Emily Jane Connick, Plymouth Military Wives Choir
My husband Matthew is a serving submariner and before we got married, as our relationship was long-distance, we were struggling to see enough of each other. When he wasn’t at sea he was based in Plymouth and I was living in Wales. So, with the travelling and distance becoming harder we decided I should move to Plymouth so we could spend more time together.
With the wedding booked and arranged for 24th May 2014 I made the move to Plymouth in April 2013. Being in a relationship with a submariner can be very lonely as there are months of no contact and deployments can be long and are secretive and I am quite used to this. However, I found myself alone in an unfamiliar place when Matthew deployed to sea again soon after I arrived. When this deployment ended in September 2013 he moved, as is the norm in military life to a base in Scotland. Apart from a few brief holidays and despite having moved to be closer to each other, I spent much of my first year in Plymouth alone.
Alone in a new city with no friends or social life and without the support of being a ‘wife’ as we’d not yet married, things were difficult. I couldn’t drive either and found everything crushing. That’s when I decided I had to do something. I had heard about the Military Wives Choir and thought that it would be a good way to meet other ladies like me so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. I joined the choir the same week I started working and my lifestyle changed over night!
The friendship and support I’ve found from being a part of the choir got me through the toughest few months of my life. Times that I don’t know how I’d have coped if it weren’t for my new friends.
On one occasion I became ill very quickly and found myself in hospital away from all my family and friends. The ladies from the choir were amazing. They offered friendship, help and support when I needed it most. It was the first (but not the last) time I realised what a big family I was now a part of and it was overwhelming! The support has simply grown from there.
Then I was delivered the news that my fiancé wasn’t going to make it back from an extended deployment for our wedding day. His homecoming date was delayed until a month AFTER our wedding. As you can imagine, I didn’t know which way to turn. I was devastated when I was told to cancel the wedding and make different arrangements. I didn’t knew what to do for the best so I turned again to the my choir friends for help and they rallied around finding and giving me information I wouldn’t have known about. They supported me through the tears and frustrations before I found out that he was going to be flown home in time so we could celebrate our special day as planned.
We danced our first dance to the Military Wives Choir version of ‘Right Here Waiting’ as I felt it fitting. I will never forget the friendship and support that made the day as perfect as it was.
I never really know what to expect from this military life and take each day as it comes but Thursday nights, choir night, are by far the best day of the week and they pull me through the darkest times.
I know I would not be the person I am without the friendship, laughs and tears I share with all of my amazing choir family. Thank you to all of my friends in the Plymouth Military Wives Choir and Rob, our wonderful MD for all that you do.
Next year (2018) marks the centenary of the end of World War 1. Fierce heroism from the troops at the Front was matched by the country’s women who raised children alone, nursed, and worked tirelessly despite the loss of husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and friends. The Military Wives Choirs can tell the story of these […]
Have you spotted the Autumn edition of Army&You Magazine? We’re absolutely delighted to be featured on the front cover! You can read Jules from North London Military Wives Choir’s story on page 29 talking about what choir means to her. She says: “I’ve secured some lovely friendships with women of all ages with different connections to the […]
Gemma moved overseas two years ago when her husband was posted to Germany. She was nervous about leaving friends and family behind – that’s where the choir came in: “Living in Germany, as I’m sure with any posting abroad, has been a mixed bag of wonderful highs and sometimes lonely lows. I moved here from […]
Charlie has been part of the Army for five years but wasn’t aware that you could join a Military Wives Choir if you are serving. She wishes she had known sooner: “I am a Corporal who has been in the army for five years. Being female and in the forces is lonely sometimes as it’s […]
Women in the military community face a unique set of challenges linked to frequent family moves and the impact of operational deployment. We asked the Dishforth Military Wives Choir what being a part of a Military Wives Choir means to them… “I’m not a singer, but always wanted to be. Choir lets me do that. […]