First of all, what’s the odds on finding someone else out there in my virtual world who has lived in Lund, Southern Sweden. There were other coincidences, too.
It was this virtual encounter that brought to mind something that happened 22 years ago. When I tell you, you might think it just plain spooky; reminiscent of that black and white television series in the 60’s, where 30 minutes of spine-chilling paranormal ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ were told. I am not a religious person, nor do I believe in ghosts or the paranormal, but when something happens that can’t be explained, you begin to wonder if there is someone with a scheme: a plan.
I awoke one night in the month of January, 1992, to the smell of smoke. As the smell got stronger I nudged Hubby who by this time had also woken up to smell, what he thought, was cigarette smoke. Our eldest smoked, and was in the habit of coming home in the middle of the night from his base, so we both thought it was him, home for a few days. But, we couldn’t hear anyone moving about, so we got up wondering if he was either raiding the fridge or his Dad’s wine rack. I looked into his bedroom first; no son, then went downstairs into the kitchen; still no son. I then looked out from the kitchen window hoping to see his motorbike, but there was no bike on the drive: nothing: only our cars. After checking around the house we went back to bed thinking we had either both been dreaming, or were finally going gaga.
It was many years later, about 20 in fact, when our son was going through a bad patch, that we discovered why it couldn’t have been him that night. A story began to unfold in dribs and drabs – I say story, but it was more like finding lost pieces to a jigsaw puzzle we’d had for years. One piece we did find, though, was that my son lost his best mate that night.
The troubles in the Gulf and Afghanistan go on, but its been 70 years since the end of the WW11, and there are war veterans still around from that era who can tell their stories: but most will take them to their grave: keeping the horrors of what they’ve seen, and done, to themselves. I have watched them all, young and old, on Remembrance Day, all standing in reflective silence, remembering their comrades who fell. Military men stick together like Velcro, forming very strong bonds with each other, leaving us civilians on the periphery, not being able to penetrate that exclusive club called The Armed Forces.
That is why we, as a family, support Help For Heroes. Its a life-line for ex-servicemen, and their loved ones, who can go to hell and back trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of not only serving their country, but also their time.