I'm glad he's home: Reintegrating after deployment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brigitte N. Brantley-Sisk
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
It's great having someone around again to change the light bulbs and fix closet doors, but those were the small things that were easy to let go for the past four and a half months while my husband was deployed.

Since we had been married for only two months before my husband, Staff Sgt. Clifford Sisk, an aircrew flight equipment NCO at the 38th Rescue Squadron, deployed, taking over both our domestic duties wasn't as tough as it might have been for someone with six children.

I'm terrible at any type of mechanical job, so I'm glad the experience of being a newlywed wife going through our first deployment as a couple is over.

For a week before he returned, the bathroom tub was clogged and drained slowly. I did everything I could to unclog it, pouring gallons of cleaner down the drain and using various tools to break up whatever was in there. It took Cliff less than five minutes to figure out the switch to the drainage valve was flipped in the wrong direction.

Aside from having his help around the house, we've just enjoyed our time getting re-acquainted and getting back into the groove of how things were before he left. We've been communicating just as well now as we did before he left, but he was in a relatively undangerous place and didn't face close calls or traumatic events.

However, some members coming back don't reintegrate so easily into their work or home lives. While some families have a harder time getting back into their comfort zones, it should never be a violent process.

There are a few sources on base for any service member or spouse who needs help with reintegrating.

One of those sources is the Military Family and Life Consultant program, which provides free, anonymous counseling. They can be reached any day of the week from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The counselor can meet anywhere except the customer's home. There are two MFLCs: the one who handles adult issues can be reached at 229-834-6888 and the one who handles child issues can be reached at 229-412-2671.

Another source is the Family Advocacy clinic, which can be reached at 229-257-4805. The clinic provides treatment services for many situations but also provides preventive services for situations like domestic abuse.

Last is the Airman and Family Readiness Center, which can be reached at 229-257-3333. They provide support for spouses beginning with a predeployment briefing given prior to the service member's departure.

Just having someone to talk to can relieve some of the stress related to deployments. Although it can be tough not having your spouse around for months at a time, I never felt comfortable complaining about it. Military spouses choose this lifestyle and whatever comes from it is a result of being married to a man in uniform.

When I was having a day where I hated the world and just wished he was here to be with me, I played music that tended to stop any self-pity in its tracks. My favorite selections were "American Soldier" by Toby Keith, "Letters from War" by Mark Schultz, and "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood.

Not only do they reinspire some patriotism in your heart, it's hard to feel bad for yourself when hearing about what many service members actually endure over there.

Our spouses are the ones in a foreign place while missing anniversaries, holidays and birthdays. Cliff missed a few of those and while it was unfortunate, self-pity doesn't make the time pass any faster.

I was lucky that Cliff and I spoke a few times a week, but it was the other ways we communicated that made the time passing more bearable. I sent him some care packages with cookies (not necessarily baked by me) and he sent me flowers and chocolate. We also regularly sent letters and e-mails about the everyday occurrences in our lives.

Now all Cliff has left to do is complete his "honey do" list (the first of many) and hopefully not get too much sleep.

Good wishes to the spouses of Moody's approximately 1,000 currently deployed personnel and welcome back 38th Rescue Squadron!