I wasn’t intending on writing anything today and I still don’t know if I’ll post this or not. I have such mixed feelings about everything that’s going on in our lives that I am driving myself crazy thinking about it and need to get it out somehow. So I’m writing!
The Hubster just left to catch his flight to the UK for a three week re-hab course on his spine (he was injured in Afghanistan last year). I have waved him off countless times over the last 11 years and for much longer periods of time. This time it’s different though, bigger and more important than any other time for us, bigger even than him going to war. At the end of these three weeks, if not before, we will find out whether he can continue in the Army or if he will be medically discharged.
My husband is what they call a career soldier. He joined the infantry when he was 16, never has and never wanted to do anything else. He has served almost 15 years now and so only has 7 more until his service is complete. He always intended to do his full 22 years service and possibly more as he is still only 32. He has worked hard and risen through the ranks, his goal being to reach the rank of Sgt Major, just like his Grandfather. This goal is fully within his reach if he can continue his career.
I have been an army wife for 11 years. I didn’t think twice about marrying him and joining the ranks of the silent forces. Many of my friends have said they couldn’t marry a soldier, my response has always been “You fall in love with the man, not the job.” I loved him and wanted to be with him. I didn’t for one second contemplate how hard this life could be, I just knew I didn’t want to be anywhere else. And although there have been many, many hard times because of his job, there have been equally as many happy, fantastic times and I have embraced every minute and opportunity that army life has thrown at us. Because Army life doesn’t offer or hand you opportunities, it hurls them at you full force and demands that you catch them!
Army life suits us!
This could now all be gone in a matter of weeks and that is one hell of a scary thought!
Although for the last few years we have been planning our future and preparing for the day when his service was complete, we didn’t think this decision would be taken out of our hands. We have been house hunting in Spain and planing our future there, now this may all be brought forward by years and that is something we are not prepared for.
In a way it could be a good thing, Spain is where we want to be and to have that sooner than we planned is an exciting prospect. A medical discharge comes with financial benefits. We would most likely be in a position to buy our dream home outright. To be there, the children in Spanish schools, living the life we want to would be our dream come true. But at what cost?
My husband is not ready to be a “civvie” yet and to be honest I don’t think I am. If it does come to this, it will ultimately mean that his back cannot be “fixed” and that he will spend the rest of his life in pain and unable to enjoy the quality of life he had before the injury. He has always been a physically fit man and not being able to play sports as he did is just one of the implications of this injury that is proving very frustrating for him. To know that he may never have that again is terrifying for him. And then there is the problem of what he would be able to do work wise- with a back injury as serious as his, many jobs are out of the question and many employers wouldn’t look twice at him.
For me, this has been exhausting, emotionally and physically. I can’t help but feel somewhat selfish for feeling this way as it’s him that is in pain. Having to do absolutely everything with and for the children with no help from him has been extremely hard. Obviously he does what he can and I know, of course, that if he could help physically he would do so in a heartbeat. It must be so hard for him to know he can’t. Still, I sometimes feel quite alone as a parent. I know only too well there are Mother’s out there doing it on their own everyday ( my wonderful SIL is one of them), but to have that other person here and unable to assist is at times very frustrating. The idea that things may continue in this way is not one I relish, but one I will just have to deal with. I do my best to stay positive, it’s just not always that easy.
The next three weeks are, without doubt, going to drag. But, at the end of them at least we know a decision will have been made and that one way or another we will be able to move on with our lives, no longer in limbo.
And so we wait…