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Author Topic: WaT Zoo Exhibit #14: Christina Schmid - The Widow of Her Best Friend  (Read 2218 times)


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« on: 17 December 2009, 20:29:21 »

Christina Schmid, widow of bomb disposal hero Olaf Schmid.

Rattler always tells me I have to include my POV on what I post but I strongly believe that the video and quotes say all that needs to be said.

Funeral of SSgt Olaf Schmid

Distraught Christina Schmid, 34, who wore her husbands medals during his repatriation ceremony yesterday, said she lost her best friend when he was blown up in Afghanistan.

She spoke as tributes poured in for the five soldiers killed by an Afghan policeman.

Pressure last night grew on Gordon Brown to pull troops out after a YouGov poll showed 73% believe British forces should be withdrawn.  

As she tucked her five-year-old son Laird into bed on Saturday night, Christina Schmid got the knock on the door she had been dreading.

Leaning out of the window she spotted two men wearing the green military berets of the Royal Logistics Corps, and her heart sank.

Christina knew they were bringing bad news about her husband Olaf, a bomb disposal hero in Afghanistan.

Little Laird blurted out in excitement: Theyre wearing a green lid, its Daddy Oz.

But she had to tell the youngster his brave stepfather was not home and deep down she knew he never would be.

In desperation, she shouted down to the officers: Tell me he can talk. Tell me hes lost his arms and his legs, but just tell me hes not dead.

But there was to be no shred of comfort for the 34-year-old.

She said: They asked me to come downstairs and thats when I knew Oz was dead. I didnt want to let the officers in. I couldnt see the point. I knew Oz was dead and thats all I needed to know.

Olaf, known as Oz to his friends and family, had died died hours earlier, blown up by the 65th Taliban bomb hed defused during his five-month tour of duty. It was his last day on the front line.

The 30-year-old should have returned home this weekend to be with his wife and Laird.

Instead, Christina proudly wearing her husbands medals was one of the many who turned out at Wootton Bassett, Wilts, yesterday to pay their respects as his body was brought home.

She said: Im happy to have Oz back on English soil. Its ironic he wouldve been coming home around now anyway, just in a different fashion.

Wed spoken about the repatriations. Oz said hed love for me to stand there and watch him come back. Youd better bloody be there, hed said.

In a moving interview with the Daily Mirror, Christina told how she and Olaf had discussed the possibility he could die in action and how that meant they must make the most of whatever time they got to spend together.

She was under no illusion about the danger he faced.

After all, he had recently been promoted to a high-threat operator, a skilled role held by just 300 in the Army. He was the third to die.

Olaf had defused 64 IEDs out of an estimated 1,200. As his commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Robert Thomson insisted: Oz was the bravest and most courageous man I have met.

Christina said: The possibility of Oz dying out there wasnt something we covered up. We laughed and joked about it, not to trivialise it but we had to be aware of it.

There was a pressure to make the most of the time we did have and we never wasted time arguing. We never swore at each other. We did so much together that Im sure a lot of married couples wouldnt do in a lifetime.

I remember asking him to write his will down so Id know what hed want if anything happened to him. He just said to me, Honey, youre my best friend. You should bloody know what Id want.

Every day Id wake up and think Come on Oz, you can do it. Id be thankful at night that I hadnt had the knock at the door.

But that knock did come, robbing her of a future with Olaf that had promised so much.

They had planned to one day move from their home in Winchester, Hants, to Truro in Cornwall, where he was born.

Pain etched on her face, Christina added: I feel short-changed. We had all these plans and theyve been taken away.

We wanted a big family, two or three more kids. But we didnt try before Oz went away because of the high risk involved with his job.

Deciding not to try for children before he went away is something I regrets not the right word but thats whats going through my head at the moment. Should we have tried for children? Now I wish I had. Its sad that I dont have those options anymore. Im scared of life without him. I feel as though a part of me is missing.

Christmas is going to be horrible. Wed shut ourselves in the house and Oz would go mad with presents.

He was so good at choosing things that hed know you like. But hed spend loads and Id get annoyed because Im such a tight a***. Id buy some rubbish CD and a pen and hed have bought a diamond.

Christina and Olaf had known each other for years through their parents. They hit it off immediately.

But the pair only became romantically involved four years ago when she split with Lairds dad.

She said: Husband and wife seem like silly words to explain what we had. First and foremost he was my best friend. I was happiest with him and Laird. I didnt need anything else.

Christina last spoke to Oz on Thursday, two days before he was killed.  He couldnt wait to see her, Laird and their Boxer Bo.

Their conversation was filled with the usual banter whether Laird had started his swimming lessons, what Christina had been up to and how much he was looking forward to coming back.

Christina said: I had thought we were home free, I really did.

Olaf was fiercely proud of his work in Afghanistan.

In one letter to Laird, he told how he hoped his work out there would improve the  ives of ordinary Afghans.

He wrote: Hopefully the people over here will have a better life because we are here. Must go. I really miss you Laird. Thank you for looking after mummy.

Despite her overwhelming grief, there are things that can still bring Christina comfort at this bleak time. Not least the Armys love and support.

She added: Im so proud of him for what he did and who he was. He saved lives and he saved people from horrible injuries and that does bring me comfort.

I know what Oz was doing out there made a difference to people and saved them. He was so sensitive and modest. Hed laugh to think of everyone calling him a hero now, he just got on with it.

If I was ever down or stressed about work hed ask: Are you still alive? So why are you stressing then? That was his take on life and Ill never forget it.

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