People you once thought would be there for you no matter what suddenly disappear. All the "bless your heart" (which in my opinion is just a southern kind way of saying you're screwed) and the "let me know if you need anything" meaningless statements abound but real support is rare. And cherished.
It's been nearly three months. There's still 9-12 months to go...we don't have a come home date and even if we did, I wouldn't post it.
In the last three months, I can honestly count on a single hand how many people really care. It doesn't seem like anyone actually gets it (outside my military friends) but there are a few amazing civilian families who know they don't get it but try. They call...or email...it's not even what they say or how long they're able to listen to me (usually either vent or just connect to someone other than my 2 yr old). It's that they know it's an impossibly difficult situation and they don't pull away that means the most.
I can't say how grateful I am that Joshua joined the military AFTER we were married. Granted, it's been a strange/difficult/testing transition but while he was at basic and AIT, I learned what it meant to be without my husband for months because of the military. I discovered that as a Guard family, with almost all civilian friends, I would be alone for any future deployments. It's a discovery which at the time shocked me and was so hard. I didn't understand why couples didn't want me anymore...I didn't understand why my girlfriends pulled away...I didn't understand why sometimes they would compare their lives to mine (like their husband's business trip or being a single mom). My husband's not just gone for a couple weeks...I'm not single and free to live my life as such. I'm stuck in what feels like another dimension altogether. I'm frozen in time, waiting for my life to resume. People with whom I once felt I had so much in common with, I see now as almost diametrically opposed. With basic and AIT, I became angry and built walls.
How can these people who claim to love me and my son, abandon me? ...that's all I felt for the longest time and to be honest, I feel it again now on deployment but I'm learning to just accept that they don't get it. They can't and I can't expect them to act as though they do.
That said, it has been nearly three months. Three months. And I'm isolated. I'm alone most of the time and days can go by without a phone call or email from anyone other than Joshua or my family. It's heartbreaking. My son isn't school-aged, doesn't attend a mother's day out, I'm very pregnant and we live in the country. My friends almost all have spouses and children of their own. Factors which I understand all contribute to the isolation but the heartbreak comes from having friends who vowed to be more present. To stand with me. But haven't.
It's hard not to become bitter. To not build walls again. I don't know if I'll be able to keep from becoming the bitter shrew I suspect I could be but I'm trying and I think that's all I can do...well, that and therapy...sometimes retail, sometimes the real thing.