Fly: A Story of Coping with Deployment

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Hand in hand they walked towards the airport terminal.

When they got to the gate the United States Navy Sailor bent down, fervently kissed his wife, then briskly walked away…wanting to put this deployment behind him.

As he disappeared into the plane his wife heard sobbing in the not too far distance. Holding her head high, not wanting tears of her own, she slowly turned around to find the source of the crying.

A few feet away she saw a young couple…a soldier and his girlfriend, standing in the corner. Fear was in his eyes as he desperately tried to console her with promises of coming home safely and forever love.

The sailor’s wife walked over, wrapped the girl in her arms, and then told the soldier that he should leave, that his girl would be taken care of.

As he walked away the upset girl looked up at a face not much older than hers, and said “you can’t possibly help me, you have no idea what this feels like.”

The Navy wife, her heart overflowing with sorrow, calmly said  “I don’t have any idea what you are feeling, I won’t try to understand. All that I know it was it feels like for me to watch a loved one walk away.”

Curious, the girlfriend calmed her crying enough to ask “What does this feel like for you?”

“There are no words to describe this,” she said, “just an analogy that might help.”

“To me it feels like I have been pushed off of a cliff. As I’m falling the wind takes the air from me and makes my chest ache. I’m confused as to why I was pushed, and angry at myself for choosing to live so close to the edge.

I try to slow down the fall, but soon enough I accept that I am falling.

Eventually I hit water, shocked at the reality of how cold the water is.

My chest hurts, my head is dizzy, my body is cold, and I decide that I don’t want to live…I don’t want to feel this way anymore.

I start to drown, hoping that this pain will quickly end.

It isn’t long before I realize that I am in shallow water and have to choose.

I have to choose to continue to let myself drown, or to straighten my legs and somehow find the strength to swim upstream to shore.

That is what it feels like to me.”

As the Soldier’s girl listened she felt that she could relate. She had a hard time breathing, her heart hurt, and she wanted something, anything, to take away the pain. She looked into the face of the woman who understood so well, and asked another question. “If it hurts this much for you then why are you so calm, so put together?”

The Navy wife forced a smile on her face and said “I have been pushed over that cliff many times by the big man (the one with deployment orders) and finally decided one day that I didn’t like him pushing me. This time, as I watched him walk towards me, I knew that there was no way around the fall. So I turned around, faced the chasm, and jumped. I embraced the feelings to come, but this time something was different.

This time I learned to fly.”

 

This story that I wrote has been published in The Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families book. If you like these heartfelt short stories then check out the book. Part of the proceeds go to the USO, a program that helps military members and their families.

One thought on “Fly: A Story of Coping with Deployment

  1. Donah @ SJB

    May 28, 2017 at 2:13pm

    This one is so amazing. I really checked on the ‘chicken soup for the soul’, it is so touching. The armed forces really need something like this. And salute to you for participating this cause!

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    • Author

      Shannon

      May 28, 2017 at 5:29pm

      Thank you! I cried while reading almost every story in the book, they are all very heartfelt and eye-opening to the life that military members live.

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  2. Leah

    May 28, 2017 at 11:09am

    What a beautiful story, I’m thankful I met my husband after he left the military – I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to go long periods without him x

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    • Author

      Shannon

      May 28, 2017 at 5:31pm

      I started dating my husband right before he left for boot camp, and while I wouldn’t trade our military experience for the world, there have been times that I wish we got married after he was out! The time apart was extremely difficult, but we are so much stronger now!

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  3. Cynthia Nicoletti

    May 27, 2017 at 11:02pm

    Such a wonderful story written. I do feel for you. It is so nice you shared and it was published. That is awesome.

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  4. Ana

    May 27, 2017 at 3:18pm

    What a beautiful way of overcoming negativity, by turning that sorrow into a journey where you fly. Such beautiful words and so wonderfully written x

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  5. David Elliott

    May 26, 2017 at 6:25pm

    Very cute story. I cant imagine how difficult it would be to face all of that. I am sure it’s not easy but you do well.

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  6. nique

    May 26, 2017 at 3:44pm

    Wow after reading this I may check out the book this is a nice story i was getting into it until you just end it 🙂

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    • Author

      Shannon

      May 26, 2017 at 3:46pm

      Thanks! The stories in this book are designed to be short stories, so I had a word limit to work with. There are 101 heartfelt short stories like this one in the book.

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  7. Jackie

    May 26, 2017 at 2:18pm

    What a beautiful story and so sweet. My dad was in the navy but never experienced anything like it. I have to give props to all of them going through this. You should write more.

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  8. Kaylee

    May 26, 2017 at 12:21pm

    This was a beautiful story. I can’t imagine how hard it is each time he is deployed.

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  9. Nini Perez

    May 26, 2017 at 8:16am

    “This time I learned to fly.”

    Oh my! That was beautiful. It really does lighten the burden when we learn to embrace those that we can.

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  10. Carol Cassara

    May 26, 2017 at 7:51am

    I can only imagine the pain that you feel every time your husband walks away towards his deployment. I love how you described the feeling, so poetic.

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  11. Elizabeth O.

    May 26, 2017 at 7:50am

    You made me so emotional, I love how you described what you were feeling, very heartfelt and true. It’s never easy to watch a loved one walk away.

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  12. Anonsa

    May 26, 2017 at 7:34am

    I can feel the sadness being away with your loved ones. I am sure it really entails a lot of trust and sacrifice for both parties.

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  13. Elizabeth

    May 26, 2017 at 6:52am

    I can’t imagine that would be an easy life at all. It’s not something I’d ever sign up for, that’s for sure! Beautiful heartfelt story though, and well done on getting it published!

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  14. Cristina

    May 26, 2017 at 5:53am

    Wonderful story. I loved every word. Really emotional. So happy I read it

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  15. Megan

    May 26, 2017 at 2:34am

    I am in tears. That was so beautiful and glad that it got published so that others could be helped by it!

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  16. Amanda

    May 26, 2017 at 2:24am

    This is a great story. I know many military wives who have to deal with this. Very touching.

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  17. Claudia Krusch

    May 26, 2017 at 12:58am

    I need to get a copy of The Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families book. My friend just married a Military man and I am sure it will help her deal with her new life.

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  18. Amber

    May 25, 2017 at 7:46pm

    This is a wonderful article. My husband has deployed many times and it’s never easy. Congrats on your story being published!

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  19. Corinne & Kirsty

    May 25, 2017 at 5:48pm

    Such a beautiful story. So emotional. The end is absolutely amazing. Very happy that you got published! you deserve it! xx corinne

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  20. Rhonda Chavez

    May 25, 2017 at 1:15am

    Reading this made me cry. I’m very happy that you got published that is great news and a great accomplishment.

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