Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homecoming vs. Reunion

There is a difference. Homecoming is the joy of seeing your loved one for the first time in fifteen months. It is those ecstatic moments and hours when you connect for the first time and realize he or she is really back with you. Then the hard part begins.

Reunion is a process. It begins before the loved one - parent, spouse, partner, child or sibling - actually arrives. There is the combination of relief that she or he has survived and is returning; there is the expectation that it will be so good to have this loved one back and there is the worry. This worry is also a real part of the return.

The reunion involves adjusting to the changes that have inevitably occurred during the soldier's deployment. One partner has assumed new responsibilities while the other has filled his or her responsibilities down range. Each partner has made adjustments and changes. Sometimes these changes are happening for the third or fourth time because the soldier has been deployed multiple times.

The greatest pressure on families and loved ones comes from the expectations everyone has about how "it will be" now that he or she has returned. Expectations are based on events that have happened in the past and MAY happen again in the future. But these events are NOT happening at this moment. One instruction for managing the process of reunion is: "stay in this present moment."

1 comment:

  1. Susan, It sounds like you're touching a lot of lives and helping a lot of people there in NC.