Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Emotional Cycle of Seperation

Leif and the boys coloring over Skype 2012

Today during Sunday School I was taken back to the days leading up to Leif's first time moving away from our family. I remembered the raw emotion of the situation and the complete heartache I felt about him leaving. It was close to my worst nightmare coming true. He was leaving. And my mind and heart could hardly carry on.  I remember sobbing every day and night before he left.

Today we watched a video about a wife who was faced with a similar situation when her husband was called up to deploy to the Middle East with the National Guard.  She tells about the raw heartache and shock that she experienced and the utter fear of not being able to carry the load alone. She then shared her story of the One moment when she was eventually able to put her trust in the Lord's plan and how beautiful the journey became in the end.

Unlike this woman, there isn't One moment that I can remember when I suddenly felt all better and all trusting during that year that Leif was gone to school. However, I know without a doubt that I was carried, and the mercy of God was upon me as I carried on the best that I could. Day by day, week by week, month by month, I grew into the woman that my Father in Heaven knew I was. A wife and Mother who can, in fact, do hard things!

During our lesson, which has been a special lesson series focused on the needs of military families and others (like us) who often face times of separation. We discussed a list of symptoms that couples often face as they prepare for the time of separation. The list presented was Spot On.

Detachment and Withdrawal  -Last week before departure - Spouses may feel anger and create emotional distance - Spouses have mixed feelings and try to protect themselves from hurt - Family members may experience grief - Feelings of detachment or withdrawal may accompany the whole period of separation

Our first time apart was torture for me because Leif unintentionally detached himself from us in varying degrees throughout the year. And me, being severely co-dependent, fought the feelings of rejection
constantly.  And again, gradually I was able to overcome these feelings and realize that there was no rejection taking place. We both grew tremendously that year. But I will never deny that it was the hardest year on our marriage so far in our journey.

Leif and I kept a private blog together that year titled "Love Letters Along the Way."  In the beginning I'm sad to say, it is filled with sob stories, rants, and pity parties from me. However, gradually it became a place where we were able to share our love through posting songs to each other. It was also a place we were able to share our testimonies, our hopes, and words of encouragement for one another.

At the close of our lesson I was filled with the reminder that there truly is Hope in all things! Through the strength we gain from our Savior and our support network of friends and family, we can do all that is required of us.

“I testify that as you do your very best in the most difficult of human challenges, heaven will smile upon you. Truly you are not alone. Let the redemptive, loving power of Jesus Christ brighten your life now and fill you with the hope of eternal promise. Take courage. Have faith and hope. Consider the present with fortitude and look to the future with confidence” (“Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 39). 

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