Sunday, 7 April 2013

Storytelling Sunday Three: Pick Your Precious

Storytelling Sunday happens on the first Sunday of every month. Created by Sian at From High In The Sky
we enjoy telling our story and reading everyone else's. Why not go over there and take a look, AFTER you have read mine, of course.

UN shoulder flash

Two berets, a shoulder flash, a rank insignia and a UN helmet cover
More military stuff this month. This time from my youngest son. Both my boys joined the army. They are very close in age, just 13 months between them so it happened that the weekend we travelled to Richmond in Yorkshire for Eldest Son's Pass Off Parade was the weekend that Youngest son travelled to the now notorious Blackdown Barracks in Aldershot to begin his basic training. ES went on to spend time with the bomb squad and to be with the American 1st infantry (as liaison) in the first Gulf War. YS was in Germany while ES was in the gulf and the job for YS was to watch the casualty lists as they came in and then pull the files for his CO to write the letters to families. He worked four hours on and four hours off and told me several years later that he was dreading seeing his brother's name and number on his computer. Hows that for stress eh?
Then he was posted to the Royal Welch Fusileers - oh he was a clerk, or a blanket stacker as that branch of the force is so eloquently called by the rest of the army. He arrived with them and in Quick succession he spent six months in Northern Ireland, six months in Canada on training exercises and then he went to Kosovo. During the time he was there several of his RWF mates were kidnapped and held for a week or more. An IED blew up the vehicle in front of the one YS was travelling in and a couple of the boys were killed and more injured and he was under daily attack with mortars and guns. Then he came home.
His marriage broke up acrimoniously and his children were kept away from him, and after a pretty traumatic time he finally let slip that he was having flashbacks - from there it was easy for the "army experts" to diagnose PTSD. 
He had done 12 years by this time so he left the army and gradually rebuilt his life. He gave me these things because he couldn't bear to look at them but didn't want them to be lost because "When I see my kids again I want them to know the real me." I have them safe in my box so that my grandchildren can see them when they are ready. They have found their Dad again and they are building new relationships, a delicate and slow process but one that gladdens my heart. These things are reminders of very dark days but I am very lucky because both my sons came back home and they both now have settled happy lives and that is more precious than gold (or inkjet printer ink).

Take a click over to Sian's Place and see what other precious things are talked about on this Storytelling Sunday.

18 comments:

Sian said...

A hugely precious story and one I feel it has been a privilege to read. Thank you. How about printing out a copy and putting it in the box with those precious things because it's a story with a lot to say..

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Yes, I like Sian's suggestion of adding this story to your box. I can't imagine how it must feel to have your children serving in combat zones. So glad they both retuned safe x

Jennie Hart said...

Thank you for sharing your story, the trauma involved for any services family is ongoing and far-reaching. I wish your family all the best.

debs14 said...

I can't begin to imagine the worry of having a son in a trouble spot. What precious items these are and must be kept to represent that period in his life.

Elizabeth said...

My heart breaks for your son and the troubles he has had. It seems as though things are beginning to change for him and his children. Some day they will appreciate what he went through. They'll look at the items you are saving for them and understand even more.

Alison said...

It's good to hear your grandchildren are back in touch with your son......and that both your sons returned safely
Alison xx

Missus Wookie said...

Oh I was going to say I hope you've put this story in with the bits and then saw Sian had said so too. Definitely precious pieces - but yep the relationship is still more precious too.

Sheena said...

Thank you much for sharing this story with us all.
So pleased to hear your son is seeing his children & rebuilding relationships with them xxx

Becky said...

I cannot begin to imagine how you must have felt with two sons in the army - so proud, but so worried all the time. I am so glad that your son's children are building a relationship with him again. A very moving story, thank you for sharing it. xx

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I can't imagine how hard your son's ordeals have been for you as well. I'm glad new relationships are being built, and I'm sure this story will be important to them.

Jo said...

Such and incredibly touching story. I hope that things continue to go well for your son and his family x

Miriam said...

Oh my what a story. They came home to you. I hope your troubled son finds peace. I just can't imagine what you went through with them both away. Strong Lady.

My simple life said...

What a moving story. Glad to hear things are improving for your family

Cheri said...

THanks for sharing such a personal and moving story. I always appreciate those who have served - it is such a personal sacrifice.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Thank you for sharing such an important and heartfelt story. It is a privilege to read it. Hugs to you and your whole family.
Rinda

Louise said...

oh my! I have a lump in my throat. You must be so proud of both your sons - with boys of my own I do wonder if i'll ever be faced with one of them opting for Army life. I am so glad to read too that your son has come through and is starting to build another life....it cannot be easy for any of you xx

Barbara Eads said...

I think your grandchildren will be so happy to have these things from their father. You are smart to save them.

PS Is anyone else having trouble posting comments in Bloglovin?

Sinead said...

Thanks so much for sharing this precious story, it really is such very moving and emotional. Thinking of you x