As we approach Remembrance Sunday, the Rev Fiona Gardner, the minister of Temple Anniesland Parish Church in Glasgow, is sharing her new book, ‘Love Song For A Wounded Warrior’.
Based on her late husband Colin’s struggles as a war veteran, as well as his family’s experiences, the book is co-written using Colin’s own memoirs. The proceeds from the book will go towards funding two charities in Glasgow (Epilepsy Connections and The Coming Home Centre in Govan).
Fiona and Colin, pictured right, decided to share their story in order to raise awareness of the ongoing battles that many veterans and their families face, as well as to stimulate discussion as to how we can better support people with disabilities – both visible and invisible.
“Every year when Remembrance Sunday comes around, I am deeply challenged,” Fiona said.
“Often on that day, we think of those who died in the First and Second World Wars; sweethearts left behind, people scarred by their experiences. However, sadly there is a whole new generation now deeply impacted by their years of deployment in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan or Iraq.
“My late husband served in the intelligence services – mainly in Northern Ireland from 1974-81. He was invalided out because of a head injury which resulted in epilepsy. When he returned to Glasgow, he did OK for a while, but eventually his injury became more problematic, as did his PTSD symptoms.
“He died in April 2018 as a result of degenerative epilepsy. His fight for life and health in the civilian world was as courageous as his fight in active service.
“‘Love Song For A Wounded Warrior’ records some of his poems and short stories about his experiences in combat. I have also written about the impact that his injuries had on his life and family.
“He wanted his writings about his struggles and difficulties published, and it seems like my last loving honouring of his memory, to do this posthumously.
“Yet to make sense of his pieces of writing, I have had to write too, to provide a narrative for the fragments, and now I find myself telling something of our story as a family. Daring to do this, to have courage to speak, to be authentic, is one of the scariest things I have ever done.
“I tell Colin’s story to honour his memory, to raise awareness, to stimulate discussion as to how we can better support people with difficult disabilities, and to ask questions as to how we might best respond – particularly in terms of medical and spiritual perspectives.
“I would commend the book to you, just because I believe that thousands of others have similar stories, and I would like that as a society, we would more consciously seek to support all our veterans and their families.
“Everyone has a story to tell, and perhaps we all need to learn to listen more attentively and compassionately.”
The book ‘Love Song For A Wounded Warrior’ is available to order by emailing Fiona or through Sanctus Press and costs £10.
The proceeds from sales will be split equally between Epilepsy Connections and The Coming Home Centre in Govan, Glasgow.