Thursday, 23 February 2012

'..We will remember them..' Charity Challenge DAY 4

I hope he got my parcel today, because it's his birthday.  Not that birthdays or christmas are much different from any other day out there, but I know he loves getting the kids homemade cards and letters. I can see him smiling as he opens them. 
That's all I can see though. I can't imagine what life is like for him, I can't picture it. There's too much of a gulf between his reality and mine. 

I find it hard to write about his last tour of Afghanistan in 2009.  76 british soldiers lost their lives that summer and hundreds were injured.  There was so much sadness and it was the longest 6 months of my life.
The media coverage was relentless because of the rising death toll: reports from the frontline as the troops forced the Taliban out of southern Helmand, heartbreaking scenes from Wootton Bassett and debates about whether british soldiers should be there at all.  There was no escape from the news and the anxiety wore me down.  It was almost as if I couldn't breathe properly and I found I was sleep-walking through the daily routine.   I thought constantly about the families who had lost loved ones and worried about my husband.  
I remember thinking about the sense of detachment I'd felt as a journalist, when I'd reported on casualties in other conflicts: now I was on the flip side of the story and it was so incredibly hard. 
I also remember feeling frustrated, listening to radio phone-ins about the rights and wrongs of british troops being in Afghanistan.  It seemed pretty pointless to me, because what ever your view, there was no going back. They were there, doing the job our politicians had sent them to do, and what they needed more than anything was to know we supported them back home.  

I used to come down in the morning and make myself turn on the radio, praying Afghanistan wasn't top of the bulletin.  Now, thankfully, almost three years on, it's not dominating the news so much, but our soldiers are still there, risking their lives.  
That's why I wanted to support the Rifles 'Care for Casualties' Appeal this week, because I feel it's so important we never forget the sacrifices they have made.

I'd be one of the first to admit that being married to a soldier isn't easy; it's much more than a job, it is a way of life.  Over the years I have struggled with many aspects of being an army wife, like the uncertainty, moving, living a part - but above all else, I am immensely proud of him.  More than I could ever say.

Happy birthday sweetheart.


  1. I can't imagine what it must be like, living with your husband being away in such a dangerous place.
    I hope your husband got his parcel today. I'm sure getting a parcel from you and the kids must mean so much as well as knowing what a fantastic job you're doing of holding the fort at home with the kids while he's away.
    Take care xxx

  2. Thank you Jo. Where he is this time is not as dangerous as before, which makes it easier - and the kids have been brilliant about him being away x

  3. Having just wiped away my tears I feel I can now see the computer properly to reply!! What an amazing piece of writing..not too sentimental and a glimpse into how it is for those on the ground so to speak...the wives,mothers, children etc left behind. I think of you all as the silent force on the homefront keeping it all going . Hats off to you SMM...sounds like your husband is an amazing man but you are doing a pretty amazing job too. Well done you x