The deployment rollercoaster – Mama Bear

February 4, 2009 · Filed Under Military Parents, National Guard Parents, One Army Mama Bear 

Here we go again … the deployment roller coaster got me again on Sunday night. If you have a son or daughter deployed, you know it well. You are moving through your day, doing the things you do, and suddenly the bottom drops out from under you … you’re in that roller coaster car plunging DOWN, DOWN, DOWN and fast – REALLY FAST! I never did really like roller coasters anyway … it doesn’t thrill me to have my stomach rush up past my lungs into my throat as I careen downward on a narrow track. The big contrast is that on the roller coaster at the fair I knew it was coming … I bought a ticket, got in line, waited my turn to board, and then click, click click we go up the first incline, round the top and careen down!!! Predictable – what goes up – must come down

But now … things trigger my emotions that haven’t before … even last summer a month or so after my son deployed, I asked my Battle Buddy if she would watch “Stop Loss” with me. She did … I was okay. Didn’t like what I saw, but I was okay. A month later I rented “Lions to Lambs” … made it about 15 minutes in and felt a panic attack coming on … put that sucker back in the wrapper and sent it back to Netflix. But then, there are the unpredictable times … walking through a store past the wall of TVs and something comes on the news or going to see “Benjamin Buttons” and the war scene comes on, my daughter says “Mom, close your eyes!” … then there was “Valkyrie” with my husband and my daughter in love I knew it was a war movie, but they’re Nazis for goodness sake – completely unpredictable to feel a panic attack trying to get me in the scene where Tom Cruise is badly wounded – the rest was okay – they were after Hitler – that’s okay with me. But in a split second – my heart kicks in and takes over … in both movies … the soldiers/sailors were somebody’s sons/husbands/daddies/brothers and panic jumped up and grabbed at me. It doesn’t overtake me – I close my eyes and just breathe. That’s my defense … I just breathe … refocus my thoughts … and move on.

I’m a news junkie and just have to stay informed … so admittedly, I make it hard on myself and am doing all the things they told me not to do in Military Family Support Group.

Sometimes though … there are days when I just have to cocoon … you know, stay in my pjs, – stay in the house, don’t answer the phone, and if anyone comes to the door I wouldn’t have answered it either – I’m still in my pjs for goodness sake and can’t pretend that I’m sick. Yes – there’s some crying – and a lot of praying. What’s the hardest? You know your soldier … the hardest part is when you detect in a message or the tone of their voice that they’re down …could be anything getting them down … the food, the heat, the cold, the rain … anything. We do what we can to boost moral … bake cookies, write letters and emails, send pictures and funny cards, mail packages of their favorite things – homemade beef jerky, Chex Mix, gummy bears, games. Then the next message or phone call sounds completely different. They’re out of the funk and have their head straight again. That’s how we want them to be … focused and ready to do their job. The roller coaster is back at the top again … and the view is good. Hurry up summer!!!

Signing off – One Army Mama Bear


3 Responses to “The deployment rollercoaster – Mama Bear”

  1. Shane on February 4th, 2009 10:17 pm

    Wow! I can only imagine what you are feeling. I have had two cousins that have been deployed several times, and I know that there were times when it was tough for me to not know what they were going through, and whether or not they were safe. Unfortunately, I do not have your perspective, but I know that if I was deployed, my mother would be on the same ride.

    Hang in there,

  2. diane on February 6th, 2009 3:51 pm

    I felt your words to my core! My 19 year old son just left for Iraq. And I too, just want to stay in the warm secure-ness of my home and never come out again! Then I think I am just having a pity party for myself and try to think of all the moms and dads and family folks that have come before me in much tougher times. How can I be so despondent when things in Iraq SEEM to be so peaceful? The thing is, I just don’t know what to do at all. You see your son, his choice to serve his country, how he has changed since his enlistment and I guess all I can do is PRAY for his well being. That the kind heart he has always had, does not harden too much, beyond reach.
    I am out of my pjs this morning and will force myself to take the dog for a walk. The simple things. Want a local support group…
    peace to you and your family. Feel I have really entered this strange new culture of the military parent. Never thought I would be here. Now I understand.

  3. Mamaw on February 7th, 2009 12:36 am

    I know what you mean Mama Bear! My son was in the sand and I was at home – I began watching Stop Loss unaware of the opening scene-it started-I watched with tears streaming down then got up and locked myself in the bathroom for about 15 minutes with my love on the other side apologizing for renting it! He is my strength when I cry for “no reason”. Hang in there, we are all here for you on the same ride, so we know what you are going through. It doesn’t get easier, does it? But like all military moms and the energizer bunny, we just keep going and going and going.

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