Experiences of 2020

Debs - Military Wife

As a military wife living on the beautiful Moray coast, I’ve had my share of separation, goodbyes and emotional reunions.

On the 8th of March we kissed and hugged and cried and I watched him walk away. I have been on my own with our two children, throughout the coronavirus pandemic whilst my husband has been deployed to The Falkland Islands.

It is an unwritten rule of the military community that as soon as the other half leaves, things like to go wrong. It’s usually washing machines, cars etc breaking down, however, pandemics are not written into the unwritten rule book!

I have noted that there are similarities between this pandemic and military life. For example, we can’t see family or go on holiday. Concerts, trips out, anniversaries and special birthdays are missed. This is standard for military families at any time, not just during a pandemic.

I was in the middle of the 3rd year of an online degree, but I have had to put that to one side. I’ve been home educating one child and wondering how to entertain the other. It was hard enough being mum and dad without throwing this into the mix. We also now have a whole new vocabulary. Covid-19, Coronavirus, lockdown, social distancing, Janey Godley voiceovers!

My youngest child is due to start school after the summer and we had been working on preparing him for starting school due to him having a disability. All his transition meetings have stopped, as have other appointments. It’s become a worrying time for us without the input of the team around him.

During the depths of this lockdown, I have felt exhaustion and failure, but I have also felt hope and joy. There were some extremely hard days and admittedly some really fun days. But, if I have taken anything from it, it is this. I am not a teacher, but I have taught my children how to enjoy the simple things in life. I have provided them a sanctuary in which to grow and feel loved whilst this blows over, although, it’s not all been unicorns and rainbows! Like any other children they know how to push my buttons!

My advice to others in a similar situation, be it a pandemic or a military separation, is to take each day at a time. Find a hobby (mine is sewing), a good tv series and walk every day even if it's just around your garden. Enjoy what is on your doorstep, you might just see things you didn’t know were there. Go to bed early, the next day comes quicker which means you are a day closer to this all being over.

Although things may not be the same for months to come yet, I feel we are taking small steps towards the light at the end of the tunnel and when we do see our loved ones, we will kiss, hug and appreciate them all the more.

- Debs Wanless, An RAF wife, referee to two children, two dogs and a cat