Well it seems 2021 was my last blog post and trying to start 2024 with good intentions and all that so here I am.
So much has happened in that time, I’m not even sure where to begin….as a military family we are conditioned to be good at change aren’t we, the one change I don’t think we are prepared for is leaving the military bubble after many many years.
My husband left the military in August 2023, we found out in January 2023 so it all felt quite rushed and honestly it wasn’t what we thought or had been told the plan would be and the time frame felt so short. He started his resettlement, luckily we had bought a house previously in the village where our final posting was and Madison was already settled at university studying nursing.
It felt manageable…….until…..
At the end of 2022 we were at a teen residential weekend, my brother who has over the past few years consulted for Little Troopers and volunteered where he could, fell ill at the weekend. He went to A&E and at that residential we got a call from the hospital to tell us it was cancer and it was bad.
We prayed and we hoped but January – March 2023 were a blur. Tony was doing resettlement, we moved in February out of our quarter and into our own home and I was up and down the M6 on a weekly basis to see my brother. He lost his very short cancer battle on 26th March 2023 aged just 45.
So much change and so much grief. My biggest cheerleader, Mark was instrumental in me founding the charity, he climbed Snowdon, he listened to my ideas, he believed I could make it a reality and truly gave me so much of his time and advice when I needed it. So much of what exists now from Little Troopers he helped make happen. One of my best memories was taking him as my guest to the Tesco Mum of the Year awards…..we had a BALL!
I took a lot of time off work throughout 2023, to grieve, to heal and to take stock of how everything in my life suddenly felt so different. New house, extension building, husband home every night, finance changes and the loss of my best friend….honestly it was the worst year of my entire life to date.
Little Troopers survived because of the love and dedication of a very special group of people who are as passionate as me about the charity and our cause, they kept it going while I physically couldn’t.
I will be forever grateful.
I have never felt grief before and I have learnt so much about myself and other people. The love and kindness I felt and the patience I was given by others didn’t go unnoticed. I returned to work in September time on a part time basis and it felt good, it gave me a purpose again.
2024 I need to be a better year. We are settled in our home and all building work has finished, Tony has settled into his new job, Madison is in her final year at university graduating in the summer and my heart…the cracks are starting to be filled with memories, my bereavement counselling finished in December and I truly think that helped me start to heal.
We have so many plans this year for Little Troopers, to grow…expand existing projects…be there for all military children who need us. Our objective is always the same, to help you through the unique challenges of military life.
Leaving the military bubble was huge, our entire adult lives had been part of the military – from both joining as teenagers to marrying in 2003, becoming parents later in 2003 and bobbing along the journey of various postings along the way and then…NOTHING. It’s maybe another post but the resettlement seemed like a recruitment drive to other jobs and that’s it, no support for your change in financial situation, budgeting was a nightmare (and still is due to lack of P45) no support for family members. The sole concern was to get Tony into another job which he did by himself, the resettlement didn’t help that but it does mean he can chop down huge trees now so I guess if we ever comes across an oak in need he will be glad he did it!
I think that brings us up to date in a whistle stop kinda way, I’m sorry I’ve been absent in lots of ways, it really has been a test of my resolve. I truly hope 2024 is kinder to both me and to you and your families. I hope to see lots of you throughout the year as we have lots of exciting things coming up!