Remembrance – The Hidden Price of Freedom – The Women who Loved and Lost

With Remembrance Day near, we prepare to honour our fallen. In doing so we should not forget the families particularly, the war widows who  deserve much recognition and our immense respect.

Helping or donating to Legacy which supports war widows and families is one very effective way of doing just that.

The Hidden Price of Freedom

Each year on the 11th of the 11th we pause to reflect on the sacrifice made in war, particularly by those who did not come home. They were mostly very young and so full of energy and zest for life.

They had many similarities including love of country, mateship and acceptance of responsibility. These men and women were dedicated to each other, sharing and caring, defiant when the odds were against them, daring, a wry sense of humour and longing to be back in their beloved Oz.

There are others who also became casualties of war; the women who waved loved ones goodbye and kept the home fires burning. For them, no matter the generation and regardless of the conflict, of when and where or its degree of intensity, they too endured and still do.

The long wait for mail, the loneliness of sleeping between cold sheets in an half empty bed,  the smothering uncertainty from day to day and always waiting for that reassuring message that all was OK.   For many it was also being both Mum and Dad and so many extra chores that used to be his.

Those women who have experienced such separation would agree it was a very long and anxious time waiting and too often a skipping heart beat when the media with breaking news announced there had been casualties. Each announcement followed by the long, long dreaded wait for a possible knock on the door by a grim face in uniform.  It’s the game played by next of kin in any war and there are the winners and losers.

Let us never forget such women, particularly those who lost and the pain and anguish many of them experience for the rest of their life.   The average profile of a woman on becoming a war widow is a stark reminder of the tragedy of war. Most are very young and more often than not they have infants. Many never remarry. Their dreams are gone and life is changed for ever with photographs of a smiling soldier on the mantelpiece as a reminder of sweet memories from yesterday.

So when you recall war, never forget the hidden sacrifices of those who were caught in the terrible game of waiting, hoping and then had lost. Sadly there has been no change to the rules and the game goes on this very day.  I will conclude with some lines dedicated to those women who in all seasons of war have always kept the homes burning brightly

                The Women Who loved and Lost 

Such ladies are always seen with brave face

Young and old, they’ve never faltered in life’s great race

Duty, honour and love of country was a familiar cry

A final hug, the last kiss as he whispered goodbye

These women knew well the loneliness of the waiting game

The smothering silence while pretending he was home again

Each day and night dreading to hear that cruel knock on the door

Hoping tomorrow would go faster than the one before 

To see once more that familiar wave from the front gate

Have him safe and no longer the agony of wait

Longing to hear his laughter reaching out above  

The comforting warmth and sweetness of his love

They have such proud and loved memories of yesterday

When married to the best who for Nation led the way

God bless and salute them for the brave women they are

Their beloved heroes watching from above mid the brightest stars

George  Mansford  © October 2014

war-widows

Comments

  1. Butch Mathew says

    Great Poem, By a Great Man
    Well done George (Snowy ) I’ve save all George’s poems over the years & have both of his books

  2. Michelle Matthews says

    I too loved and lost when my daddy went to Vietnam and never came home. He was 22 years of age. I was only one so can’t remember the heartache but it shattered my family and it was never to be the same. The pain of losing my beloved dad will always be with me and every Remembrance Day fills my heart with sadness. Lest We Forget