Advocating for Defence families

From the National Convenor

I don’t seem to be able to concentrate well today.

As I write this, teenager number two has gone back to school for the first time. I am picking her up as we don’t want her catching the bus. Our dog, who has spent the last two months cuddled up to her, has spent the day lying on her bed as he doesn’t know what else to do with himself.

Soccer training for teenager number three starts this week and I wonder what that will look like. Teenager number two might get a shift at her part-time job if lots of Canberrans decide to go away for the upcoming long weekend. Lockdown was isolating but simple: don’t go near anyone not in your immediate family or do anything non-essential.

With these greater freedoms comes responsibility and so many decisions. The other day I got an invite for a meeting at the end of June and when I read that it will be in person I thought, “Wow, I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” I asked the DFA team if it would be strange if I showed up with my own cleaning wipes and sterilized my chair and my own section of the table.

One of the team responded, “We should not be living in fear of being judged for decisions about safety. I am doing me, you do you. The last thing we all need is judgement. Use your wipes Maree.”During lockdown it was so important to be there for each other, to look out for neighbours and friends. We still need to do that even with these increased freedoms.

When I wrote a few weeks ago I said that I would write another post on an important topic in this Brenè Brown podcast with David Kessler on grief and finding meaning: Who can witness our grief when we are all in grief?

Before David answers that question he tells the story of the long spoons. A person is brought into a hall where a scrumptious banquet is being served.

Everyone at the banquet has these spoons that are a few feet long which means that no one can bring the spoon to their mouth to feed themselves. The person notices that instead of being happy to be at this bountiful banquet, they are in fact gaunt and starving.

The person is told that this is hell.Then the person is taken into another hall where an equally scrumptious banquet is being served. The scene is festive and joyous and everyone is happy.

They also have the long spoons but they are all feeding each other. And he is told that this is heaven.“So the difference between heaven and hell is taking care of each other?” asks Brenè. “Yes, it’s taking care of each other,” replies David.

When Brenè then asks who can hold space for us right now when we are all in grief, David answers that she’s asking him about the long spoons.“You’re going to feed me and I’m going to feed you,” says David.

In this past week as we highlighted the stress of being MWD(U) (Members with Dependants Unaccompanied) and other partners that are separated from their ADF members. I have seen some partners offering to feed other partners who are not with their ADF member due to the pandemic.

I am not quite sure it could be described as heaven, but it is beautiful.


Blog at