When People We Love, Leave

When People We Love, Leave


By Fran Hafey

Whether a person you love is leaving to go away for a short time or forever, it's never an easy thing. Many deal with being separated for various reasons. We physically miss people but we also feel the aching in our hearts.

One of my daughters lives in Arizona with her husband who's in the Military. She called one night to say he was being deployed for six months to a year. Having been a Military wife myself at one time, I truly understood many of the emotions she was dealing with. I felt their pain as they were making preparations.

We know that when we are military, there may be times when we cannot be together, but that doesn't make it any easier. Sometimes we walk around in a daze not soaking up the reality of it all, until it's almost time for them to go or until after they leave.

I will share a small story of my own.

When my husband was preparing to leave, years ago, for a World Cruise, we knew he would be gone for six months. We had children, but the two girls were living elsewhere at the time, from a previous marriage. We also had a son named Joshua, who was three. Children often don't understand what's happening. Although we shared that Daddy would be gone for a while, it just doesn't mean much to a three year old or does it? The day came and my husband left for Norfolk Virginia. At the time we lived in Maryland, so he had a long drive. We went over last minute instructions, checklists, reminders and tears. I tried to be strong for Josh.

In the hours that followed, I remember trying to hold myself together, only crying at night when I was alone. Josh had been doing well for quite some time and was out of diapers. Suddenly he began to have accidents at night and reverting back to many of the things he had done when he was younger. It got worse and worse, and dealing with my own emotions, I finally took him to a Child Psychologist at the Military Hospital in Bethesda Maryland. They observed him and talked with us both and finally said something to me that stung at the moment, but taught me so much.

They said "We don't see anything wrong with Josh, but we're concerned about you!" I was a bit shocked, and asked why? They said that many times when spouses leave, the spouse and family left at home try to hide our true feelings. We, as parents, want to be adults and be tough so the kids do well.

That night I thought about those words very much. I went over all we had said and done in preparing for this separation of our family.

It finally came to me. We had been telling Josh to be a big boy. His Dad had said "You take care of Mom for me while I'm gone ok?" and of course Josh said yes.

He had reverted back to being a baby, because this was a big a job for a three year old. He just couldn't do it. He felt sad and felt like he had let us down, especially his Dad. He was just a small boy, just a baby. He felt he wasn't able to handle the huge stress of caring for his Mother, but he would not give up. When I realized this I cried, not sure whom I was crying for or what, but I knew I had to do something.

I remember the next day the phone rang and it was my husband calling from Spain, a rare treat back then. We talked and shared, and then I told him what had been happening with Josh. He talked with him and when we had said our good-byes I went to my small son and held him on my knee as I sat close to the floor.

I said I loved him and that Daddy would be home soon. Then I did something that we all need to do now and then. I let my feelings flow. I held him close and I cried and said, "I miss Daddy very much." I remember his little hand, patting me on the back and him saying " I miss Daddy too Mommy, and it's going to be ok." I wondered for a flighting moment, who was the adult and who was the child. That night, we both slept better. He never had another accident in bed and although some day's drug on, we both knew we had each other and we made the best of everything.

We must learn to show our true feelings, not to hold them in. Crying, anger and sadness are not negative feelings that we must suppress, they are just feelings like all the others and we may need to learn how to let them out in a productive way.

I try to share with people, that if you feel angry or sad, that's ok. We've been taught many times, that they're "wrong" and "bad" but they're not. They're emotions that everyone has. Instead of holding it in, taking it out on your self or in time exploding or letting it turn into depression... find a way to let it out. If you're dealing with separation from your loved ones or a loved one, please remember it's ok to feel whatever it is your feeling. There is nothing wrong with it.

Some suggestions I have are:

* Start a journal. Put your feelings in writing.

* Keep busy, in a good way. Go for a walk, start a new hobby or get back to an old one. Read, try gardening, play music, get out of the house, tackle a job you have been meaning to do and help others. These are just a few and I know you can think of more.

* Spend more time with your kids and family.

* Call an old friend and make plans.

* Volunteer. Do something that makes a difference. Get involved, go back to school and do something that makes you feel great!

* If you find you are depressed and that things just don't feel good anymore, please seek out medical help, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is a fact, we all have dealt with and getting help is a good thing. But, remember you're in control of your own body, if you feel something is not right, listen to your inner voice.

I know that I will never forget the day when a three year old held me and told me everything was going to be all right. It's very true, that the truth comes from the mouth of babes.

About the Author

Fran Hafey is a Reiki II Practioner, writer, Spiritual Counselor and teacher. She provides guidance and inspiration via her website, groups and newsletter on the World Wide Web. To read more of her articles visit the her Website or Spiritual Pathways. She's currently working on publishing her own books about love, inspiration, magic and nature stories for children of all ages.

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