Monday, May 6, 2013

When I Don't Hear From My Husband....

I hadn’t heard from my husband in 24 hours and I was beginning to panic.

And yes, I get that there are wives who go days..WEEKS…without hearing from their man. But Tom is not on the front lines. He’s in a place where he’s able to communicate. We have a routine where we speak at about the same time and he never showed up.

I thought, okay, he had to work later. No biggie.

But as the hours slipped by, I started to worry. Where was he?

He might not be at a dangerous base but really, no place over there is completely safe.

My imagination began to go wild. What if…what if….their base was attacked? But no, there had been nothing on the news about it.

What if…what if…a soldier went crazy? The base Tom is at is a hub from those coming from Afghanistan. PTSD is a serious thing. And sometimes there are soldiers who lose it. Have you seen Hector from Army Wives?

What if…what if…Tom collapsed? Heart problems run in their family. In fact, Tom’s Dad had a heart attack when he was away from Tom’s Mom. They normally chatted at a certain time, he never showed up, and hours later soldiers came to her door informing her that her husband had died of a heart attack.

I couldn’t freak out in front of the kids though. I had to put on a happy face. Make dinner. Act as though everything were okay.

I don’t know how you wives who have soldiers on the front lines do it. I’d be a mess. It’s no secret that I can be overly dramatic….which is why I shouldn’t be surprised that I birthed a daughter who is, well, overly dramatic. I checked my phone every two seconds. The battery drained so I plugged it in beside me. I kept checking Skype. I kept checking Facebook.


I pictured him sprawled out on the floor in the gym. The gym, because he’s been working out since he’s been over there. He has a bad shoulder. Bad knees. A BAD HEART. Oh God. He could be in a hospital bed writhing in pain. Moaning, “I can’t feel my toes..”

Okay, probably not. I watch too many hospital dramas.

I began pacing the room. I do this when I’m nervous. Natalie started following me.

“What are we doing?” she asked. She smacked into my butt when I abruptly stopped. I thought I heard my phone go off. I rushed to it and…no, just a game alert.

I chewed all my fingernails. It’s a nasty habit, yes, but I do it when I’m worried.

I sent Tom texts that said,

“Are you okay? Please contact me!”

“It’s been 24 hours. Are you alive? What is happening?”

“You know how I get when I panic. I no longer have fingernails and I’ve consumed 1 cupcake, 2 chocolate bars, and a shot of vodka.”

Down on the couch I went.

Up from the couch I went.

I couldn’t sit still.

It wouldn’t be so bad if Tom warned me that we wouldn’t be able to speak. This has happened before during exercises. “It’ll be a couple of days before we can talk again..” Okay, fine. I can deal with that.

But when I don’t know what’s happening? I don’t react well.

I sent one final text before I went upstairs to bed. I didn’t think I could sleep but I had to rest. To do something.

“I hope you’re okay. Please contact me when you can. I don’t care if it’s 2 AM my time.”

And then seconds later.


My phone!

I dove for it.

It was HIM!

“Sorry. Internet just came back up. We had a black out. Didn’t mean to worry you.”

He’s okay! He’s breathing!

I told him it was okay, that I was just happy that he was still with us.

“You’re weird,” he told me.

(Only he spelled it your weird. Because he likes to rile me up with using the incorrect your. He says the English language is dumb and we don’t need all these differing words which also tends to rile me up.)

So yes. I couldn’t get a hold of my husband for over 24 hours. It turned out okay.

My heart goes out to all you spouses who go for days and sometimes weeks without knowing what is going on.

I’d be permanently without nails if I had to go through that.


  1. Jeez I can only imagine how stresfull that can be. Fingers crossed they don't have more back outs

  2. Oh, I would've been a nervous wreck. I cannot imagine being a military spouse. I have nothing but respect for you. So glad he's okay!

  3. Was this recently? Was the blackout due to the KIA Airmen from Fairchild? :/

  4. I would've been acting the same way! Glad he's ok! :-)

  5. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I can only imagine how freaked out I would be if I didn't communicate with my hubby every day. Glad it all worked out well in the end. Followed you from SITS. Have a blessed day!

  6. The same thing happened to us a couple weeks ago. I was with friends all day so I was distracted for most of the blackout, but I was definitely worried and going through worst case scenarios in my head. I'm glad it worked out and that your man is okay! Sending lots of prayers and positive thoughts for your family.

  7. Doesn't matter if its one day, one week, or one month ... separation causes your brain to go a little haywire. We live on the "weeks at a time" schedule, and even though I KNOW the reason, I still worry and worry and worry. :) Glad you got your phone call!

  8. Whew!!

    (and on a side note, I am a blubbering panicky mess when my husband rides his motorcycle and doesn't show up when he's supposed to)

  9. So scary. I figured all was ok but I was a little breathless reading it. Sometimes on a more minor level, my husband doesn't open up the line of communications very well when he should and I do worry when he's on business trips.

  10. I would have been the same way. So glad he is ok.

  11. Wow!! I think I would have panicked just like you. Heck, I freak out like that when Mr. Big has to go out of town and he's not in the military....and yeah, you're kinda weird but aren't we all?

  12. So glad he turned up OK!! I have a shitfest if my mother doesn't respond to my texts. I start to worry that she'd hurt herself somewhere and couldn't let me know. I start to worry that I didn't see her before I left for work, was she still in bed? Was she still ALIVE? I go through all these scenarios and then when I get home, I scowl the biggest frown you could ever see while I stalk through the house and slam doors and she's all "what? What did I do?"

  13. Glad everything was okay. All the best to you and your family.

  14. I am exactly the same way with my husband...and he isn't away from home!! ;) I think you are totally justified in feeling the way you do! :)-Ashley

  15. So glad he was ok! I'd be a wreck too. Hopefully next time he will be able to warn you.

  16. My mom freaks out if I don't call her everyday. Once she flipped because the whole family went swimming and we didn't have our phones on u s9 obviously) and she couldn't get a hold of us. We found 4 voicemails on our phones when we got back to them.

  17. This is such an engaging story. I promise you that in my mind I was sitting up and sitting down on the couch visualizing you pacing and biting you We have wild imaginations. I would have been freaking out too. Andrea @ visiting from SITS.

  18. I'm so glad your husband is ok! I think my brother is going to the same base your husband is at (based on how you described the base). He is somewhere else training right now but he will be there later this month. I feel better knowing that he will be with someone I "know", even if it's only through this blog.

  19. Glad he was okay. It would have been great to know ahead of time though, right?

    Did you see that segment on 60 minutes last week about Army dogs and their soldiers? It was quite moving. I thought of Tom. Maybe you can go to the CBS website and find it.

  20. Yikes! I would have done the same. I am glad everything worked out, and you were able to help out those poor cupcakes and chocolate bars ;)

  21. It is tough when they don't contact you when they should. I have been there, and I think I ate my way through a ton of chocolate. I am glad everything is okay!

  22. I'd be the exact same way! How nerve wracking for you! Thank god for chocolate.

  23. Blackouts were the absolute worst, even though he did work in an office hidden away from the world. Glad it turned out alright!

  24. That happened to me last week and apparently I take my anxiety out on.... my kitchen. That baby is sparkling now! And luckily I got an email shortly thereafter so I could breathe and quit imagining everything under the sun. But whew- tough.

  25. I would be sooo stressed out! My imagination already runs wild I can't imagine if I had that scenario to run wild with!

  26. Gah, you had ME all anxious just reading that.
    So glad you finally heard from him.

  27. I hate blackouts! I'm glad you heard from him. Not knowing what's going on is the worst.

  28. You had me worried reading that. When my husband was in Iraq, they had blackouts all the time. It never got any easier.

    It's okay to have cupcakes and vodka.

  29. Amber, thanks for the service YOU give our country, including being brave for your kids. And Natalie pacing with you and asking what are we doing...very sweet!

  30. Glad you finally heard from him and he is okay. That had to have been super stressful! I would have been a wreck.

  31. Blackouts suck. I remember going through the first one with my husband who was "front lines" but not's a little complicated. Anyway, I was used to hearing from him, not every day but in some form or another fairly often and then nothing and none of the other wives heard anything from their husbands who were in the same area. It's nerve wracking. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier, in some ways, to not hear from them at goodbye, I'll see you in a year, love you, be safe and all that but then reality hits and I know I'd rather be afraid and have contact than somehow magically push it out of my mind and not have any contact

  32. My husband came back in January from Bagram. He is also one to keep in contact as much as he can. They had numerous blackouts there and I went through the same feelings you did. It is so stressful not being able to make contact and waiting. Just know he is trying everything to get ahold of you.


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