Send them notes and letters; not just emails. We are so fortunate to live in a connected world, but there’s something extra special about a handwritten note that will not only make your SO’s day, but it will keep them going throughout the deployment. Those beautifully written cards will be referenced when they’re scared, missing you, and feel alone. Think about the reasons you love your partner in crime, and carve it into a piece of paper for them to treasure forever.
Remember that this experience doesn’t just differ from couple to couple, but it also is very different for your partner than it is for you. There are different ways it’s harder on each of you. Be gentle and patient; they are likely trying their best to hold it together every single day you’re away.
Skype, Snapchat, and send pictures often. These, like the letters, are things your significant other will be waiting for. They’re the moments you can use to connect to one another and feel close. Nothing compares to having you home, but a picture is the closest thing to being there with one another since they get to see a little moment of your day.
I hope you’re getting lots and lots of care packages from home. You deserve them, especially since you are likely not in the nicest of living situations. Try to send a few packages back home to your loved ones, too. They certainly understand that you are overseas for a mission, but it also feels so great to feel cared about and knowing that your loved one is taking time away from their busy schedule to think about you.
Deployments are one of the most difficult things this life has to offer, but if you’re with the right person the heartache you feel during them is completely worth the joy of an entire lifetime. Stay safe, connect at any chance you get, and thank you for the sacrifices you are making. I know they’re not easy in so many different ways, and I am so proud to know so many people fighting for justice and equality.
This was the header in my email to Robert today. I’ve been doing a countdown since the day he left, and we are finally down to one.
I don’t even think I can put into words how excited I am for tomorrow. I am tearing up just thinking about it. This year has been so hard. My heart has felt heavy with worry and from missing my guy. I hadn’t ever experienced some of the feelings I had this past year. My long distance relationship with Robert was unlike anything I’ve ever had with another person. On one hand I trusted him 110%. He could go for any stint of time without messaging me and I knew without a doubt he was being faithful to me and that he still thought of me every single day. I knew the entire deployment that Robert’s heart was still with me, and that he would give anything to be home with me as soon as he could. This was definitely new, as in past relationships I’ve been with people who haven’t been as invested in us as they are in a job or in traveling the world.
On the other hand, though, I hadn’t ever felt the intense ache of wishing I could do anything and everything to make someone safe and protect them for such an extended period. The only feeling I can kind of relate this to was when I was with another significant other and he was dealing with a lot of stress from work that I wished I could take upon myself instead. With Robert, though, I just prayed as hard as I could that God would take care of him, and I knew that I wanted to take any bad things away from this deployment and take them on for myself. Clearly this is not possible, but I am always in awe of the love you feel for someone when you want to take away their pain or suffering. This is likely only a very small fraction of the way Jesus felt with us.
Anyway, I honestly cannot believe I’m going to be seeing him tomorrow. Not on Skype, not in a picture, and not online. IN PERSON. What?!?! This is so crazy. I really can’t contain my excitement; I’ve wanted to tell everyone I talked to today. I told people when I was in line at the store buying red white and blue balloons to take to the airport, I told the lady at the craft store when I got supplies to make a sign, and I announced it to any stranger who would listen. I even felt like getting pulled over due to a lack of vision in my car from the balloons wouldn’t be so bad — it would just be another opportunity to tell someone about the exciting day I had planned tomorrow (Just kidding, I’m not insane. But seriously, I don’t think many people can empathize with just how excited I am!!!!!)!
I will close with saying that I don’t know whether I’m going to laugh, cry, or freeze when I see Robert tomorrow. I don’t think it will feel real. I’ll do my best to tell you what it’s like getting to hold him again, but I’m pretty sure it will be indescribable.
I haven’t been great at updating this lately, but I will be offering an explanation for all of that soon enough. It’s partly been because I have been pretty sick on and off lately — with POTS and with some other goofy things going on! The other half, though, you will find out very soon.
In the meantime, I wanted to share a new newspaper interview I did that was shared in another newspaper, Wicked Local Foxborough. Did I share the first article yet? I will in a few days just so I have all my bases covered!
Anyway, I’ll have a million and one things to write about soon, but in the meantime I just want to take another minute to thank everyone who has been so kind and helped in any and every way you could. I know this was such a longshot, but I am all about trying to give the very best to my loved ones. Robert certainly is a special person, and I really can’t wait to welcome him home. No matter what, I will be the luckiest girl in the entire world very soon. I can’t wait.
I once said I didn’t feel like I belonged in this world because I’m not strong enough for it. Now I realize, though, that I was wrong. If I wasn’t strong enough to be an Army girlfriend I wouldn’t have made it through an entire deployment, relationship in tact. If I wasn’t strong enough I wouldn’t have stayed faithful every second of every day, and we wouldn’t have grown together as a couple as much as we have. It’s actually been a really amazing experience (In hindsight, of course) because we’ve gotten to know each other in a lot of different ways that we wouldn’t have without this kind of strenuous long distance.
If deployments were easy every couple would make it through them, but sadly that’s not the way it is. Plenty of people break up, and significant others leave in the middle of a deployment because it’s just too hard. Not only is the worrying hard, but it’s not easy loving someone 6,000 miles away when all you want to do is hold their hand and know that they’re safe. On the soldier’s side, it isn’t easy being so far away from home and having so many new factors thrown at you in a new environment. I’m not really sure what causes the unfaithfulness on that side, but I will have to talk to Robert and see if he might write about some of the hardships he faced being away from home to get the other perspective of a relationship like that.
I didn’t for one second of this deployment question whether I wanted to be with this Robert. He’s my guy, and I’m hoping we’ll keep growing as close as we have in the time we’ve been dating!
I’m lucky too, because I know without a doubt that Robert felt the exact same way I did. If nothing else I learned an incredibly important lesson about how trust plays out in a relationship. Even though we couldn’t always talk and I didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing half the time, I trust him fully with my heart. I’ve been with people in the past who I haven’t felt like had my best interest at heart, and the anxiety worrying about what they’re doing just fifteen minutes away from where I am is not fun.
When you trust someone completely you are able to turn off the part of your brain that worries about whether or not they’re doing something that would hurt you and focus on the present in your own life instead. Rather than wasting time coming up with the hundreds of imaginary scenarios of what could be happening, your heart is at ease knowing your guy would never do something that he knows would hurt you. This doesn’t mean he’ll never mistakes or never make you feel bad, but it does mean that he cares about your well-being andputs your relationship above his own desires when necessary.
This relationship has taught me that I can be with someone who makes my heart feel at ease and I certainly don’t have to always be the one who compromises to make things work or change the way I feel about something to please my partner. Instead, I can have healthy communication with a man (Young Krista never would have believed a guy would actually know how to communicate effectively with a girl he was dating — Turns out there are so many men who really do know how to talk about something and then follow through with it!), and prioritize my relationship without having it consume my entire world.
Lastly, being strong by yourself is hard. I’ve learned that lesson through having a chronic illness. When I am able to swallow my pride and ask for the help I often need, the pain and sickness I do have to deal with become just a little bit lighter. When you have other people to be strong with you, that’s when life really becomes a beautiful journey — even if you have a lot of hurdles to jump over along the way. I wouldn’t have traded Robert for anything, and feel so blessed to have had someone so great to do this deployment with. This was still one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but we both communicate with one another so well that I can’t imagine it could have been any easier than it was, considering the circumstances.
Today’s lesson: Be with someone who lifts you up and wants to be there for you when times get tough. There are people who will hold your hand through hardships, rather than retreating and watching from afar while you do all the work. Yes, I think sometimes in life you need to take turns leaning on one another — and sometimes one person in the relationship will need more help, and that’s okay — but I also believe you should be with someone who is equally committed to the relationship as you are. That way when times do get tough, you know they are still in it for the long haul.