As I write this, emotions are raw and uncertainty abounds. Do other military spouses get this connected to their lives at a single duty station? Am I going to feel this way with every move, or is this circumstance unique? Will I ever feel like this about people and a particular place again?
As my experienced military spouse friends say, I “hit the jackpot” of duty stations. I agree that being stationed in Germany has been one of the best experiences of my life. How will I handle being back in the States? Will the sense of community feel as strong? Will it feel like home?
I often look to my friends for insight, but some questions simply can’t be answered.
Reality Is Setting In
Since my first article in the series, new developments have solidified that this move IS actually happening:
We have our flight date. I won’t forget the day my husband walked in and told me our date of departure. “Please don’t tell me it’s on my birthday,” I pleaded. No. It was just before – a small victory. Additionally, we’re leaving from a nearby airport – another small victory. I then ran out of silver linings. I went to the calendar and counted backwards to quantify my time. I messaged the news to my close friends, which was met with sorrow.
We have our shipping date. The pickup date of our personal belongings served as a swift wake-up call. In just a few weeks, we will be without familiar belongings that help make this house a home. This will be particularly challenging for our children. The dates just creep closer and closer, closing in on what little time we have left. Although we will still live here for several weeks after the moving trucks pull away, life as we know it will not look the same.
Accepting My Feelings
My husband is taking care of the majority of office visits and scheduling at the moment, which I appreciate. He also understands my need to talk to and be with friends right now. Spending time in person, while I still can, with both my American and German friends is my top priority.
I acknowledge that it’s okay to feel initial shock and sorrow. I’ve also warned my husband that I will most likely experience a “grieving” period once I’ve relocated. But, in any way I can, I will make the most of my time both here and at my next duty station. I may get sad, but I won’t stay sad. That’s simply not my style.
I look at other military families in my community and realize that every single one of them has gone through this, survived it, learned from it, and have come out strong, enriched and resilient.
If anything, I’ll discover that I can make a home anywhere I want to. And just because I’ve moved doesn’t mean that I’ve lost my connection with those close to me, no matter how far away they may be.
Please stay tuned for my next articles as I navigate through my PCS. Special thanks are extended to AFN Wiesbaden’s DJ Paul Hughes, aka “The Brit,” for inspiring this series.
Click to hear Jackie’s radio interview with Paul “The Brit.”
A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops chronicles her experiences in Europe through American eyes. Born in Florida and stationed in Germany, the mother of two enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Currently she is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and a recurring on-air guest with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen traversing Europe with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her on Twitter.
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