On the 14th of January we passed the one year anniversary of my husband’s return from Afghanistan.
I wanted to write a blog post filled with beautiful pictures of our reunited family from his homecoming ceremony,
But as I looked through all of the pictures one by one, the words just wouldn’t come.
Why couldn’t I write about this deployment as I had all of the others?
When I sat down a few weeks ago to write a recap of 2012, I felt much the same way.
Each time I sat down to write, the words just wouldn’t come.
So many exciting things had happened!
Why couldn’t I find a way to share them?
The truth is, this past year has been really difficult.
Probably one of the most challenging in our eight years of marriage.
I chalked it all up to the stress of reintegration, an overseas move, and buying our first home.
(Just your normal, average, military life, kinda, stressful, type stuff. Right?)
I remember watching all of the moving boxes as they were unloaded into our house mid July.
I’m sure once we’re settled in, it’ll all get easier – right?
But for some reason, it didn’t seem to get better as the moving boxes slowly disappeared.
In september, I found myself crying at my yearly medical checkup. Something is wrong. I shouldn’t feel this way. Why does it feel like we’re still going through reintegration 8 months later? She referred us to marriage counseling.
I thought she was being sneaky to get my husband involved. I knew I was showing signs of depression. I was tired all the time. I was crying more than usual. Which meant my husband was more than frustrated most of the time. Why aren’t things getting done? Why are you still in your pajamas? Why are we living out of laundry baskets? Is this how you live when I’m deployed?
So he came with me for “her appointment” to find out how to help me work through whatever was bothering me.
Weeks became months and things started getting better. Our communication improved. I started feeling a lot better. I tackled the garage full of boxes with gusto. I was going to sort, purge, and organize every. single. box. Finally things were looking up.
But with every step forward we seemed to take, new obstacles seemed to appear out of no where.
We continued to argue and disagree about nearly everything.
And it made the counseling sessions both helpful and infuriating.
Why aren’t things improving? We’ve been doing this for THREE LONG MONTHS!
The counselor just continued to be impartial,
encouraging us to listen to each other,
and reminding us over and over to fight fairly.
And then. A few days ago. We hit a turning point.
While sorting through the last few stacks of unorganized paper from our move, a discovery was made. My husband found a valentine’s day card from my 30th birthday – nearly 3 years ago. Inside was a sweet letter he had written about our beautiful children and the warm home we had created together. How our lives together would never be dull and I was his one and only love.
He waited until later that evening, after the kids were in bed, to tell me about the card.
Then he said something I didn’t see coming…
I don’t recognize the person who wrote this letter.
What I mean is, I don’t feel emotions like this anymore.
And we need to figure out why.
We sat there on our couch and talked for a long time.
And slowly but surely, the mysterious dark cloud that had been over our head for twelve. long. months…
seemed to shape itself into a tunnel with a light in the distance.
Which brings us to the present. We are still trying to figure out what this discovery means.
And with his permission, I will be sharing some of this journey so others who find themselves on this road won’t feel alone.
During 2012 the number of suicide deaths were higher than the number of those who died in Afghanistan.
If you or anyone that you know are suffering from depression or having suicidal thoughts – please – ask for help.
You are not alone.