Lisa Guerrero finally felt like she could breathe again. She’d been holding herself together after her husband Jose and two stepsons, Jose Jr., 28, and Andy, 22, took turns serving in Iraq. Now all three were home.
But the calm wouldn’t last long.
Her husband Jose and another stepson, Isaiah, 18, will be deploying together to the Middle East this summer. "It’s a comfort that they’ll be together, but it’ll definitely be more of a nail biter to have them both there."
As military families go, Lisa has done her duty and then some. The upcoming trip will be Jose’s third deployment—the last time he was gone 18 months, leaving Lisa to raise their daughter Olivia, 10, and the two stepsons who were living at home at that time. Not long after Jose Sr. returned to the states, Jose Jr. left for Iraq. Andy just returned from his tour of duty in Iraq.
Lisa is determined not to focus on Isaiah and Jose’s upcoming deployment. "When we found out he was leaving again, I was crushed," Lisa says. "But I’m trying to live in the moment right now. I’m enjoying each day. And I know what to expect, because I’ve been through it before."
What Lisa knows is that a huge part of her life will be missing when her husband leaves. She describes Jose Sr. as an incredibly strong presence in their home. "He’s like the last puzzle piece in the corner that you’re missing," Lisa says of Jose’s last deployment. "It was just hard him not being here day-to-day. He missed the holidays and birthdays."
To get through Jose’s last deployment, Lisa and another military wife started a Family Readiness Group for their unit. By organizing activities and support for the families, Lisa was able to find her own support. Jose and Isaiah have since transferred to a new battalion that doesn’t have an FRG, so Lisa is planning to start another chapter for her new unit. "It’s important to get involved with other families going through the same thing because nobody else understands," she says. "They try, but they just don’t get it."
And as she faces yet another deployment to Iraq, Lisa has put her soldiers in God’s hands. "I didn’t think I’d ever be in this position, but you have to do what you have to do," she says. "My faith helps me get through."