Tag Archives: understanding

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 can there be different stages during deployment?

No one told me that there were different phases I would be experiencing  during my daughter’s deployment .

In the beginning of my daughters’ deployment all I could do was to try and get my granddaughters settled to their new surroundings. And  I was adjusting to my new role as their temporary mother. I was unsure that I would face during  deployment. I soon found learned that there are  three stages of deployment.




Pre-deployment is a  preparation for my new role as a mother to my granddaughters. I had very little time to really think about what I was about to encounter. I was in shock when my daughter told us she was to deploy. She tried to full warn me but I stayed in a denial, hoping if I did not think about deployment it would not effect me.  That was a big mistake!  Once I learned my daughter was to deploy, I asked myself “How could this happen?” “Why me?”  I did not understand that all I did was make things harder for myself by not preparing. Do yourself a favor, learn what you can as soon as possible. The more time you can think about your new upcoming situation the better it will be for you.

I have 10 tips list to help you prepare.

Once deployment has happened  its strange at first . You are trying to adjust to your new role. You fill feel frustrated, anxious, and just plan scared. This is because you have never experienced this before. I tried very hard to stay positive for my granddaughters and my daughter. Our family was  all trying to be brave for one another. I couldn’t share what I was truly feeling, I was  so scared. I soon learned to  imagine a good outcome. Picturing everyone happy and all together again.

Communicating with the deployed, this can be very comforting for all of us. My daughter was unable to contact us for several weeks, so I experienced a feeling of loss.  Cut off from her. But once she did call us, that feeling went away.

I established daily routines for myself, granddaughters and my husband and life started becoming easier. Focusing on what we had to do each day, week and up coming month.

Reintegration was something I was totally unprepared for. I though it would be like Christmas, everyone would celebrate and we would be happy.

I learned that  my daughter’s deployed lifestyle was so different  compared to her lifestyle here in the USA . When my daughter returned she was thrilled to be with her children, but her attitude had changed. I found out later this was very common.  I think this was one of hardest parts of deployment as a parent. You just want your child to be like how they were before deployment, but they have changed. I can say it took my daughter several weeks to adjust to being a mother again, and months getting use to working and living back in her old routine prior to her deployment. One thing I recommend is to be very patient. Try to be understanding and  remember time heals all.

I also was told by a nurse, working with returning Vets- the deployed  adrenal glands are so pumped up because of their deployed working environment, it’s hard for them to relax when they come home. Once deployment is over they feel like they have been running a marathon and now they have hit a wall. My daughter experienced challenges in making any kind of decisions, which was totally uncharacteristic for her.  She became frustrated with herself.

What I was unaware of at the time, that helped my daughter during this transition time, was she stayed with us for the first three weeks of her leave. This helped her ease into readjusting back to motherhood. What I found out was the entire family has to reintegrate.  My granddaughter’s got use to having their mother around and I started letting go of being a mother to my granddaughters . We were all reintegrating back to what we once were before deployment.

Once you understand the different stages of deployment and how to adjust to them, you will have a better understanding of the process.

Red Cross of Southern California has help for the deployed families


I had the opportunity to share my story with the Red Cross last week .

My understanding of  the Red Cross  is to assist the military families when the families needed a message sent to their deployed family member and visa verse, which is true. What I have also learned  is that the Red Cross has many other responsibilities  for the  deployed military.

Helping deployed families get assistance in many capacities. They have available information for deployed families with preschool children that have their parent deployed. Materials on how to understand how the deployed military person will think, when returning back from their tour of duty. Books on how what the military family member will be going through when they return.

When my daughter returned I thought it would be like Christmas, everyone happy and excited to be together again. Part of this is true  for the families members waiting for their loved one to return. But for the deployed returning they did not want this type of  attention given to them for doing their job, this is a very tough transition for them. I had to learn this the hard way.  My daughter was in an a very intense environment with close relationships with her counter parts feeling the same way she did. The serviceperson knows they are totally on their game, doing what they were trained for, and doing it well. A feeling of outstanding achievement. Coming home the transition  felt so meaningless for her in the beginning. Our lifestyle here in the states, we complain about things, and really don’t understand what life and death really means. Who wouldn’t have a hard time with readjusting back to our society? I surely would.

But the Red Cross has information to help you. Contact your local Red Cross and access what will help you get your loved one back on track.

One thing I did was to try and ask my daughter how she was feeling. I let her take the lead and share what she wanted to. She told me in the beginning she did not feel like she fit in here, and was concerned how she was going to raise her children. But in time she adjusted and so did we. It took her 3 weeks to start opening up about her feelings. This is not an over night fix, it took months until she really could connect like she once did prior to deployment.

Be patient. Take time with your loved one to understand what they are going through.

I am looking forward to working with the Red Cross  and helping those parents and families members with deployment. Striving to share what the Red Cross has to offer the resources for military families.