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.