15 November 2016
A different battle
On Remembrance Sunday I watched a TV interview with a woman about her husband who had fought and died in Afghanistan three years ago. He had left behind a young widow and two very young sons. She was saying how she has good days and bad days; that she wishes he were still here to grow old with her and see the changes in her sons as they grow older. She was later shown walking proudly with all the veterans past the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
It got me thinking.
My husband died in a different battle. Not one against other human beings but against a much more subtle enemy. Alcohol. A different enemy but the same outcome. He's not here to see my daughter grow up and develop into a clever young doctor, to walk her down the aisle, see her married or have grandchildren. He's not here to experience a thousand news stories that his own thoughts had shaped in the past - not Brexit, the rise of the Trump, or the countless things that will happen to us all in the future. He's not here to grow old with me.
He's not here.
At least the fallen soldiers are remembered in a way their families can feel proud. For those families who have been devastated by an alcoholic enemy, there is no such redress. In fact most of us carry the burden, the shame and the guilt of having been somehow responsible, even if that is not true. For us, no medal to polish. Not even some foreign field that is forever England.