I am a military wife. This is what ANZAC Day means to me.

At every dawn service on ANZAC Day, my thoughts turn to this amazing group of women.

On ANZAC Day morning my son and I will be at the dawn service. For me personally, I always think of the wives of fallen soldiers during the ceremony. My husband could easily have died in Afghanistan more than once. We were only dating then. We were in love, we knew we wanted to be together but  the chance to build a life together could so easily have been taken away from us.

It’s something those women deal with every day.  My heart breaks for the wives, children and loved ones of fallen soldiers, some of them his mates.

For the most part, my husband and I have a normal relationship when he’s away. When we are forced to spend periods of time apart but still, there’s romance, arguments and external pressures. There’s always a happy reunion to look forward to.  There are times though when it’s not always rosy learning how to shift into gear again.

One of our most challenging times was when he returned from Afghanistan. He saw friends lose their lives. He had to pack up their belongings and send them to their families. He was injured himself. He saw horrific atrocities committed by the Taliban that he will never speak of.  All these extraordinary events and feelings have to be merged with our family life. It’s always there, next to him. Next to both of us, even though I will never understand.

My favourite times are when we are all together, happy, healthy and safe.

My husband and I have a two-year-old son together, and I have two step children aged 9 and 11.  I have a strong relationship with my step kids and have to watch them struggle with their dad being away. They've been dealing with his absences, for much longer than I have.

My step kids are extremely proud of their father. They wear his medals to ANZAC Day parades at school with enormous pride. They happily get up for the dawn service to pay their respects to the fallen, recent and from not so recent wars.

Being a military wife and part of a blended family means life is never simple. Right now, we are all meant to be on holidays up the coast, all five of us. My husband was called overseas for two months so our son and I are on our family holiday alone.


This year, it will just be our son and I at the dawn service, trying to comprehend what he went through during his numerous deployments. Most years we all attend the dawn service, then my step kids go back to their mother's house and after watching the march, my husband will spend the rest of the day with his mates. I leave him to it. It's important for them to spend that peaceful time together, reminiscing and bonding.

My feelings about ANZAC Day have changed since meeting my husband. Before we met I was very anti-war. Whilst I always supported the troops, I have actively protested war, in particular the Iraqi war.  I never wanted our boys and girls put in harm's way for that cause and wasn't afraid to voice that.

It makes for an interesting talking point at functions when my husband brings up the fact his now wife is a former war protester but instead of looks of horror I've discovered that many soldiers I speak to were against that war too. It means more to me, the sacrifice they make for our nation, particularly when they don't necessarily believe in the conflict they are fighting for at the time.

I am very blessed to be married to my husband especially in this day in age. We Skype, we email, we share photos on Facebook and talk on the phone as often as possible. I can't imagine how army wives managed in WWI, sometimes getting letters long after they'd had word their husbands had passed.  Even when he was in Afghanistan we spoke nearly every day, sometimes with the sounds of gun shots in the background, him just happy to hear my voice, me trying not to sound scared.

I am enormously proud of my husband and I am enormously proud to be his wife. I will hold all those war widows in my heart this year, as I do every year.

Lest we forget.

Leave your messages of support to Australian military families in the comments section below.

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