With a deployment quickly approaching, there is so much preparation that needs to be done. Aside from preparing emotionally, here are some other things that can help prepare for your spouse’s departure. These will give you peace of mind when it comes time to part ways.
1. If you are employed, familiarize yourself with your company’s FMLA policies.
It is extremely useful to have knowledge of situations in which you can use unpaid leave with military circumstances. Whether its having the extra time to say goodbye, having the time to spend with them after homecoming, or God-forbid they get wounded and need to come home, your job is safe and you are free to tend to your spouse worry-free. Start leave requests early so that if the need arises, you have that time in your back pocket.
2. Attend pre-deployment dinner briefings.
Apart from getting dinner from the friendly USO group, this is an opportunity to gather information from key support groups. I learned of monthly deployed spouse events, met the base chaplain, and even picked up useful pamphlets with the emotional stages of deployment as well as a copy of the military edition of “5 Love Languages.” They even did a run through of Tricare changes and the various bases that folks in attendance would be sent to. From seeing all those in attendance, I knew I was anything but alone in this upcoming endeavor.
3. Obtain power of attorney.
Have your service member make an appointment to obtain power of attorney as well. This will allow you to act on his behalf in all legal and financial matters. This is also crucial to have if you should ever lose your military ID when they are deployed.
4. Create a will.
Have your service member make an appointment to create a last will and testament for both of you, especially if you have children. This was a morbid and sad experience reading through the document that the paralegal had prepped but nonetheless, it was necessary. Once you have the only copy of your last will and testament in hand, put it somewhere safe and secure. Remember where you put it in the (hopefully) rare situation that you’ll need it.
5. Review monthly bill payments and any periodic preventative maintenance that may be necessary for the house, cars etc.
You as a spouse still have to keep the homefront operating smoothly so make sure you talk about all the things that need to happen to ensure that that happens. If there is anything that you may have difficulty with while he or she is gone, be sure to have it taken care of prior to their departure. Having these crucial conversations and completing these tough tasks beforehand will ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
6. Create a deployment binder.
Collect important information such as a list of emergency contacts, important documents, and internet passwords that your spouse may need during your time apart. Compile them all in a binder and keep it in a designated and accessible safe space. This will be your go-to resource to keep the household running smoothly while they are away.
Checking these things off your to do list will make life so much easier when they are away. Though these items can keep you busy in the months leading up to deployment, do not forget to spend the quality time with them, away from all of the to-do lists!