Tag Archives: communication

How to help your solider reintergrate

This weekend I will be speaking Army Reserves families who’s loved one will be returning from their deployment in 30 days. This is a very exciting time for the solider returning and their families. I remember when my daughter returned from her deployment. Thinking about us all being together again seemed like a dream. But it was real.

I am excited for those families, but I know they will have a job ahead of them. They will have to adjust to their loved being a changed person, and realize they have changed also. They will have to be patient and allow their loved one time time to adjust to living state side. They will have to flexible at including their loved back into their daily routine.

Deployment not only changes the solider, it changes everyone -Spouses Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins and family friends. It takes time adjusting back, but it does feel good be together again.

Our family gained a better understanding of our daughter’s deployment and the steps you have to take, when she had to re-intergrate.

In my speech I plan to share tips with the families in hopes of making their integration a smooth one.

How Ombudsman programs are helping military families

I was invited to speak about how deployment effected me as a guardian/grandparent at an Ombudsman conference by the Naval Reserve on Saturday January 22. I was unsure what is an Ombudsman? I had to look up the definition of word and found out  it means- a person investigates complaints and mediates fairly.

Once I realized I would be speaking  to individuals that directly  help military families I could hardly wait. Being able to share what I learned in order to help those facing what I did I could not ask for anything more. I put together a PowerPoint presentation which listed the characteristics of being a working empty nester guardian/grandparent and all the issues we faced during our daughters deployment.  I was encouraged to bring a copy of my book and any materials I felt I thought would be helpful. I brought  the magazine National Foundations November issue which featured our family, copies of 10 tips to prepare for deployment, copy of my book and a family picture.

I drove to San Diego yesterday which is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was a beautiful day and the drive went very quickly.

When I arrived at the conference I set up my display of materials onto a large table.  The conference  coordinators introduce me to  a group of approximately 30 Ombudsman . I told my story and along with my PowerPoint. they listened intently and I knew they were truly interested in better understanding of what guardians go through.

I also shared with them some of my new items I will be releasing in a few months, revising my book to include a deployment guide and my granddaughters book- Deployed Kids. This book is a kid to kid book written by my granddaughters. Once it’s published it will be available through my website. The attendees of the conference had many questions and great suggestions as I move forward in helping families on my website. They even suggested that single parents that plan to marry, the new spouse would appreciate my information. I never thought of that. They asked me if I would be able to come to events where deployed guardians would be attending and speak to those groups, and I agreed to help in anyway I could. This is what I have been waiting for.

I learned that the Navy and Coast Guard have Ombudsman’s through out the country, the Army have Army Family Liaison Officers, and the Marines have Key Volunteer Network. They all work with the Military  Family Care groups. They informed  me that the local  Orange County Marine Base Camp Pendleton  would have helped me when my daughter was deployed even though my daughter was in the Air Force.  This is something I am going to investigate into. They shared with me  that any branch of service will help a deployed family. I wondered why everyone does not know that?

These Ombudsman are the spouses of military and they truly care. One Ombudsman came up to me after I spoke and said to me “ I am sorry Debbie, we failed you while your daughter was deployed!” I told her not to worry I didn’t know at the time that there was help out there. A Naval Captain came up to me and said “ You have made my officers think about our deployed sailors and their families, Thank you for sharing your story”.

I  look forward to working with such a fine group of people dedicated to helping us clueless civilians.

I am on a mission now to get my word out to all of those helping liaisons with military families. If you know of any please send me your comments.

How to cope during the holiday when a loved one is away.

Holidays are the most difficult time to have a loved one away from home.  Family  Traditions are built over the years, and is  what we have created  making our holidays special in our hearts. We have built in  holiday habits and they are  sometimes hard to change. Specially  when you are not the one wanting to change them. I learned during deployments And if you try to continue trying to keep your holiday the same as the past  you will be very disappointed. I found you will experience feelings of loss and sadness comparing what it was like in the past.

To make this time special for you and  everyone around you, I suggest you  first start with a mind change.  Be willing to change your traditional habits this holiday and create some new ones. This will be fun creating something new.

My grandchildren were use to celebrating their holiday with their mother and father. During deployment they were unable to see their parents. I knew this was hard for my granddaughters and my daughter deployed. So I thought lets make this a different time for all. I asked my granddaughters, “ How did they want to celebrate?”. They shared what they missed , but what they wanted to have. This helped them express their feelings and my feelings too!

It was fun making up new family traditions during deployment. The children got excited creating something new.

So be a kid again, explore  fun ways to celebrate. They will remember these times and it will be a new tradition for them.