Another Favorite Way of Staying Connected Through the Distance of Deployment
This post will be very similar to my most popular post on the blog titled, “The Power of Handwritten Letters”. Click on the link provided if you have not read it.
The 2nd best way we stayed genuinely connected during deployment was reading the same book at the same time. Before my husband left for deployment (almost 8 months), we planned that I would send him a book and I would buy the same copy. We would attempt to stay on a schedule- we would read a chapter and discuss it. We discussed it via email, handwritten letter, or phone.
*Depending on where your servicemember is, the method of communication will differ. Each method has its pros and cons, but try not to compare to others. That is a whole different subject, so let’s get back to the topic.
I sent him the book he had been wanting to read, The on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
For a while, my husband and I successfully stayed on our reading schedule. It felt like he was in the same room as me. It was comforting. He would write his feelings about the chapter and his theories about what will happen next. We would ask each other open ended questions to get each other to think about the possibilities.
It was like having our own mini personal book club. The exception was we would have to wait for one another’s response, which would actually make it all the more exciting due to the anticipation.
*Keep in mind if you are one that is very bothered by spoiler alerts then this might not be for you, or choose a book that you do not care about a spoiler alert. As any couple that has gone through deployment knows communication is quite challenging. A spoiler or two maybe several is bound to happen. In my opinion I think it is less about spoilers and more about spending quality time with one another through the distance (my love language). Try not to take it too seriously.
The schedule that you planned on might get thrown off, as it did with us. I did not hear from him for about eight weeks and I was worried. Turns out they had reached their destination in the Middle East and there was no communication. There were times when he got so bored that he just read. He actually finished the book, and I was on chapter five. I did not get upset or blame him for not finding another activity. Entertainment was limited.
I got a few spoilers here and there, but I honestly didn’t care too much. In the beginning of.deployment we were very privileged and got to email and talk on the phone. Around the 3rd month communication decreased. At that point he was in the Middle East and we spoke sparingly, so I prioritized our phone calls and continued to write my thoughts about the book in handwritten letters (since he already finished it). He was happy to read my letters and continued to discuss the book with me.
We all know the military can throw off plans and schedules. He was also on deployment, so it was not luxurious.
Try to stick with the plan and do the best you can. Try not to take the schedule or spoilers too seriously. In the end, it was a great way to keep us connected- it will make you feel like you right next to one another.