Friday, April 15, 2011

Stop Loss Pay

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I logged into our bank account and had an unexpected deposit of $6,566.50.  It is money from Y being stop lossed in the army for over a year. 

Y and I got married when he was an active soldier in the army.  We were married for about 15 months before he deployed to Iraq.  I thought that he wouldn't have to deploy because he was scheduled to get out of the army in early November and they were going to deploy in September.  I thought that since his scheduled date was so close, they would just let him out.  I was wrong.  I began to have inclinations that I might be wrong that spring.  There wasn't any word of him gettting out (with the army, there is a ton of paperwork to exit).  By June, he had been stop lossed which meant that he was unable to get out because he had orders to deploy.  It felt like my world was crashing down. 

We tried to enjoy the summer before he left but in reality, it pretty much sucked.  We were counting down the days until he had to go to war.  This was in 2005 and Iraq was very much a hot spot.  Every day on the news, we were losing more American lives there.  He didn't know where he was going in Iraq.  We didn't have an actual date of him leaving but it was tentatively in September.  We had plans to go fishing for one weekend so I had the entire weekend off.  I got home from work on Thursday night and Y woke up to tell me that he as leaving on Monday morning for Iraq.  My eyes still well up to think of the emotion from that awful night.  We tried to spend time together that weekend but I pretty much cried the whole time.  It was not a good weekend with quality time. 

He was deployed for almost a year, just three days shy of a year.  That year was very hard for both of us.  At a certain point, I wasn't able to see his face in my memory.  I had kind of forgotten him.  Now that sounds awful to say but that's how it was.  Sometimes I would go a couple weeks without getting a call from him and I would just remember that no news is good news.  I didn't watch the news but because I lived near the army base, I would still hear stuff like there was a bad roadside bomb in the area that he was and 10 soldiers were killed.  When there was a death, the soldiers aren't allowed access to phones until all family members of the deceased were notified so I would just have to wait. 

We made it through the year and I thought that things were great.  Little did I know that it would take 2 years for Y to actually get back to "normal".  He would freak out over the littlest things and even told me a couple times that I would not be alive if I was at war because I didn't listen.  Um, really?  The two years following his deployment were just as much of a test to our marriage as the year when he was deployed. 

We found out last fall that Y was eligible for stop loss pay.  Basically, the army was going to pay him $500 per month for every month that he was kept after his original date of separation from the army.  We got that money today.  I told Y that he can spend the money however he would like and he said to put it toward the house.  The pay is nice but it brings back bittersweet memories of his stop loss. 

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. It makes me feel blessed and thankful to have people like your husband fight for our country and risk his life at the expense of you and his loved ones. My dad and stepdad are both in the Navy, and I have always appreciated anyone in the military. I can't imagine the trauma you both have gone through and the test that your marriage has passed. It makes me very thankful to have my BF with me here. So thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.

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  2. I'm glad Y got the stop loss pay. I appreciate his sacrifice to serve his country. It was hard on both of you.

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  3. As Y would say, he was just doing his job :)

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  4. I'm really glad you were able to receive compensation for the months he was stop lossed. Please pass on a thanks from me - even though I'm not American to Y. And a special thank you to you for both sharing the experience of the time he was away and allowing us to understand that it is just as tough when they return from combat.

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  5. I know it was a hard time for you but it made a lovely story, at least for me, being separated is tough and when it's for deployment it can only be tougher. Glad to see you made it through soldier.

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  6. Of course it wasn't fun to have your new spouse gone in a dangerous situation for that long. It's also very noble of him to tell you to put it towards the house. How is your emergency fund? Could it use extra money? If so then split it in half and put half into the emergency fund and the rest on the house.

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  7. I am sorry you both had to go through that, but I am glad he made it back safely. The money is just an extra bonus on top of that :)

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  8. Thanks for sharing your story. It definitely was a difficult time for both of you that had lasting effects. I appreciate your husband's service and your sacrifice as well.

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  9. Please tell your husband that we so appreciate his efforts. I'm sorry you had to endure such pain as well. Often we forget about the loved ones home just waiting. The money is nice, but not worth all of the agony. I hope you and your husband do something nice for yourselves with the money. You deserve it!

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