At a recent Battalion Steering Committee Meeting (BSCM), we were given the timeline for the "Build Up To Deployment" (BUTD). And we sat and discussed all of the ways that the Battalion can help the families "make it through the upcoming deployment". I have my thoughts on that concept but I'll save those for now.
As we walked through the plans for "pre-deployment training" for the families, there was little, if any, mention of information from the Casualty Assistance Office. I'm not sure if any of you remember a few months back that Fort Campbell dealt with a rash of fake casualty notifications. One of the ways that the people perpetrating this crime were able to be successful was that the families were not clear on how the notification process actually worked. Yes, there had been briefings but I suspect that the command scaled back the level of detail in order to "spare the feelings of the families" and not get them "unnecessarily worked up". In fact, the BN commander here even commented that he was hesitant to get into the "gory details" of the notification process in order to spare the families the stress of having to imagine.
Obviously he's not hung around me much. To me, knowledge is power. Give me as much information with regard to what to expect as possible. That's my way of maintaining the illusion of control in a situation where I truly have NONE. I want to know the details. I want to hear it all.
I want to know what they will be wearing.
I want to know what they will be driving.
I want to know what hours it is possible for them to arrive on my doorstep.
I want to know what they are going to say.
I want to know who is going to say what.
I want to know. And I want to know it ALL.
So don't mince the words. Don't scale back in order to spare my feelings or to keep from causing me stress. Because if you could step into my mind, what you would see in there would cause you to run, screaming, from the room. The scenarios that play out in my mind are, like my friend Sarah has said in the past, charicatures of how it would really play out.
Over at Spousebuzz, we've discussed this topic several times. The conclusion I've come to - with the help of both the authors of the articles as well as the commenters and some friends who have faced that beast head on is that it *never* plays out the way you expect it to. But knowing what to expect of the process would help to alleviate that part of the stress. At least, in theory.
So we will be having a brief by the Casualty Assistance Office. My hope is that each one of the spouses in the company will come and bring their "listening ears". And my prayer is that we will never have a need to put the information to use.