Hello my Darlings and welcome to Mum Dee Does. I am Dee, a mum who does (it all), and today I am talking about losing my husband to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
James has served in the British Army for a good number of years before we met. He joined the RAVC, transferred to the QARANC, left the service for a while, then rejoined at RLC. A few years later we met and he decided to leave the Forces, stating that it is a single man’s job and now that he was committed to me and that it would no longer be fair to impose his decisions on me - especially decisions that may leave me living alone for an extended period of time at a moment’s notice.
I was grateful that he chose me over the Army, but I always had my suspicions that he would miss it and, maybe one day think about rejoining. James reassured me that it wouldn’t be the case - he had exhausted the two joining-up allowances and after all, he was now too old for the active service. I relaxed a bit… We lived our lives. We moved to Eday. We had a child.
Then one morning just before Christmas last year, James wakes up and a Facebook advert catches his eye. The next thing I know he says “I’ve been thinking...” and I knew that this was not going to be an interesting conversation. He explained to me how the Royal Fleet Auxiliary takes more mature people on and that it’s not too late for him to join up. There it was - my time to be a true military wife, supportive and encouraging despite knowing full well what the sacrifice he was asking me to make. But he made me a cuppa and we talked...
And it actually made a lot of sense. My initial apprehensions were reassured by cold logical facts and replaced with a feeling of pride and admiration for this adventurer of a man, this brave selfless man, who wanted to help us get better as a family whilst simultaneously (in some small way) saving the world. A man who was willing to leave his son and wife behind in order to do some good in the world, help relieve disasters or save innocent people from evil pirates. A real superhero! But he was asking me to step up and become a real superwoman as well.
Could I do it? I would be left alone for many moons, raising our little son alone. I would make all decisions affecting his life. I will be solely responsible for the safety, well-being and happiness of our two dogs. I will have to be a parent that Ron can wholeheartedly rely on, as his Dad would not be here for the most part. I was struggling with feelings of worthlessness and directionless life for a long time now, so the challenge was actually quite the welcomed change. I had a mission and a purpose once again and my emotions shifted from apprehension to excitement.
Sure, James would go away - but then he would come back. With the (very decent!) wage packet and three whole months off work, when he could concentrate on teaching Ron all about boating and yachsmanship, take us camping, go on holidays, fix up our old, leaky and cold house. I really couldn’t argue with that - living on minimum income was becoming taxing - on our relationship, on our investment in this house and on our general well-being. We were existing, not improving, not moving forward. And this was a way James saw he could get us from zero to something to be proud of - a life well lived. It also works out more time off than a general full-time office job would allow - 4 months on, 3 months off routine would give us more “Dad” time than if he worked Monday to Friday.
Pros and cons all considered, I became really excited about this possibility. Inspired, even. This redefined the pace and goals of my life and our little boy’s life. It blew away the cobwebs of isolation, depression and financial uncertainty. It gave us a breath of fresh ideas, emotional vigor and a whole new lease of life. And for that, I am thankful.
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It’s been a pleasure! My name is Dee, and I am a mum who does. Ta ta for now.
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I am Dee
I am sharing my thoughts, life's triumphs and trials as well as fun-filled projects with a 2 year old Ron from a remote island in Orkney whilst my superhero husband and Ron's daddy is saving the world with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
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