As I sit here and reflect about our journey over the last five months since David transitioned from the army, I realise how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

I realise how David’s needs during this transition differ from mine.

For David there is:

  • Loss of community, soldier mates and structure.
  • Freedom of not having to survive in defence with PTSD and begin recovery
  • Opportunity to be anything he would like to be and pursue that dream
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Pressure of the demons that still linger

Overall he is in a grief or growth phase at any given time, but doing it with support of family, friends and various support agencies.

For me there is:

  • Relief knowing he is safe and home
  • Pride in watching him grow and continue to work on his recovery
  • Frustration when he is affected by the PTSD and the impact on us
  • Grief for the loss of the person I first met
  • Excitement getting to know this new man warts and all

So I too am going through my own grief or growth phase with support also.

When things get tough we go back to basics and focus on the day.  When things are good we celebrate, laugh and love our new life.

I guess the point is that living and loving an ex army boy is worth it if you are committed and prepared to be a safe place for each other to land.  Never stop communicating, laughing and building a new life.  But also remember all the good that defence provided also.  As I always say to David in his dark days you did not stay in for 25 years because it was sh$t….focus on the reason you stayed and bring the strength and purpose into your new life where it is helpful.  As for the rest, breathe, look around and know you are on a new journey and you have it with in you to be who and what ever you want to be.

So, to all those out there who are feeling grief, know you are not alone and this is a moment in time – you have amazing support all around you so find the one that works for you and please never give up there has been way too many losses already.  I can guarantee that there are lots of your fellow soldiers who have your back whether you know them or not.

If you are in a growth phase, celebrate and reflect on how strong and resilient you are.  Never lose sight of the end goal.  A future and a life you want to remember.

Share your stories good and bad would be interested to hear how you are transitioning into the civy world and if you are a family member how that has impacted you.