In a series of blogs to mark Remembrance and 100 years of women in the Armed Forces we ask 'what does Remembrance mean to you?' Former RAF medic Michelle Partington served for more than 20 years before PTSD led to a medical discharge. In this guest blog, she tells us why Remembrance is important to her.
I have lost colleagues and comrades so I think of them around Remembrance. And I certainly think about the patients I could not save, I have started to think about them as well.
I used to watch the service at the Albert Hall in London on TV until one year the first person I lost when I was a medic in Afghanistan appeared on the screen and it totally threw me. Due to my PTSD I have not been able to take part in Remembrance Day for a few years, it's hard for me to acknowledge what has happened especially seeing the faces of people I had tried to save. I could not accept I hadn't been able to save them.
Remembering is so important, not just for the First World War and the Second World War but also for the people who we have lost recently. We need to remember their families who must feel like it is Remembrance Day every day. And of course, being deployed in the Middle East, the poppy has taken on another significance for me as it reminds me of the poppy fields in Flanders and in Afghanistan, where I completed three tours.
This Remembrance Sunday I will be attending a service at my local church where I will be the standard bearer, proudly wearing my medals - I earned them!
Michelle was the first female medic to serve on the frontline with the RAF Regiment in Afghanistan and went on to complete three tours there. Since leaving the Service she has become an Invictus Games athlete and sport has become a vital part of her recovery. The RAF Benevolent Fund helped Michelle with the cost of a two-year counselling course to set up her own Foundation for veterans suffering with mental illness.