DEAR ABBY: Boy, did I identify with the letter about the Army wife whose husband is being deployed to Kuwait. My husband of 25 years is in Iraq now. It's a short deployment; however, my reaction to it was unusual for me.
At first, I took it in stride. But as the time approached for him to leave, I became anxious and depressed. I consulted a therapist, whom I'm still seeing. I had similar feelings as the wife's. I was scared out of my mind that my husband would not return and I, too, wanted a divorce. I'm still mystified about my reaction. He has been away before, but never in a place so dangerous. I, too, felt he was choosing the military over me and our kids.
The only thing that helped me when we left him at the airport was the knowledge that he really wanted to do this. I thought, if he gets killed, at least he will have died doing what he wanted. -- ALICE IN SOMERDALE, N.J.
DEAR ALICE: That letter struck a chord with many military (and former military) wives. All of them had something important to contribute. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: What that military wife needs to know is that her reaction to her husband's deployment is not uncommon. She is going through the anger/detachment withdrawal stages -- anger at the military and at her spouse for being in the military. It is common to withdraw and/or argue just prior to deployment since it can be easier to be angry than to confront the pain and loss of departure. She's not the first military spouse to have these feelings.
These hardships can seem easier to handle if the family knows they are not alone. The wife should connect with her husband's unit's Family Readiness Group to get helpful information about deployment resources and accurate information about his unit. It really does help to connect with other spouses who are going through what she's going through. If there is no one nearby, she can connect online through � HYPERLINK "http://www.cinchouse.com" ��www.cinchouse.com�.
Another resource she should be aware of is � HYPERLINK "http://www.militaryonesource.com" ��www.militaryonesource.com� (or 1-800-342-9647), where she can get answers to her questions and help 24/7. (This can include six confidential counseling sessions with therapists outside the military system.) -- KATHIE HIGHTOWER, TACOMA, WASH.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband went to Vietnam for a year, the first thing I did was get a part-time job to keep me busy. I wrote him every day and sent tapes twice a week. Many times, we would leave the recorder running so he could feel like a part of the family when we discussed various "happenings" in the kids' and my day. I taped the kids' concerts and sent them with the comment, "If I have to sit through this, so do you!" All the guys got a kick out of it, and he was the envy of all.
If she feels she needs a support group, she should contact other wives whose husbands are overseas. They can comfort each other. Also, instead of looking for people to help her, she should volunteer to help others less fortunate. She doesn't need a therapist as much as she needs a LIFE. -- VENETA L., GREAT FALLS, MT.
DEAR ABBY: Instead of distancing herself, that wife needs to talk about her fears to her husband. If she does, she may be surprised to learn that they both fear the same thing.
Many times we don't want to do things, but do them we must. I agree with you, Abby; the woman should continue counseling. -- BARBARA IN PORTSMOUTH, VA.