This year my other half spent the summer in Afghanistan. He'll be gone again in January.
Being the civilian in such a relationship is hard. It makes you very sad, very angry and very jealous of their work. You spend your nights wrapping care packages and your work breaks in the queue at the post office to send them. You sleep surrounded by pillows. Your single friends tell you how they have been alone for months and they still survive, you smile. The MOD website is visited hourly. Your heart always jumps when anyone mentions Afghanistan and you try you best not to cry at your desk when you hear the words 'the family has been informed' on the news. You find out pretty quickly who your good friends are and those who arn't. You hate 'normal' couples. You get bored of the statement 'You're so brave, I don't know how you do it', and long for the words 'are you ok, what can I do to help?'. You count down the days and you learn to survive until their return... with the constant worry that maybe they wont. But what do you do if you're the one left behind? What if you didn't get to say goodbye properly.
I imagine these thoughts have haunted generations of women.
So this year I will remember the fallen and their sacrifice but there will also be a little part of me that will be thinking of the partners in these service people's lives, the girls and boys who have said their last goodbye and who bravely march past the cenotaph in remembrance of those who shall not grow old.
I am a graphic and product designer and have been working commercially for over six years. I am currently working as a full time freelancer in Carterton, Oxfordshire creating print ready designs for a multitude of industries including children's publishing, commercial business premises, social stationery designs and surface pattern design.
Previously I have worked in children's publishing, greetings card design and stationery agencies after getting my BA (Hons) at Bath Spa University and graduating in 2006.