Graceful Loneliness

April 6, 2011

Hi y’all! I’m Alena and I write at my wee spot of the webs called Charmingly Chandler. I write about whatever strikes my fancy, but tend to shy away from writing about our life as an Army family. Not because I am not proud of the work my husband does (there aren’t words to describe how proud I am of him), but because there’s not much I can say. And sometimes, when you’re vague, you just come off like a jerk. And I’m not a jerk. At least I don’t think I am. Hmm….am I a jerk?

Oh well back to the point at hand, I am really excited to be over here at Hormonal Imbalances talking about one aspect of being an Army wife (well, any military wife…or military husband…and even a military kiddo I suppose too) since Diana just joined me (and thousands others) in this adventure. I grew up in a military family, my parents served, some of my grandparents served, I served, my husband serves…even his brother does. I don’t know everything, but this is my wee bit of wisdom!

The Mister & Me...who knows when though.

I recently watched a documentary on Solitary Confinement. One of the psychologists said that being lonely is a physically painful state of being. It’s a human reaction that is a part of how we are made to keep us safe. When we are lonely we feel it and do something to change it. The funny thing about being an Army wife? There’s not always something you can do about it.

I am not big on feeling sorry for myself, complaining about the time I spend apart from my husband, or comparing who has it worse. The fact is though, the loneliness is the hardest part of this gig. It’s what you feel. Missing that person you vowed your life to? It physically hurts at times.

I have come to learn that everyone wants to understand, everyone wants to put themselves in your shoes by comparing their spouses business trips, long hours or working on the weekends to the time you are apart from your loved ones. And you know what you have to do? Let them.

My biggest advice to a wife (outside of being an advocate for your family and finding answers instead of waiting on them) is to not put a wedge between you and anyone else. I see it happen where someone says “I know this is so hard for you because my husband was in Atlanta for work for a week-it was so difficult!” and the military spouse comes untied. She goes off about how that’s not the same, and lists all the reasons. And their friendship is changed from that moment. Both hurt, upset and offended.

Some friends they just don’t know what to say. They know their husband wasn’t at war in Atlanta (ok well let’s be honest…some parts of Atlanta might as well be a war zone). They also know they don’t really understand. They really don’t know what to say. They are trying to offer you support the best way they know how. People are well meaning. And it isn’t our job as the wife of a military man to educate them on the difference between our families.

Loneliness hurts. And the more you isolate yourself the more it hurts. The more you point out to others (and yourself) about all the ways you have it rough…well it just makes it hurt more.

I don’t have all the answers on how to gracefully be an army wife. I do try as hard as I can so that people don’t feel bad for me or pity me. Are things easy? No. But this is the life we chose. And for now, and God willing until we are so old and gray that these days are a faded memory, we are healthy and alive. That’s saying a lot…even when there are thousands of miles between us.

I am always here to vent to, or answer questions (if I can), or just chat with when things get lonely. Because that’s something I know as an Army wife….and something we all know as humans.

12 Comments

  • Graceful Loneliness

    July 31, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    […] I recently watched a documentary on Solitary Confinement. One of the psychologists said that being lonely is a physically painful state of being. It’s a human reaction that is a part of how we are made to keep us safe. When we are lonely we feel it and do something to change it. The funny thing about being an Army wife? There’s not always something you can do about it. Continue Reading…. […]

  • Jen

    April 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Nicely done! It helps that she is so cute anyway though.

  • kim

    April 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

    It has to be difficult. And no, I can’t imagine. And I’m probably pretty selfish in that. But amazingly thankful that you do what you do. So, thank you, even if some of us are crappy at saying it 🙂 This is really well expressed — and you have wonderful self control!

  • Miranda

    April 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Hey roomies! While I have no idea what having a military spouse is like, I’m always up for a chat if you need me. Even if it’s just to say “Dude. This blows.”

    I’m good for that.

  • Jen

    April 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    What a great post Alena!! Truly graceful.

  • Teresa

    April 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I am “guilty” of saying the wrong things to military spouses. I really will never know how that feels and I thank all military families for their selfless strength. I admire you all so much.

  • TheNextMartha

    April 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the insight. I’m always a skype away.

  • Suz @ Suz’s Treats

    April 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    What a good post Roomie! 🙂 If y’all ever feel lonely, I’m usually around for a chat!

  • Heather G.

    April 6, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Alena, I love you!! Your writing always touches my heart! Thank you!

  • Katrina

    April 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

    LOVE this post! I have not yet had to go through a deployment (it’s on the horizon) but my husband and I did go through almost 8 months of separation, while I was pregnant and then as new parents, while he completed Basic and AIT…and it SUCKED! But even then I knew it wasn’t the same. Basic was ALMOST as bad because we had such limited communication; AIT was so much easier because we could talk everyday (YAY for skype!) and I even went to visit him a couple times.
    The statement that I got all the time was “I don’t know how you do it!” Sometimes it’s hard not to lash out but I’m glad I didn’t – my friends and faith were what got me through!!

  • Samantha

    April 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    What a great post. My husband travels a lot, for long periods. With 2 kids it’s hard. But I know he’s safe. And comfortable. I can’t imagine facing that.

  • Mrs.TrophyWife

    April 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Here here! I’m with ya, love. Beautiful writing, and I feel you 100%.

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