This blog post has moved a little bit away from what I usually write about. This one is not about building a business as a military spouse, or even business start-ups, this was just something that I wanted to write about today. It’s a personal one, but I hope you still like it.
It’s a lazy Saturday and I am catching up on the BBC’s coverage for the Invictus Games. This year the games are being held in Sydney, Australia where 500 competitors and 1,000 family and friends will come together. The Games will feature competition in 11 sports with events being held across Sydney, including Sydney Olympic Park and Sydney Harbour. It looks amazing!
The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
‘Most of us will never know the full horrors of combat. Many Servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, visible or otherwise, whilst serving their country. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries?
On a trip to the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013, HRH The Duke of Sussex saw first-hand how the power of sport can help physically, psychologically and socially those suffering from injuries and illness. He was inspired by his visit and the Invictus Games was born.
The word ‘invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It embodies the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and personifies what these tenacious men and women can achieve post injury. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.
The Invictus Games is about much more than just sport – it captures hearts, challenges minds and changes lives.’
Most Armed Forces personnel, like my husband, are active and adventurous. He’s not happy unless he’s travelling to a different country, or out running a marathon! He loves his job and the camaraderie that brings. The RAF, along with his family, are everything to him. In fact in most conversation when he refers to ‘we’, he very rarely means the two of us – he’s talking about the RAF. It’s such a big part of both of our lives.
I have always worried about my husband getting injured while he’s operational. Growing up with a disabled mum means that I know first-hand the realities of disability and how without the right support it can destroy not just the person but the family that surrounds them. They are still the same person inside; it’s just their body that is not working in the way it used to.
I imagine for someone in the Armed Forces to suddenly find themselves not being able to do those things that came naturally must be so very challenging. My husband’s role in the Armed Forces, which is incredibly active and has a huge sense of community and camaraderie, is so important to him. If he were to lose this due to injury it would probably be the biggest challenge he could ever face. Yet I don’t believe it’s the physical challenge that is the worst part of a physical disability, in my experience it’s the emotional and psychological effect on everyone associated, primarily the family. This frustration, and where it leads, can be where the real damage is done and can affect those closest. It’s a challenge that I hope we never to have to live through. I say ‘we’ not in the way my husband does; I say ‘we’ because just like any deployment we would go through, we’re a team, as other families are.
So, as a wife who has spent nine years constantly worrying about the ‘what if’, I find that the Invictus Games gives me faith. Faith that if we do face the challenge of an injury on operations, there’s a team that will have our back. A team to keep that sense of belonging, camaraderie and support, and to enable his need for adventure.
Even though he’s a ‘rufty-tufty’ military man who disappears to the deepest darkest parts of the world quite often, he’s still my best friend, and my future. And our future, whatever shape it may take when he returns from operations, is better for me knowing that there is the support of the Invictus Games.