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 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.