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Goodbye, Chatelaine.com: Is this really the end?

A year has passed since my very first post for Under Fire. It is now time that I move on in my writing career, so I am saying goodbye to Chatelaine.com and Under Fire, but I know it won’t be easy.

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I think that I have been crafting this post, my last post, since the day that I first started this blog. I wanted to make sure I said all the right things, thanked the right people, and made the points that I felt were necessary. Under Fire, started exactly one year ago and this will be my 124th post, and sadly, my last. But after a year of experience blogging, I have learned that I don’t need to say the right thing or the write the perfect words; I just need to be myself. That is all I have done here, within the posts of my Under Fire blog.

This last year has seen me go through a lot. I’ve been separated from my love and family, I’ve lost my job in the military due to my medical release, I’ve been in school and trying to start my own business, and I’ve moved across the country. These last few months have been particularly difficult, as I’ve been dealing with my Grave’s disease diagnosis and severe symptoms. It has been a time, more than ever, that I have needed someone to turn to, but obviously, my friend pool has sort of decreased–okay, is non-existent– out here in Vancouver. And so, this blog has been my friend that I told all of my secrets and dealt with all the tribulations of life. Under Fire has been such a comfort to me when I needed it the most.

My military life has given me a niche in the writing world, however, that life will be ending soon. In September, I will officially be civilian, and it is time to move on in my career, writing or otherwise. This is a time that I need to focus on my future, but I will always bring my past, in the military, and with Chatelaine.com, along with me.

The sacrifices one makes to be in the military can be large but the rewards are so very great. For some, the sacrifice is in one’s agreement to sign control of your life over to the military and follow your orders to the end of the earth, and sometimes further. For others, it is the ultimate, giving their lives in service to a greater cause. For those who make a family with a soldier, the sacrifice lies in the willingness to go along for the ride–to leave the job you love or the people you care about, in order to follow to the next posting, the next job, and the next province, full of uncertainty. Yes, the sacrifices vary, but so do the rewards.

For me, I will walk away from the Canadian Forces with such a full understanding of myself, and all that I’m capable of, and I’ll tell you, it’s more than I ever could have imagined. I walked fifty kilometres on a broken leg! I carried on when I thought that both my brain and my body were unwilling. I dealt with the highest ranking officers in the military with ease. I travelled the world, for the most part, in a bleary-eyed state of professional exhaustion. Most important of all my military accomplishments, I met the greatest friends one could ever hope to meet. My military comrades and their ever-patient family members, have become my lifelines. Those friendships have propelled me onwards, in those moments when I doubt myself.

I’d like thank Chatelaine.com, along with my amazing, compassionate and witty editor. Thanks for taking a chance on some unknown military officer, and giving me the creative outlet that I needed so badly. The thoughtfulness of my editor, as I deal with my illness, has been truly moving.

To my readers, thanks for reading, thanks for commiserating, and thanks for your comments, which really spurred me on when I worried that people were losing interest. In case anyone wondered, I read and relished every single one of your comments, tucking them away in my brain to bring out whenever I was having a bad day.

And finally, to my fellow soldiers and veterans, and the people who love them: This blog, in its entirety, is dedicated to you. I hope that in my words, you found comfort and comradeship. My experiences are but a tiny fraction of what it is to be a military member, and I am eternally cognizant that I am a small cog in the wheel.

I am in awe of all of you, your sacrifices, and your determination.

For us with careers in the Canadian Forces, we all end up where I am, at the end of the proverbial road, about to take a leap into civilian life, which is something that none of us tend to understand. It is scary for us military folk, no matter how solid your plan or how firm your decision to leave. I am one of them and I am scared. That’s the truth. But I’m jumping, taking the leap, going for it, picking a fork in the road, and any other life choice cliché you can think of! I know I can do it, because I remember that frightened eighteen-year-old, signing to join the Forces eight years ago. I overcame my worries then, and I can do it now.

I can do something with my life. I can attain those dreams. This is what the military taught me.

Farewell all. Look out for my name on a book one day…this is just the beginning.

Kelly