Deployment Emotional Cycles: Stage 2 for an Army Mom

A stone marker for Tristan, Tracie's grandson.

I do not experience detachment and withdrawal prior to deployment as spouses do; as the mother of a soldier my physical daily life doesn’t change when my son deploys.  I can, however, appreciate how stressful this stage is for couples as I’ve watched Josh and Alison struggle to get everything in order while trying to make the most of every minute as his departure date drew closer.

The final days prior to Josh’s deployment for me were about preparing my heart and mind for the next year.  My thoughts often drifted to the losses our family experienced over the past year: Josh and Alison lost their first baby boy, Tristan Joshua Nearhoof, at seventeen weeks into the pregnancy on June 4, 2010, my mother, Dorothy Mae Zeller, died on September 6, 2010, and Josh and Alison lost their second baby boy, Easton Tower Nearhoof, at seventeen weeks on March 23, 2011.

A stone marker for Easton, another grandson.

All families experience death and loss at some point, but military families cope with these situations in addition to the challenges that come with a life of service to your country.  While still mourning the loss of three precious family members, our family was preparing for another deployment.

I worried about Josh heading off to war after losing two baby boys in less than a year and was equally concerned with Alison being separated from Josh so soon after their losses.  The thought of facing this deployment without my mother was overwhelming for me—she was a constant source of strength and encouragement during Josh’s first two deployments.  The image of Josh’s somber face as he received his grandmother’s service flag at her funeral is burned into my mind.

The biggest challenge for me as the mother of a soldier is managing my thoughts and emotions. It is natural during the days before deployment to be constantly thinking about all the possibilities of the year in front of me, but I’ve learned from previous deployments that I must not focus on the what-ifs, the worries, or the fears because they will consume me.

Josh receiving his grandmother’s flag at her funeral on Sept. 10, 2010.

Other blog postings by Tracie Ciambotti:

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