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Another Mother 1 - Please check I’m OK… What a military spouse wants you to know…

It’s easy to disregard a military spouse when she tells you her husband is about to go away, AGAIN. I mean, he goes away all the time, right? She must be used to it by now. Before you know it, she’s telling you he’s due home and you tell her how quickly the time went……for you. But let me ask you, in those days, weeks, months that she was alone, looking after the kids, sometimes going off the radar for days at a time…. Did you think to check on her? How many times did you get into bed at night and realise she hadn’t checked in, in a while? Not updated her social media, missed her on the school run, etc.

I read an article in the news recently and it made my blood run cold. A mother went away with work, leaving her husband at home with the children. Little did she know that her husband, would suffer heart failure in the night and never wake again. He died in his sleep, leaving their preschooler and toddler all alone in the house. Neither of them were old enough to call for help, neither of them could get out the house or fend for themselves, not even to get food or water. They were alone there, all day with their father’s body. Thankfully no harm came to the children in that time, but imagine the emotional trauma that has been caused? Imagine what it must have been like for them.

So many of us military wives are left alone for long periods, many of us with small children who are not old enough to raise the alarm in an emergency. I know myself that my kids can’t open the safety gate at the top of my stairs and thus would be trapped if something were to happen to me while I slept. My phone has a pin lock to stop the kids playing with it and the landline is downstairs. When I thought more about it, I wondered how long it would be before anybody noticed we weren’t around. It’s not unusual for me to not see my friends and neighbours on the school run because in all honesty, I’m usually running late. If the school tried to call to ask where my daughter was, my husband probably wouldn’t answer if he is out of the country. There isn’t anyone else, we have no other emergency contact, no relatives nearby. How long would it be before someone thought to knock on the door and check on us?

Yeah, I know this is totally morbid but it really is something you should think about if you have a friend that is a military spouse. You might think it’s pretty normal not to hear anything from them in 12 hours, 24 hours…. But alot can happen in that time. So please, if their partner is away, check on your friends. Keep tabs on their social media. It’s easy to see when they were last online on WhatsApp or messenger. You don’t need to hound them, but just look out for them. They will never be upset to receive a regular text from you to ask if they’re OK. If anything they will love you all the more for caring. The time might go quickly for those outside the military life bubble, but it drags for us.

I am so lucky to have a wonderful mother in law who texts me every day, every 12 hours when my husband is away. Just to check in. She doesn’t expect a long conversation and nor do I. If she doesn’t get a reply then I’ve told her who to contact to come and check on me and the kids. She’s never had to yet, thankfully.

Be a good friend. Check on your friends. Make a note on your calendar when their partners are going away. It’s not hard or time consuming and doesn’t cost you anything. Don’t let your friends become a heartbreaking newspaper article.

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