The first deployment came up and hit us so fast we didn't know what to think! I was leaving to go to church one day when Darrell stopped me because he wanted to talk. He told me he was leaving, to which my response was, "I know, you're going to NTC." Well, apparently not! He said they were canceling NTC and sending them to Iraq instead. Now, as soon as he joined I knew he was going to get deployed, especially because he joined after 9/11. The war had only been going on for 6 months when my husband left to go.
We didn't have a car at the time and we had two young boys, so when he had to leave, we said our good-byes at home and I watched him drive away in his friends car to go off to war. I worried sick, but I had my friends at church for support and they were my life savers!
During this deployment we only communicated through letters and the phone, and he didn't call alot. When we did talk, the connection was horrible. To keep myself sane I went to church alot and helped out there and hung out with one of my "sisters" from church just about every day. Her husband was deployed also so we were both going through the same thing and she had kids too, so that was a help with mine.
Not once did I think of going back home to live during the deployment. It was hard doing it on my own with 2 toddlers, living on my own over a thousand miles from my family, but I'm so glad I stayed put. I realized I had a strength I never knew I had. I grew up alot that year and many things came into perspective for me. I did go home and visit during the holidays, but I felt such guilt for being there, enjoying our families while he couldn't. He missed my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, our anniversary and both of the boys birthdays.
He didn't get his R&R until 7 months into the deployment. That was the longest we had ever been separated since we first met in the 10th grade. Having him leave to go back to Iraq when his R&R was over was harder than watching him leave originally! I did not want to let go of him, but I tried to look on the bright side, at least he only had 5 months left.
My FRG that deployment was awesome! The leader and my POC were very thoughtful and caring. They gave out great information and were very supportive. No FRG I have had since then can even compare. I will never forget those women!
One night, I got a call from my POC and she told me that the guys who were suppose to fly out before my husband couldn't go yet so my husband and his guys got bumped up and he would be home 2 days later. I was freaking out with excitement and then anxiety set in. He wasn't suppose to be home for at least a week or more. I didn't have the baseboards scrubbed or other things that I wanted to have done before he got back. You know, the things you think of to keep yourself busy until they arrive, but they are things your spouse most likely won't notice or even care about? LOL.
The coming home ceremony was held in the hangers at the airfield and the suspense was killing me! They were 2 hours late and when the buses finally came around the corner I got so choked up I couldn't talk. Then we had to wait even longer once we knew they were on the airfield in another hanger. The boys and I were standing near the bleachers when someone came to the microphone and announced that "our soldiers" were ready to be greeted by their families. They came marching in to a song that I can't even remember. All I do remember is my heart racing, my palms sweating and tears flowing from my eyes. Seeing my husband that day was one of the happiest moments I can remember.