Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Support a Friend During Deployment: Part 2

A couple weeks ago I did a guest post for Kris Goes Crazy because she was looking for answers about how best to help her good friend who is deployed right now. I think this is such an important topic that I wanted to feature this post on my blog as well. After writing the guest post, I realized it was a lot longer than I had anticipated so I'm going to feature it in a 3 part series of posts. If you have already read it, feel free to skip over these few posts. Thanks for your patience and support of not only me and my blog but also our military!

Part 2:

Many people are needed during a deployment to help the deployed soldier. These people range from friends, family, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances and even strangers. A myriad of support systems and programs are in place to help the soldier "muscle" through deployments.

However, the other side of this are the loved ones who get left behind. What happens to the soldier's spouse and family when the soldier deploys?

Yes, there are FRGs (Family Readiness Groups) but spouses often need just as much support from friends and family as the soldiers do.

I recently read a post by the beautiful and amazing Mowenackie where she answered a question about what she wished she could teach civilians about deployment. Her answer was spot on. We spouses (and significant others) have trouble reaching out and asking for help. In times of need we are often left feeling lost to be able to lift our heads above water and say "I need someone, I'm lonely." We would never do it.

A few days before the post I just talked about, Mowenackie wrote a heart wrenching post about how she had A Hard Day. She definitely could have used a friend to call her up at that time and invite her out for ice cream.

Luckily, I can use Mowenackie and her wonderful blog to illustrate today's part of my series.

Here are some tips on how to help a friend during deployment if the friend is the spouse of a soldier:

  • Be Present ~ One of the most important things to me was when a friend would be there for me. Each of us has our own way of dealing with things. But each time The Hubble has deployed, that friend that comes over the first day he’s gone and orders pizza and answers the door for me is the one that means the most. A spouse of a deployed soldier needs to fill time and having a friend to share that with is very important.

  • Call ~ When a soldier is deployed, a spouse is lonely. Amazingly lonely. Sometimes a simple phone call and a “how ya doin’?” is enough to get us through another night, another day. Just as the soldier should not be forgotten, neither should the spouse.

  • Be Sensitive ~ This one is an extremely valuable lesson to learn. Please be sensitive to the situation the spouse is in. Let me tell you about a phone call I received from a “friend” while The Hubble was gone. One day, around 8 months into the deployment, I posted on Facebook about how much I missed The Hubble and wished he was there right then. Now, I don’t do this often, but sometimes it hits you harder than others. So, this “friend” calls and proceeds to tell me how I should not miss The Hubble because men are nothing but trouble. She told me about how she was annoyed at her husband and I should be happy The Hubble wasn’t around. Really? Please, do not ever, under any circumstances call a spouse of a deployed soldier and tell them they should be happy. To tell you the truth, I would give anything to have every piece of The Hubble, especially the annoying parts, just to have him safe and home. I will never find myself lucky or be happy that he is fighting for his life every moment of every day. 

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