything, and if there was one parent our boys need, it would be him.  Please, God.  I can take this deployment like we’ve weathered the others, just as long as he comes home at the end of it.

If I cling to that prayer, and stop the incessant buzzing in my head, this will pass.

My list of projects is ready, there are books to be reviewed, and books to write.  There are boys to hug and kiss, and get to swim lessons, and hockey camp.  There are care packages to make and mail, and love letters to write.  Zero day is rough, capable of cutting me to the quick, bleeding me dry of everything.  Day one (which is now today), that’s rough too.  But day two…  that’s when I’ll stand up, face this deployment head on and charge.

So Jason, (because I know you’ll read this once you settle in), don’t you worry.  I’ve got this.  Go kick ass, because I plan on doing the same here at home.  And no, I won’t nix the tile backsplash we agreed on.  😉  Your boys are healthy, and I’ll keep them happy and loved.  The only worry you have is keeping yourself safe, because everything here will stay as you left it.  Well, except the bathroom.  I’m painting that thing.  But you get the point.  You are the heart of this house, and while we function without you here, we’re just an echo of who we really are until you’re home.  So fly safe and get your butt home to us.


This is our fourth go-round and Zero Day still sucks.

Instead of being sad, I’m going to concentrate on the day he gets home.  It may be far away, but at least we’re on the countdown now.  Well, maybe a little sad.  A whole lot sad because I miss him already.  Well, maybe miss isn’t strong enough.  It’s more like a gaping hole in my chest that makes it hard to breathe if I think about it.  But that’s okay, because I know Zero Day doesn’t last forever; in fact, it’s already passed.

So here’s to silly pictures and happy thoughts.  Baby, we’ve got this.

Ding.  Ding.  Ding. Round 4 begins.

4 Comments on “Deployment 4: Zero Day”

  1. Jennifer Rook

    this is also our 4th in the Army and every time I think that this deployment is the worst emotionally until we go thru another one….trying to stay busy and stay positive and not think about the "what if's" but its more difficult this time for some reason. Partly because we lost a friend right before he left I suppose. anyway, just wanted to share my inner thoughts as we all consume ourselves with busy work, pray for their safe return and kick this deployment right in the keister.Jenn

  2. Amanda

    Praying for you tonight. We survived our fourth last year and I never thought we would. It'll take a minute then you'll be amazed how fast the routine kicks right back in and your moving forward checking off the days. Hugs from one Army wife to another.

  3. notesfromthebackseat

    I remember when my husband left on our current deployment (it's our first), I was so mad at him and God and everybody. When we got married, I was already pregnant. I lived in Florida and he lived in California. I gave up my entire life, my friends, my family, everything I had ever known to move across country (only the second time I had left Florida)to move in with my soon-to-be husband. I gave up everything about who I was and the things that made me, well, me, so that my daughter would have a father in her life. A father who loved and cared for her like mine never did. A dad who would always be there for her. Six years, 7 months after she was born, he was leaving us for war and it killed me. I couldn't understand how God would let this happen. I didn't marry a Soldier. My husband joined the Army less than three years ago, nearly 5 years and two kids into our marriage. Our family long established. How could things change so much and now the thing, the person, I sacrificed so much for, the one person I fought to have in our lives was leaving us. Of course, now that we are gearing up for redeployment, all of that anger seems silly, but it still tears me up inside that our life took such a turn and that one day, all the things I gave up so my children could have their father, all of that could be in vain. This was his decision and I support him, I just look at my kids in the throws of a "I miss Daddy" tantrum and I want to cry. I want to hold them in my arms and tell them it wasn't supposed to be this way. That they don't deserve this and daddy doesn't deserve this and our family is supposed to be whole all the time, not just when it's convenient for someone else. But instead, I whisper, "I miss daddy too", we have ice cream for dinner and we add another link to the paper chains. We've got nearly 800 links now.

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