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Whether you like war or don’t, we’re in it. People we love are dying in it.

Husbands and wives are trying to figure out how to maintain normalcy for their children, who have a parent leaving for a year, coming back for a year, leaving again for a year… They’re trying to maintain a “normal” romantic relationship via email, sporadic phone calls, and – frankly – fear of death. They’re trying to get back to a “normal” marriage after a year-long separation. Family members are trying to figure out how to help someone with PTSD
or a missing leg, how to stop obsessing over their loved one once they come home (emotions that plague you on a constant basis for months at a time can’t be shut off that easily), how to stop feeling anxious, how to not think about the next deployment…

Everybody’s experience with a deployment is different, whether the person is the service member, the parent, the sibling, the child, the spouse, the best friend, or the significant other. It’s personal, unique to the individual. LIFT founder Kristen Tsetsi describes what it was like for her in an interview with author RJ Keller:

It’s a little like this: You say goodbye to the person you love, and you don’t see them for a very long time. They’re alive and you can communicate, but you can’t get at them. You can’t hold their hand or give them just one more hug. Two weeks go by. Two months, and you’re hearing bad things on the news about people not far from the person you love. Four months, now, since the last time you saw them, and you’re really wishing you could touch them for just one second because they could die tomorrow. All this time they’ve been alive on this planet with you, just hours away by plane, but you couldn’t get to them. You’re suddenly tempted to book a flight to Afghanistan or Iraq and do whatever you have to do to find them, because why not? Wouldn’t it be worth it? How can you not try to see the person you love under such circumstances? How can you just sit home and do nothing but wait?

At the very least, if the person you love is hit by a bus tomorrow on their way to work, the last time you saw them was probably today.

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