A Dreary Holiday

You know the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well, that’s how I’ve felt for just about a month now, which is why this little space on the Internet has been growing spider webs. I’m so grateful to be home and surrounded by my family for the holidays, but it’s just so bittersweet knowing my husband—my other half—is on the other side of the world during this time.

It’s the lack of warning that still gets under my skin. I know I need to let it go and move on, but it just drives me crazy that most military families who have loved ones away for the holidays had time to prepare. They had Christmas in July or were able to send out great care packages—they could send some holiday cheer to lift their spouse’s spirits. We didn’t get anything like that and it hurts; I hurt for him and the crew he’s out there with. I selfishly hurt because we don’t get our first Christmas together. And I hurt because during a time when I’ll be surrounded by family, I know I’ll still feel alone.

I stumbled on an article talking about things spouses should do if their loved ones are away for the holidays and it actually said that we shouldn’t mope. Please understand that I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer of any crowd and I’ll try my absolute best to be strong, but if I’m going to cry, I’m going to cry. I’ll go to another room or something, but I’m not going to suppress those feelings. I actually really wish that “how-to” article would get taken down, since I feel it’s very condescending to military spouses. But that’s a different rant for another day. 

There really isn’t a point to this post, I just wanted get my feelings out there. I promise I have a couple somewhat happier posts later this week—I’m guest posting on a really great site, so I’ll talk about that in a few days (and don’t forget to check out my other site, The Tale of Two Kitchens, for some good-looking recipes up there!). 

I also wanted to ask you to send up a few extra prayers for strength and help coping and/or remember those serving our country over this holiday season, and for their families, too. We’ve been through deployments before, but this is by far the hardest thing I’ve personally ever gone through.

Have you been separated from your love over the holidays? How did you cope? 

*{Update on 12.23} I am blown away by all of your comments and overwhelmed with comfort knowing that even though I feel alone in this, I’m not alone. You guys really mean so much to me. Thank you for your kind words.

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22 Comments

  1. With all do respect… ignore the comment above. I'm not sure if she's a military wife (looks like a mildaughter), but she said many things you don't tell a military wife. Namely, "You signed up for it."

    When you have kids, you "signed up" for the pain of birth, the tantrums, the everything and yet, it's perfectly okay for a parent to complain every once in a while about how hard it is/painful/etc. And no one tells you to suck it up because you signed up for it.

    You have every right to be sad and depressed. And every right to "get it out of your system" by saying it in a blog. And while you want to put on a stiff upper lip for your husband, by not allowing him to see how much you miss him and want him back… well, that's not good either.

    My husband hated it when I told him "everything is fine" and never told him the "bad" stuff our first two deployments. He made me promise before this one that I would tell him everything.

    I'm having a hard time too, this year. Go have a mope session and feel sad for yourself. Then… go do something nice for someone else. I promise it will help!

    ((hugs))

  2. When did your husband leave? What's he do? I've been following your blog for a while now and I don't remember you saying. -Just curious.

    I know when Kevin deployed he left the beginning of september, 2 weeks to the day before our first anniversary, THAT sucked! Missing the holidays with him-our first as Husband and Wife, wasn't fun- for sure. But, I found in my experience it wasn't as bad as I built it up in my mind to be… honest.

    On a side note: I hate the whole "you signed up for it" motto of those who really know nothing about sending your spouse into a war zone. However, I really believe this fellow blogger didn't mean anything nasty by what she said. 🙁

    On the other hand, I've often admired those who didn't have the notice and didn't/don't have to deal with the MONTHS and MONTHS of "pre-deployment" battles and preparation. Evidently, the grass isn't always greener. 🙁 Boo.

    Still, Wishing you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas!

  3. Oooooh I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't have time to prepare and it was such short notice.

    My husband isn't deployed and we didn't really celebrate Christmas early (and I obviously can't send him a care package), but he's at basic and we are away our first Christmas as an official married couple. People always tell me that "I signed up for this, I better get used to it, To grow a thicker skin, There will be other Christmas', It's not our first Christmas TOGETHER and that's what is really important, etc." So I can sympathize in a different sense.

    I don't understand what it's like to go through a deployment, but I do understand being surrounded by loved ones, friends and people, yet still feeling alone because the love of your life is away.

    I have wrote to Ryan every day since he's gone. I've told him the good and the bad and in his letters and calls we've talked about both. We have a really strong communication and while I don't want him to worry or think I'm not surviving, I also want him to know my life isn't all sunshine and rainbows when he's away, because I know his isn't right now either.

    I will be thinking of you and your hubby this holiday season!

  4. I know how you feel. Before I met the hubby I was with a man who in a moment's notice would be gone and couldn't even tell me to where. He missed out on 3 of our 4 holiday seasons together. I got less than a 24 hour notice for all of them.

    One thing I did that helped was I set a time of when I could be down. Once that time was over I would try….key word…try to be happy-ish. lol It helped that I had a set time frame and I wouldn't beat myself up for feeling down. So you don't beat yourself up, it's all normal!

  5. DH and I are going through our first deployment and this is our first Christmas that we haven't spent together. Yes, we did get our first Christmas as husband and wife, but this one still hurts the same. It's okay to be sad and vent about it. It's okay to feel the way you feel. I will be with family this year, but I still feel alone. I just want you to know that I will be thinking of you, your husband, and every other family that is separated this Christmas. Many HUGS!

  6. I 110% agree with Wife of a Salor on this one! You have EVERY right to poor your feelings out! If you hold them in and don't express what you are going though it's just going to make you feel worse! Yes you are a military wife and yes you knew things were going to be hard when you mairried your officer but you still can never prepare yourself for the hurt, sadness, pissed off feelings you get that sometimes come with being a military wife. No one can prepare for that. Don't let any one make you feel bad for getting your feelings out.
    xoxo

  7. Hey, it's fine to feel sad this time of year, really. There are no wrong feelings anyway.

    I can relate a bit to you. Easter is my favorite and most meaningful holiday, and this past year my husband was deployed for it. My friends took care of me, but once I left their house I just broke down and had the biggest cry-fest I'd had in YEARS (and this was the 2nd deployment). And it felt stupid because most people don't give Easter more than a passing thought, but it means a lot to me.

    I'm really sorry that it was just so sudden like that. Sometimes a catharsis is needed, and that's perfectly alright.

  8. Don't mope?!

    Yeah, right. I'm a professional moper when Daniel is gone. I lose all my spunk. It's not something I am proud of and often I wish I could just pull up my bootstaps and carry on like nothing is different but…that's just not me. Life just isn't the same. While I'm a strong woman and I am able to be alone… I absolutely downright hate it.

    Last Christmas Daniel was deployed and it was just so sad. I made sure the kids had a blast and it was special for them, of course. But, I had no Christmas cheer.

    I can completely understand the feelings of sadness and of feeling alone surrounded by tons of people. I felt exactly the same way. Our last deployment really did a number on me.

    I know that I can't do anything to bring your husband back but just know that I have walked in your shoes and I understand that it's a tough road. I'm pulling for you and I know… The reunion will be ever so sweet.

  9. Aw, Jess. I'm so sorry, I know (well, I can guess) that this is so hard. I know nothing anyone can say or do will make you feel better, and rightly so, but we're here for you. HUGS.

  10. I know exactly how you feel. While we did celebrate Christmas, he doesn't have any sort of Christmas waiting for him when he returns to the sandbox. I'm home visiting family and I STILL feel really alone. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to convince myself that this ISN'T Christmas because I already had Christmas with Joe. This is just more celebration. I've barely been here for a day and I've already cried about the lack of my hubby. This is our first Christmas apart since we got married. =/

    Big hugs!!!

  11. First of all *hugs* I know how much it sucks to be apart during the holidays. And I think it's completely normal to mope and cry if you want/need to!

    My husband and I have spent two Christmases apart due to deployments. Last Christmas was the hardest for me because we found out on Christmas morning that his deployment was being extended! I definitely did my share of crying. And even though I was surrounded by my family I felt I couldn't fully enjoy myself. One thing that helped me was to go home and take a bubble bath, watch TV, and eat lots of ice cream!

  12. I cant even imagine! my hubs is in a rapid response team that will call him up and he has to be out the door in 30 minutes. I hate it, because we have had to cancel plans and rearange schedule at the drop of a hat, but it has yet to happen over the holidays (yet! i don't want to jinx myself!) My thoughts and prayers are with you to help bring peace to your heart in his absence this holiday season!
    Hugs!

  13. Awww, Jess! I can only imagine what it is like. We had time to prepare, and were able to celebrste early, and yet I still am moping around! I have refused several invitations to spend Christmas day with outher spouses because I don't want to lose it in front of their kids! I am fully preparing (not planning, but knowing it may happen) for a meltdown of epic proportions Saturday. I didn't even want to decorate the tree I got.

    I agree with Wifey Of A Sailor. PLEASE IGNORE HANNAH. That comment really disturbed me for several reasons, and I'm the first one to have the "you signed up fo it" mentality, bt we are all still entitled to feel lousy without our husbands here!

    I will keep you, and all spouses of deployed, in my prayers this coming week. It's the first Christmas since our wedding too!

    (((((HUGS)))))

  14. I'm so sorry that you guys have to be apart for the holidays. I know what a sucky feeling that is.

    If you want to mope, then mope. Everybody copes differently.

    Just know we're all thinking of you!

  15. So sorry to hear you will be apart! This is my first time here and I probably have no business writing you. We don't have family in the military so I can't relate, but I just wanted to say I'm thinking of you and I just said a prayer for you and your husband.

  16. Last year, my husband was deployed for every major holiday, everyone's birthdays, and our anniversary. We have 3 children, and the birthdays and Christmas that we were separated were the hardest. I'm pretty sure I did mope every day he was gone. At least in private I mopped. I definitely did my darndest to not show my kids how down I was very often.

    I tried to take things day by day. And, I'm sorry with the short notice, and hope he's home soon to enjoy the post holidays with you!

  17. I can completely understand how you're feeling as well, like everyone else is saying. My husband is deployed right now too and this would have been our first Christmas together. We've missed other holidays and will continue to. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday; i've always had such holiday cheer and I'm big on tradition, but this time around I have hardly noticed the holidays. I don't listen to anything Christmas or pay attention in the least. It doesn't even really feel like it will be Christmas either. And I can relate with the short notice so I've had to send out a care package that won't even get there until a couple of weeks after Christmas. I'm definitely very down too and although I'm usually able to contain myself around others, I've been having a difficult time with it the last few days. It's okay to feel the way you are and you shouldn't feel ashamed of it. Each person has there own situation and no one else can truly understand. There should be no judgment in that. I say mope your little heart away, it might even make you feel better in the end. Sometimes supressing your feelings turns into a much worse feeling. I've only started following you, but just know that I will be thinking about you and your husband on Christmas and will share in your feeling.

  18. So sorry dear. 🙁 I can sympathize because my husband and I are in a long distance marriage even though he is not in the military. We were hoping our immigration would be finished before Christmas- but that wasn't the case. 🙁

  19. I am a little late posting, but did want to say that it is ok to mope. Completely understandable. We are in our 3rd deployment and 2nd missed Christmas…it is really hard. Sending you a huge hug!

  20. I'm late to the party- my reader has been scaring me with it's high numbers!- but wanted to chime in. You are actually dealing with it SO well. I think if you WEREN'T upset you'd have a problem. You love that man and when you get him back your love will only be stronger!!!!! Hugs to you guys!

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