Half A Year Sails By
Despite an initial deployment of five months, Chris called Natasha to inform her his tour had been extended for another month. North Korea had begun testing ballistic missiles and After five grueling months, Chris called from his station to tell Natasha that his tour had extended by an extra 30 days. USS Vinson had to remain near the Korean Peninsula.
Natasha’s own tension rose with the tension in Asia. She had put off speaking honestly with her husband for so long she wasn’t sure she would last another thirty days. But, with the danger so close to her husband and his crew, Natasha once again sacrificed her peace of mind and refused to upset her husband while he was still so far away. She would take an extra month and wait to speak to Chris in person.
Not Just Hiding From Him
She'd intended to email him and ask him to call her, but the message never materialized. She didn't want to distract him, upset him. It wasn't the sort of message she wanted to send in an email either. It wouldn't have been fair to either of them. Natasha wasn't only struggling with telling Chris, but with keeping anyone else from telling him before she could.
She couldn’t let any of their friends or family find out what had transpired. And it was getting harder and harder to keep the secret at home.
Natasha continued to work two jobs along with taking care of her three children while Chris was away serving his country. It was a sacrifice for both of them. It would have been understandable had the young wife and mother succumbed to the pressure. But Natasha understood how far she'd already come and continued to push forward. It wasn't simple or easy, but she understood what it meant to sacrifice.
The greatest sacrifice she made was in foregoing communication with her husband. They had never gone so long without being able to talk openly, honestly. A week remained until her husband's return and Natasha insisted she'd make it. She was prepared to push through the last leg of Chris's deployment. That was, until she received even more unexpected news that threw her family and her marriage into even more turmoil.
Torn With Uncertainty
Natasha stood firm on her decision to only speak to Chris in person. But as she watched the news surrounding North Korea she worried, if anything happened to Chris, how would she ever forgive herself for hiding so much from him for so long? It wasn't about how she would or wouldn't forgive herself, Natasha decided, it was about Chris, and making sure he could focus on his mission, and come home safely.
Natasha told NBC news, "As soon as we started having trouble with North Korea, I became worried. He was telling me goodbye." And yet the mother of three kept her calm. She kept her problems and her worries to herself to make sure her husband, a member of America's military, could do the best job possible. He could be their for his crew, his country, and, eventually, his family.
Six months finally came and went and Chris's deployment ended. The USS Vinson was on its way back to the United States of America. Chris Daugherty was on his way back to his home, his children, and his wife, Natasha. The family man could finally return to the loved ones that had been fighting the every day battles without him for more than half a year.
All three of the Daugherty children were ecstatic that they would soon be reunited with their dad. Natasha too couldn't wait to hold her husband in her arms. Yet, she worried that he wouldn't understand, when he finally saw her, how she had kept so much from him. For his own good. For the good of his crewmates. As the USS Vinson headed back toward the west coast of America, Natasha prepared to meet the wave that would come with it.