Squadron Leader Matt Sharrock is just one of many RAF personnel who'll be spending Christmas away from their families. In this guest blog, Matt's wife, Rebekah tells us about her RAF Christmas.
This Christmas will mark several firsts for us as a family – the first with our beautiful baby boy Jenson but also the first without his Daddy who will be serving overseas.
So the day will be one of mixed emotions, a chance to celebrate our little miracle and be thankful for all the love and the joy he has brought us already in his short life.
But I also expect it to be the hardest since my husband Matt left for his six-month deployment to Kuwait, as families come together to enjoy a special time together, ours will be separated by hundreds of miles.
Matt's Christmas Day will be spent serving his Queen and country, something I know gives him immense pride and he views as a privilege. And, in turn, Jenson and I are incredibly proud of him, the best husband and Daddy we could wish for. We will spend the day with family, thinking of Matt and all his comrades serving overseas around the world.
Being separated for six months is tough. I’ve been here before when Matt was sent to Afghanistan just weeks after we were married in 2010. Then, keeping busy with work and an active social life helped the time to pass. Now, Jenson fills my days but it can be isolating looking after a five-month-old single-handedly.
That’s when the RAF family comes into its own, neighbours, colleagues and charities like the RAF Benevolent Fund stand ready to support us whenever we need it.