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The heart of a home

Best blog Isabella wins a Pro Slate 10 EE tablet courtesy of DXC Technology

By Isabella @fijianintheuk

Home today is a far cry from the idyllic panoramic view of sapphire ocean or greenery that most of us Fijian spouses have left to join our soldiers.

“We are the unsung heroes, soldiering on, carrying a Bergen of life decisions that need to be made in the absence of our serving spouse.”

As a newly married woman, I would think there were so many opportunities here that my island home simply could not match. But lately, I’ve realised there are things that life in the UK will never be able to measure up to. Things I took for granted, such as family ties and memorable moments that I now miss. The idea of living far from home seemed like an adventure. How then does one marry the idea of home being where the

heart is, when in the culture you grew up in, home is where family is? Well-meaning friends, coworkers, even family members, say ‘well that is the life you signed up for’; and yes, it is a personal choice we made knowing full well that our serving spouse will most likely miss birthdays, anniversaries, first day of school moments, or in my case all of the above and the birth of our child too. We

get it, it’s all part of the package and we get on with it because life doesn’t wait around for us to dwell in a mire of self-pity. Life carries on and so must we. We are the unsung heroes, soldiering on, carrying a Bergen of life decisions that need to be made in the absence of our serving spouse. Reassuring the young child that their parent, who is thousands of miles away,

will return safely. Putting aside our career aspirations to support our serving spouse’s career. The unsung hero, whose family, that we so achingly miss every day, has now been given to us in another form. Our serving spouse, children and friends who fill the gap and become family. And lastly, a once foreign land that has now become home.

Tackling separation one page at a time

I love to hear the pride they express in their Forces parents; how proud they feel to be collected from school by someone in uniform. Routinely they have a strong awareness of world events, particularly geography – and have often attended big ceremonial occasions. I hear about the challenges too – how to keep friendships and family relationships going when base, home, school are shifting. Resilience is much talked about, but we need to work towards its development in our Forces families,

not assume the full quota is already there. Reading is an excellent way of developing the whole individual – and hence resilience. It provides common ground for conversations, enables us to see more objectively situations we are facing ourselves and how they are managed by characters we read about. And each time we lose ourselves in a book, there’s a plentiful supply of other titles once the end is reached. Sharing books involves children in an absorbing activity that connects them with others, helping them cope with

immediate and emotional situations. Pooling feedback in a scrapbook lets them record the experience. If you’re facing change, it provides a topic of conversation that is not the change itself; offering an everyday link to wider families, particularly grandparents and extending connections between phone calls. It’s so simple but really works. I encourage families to give it a go. For a free scrapbook, go to readingforce.org.uk – see page 46 for our latest Book Club.

By Alison @Reading Force

When I give talks in schools about Reading Force, I usually start by asking children for the positives of Forces life. www.armyandyou.co.uk

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