Coping when loved ones are deployed
A few thoughts to hopefully help with
those of you who have loved ones deployed or if you are going to be
It's very important to stay busy so do your best to get out and be with
friends and family. Preferably have a close, healthy support network you
can lean on and depend upon who are trustworthy and whom you can speak
Keep a daily journal, and ask your loved one to do the same. The beauty
of this is that it is not only therapeutic for the both of you but it
will help to reflect back on in the years to come and it is something
nice to hand down to the children as you pass on. Don't avoid your true
feelings in the journal. If you cry, write about it. If you feel angry,
write about it. Let the journal capture your every feeling and
experience. Writing becomes a form of exercise for the mind and soul.
For a more detailed writing on journaling click
Try to do things in moderation. Do your very best to avoid addictions
such as food, TV, alcohol, drugs, and other things which can assist you
in becoming depressed.
Exercise daily by running, going to the gym, swimming or even if it is
just going for a walk. It is very important to get proper fluids moving
which will help counter stress and depression.
Practice some sense of spirituality. Meditation, prayer, or what ever
gets you more in tune with your soul and or surroundings. If you don't
have a belief system then try and get into nature and engage in your
five senses; listen, touch, smell, see and get a good taste of the
Sleep well and try your best to keep a tight schedule. It's imperative
to keep on track and one way to insure you are on track is to go to bed
and wake up at the same time each day and evening.
I hope this has helped. This is coming from a battle seasoned veteran
whom was married during a few missions and survived. And by the way, it
is quite fun to read the journals years later, they are a treasure at
times to read with my daughter now.
Lots of strength and love.
A gentle warrior,
send suggestions and feedback here.
Items in review:
1) For the kids... when the day to return got
closer, she made a board-game-like display with a winding countdown of days
until I return. At the end of the countdown was a picture of the entire family
having fun at the beach. Make sure to put a few extra days in and then remove
them as the date gets closer and more certain. You could also place little notes
along the way that indicate scheduled calls etc. Send a smaller copy to the
2) If you're in a non-military community let your trusted neighbors know that
your spouse is away. People appreciate the fact that someone is serving for
their benefit and will treat you accordingly.
3) Let your spouse know that it helps for him/her just to listen to your
problems and triumphs on the phone and that you are not expecting them to
conduct problem-solving while they're away.
4) Set goals for the chilren too. Ride a bike, learn the alphabet, know the
5) Encourage the service member to write a unique letter to each child in the
family. This helps the service member to keep in touch with his feelings and
memories of the children and takes the pressure to talk to him/her over the
phone when it's expensive and potentially frightening.
6) Give each child and age-appropriate explanation of your spouse's job. For
example, Daddy is fixing computers or building houses for the Army in Iraq.
Otherwise children might think that the spouse is shooting and getting shot at
24/7. If he is, then figure out which euphemism to embrace. For example, my Dad
is helping the people of Fallujah to hold elections while the bad guys are
trying to stop the elections.
7) If you can afford to, put all the bills on auto-pay through your bank or
directly. This is easy to do through the creditors these days.
8) Include a few choice pieces of the kid's schoolwork in his/her packages.
9) Make care packages with themes. Be creative and get the kids involved,
mystery theme, keeping cool theme, health theme, fun theme, foot theme...
10) Buy birthday gifts in consultation with the spouse and let the children know
that it's "specially from him."
I believe that journaling is a very healthy outlet and
almost formal practice towards ones well being. It can be done when one is under
stress or even when one is having an elated moment in their life. What's more is
that if some sense of boundries are set up, as minimal as possible, such
journals are priceless to pass down through the ages to your children and then
their children and then so on. Imagine if you could read your great great grand
parents journal on how they argued one cold rainy night in the 1700's?
In times of trial, when a person is under a lot of stress, journaling can be a
much needed form of release in that it becomes self induced therapy all in
itself. As an example of this I captured much of my experience of basic training
in the U.S. Army via journaling and have every once in a while took it out and
read it. Additionally, while serving in the military I often found myself on
missions in harms way which included the end of the cold war, desert shield and
desert storm where I earned 3 bronze service stars. While keeping my boundries
clear, i.e. secret material, location, strategy, I managed to capture much of
these conflicts in little black books which essentially became my war journals.
This not only was a great form of release from a traumatic situation but also a
way to capture history in the making which I could then hand down to my children
whom would hand down to their children and so on.
Lastly, I wrote a piece titled "Coping when loved ones are deployed"
for soldiers and family members who experience war and the affects of war. In
this writing, located at - http://www.scottbruno.com/deployedlovedones.htm
I outline and emphasize just what I previously suggested as to why we might
journal: Keep a daily journal, and ask your loved one to do the same. The beauty
of this is that it is not only therapeutic for the both of you but it will help
to reflect back on in the years to come and it is something nice to hand down to
the children as you pass on. Don't avoid your true feelings in the journal. If
you cry, write about it. If you feel angry, write about it. Let the journal
capture your every feeling and experience. Writing becomes a form of exercise
for the mind and soul.
So I hope that in my sharing of this information it is of some help to those
that may have not used the journaling technique in the past. I will testify that
it's always fun to take one of those little black books out on a cold rainy day
and sit in front of a fire place and read about the days gone past. I should
only hope that later generations find them as interesting in capturing the
"real" moments in my life. So DO, capture your moments, it is never to
late to begin.
Much Peace and Love,
I Have a Vision
| Golden Rule |
Heaven on Earth
| Da Vinci