A War Widows Perspective

With thanks to Cathy from MWC Winchester for sharing her very personal story with us.

Winchester

My journey has felt like a long hard road at times, but recently I have rediscovered the support and friendship offered by those unique women, military wives.

I was widowed in the early 1990s when I was 29 and I had a 3 year old daughter. I had a full time job nursing for the MOD at one of our local garrison medical centres but when Steven died I bought a house in Winchester where my beautiful daughter grew up. With the support of the Royal British Legion and my husband’s regiment she went to university – and is now due to marry her RFA cadet officer in 2017.

Somehow I have always been associated with the military. Winchester has always enjoyed big military connections so although I am no longer nursing due to a back injury, I am now working in a local Primary school where more than a quarter of the children are from military families.

And just to bring you right up to date: I am now engaged to marry a Royal Marine (ex, but they claim they never leave the corps!) later this year.

And then came Military Wives Choir! I had watched the Remembrance Service at The Royal Albert Hall in awe, pride and tears (its is always a ‘no mascara day’), never thinking I would be able to sing alongside those wonderful ladies.

Music has always been very much part of my life so when the Winchester Military Wives choir was formed in January 2014 some of my colleagues, who are military wives joined and I was so jealous – until I was told that as a widow, and veteran I was also entitled to join.

So I took a deep breath and pushed open the doors.

My goodness me the support and friendship is amazing, something I thought I had lost. Up to that point I felt I had become an outsider of the military community, looking in. Not many, if anyone can quite understand what a military widow/widower is , nor could I explain it. But in the choir , with new friendships forged, I have cried because of Steve and stood proud because of him too. The songs we sing I often have to take a deep breath to stop my tears and not just to hit those high notes.

One song, Stronger Together, talks of overcoming, of walking the long road together , of friendship and singing with one voice , wonderful sentiments to find I suddenly have back in my life.

I am incredibly proud of my part in the choir. I was elected chair this year; the girls felt I could offer them so much in support and understanding. And for me, to be representing Military Wives everywhere, at every opportunity, whether singing or not, is such an honour.


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