Deployment Diaries – PTSD

Deployment diaries – PTSD: It was just over a year ago that we said our final goodbyes to Jake in the parking lot of his local In-N-Out Burger. I can, however, feel the emotions as if it was yesterday. Understandably, I cried as we drove out of the parking lot. While saying goodbye, I tried not to cry. After all, I didn’t want my soon-to-be-deployed son worrying about his mom. He already had enough to worry about.

I can’t say that it’s ever easy to leave him, but last year it was a million times harder. There was a finality to it that comes with the great unknown of what his deployment would bring. We’ve all watched the news, and read the stories and one can’t help but worry that something similar will befall their loved one. When we left him, we left not knowing when he’d be leaving. All of those details had to remain unknown until the very last minute.

Now that he’s home and safe, the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. Nevertheless, I can’t help but reflect upon the stress of his extended deployment and the weight comes back. Suddenly world events became an insurmountable source of stress. I found myself worrying to the extreme or angry that the press ignored missiles that were launched his way. It’s an odd feeling to be both angry and worried. Moreover, it’s not an existence that one can sustain without losing their kind. I found myself having to unplug.

As we settle into the post-deployment space, I worry about him and his colleagues assimilating back into regular life. After living with a heightened sense of alarm for greater than 10 months, I can’t imagine how going back to normal must feel. In their post-deployment meetings, they did two through the stages of assimilation, which is good. Nevertheless, the specter of PTSD for anyone deployed is always present. Jake and I have talked about working through the stages and burying one’s mental and emotional health during these transitions. Fortunately, my boy has the best commanders and shop in the business. They have taken care of him better than I could have ever hoped for; for which I’m forever grateful. For now, I’ll relish having him stateside. I love it!

Moving On

In Southeast Florida, we have the luxury of moving on from Hurricane Ian. Unfortunately, many Floridians will not be moving on from the storm anytime soon. As I mentioned in my previous blog, these storms have their own mind. For most of the forecast period leading up to landfall, the track was projecting a Tampa landfall. It was unusual to see how much the track was changing even less than a day out. Usually, by a day or two out, they have a pretty firm idea where it’s going. Sadly, the track moved south significantly putting a bullseye on Fort Myers.

Honestly, this was a scary scenario. The track was changing rapidly. By the time, it was clear people would have to evacuate, there wouldn’t be enough time to do it. Even for us, the track started showing Ian moving on across the state after landfall. With the rapidly changing track, it was a bit worrisome for everyone. If the track had changed putting us back in the cone, we wouldn’t have had the time to put our shutters up. Nonetheless, this is exactly why most Floridians prepared for the storm. We had water, food, batteries, and our medicines. It’s always best to be ready for the worse as we hope for the best.

Tuesday night was the worst weather in our area. We had several tornado warnings and actual tornados near us. In fact, there was an ef2 tornado 4-5 miles from where we live. To the northwest, there was another, smaller ef1 tornado. Naturally, I earned the title of mean mom during the storm. While the tornados were dropping from the sky around us, my son wanted to drive to Taco Bell. This mean mom wouldn’t let him drive during a tornado warning during a hurricane. And for that folks, I have been dubbed ridiculous.

Wednesday and Thursday it was windy, but our weather wasn’t super bad. It was difficult to watch the utter destruction of Fort Myers as this monster storm came ashore during high tide. The storm surge with this storm was incredible and deadly. Fortunately, we could stay in contact with our friends and family on the west coast for most of the day. Thankfully, our friends and family came through the storm safely. Even though we’re moving in from Hurricane Ian, I will be sharing fundraisers benefiting our fellow Floridians who have lost everything.