Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate and to show how much you appreciate your mother right?
But do you think about those who don’t have a mother to celebrate?
Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary for the Iraq War (Op Telic) where I had the honour to serve with the first battalion the royal regiment of fusiliers which was part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, The Desert Rats, Something I am extremely proud to have been a part of, however as I stated, that was 20 yrs. ago, time moves on and so have I.
The reason I mention this in relation to Mother’s Day is that it was certainly my Family including my mother that got me through that War, and losing my grandma whilst waiting in the Kuwait desert prior to deployment certainly helped me, in some strange way, it was like she was watching over me the whole time, ensuring my safe return.
When I returned my mother relished in the victory, going round telling people how proud she was that one of her sons was a Desert Rat and helped to liberate a country, but my war had only just begun as I battled every single day with what I had seen and done in that War.
I left the armed forces after Iraq as a lot of us did and although Lord Ashcroft stated in the Armed Forces Covenant that 95% of Veterans transition successfully, however; in my experience as a War Veteran and someone who has worked with Veterans as a support worker and Counsellor for many years it would be fair to say that my personal and professional experience is that after two years of leaving the forces many veterans struggle with their transition and rely heavily on their loved ones, their wives, partners, family and most of all their mothers.
However once the bragging rights had gone it seemed so did my mother, my entire family become petrified of me and struggled to understand or support me and instead they alienated me from the fold to fight my demons alone, even when I was screaming out for help they ignored me and when I was suicidal they pushed me closer to the dark, in fact it was simply the fact that I am a stubborn prick and a fighter that I chose to not kill myself as it would make them happy and instead I will live my life, become a success and prove to them that I do not need them in my life, I was stronger then them all put together.
I suspect my inner strength came from the fact that I was the result of an affair my mother had and was brought up knowing that I was only a half brother to my siblings, the last time I ever spoke to one of brothers I was 33 yrs old and only been out the Army a year and I remember word for word him saying “I know your not my real brother but..” words that cut me deep, especially when we had served together in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
It would be fair to say that this so-called family was toxic, and on the passing of my grandad it completely fell to shit, which considering it use to be an extremely close family was a real shame and regardless of my efforts to bring it back together it was just irreparable, and so be it.
My mother wrapped me in cotton wall as a child, not sure if that was due to the fact, I was the Bastard child or the fact I had epilepsy regardless of which I was certainly a mummy’s boy, something that didn’t do me well when I first joined the forces as all I wanted to do is get home and would count the days, so to be abandoned by her of all people hurt like hell, especially when it was me that came running every time she had been beaten by husbands or was attempting to take her own life, but when I needed my family when I needed my Mum they were not there and left me to die and die I did.
18 years on and I haven’t spoken to any of my family since, although I did give my mother another chance about 4 years ago however she had not changed and that was clear to see so I chose to shut that door again and bolt it, she cannot say I didn’t try however her wanting to keep our new mother son relationship a secret and away from the rest of the family was just not acceptable to me.
This isn’t a pity party and I am now married and have an amazing Mother in law, a mother in law that has even sat and listened to me complain about her daughter when we were going through some struggles, a mother in law that does not judge me or make me feel unworthy to be a part of her family, instead she has done nothing but accept me for me and accept me into her family and I cannot of ever asked for a better mother even if it is in law.
So, the moral to this story: is about appreciating what you have and not letting what you don’t have bother you and affect your happiness. We cannot choose our mothers and I really do fully appreciate how difficult the role of a mother is and my story is my story, and although I know many can relate, I hope your story is different to mine and full of unconditional mother love.
My thoughts are also with those who have a lost their mothers through death and I urge for all of you that still have a mother in your life to really show her just how much you love and appreciate her while you still can as one day she will not be.
Message to my biological mother:
Thank you for making me so independent and mentally strong and not needing you in my life.