Deployments and Separations
WHAT IS A DEPLOYMENT?
THE FOUR BASIC STAGES OF SEPARATION
PROTEST: Against your service member’s departure usual comes a week or two before he is due to leave. They talk of feeling tense, selfish, unbelieving that he or she will actually leave, and guilty about not wanting their service member to go. There is also frustration with the increased hours your service member spends getting ready to leave, your awareness of how many household chores and family business must be handled before they go, and a bona fide physical, as well as mental, exhaustion for everyone.
DESPAIR: Is the tearful period, which may come even before your service member departs. Thought like, “How will I ever do this without him or her?” is common. There is also difficulty in sleeping due to general fear for one’s safety; even the usual noises in the house seem threatening.
DETACHMENT: Is the level on which you live for most of the separation. It is a state of relative calm and confidence in handling day-to-day living. If a major crisis occurs, however, you may tend to revert to the stages of despair and protest.
RETURN ADJUSTMENT: Is accompanied by awareness of the noises in the house. Many family members experience an incredible emotional and physical frenzy, getting every inch of the house and themselves ready for the return of the service member. Your service member will arrive exhausted from the final days away, eager to be home. The first days of unwinding bring long conversations to attempt to catch up. Finally he or she spends lots of time sleeping.