Why Every Military Spouse Needs a Local Person


Everyone should have a person. Every Meredith Grey deserves a Christina Yang, and vice versa. The need to have a trusted person broadens when you are a military spouse and your family is living through a deployment cycle, especially if you have children. It's so important that you have someone who is not your spouse and not even necessarily a best friend -- you need a consistent, trustworthy and local person.

The need for this person is imperative, but unfortunately, not always easy to find. Let me explain.

When your spouse is deployed, I'm sure you'd agree there are more than enough worries on the home front. Having children increases that worry tenfold, as you try to navigate keeping things as normal as possible for them. Nothing about having your spouse on the other side of the world for several months at a time is normal, whether it's your first rodeo with separations or tenth.

There is concern for safety, getting on new schedules and even home and car maintenance (because you know Murphy's Law is going to pay a visit). While having a person to talk things through with doesn't require locality, what about if something happened to you? Having someone that can take your children in the event of an emergency involving you does require someone to be close. It also requires them to be prepared.

It's an uncomfortable conversation to have, but in talking to others in our community, it's one that we aren't having often enough.

It is not good enough to just have someone who is willing to help you out when you're in a tough spot. While that is great backup to have, your person needs to know your routine. They should know what schools your kids attend as well as how to get in contact with your next of kin. They should know to what unit or command your spouse is assigned, your spouse's rank and full name (especially if your last name is different from your spouse's) and how to reach the unit or command.

When I chose my person several years ago, in addition to asking her to fulfill that role, I created a file in both electronic and hard copy to give her. She's not a military spouse, but she was an easy choice. She knows my children, she knows how I parent and I know that she takes care of business. We are good friends, but neither of us would say we're each other's best friend. That was not a prerequisite, only that she was trustworthy, meticulous and in the event that anything ever happens to me, I have no doubt she'll do right by my family. Those were my requirements and she met every one of them. It's almost like deciding who your children's Godparents will be.

Years later, especially now when we are faced with a deployment, I communicate with my person to let her know what information needs to be updated and what's stayed the same. My parents also know my person's name and how to contact her. I seriously dread the day we have to find a new person, but with a PCS down the road, I know it's coming. This is the hard part.

Admittedly, no one likes to entertain having to make these arrangements. The first time the thought danced its way to my forethoughts, I pushed it far, far away. Like preparing for any life altering event, like a living will, it's not something that we want to do, but absolutely must. We love our family and want to take care of them in all instances, so it's necessary.

Do you have your local person? Today is the day you need to consider who she/he would be and have what will be a conversation that is not necessarily fun, but will leave you feeling better once it's established.

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