Last year was a difficult one for me. My husband was deployed for 9 months, which meant he missed most of the birthdays and holidays. He deployed in early summer, and as we approached the winter I found myself simply going through the motions. I was so tired. Since he was on the other side of the globe, we would talk at odd hours. I had difficulty sleeping without my husband at home and working around his schedule to be able to talk was difficult. The base where my husband was stationed had quite terrible internet connectivity, which meant that we weren’t able to video chat. Most of our phone conversations were disconnected due to connectivity problems.
Parenting alone was hard. Staying up late waiting for youth to come home, driving to all the events, doing all of the all of it was just wearing me down. In addition, I was dealing with excruciating pain from my gall bladder. I was waking up in pain in the night and trying to just make it through the days.
As I muddled through the numbness, I had a friend who reached out to me and invited me to a personal development conference. She also asked if I knew anyone else who might be interested in going. I immediately felt like I needed to go and invited some friends. In the end two other friends said yes, so we were planning to go as a group of four.
I was seeking medical care for my gall bladder and set a surgery date: two weeks before the conference. It was all a bit crazy and looking back I can’t believe I actually did it, but I still went to the conference. My dear friends were so amazing. They helped me carry my bags and made sure that I rested and didn’t push myself too hard.
Now, I don’t think my friends really understood how terrible I was feeling about everything. I was still, from the outside, probably functioning like a fairly rational well-adjusted person. But inside, I was trying to numb the overwhelm. They knew, of course, that my husband was deployed and that that stinks. They might have felt me pulling back a bit from things, but I think I was actually doing okay at pretending. Pretending that every moment, every day didn’t hurt.
That weekend was the beginning of me finding hope again. Immediately, I started to put into place some simple tools that helped me manage my emotions better. I began making goals again. I dared to dream big. To test ideas, and then make adjustments.
I’ve made some big, big decisions since that weekend. Lots of the goals I set right at the beginning are accomplished or being accomplished. Even more, I feel like I woke up. Some things got better with time: my husband is home now, the gall bladder removal means better health and more sleep, and those things mean I’m functioning better. But some things were never going to get better without me putting simple, small tools into place.
I knew the things I should do, but I was not doing them. I got some new ideas to try at the personal development conference, but the biggest thing I gained was hope. Hope that every day didn’t have to be so hard.
I’m so excited because I am finally doing one of the things I have wanted to do my entire grown up life: speak about relationships and marriage. I put together many of the great things I’ve studied and implemented in my own relationship, and created a program to help others strengthen their relationships. Right now, I offer a class called Loving Your Man Every Day. It is for wives and women in committed relationships who just want a little more. I love that I can see what a difference it is already making in the lives of the women I have taught.
I am so excited about what the future holds, and that is big, huge when you understand where I was emotionally less than a year ago. We can always find hope.