There's one thing I didn't think two seconds about when preparing for KC's return from Afghanistan. Reintegration. It could be because I am a completely inexperienced Army girlfriend. It could be because I didn't think that anything would change over those seven and a half months (dumb or dumb?!). It could be because I knew this was his fifth time over to Afghanistan and he was fine after that last four, so why would the fifth affect him? It could be because my own excitement of my soldier's return overshadowed what was really occurring over there. All these things and more could be why I didn't think twice about reintegration. I wish that I would have realized that preparing for and getting through a deployment isn't the hardest thing. Sometimes its the lasting results of what your loved ones had to see and do for many months in a country completely incomparable to the country we live in.
KC has been home from Afghanistan for about a week now, and it has been the hardest week of our entire relationship. I struggled with the thought of discussing such a painful part of my life on my blog. A painful time that was supposed to be one of the most joyous times. Do I really want to talk about how I feel like I got hit by a brick wall I didn't even see coming at me? As I pondered my thoughts on the situation I got to thinking. I originally started this blog as a way to document my first deployment as an Army girlfriend. I also created this blog so I could find solace in other military SOs and wives blogs. I think the latter has been what occurs more often, but none the less it should be noted that the importance of talking about struggles is key. Things shouldn't be hidden. I also hope to hear from those who have struggled with reintegration or the after affects of war on their loved ones. I want those who are struggling with it right now to know that you're not alone.
I have a soldier that realizes that things are different right now and that for the first time in 5 deployments, he has been affected and feels a significant change. The things he was exposed to over there were horrible. Things that most people couldn't handle without having a mental and physical break down. I'm fortunate that I have a man that, despite his struggles with all the horrible events that occurred, wants to work through them and do some self discovery so that it doesn't ruin our relationship. This means more time spent apart. This was a tough thing to hear. I think I'm slowly working through it though by looking at things through his eyes. He's been stuck around the same people for over seven months. No alone time. I would go nuts. I know how much I love my alone time so I can't even imagine how much he wants his alone time. He is also a very strong person both mentally and physically. His way of dealing with things is thinking it through and having that time alone to do so. We made a compromise that he can have his alone time, but I still need communication. I need phone calls or texts every few days for my self assurance that he's doing ok, and that he's thinking about me. After we had a phone conversation last night I felt a huge weight come off my shoulders. We made compromises and agreements on certain things. Being on the same page as KC feels so good. Now it is my turn to be patient while he works things out, and be there for him when he needs me. To keep that communication flowing because we both agree that is what is important in a relationship. Especially one that involves a lot of time spent apart because that will always be the situation for us.
"Well, I won't give up on us. Even if the skies get rough, I'm giving you all my love, I'm still looking up and when you're needing your space to do some navigating I'll be here patiently waiting to see what you find"