In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy talks with Becca Willey, an army wife, mother of three, business owner of Radon Express, and board member of Naperville Salute, and organizations, that celebrate Veterans and First Responses raising money to give back to the veterans in the Chicagoland area.
18 Month Countdown
Becca has been through this drill before, deployment, time apart, and back together. This time, deployment comes, 18 months long, and now three kids are at home. Just when you think you are ready, it hits, she was not as mentally prepared as she thought. Navigating new waters, with three other bodies, but she is not alone.
Buddy Check, how are you? “ Drowning but ok!” I pick up the phone and call, “ it’s not ok to be drowning.” We proceed to talk openly, this wouldn’t happen if buddy checks weren’t in place.
Grieving the loss of who he was
When a first responder leaves for a shift, whether it be 12 hours, 48 hours, or 18 months, they come home a different person. Life circumstance changes every time you walk back into your front door and when you leave. There is a feeling that seems impossible to describe because you haven’t lost someone, they are coming home, however, it feels isolating. It’s called grief, you are grieving the person you knew, who you love, and who you will miss. Grieving, yes, because they are changing while they are gone. They don’t know what call, event, or discussion they have to make will change them, or even if they will realize it has changed them. You are grieving the loss of who you were as well. Don’t forget that, family is your biggest support system, and they are serving next to you from the home front.
When is the right time?
There is no right answer to knowing when the right time to tell family you are leaving. Or even if they would understand the length of time. Finding that tool earlier can help you and your family. Let the kids talk openly, and let them see your emotions. They will know it’s ok to let the tears fall, it’s ok to be angry at that moment. Because that is Processing in a healthy way. Sometimes, that is all you need is someone to sit with no judgment.
Give yourself grace, don’t judge yourself for feeling overwhelmed, confused, or angry. Forgive yourself, it’s ok to sit here taking in the new normal, the unknown, that is processing. Remember not to stay there, find yourself, You Be You, so that you can be there for yourself.
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