The reality is that, yes, they may be killed on deployment but they may also be killed back home when driving to your house, walking the dog or even shopping at the mall. The truth is, nobody knows when you’ll die. While the feeling of the unknown for you back home may be daunting upon you when you watch the news and see something has happened near their deployment location, you cannot live by assuming the worst. Before his deployment, I would constantly live in fear questioning what would happen if he was killed while away. Trying to understand how I would cope with knowing our last kiss, our last hug and holding of hands was a rushed goodbye in the airport on the night he left. I realised that these thoughts got me nowhere. The overthinking will eventually eat your insides to the point where you can no longer sleep, eat or even concentrate on living your life while they live their own, miles away from you and in my case, on the other side of the world. In the first few months of deployment, every single news article that I read in newspapers or online and watched on television instantly filled my body with fear and panic that my loved one was in danger. It is ridiculous, I know that now, but at the time I didn’t know any better than to have these feelings stirring inside of me. I knew that he was fine, he would tell me not to worry every time I had the chance to explain what I had seen, thinking it would be related to him. Like he once told me ‘You can’t believe everything you see’ and ‘You can’t assume the worst of everything relating to me, because if it happens, it happens. You live by everything happens for a reason, so use that motto for me.’ The truth of this was scary, we are both young and I wasn't sure if he would be safe. Knowingly trusting his words of 'You could be killed when taking the bins out' I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, but accepted yet another challenge to our relationship. As I am writing this four months, which is 126 days later, I'm confident when saying that the deployment journey, as challenging as it is, is possible for anyone. Nobody told me it was going to be easy, nor did anyone tell my man what to expect on the deployment. Eventually you learn to live with whatever may occur, but to only live for the day.
I believe there are good and bad in this world, whether their actions are intentional or not. There will be a point in your life where you may face a near death experience or know of someone dying and understand it’s a matter of appreciating the life they have lived or the life you have instead of expressing negativity. I am only young, nineteen years old and counting. I can write that I have experienced life for all that it is worth and enjoyed every moment I have lived as a young person. However, I cannot say that I know everything of it’s true value in life. There are times for everyone when it will all feel like too much, it’s not a ‘I want out of this life’ but more of a, ‘how am I living this life’ which I guess can be a difficult thought for ourselves and also our deployed loved ones. When I am writing this, I think it would be fair to say that the deployment journey effects everyone associated with the person who has been deployed. From this, I want to make it clear that nobody has more of a challenge than them because the reality is that they have been sent overseas, often with a large time difference to back home making contact difficult, they are working long days/nights sometimes between 12-19 hour days alone on only 5 hours of sleep and we almost forget that they are just humans too. I can’t write to say that I know what it is like to be deployed, instead I am writing as a partner of a deployed man. There have been too many times where he tells me that I'm doing it hard, but when I look at the changes to my life compared to his life, the only change was that he is no longer physically around me. While there are plenty of times I throw myself on my bed and cry myself to sleep because I miss him, I know it's not forever. The roller coaster of emotions I feel are normal, my man isn't around me and sometimes all I want is to be in his arms and hear him tell me that everything is going to be alright. Instead, I cuddle up to the giant teddy bear he gave me which smells of him and tell myself 'only a few more months and he will be home'. His position? How he handles it? I would have no idea, our communication is very limited and when he has a bad day he hides it, I know that is partly because there is the assumption an army soldier is strong and as some people criticizes, 'have no emotions' but I know that it isn't easy. Life isn't easy but with the right support and love from the people surrounding you anything is possible, and that is all I have tried to show my man since he left. Until he is home again, I continue to wait for him while I continue to live my life knowing that everything is going to be alright, no matter how difficult the days and nights may become.
Madeline - 27/09/2016