A mother has started to smile at memories of her son five years after he was killed serving in Afghanistan.
Carol Brackpool’s son Private John Brackpool died two days before his 28th birthday on July 9 2009.
Speaking on Thursday (July 10), Carol, 59, of Tuscany Gardens, Northgate, said: “When it all first happened you cannot imagine even thinking of John and smiling again.
“Nowadays something will crop up and he’ll come to mind and you’ll smile.
“The longer it goes on you get more times to smile.
“It makes it so much better because I can think of silly things that he did now.”
Carol was looking forward to meeting with family and John’s friends for an annual remembrance.
She said:“We sit there and talk about him, have a laugh remembering the good times.
“I always look forward to it.”
Carol met with her daughter, Kim, 34, two of John’s best friends from Ifield Community College, Kenny and Chris, and John’s father Alan at Kim’s home in Crawley.
John was one of eight British soldiers killed in 24 hours.
Carol said she kept in touch with the soldiers’ families.
Speaking of the seven other mothers, Carol said: “They are the only ones you can really talk to.
“If you talk to another mum nine out of ten times when she says I know how you feel you know she does.”
John left the Army and lived with Carol from 2006 to 2008.
Carol said he could not settle back into civilian life and added: “You cannot take the Army out of the soldier.”
He rejoined the Army and told his mother his deployment in Afghanistan would be his last.
Carol said: “The only time he was truly happy was when he was in the Army.
“All I can think of is that he died doing the job that he loved “
Nowadays I do think he went the way he wanted to go - serving his Queen and country with the rest of the lads there with him.”
Carol said she was ‘very proud’ of the British Army.