A Mother’s diary

by | Oct 24, 2008 | Poetry | 0 comments

February… the countdown to the tour has begun
Off to Colchester we go
To see a presentation of my son’s next tour
Expertly given by 2 Para Company’s CO*

As I stood and looked at these brave young men
I fought to hold back my tears
Seeing my son with his band of brothers
Only intensified my fears

Knowing that they would be facing
Six months in Afghanistan
I stood and watched and prayed they’d be safe
As only a mother can

March… 2 Para are stood down on leave
They now party from dusk until dawn
Building their trust and friendships for life
As another band of brothers is born

So the day came to say our goodbyes
My son in his deserts stands proud
A family photo to keep near my heart
Is taken away from the crowd

As he takes his final walk into the barracks
He turns and waves goodbye
Then on the endless journey home
The tears I held back fill my eyes

April… The day of departure
Worry and fears now flowing
Checking the time zones between here and there
Wondering what time they are going

At last, a phone call from Camp Bastion
“Happy 21st Birthday Son” I say
A pause and then “Oh yeah mum thanks”
“I’d forgotten I turned 21 today”

He’s waiting for his 18 minute flight
To the notorious FOB* Inkerman
Occupied by the British Army
The most dangerous FOB in Afghanistan

May… I got another call today
“I’m starving mum” he says
The horror bags we have for scoff
Don’t fill me up these days

So now I’m on a mission
To send him all I can
Friends and colleagues contribute
I’ve got to feed my man

Another call “Send bottled water”
“We’re running out real quick”
“This bore hole water is disgusting
It’s making me feel sick”

The fighting starts to intensify
As the poppy harvesting’s now done
I start to worry even more
For the safety of my son

June… He’s home on leave
Some well earned RnR
He’s off to the local show room
To buy his new dream car

At work I get a phone call
From my son and he’s upset
3 lads from his company have been killed
They were some of the lads I’d met

So for the rest of his leave he’s back on base
He feels he must be there
All I can do is listen and support
And show him that I care

Whilst back at home base he heard some news
Two more of his brothers had died
The guilt he felt because he wasn’t there
My son he just broke down and cried

His plane was delayed on his journey back
To his base at Camp Bastion
He rang to say he’d got there safe
And was waiting to return to FOB Inkerman

July… Another call “I’m starving mum”
“Please send some parcels out
Can you put it in some tins?
For there are rats and mice about”

The fighting has intensified now
The chance of contact increased
Those brave young men fight on relentless
Never knowing when the battle will cease

First thing in the morning and last thing at night
He is always on my mind
I dread for the day when I drive in my road
A strange car I am going to find

As the fighting calms I get a call
Another Para and his dog have been killed
For now, home life to my son is irrelevant
Survival’s kicked in and discipline instilled

August… My son has taken to smoking cigars
And chewing tobacco from a tin
When the fighting has stopped they try to relax
With a cup of café crème

For now it’s calm out there on the FOB
Although there’s been one or two fracas
There on the website a glowing report
‘2 Para Tough it out in Helmand Provence’

September… More phone calls come
Tales of life changing stories he makes
“Not much longer son and you will be home”
“I know, but one bullet mum is all that it takes!”

So four more weeks of worry
For now I have to bear
I’m not the only frightened parent
I know there are more of you out there

October… His tour’s almost over
But he’s still at FOB Inkerman base
The fight still goes on as the hand over starts
Commandos are now taking their place

He’s had another hit with his sniper rifle
Guilt now starts to set in
He wonders whose son, dad or brother he’s killed
Has he committed the ultimate sin?

He’s tired and aching, his knees are worn out
He now just wants to come home
I sit and I wait until that day comes
When he call’s me on the phone

It wont be long now until he’s home
Life’s just not been the same
But I know now that in a few months time
The vicious circle will begin again

Each one of these soldiers is a hero
Of that there is no doubt
But for a parent whose child has been out in hell
You just want to get them out

This is not just my diary
But every soldier’s parent’s as well
They’ve all worried and felt the same fear
As their children were deployed to that hell

We all burst with so much pride
When we say what our children do
And we all feel relief when they’re on their way
To be back home safe with you


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