As an RAF wife I've had to get used to my husband going away on deployment but this time, his first since our children were born, brought with it a whole new set of challenges I hadn't experienced before and wasn't well prepared for.
Thanks to the improvements in technology we were able to keep in touch much more regularly than ever before – even managing regular video calls with the kids! But this proved to be difficult for my husband who found he missed being at home even more and it was upsetting when the children were too busy playing to speak to Dad.
We hadn't chatted in depth about my husband's deployment or how we were going to cope with the separation which led to difficulties while he was actually away. Of course, going from a two-parent to a single-parent family was challenging and it wasn't easy trying to talk through any problems while my husband was so far away.
The RAF Benevolent Fund's Ben's Den at RAF Lossiemouth was a godsend for my youngest. She was able to safely run off some steam in the soft play area while I enjoyed a moment of peace and quiet and caught up with some of the other families with deployed loved ones. There's nothing like the RAF community for offering support in hard times.
Thankfully, my husband returned from his deployment a few days ago so we're looking forward to a true family Christmas, spending time together.
Looking to the future, we already know my husband is due away again in a few months so we're planning to make use of the free relationship counselling the Fund offers.
I’m hoping the Relate counselling will ensure we are all better prepared to cope with the separation and the difficulties that it throws up. I hope this means the deployment and return home will be smoother next time and therefore less stressful for both of us!
Without the RAF Benevolent Fund to support this RAF Family surviving deployment would have been much tougher. Thank you!