Last weekend we attended the Returning Warrior Workshop. You can read all about it here. For a long time I thought this would be a really great experience for my husband and I was really glad to be able to be there and support him.
Once I was there, even though I was happy to be there, I had this intense dread come over me that I didn't want to talk about "our story" or even talk about deployment at all. I've been down that road, no need to revisit it. Sure the road ahead looks hopeful but I don't want to think about or talk about it more than I already have to. I just wanted to be done with it. Enough with revisiting the past year, enough thinking about war, the tears that were shed, the pains that were suffered, and the loneliness that pervaded everything. I didn't want to talk about emotions. I didn't want to talk about r-e-i-n-t-e-g-r-a-t-i-o-n. I'm growing weary of that word and all it's impacts.
My poor husband got there and had a wave of stress, discomfort and frustration come over him. He did not do that well for the workshops the first day. It was tough. By the last session of the day I was in tears and couldn't even go into the class I had chosen to attend. I wiped up my tears and walked back to our room, stopping at the hotel Starbucks to grab a snack and a vanilla bean frappaccino.
Walking into our room alone was just the respite I needed. It was a cave to hide in. I sat and watched the hotel tv promo of all the beautiful hotels they had in all the most amazing cities of the world for over an hour. The music was so peaceful and the escapist travel bug in me felt comforted. At the end of the workshops my husband joined me and we both watched the promo repeatedly. There was something amazingly soothing about it.
Falling asleep for a nap in his arms was the perfect recovery from a long day of hearing, thinking and talking about deployment and reintegration. The evening was a delight with a fantastic meal, recognition for each warriors and their guest, and great company with our new friends we'd made in our group throughout the day.
The next morning flew by quickly with a flurry of workshops and soon we were on our way back home to our regular world and the continued journey through reintegration. It was great to feel we had made so many wonderful connections with our Navy family throughout the weekend. It was a little lonely to return to our world having felt the support and kinship of so many on the same journey. I learned so much from the other warriors who were there and they helped me understand my husband better which I was grateful for.
Even though it was difficult at times, I am so glad we went. Reintegration isn't going away just because I want it to. We're still finding our new normal as everyone calls it. Sending out my sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to a great weekend for us and so many other warrior families.