We have had a long deployment break, in fact I am sure it is longer than the rest of my Spousebuzz cohorts. I won't even mention it out of fear of the stones that could be thrown. We at Spousebuzz have posted about the guilt regarding long breaks in deployments as well. When your job as a family is "to serve" and everyone else is serving, at some point and time you feel as if you are not pulling your weight.
When we went through our last move, we missed 2 National Guard deployment cycles by luck, and not choice, and DH was very disappointed. I was actually relieved, and felt guilty about it.
Recently my husband had to attend a ceremony, and it was mandatory that the entire family go. That week was a difficult one, as my Father had been in and out of the hospital with multiple health problems including kidney failure, a brand new diagnosis of diabetes, and a very large blood clot in his lower leg. It was a long week, and I was spent.....it was also the week I turned 40. My Husband said "there was no good time to tell me the news".
Five minutes before leaving the house for the event, my husband pulls me aside while I am finishing off the final touches of lipstick to say..."you should probably know, I will be deploying in a year." I know now he was thwarting some possible disaster of me finding out in a public forum, because I may have punched someone. For some reason, I became angry at my husband immediately. I did not yell, or stomp feet, but I was mad at him. I am still unsure why completely. But I contend that it was because he volunteered without asking my input, even though if he would have asked I would have said "yes". So frankly, I am unsure why I felt it so necessary to stew in my own juices.
Looking back on our deployment history though, I have never received the news well.
The first deployment we had in a unit that was in a LRSD, which meant there was no notification at all. Poof , a phone call from overseas. The deployment after that, I found out at unit functions from idle chitter chatter. I found out about one from having one of DH's friends over for dinner, I also found out about a deployment after my Father listened to the radio, and info had been leaked. I was angry every single time. I am sort of ashamed, and feel very immature for handling the news like I did.
You know how the dynamic in the family changes once you find out about a deployment, well maybe some of you are. For us, it alters and shifts the dynamic, not in a bad way or good way...it is what it is. My head shifts to what do I need before he is gone, we need more pictures of us as a family, there is all of the ugly paperwork, trying to anticipate every single thing that could go wrong and head it off at the pass (impossible). I also try and squeeze in family time at every single turn. I realize the reason DH did want me to know WAAAAY ahead of time, because that shift in dynamic gets OLD quick. Too much time preparing for a deployment is not always good for our family.
I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to break this news to me gently. I will never jump up and down clapping and cheering that word, no matter how proud I am of my Husband's service.