Fellow Travelers

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Special Force

Several weeks ago I was asked to preview a new book coming out.  This offer struck me initially because it was written by a fellow military wife but then after reading more about the book, it hit me down to my core as a wife and as a mother.

The book is My Special Force:  The Warrior Who taught Me the Meaning of Life and Love, written by Heather Means. 

There is a certain kinship you feel as a military wife that others really don't understand, not because they don't want to, just because they can never truly know what it feels like until you've been there.  As I read Heather's words I have felt almost every single emotion she has felt. 

We both fell in love with guys we hadn't expected to.  These are men that can make us laugh uncontrollably, want to crawl under the table because of their antics, and be in awe of their shear unwillingness to quit.  Its these types of men (and women) that make up our armed forces and its these types that get sent out to do the work that needs to be done. 

I know what it feels like to send a husband (the special guy up there) to war.  I know what it feels like to have a husband that has a dangerous job.  I know what it feels like to be alone during your pregnancy.  I know what it feels like to raise a child alone.  I know what it feels like to sit at a funeral for a friend who lost her husband and the father of her children after a jet crash.  I know what it feels like to shed a tear every time I see a huge American flag flying.  Like I said... there is a kinship there for sure.

The book is a love story.  It tells the story of Ryan and Heather Means.  It gives you snapshots via emails, letters, stories, etc. in the world of these two souls - how they met, fell in love, and the impact Ryan had on the lives of everyone he met, even four years after his death at the young age of 35.

To quote Heather, "Ryan was fearless, funny, and deeply patriotic. When his lifelong friend, Adam White, died in WTC attack in 2011, Ryan, a Southern boy loving his life in New York, left the city life to join the Special Forces... Though he was almost a decade older than most other recruits, Ryan's drive and ambition pushed him to earn his place in one of the nation's most elite fighting forces:  the Green Berets."   

Heather met Ryan by chance while vacationing in North Carolina the summer of 2005.  Their love was fast and furious.  For years, their relationship consisted of long distance phone calls, emails, relocations, and 2 pregnancies while Ryan was deployed in Iraq.  During their 2nd pregnancy and Ryan's deployment, he became ill and was given only 30 days to live. 

The book truly honors the life of Ryan Means.  Its a beautiful and heart-wrenching story that makes you want to cherish this glorious life we've all been given but reminds you to live each day to the fullest.  Ryan was a true patriot.  He loved this country and everything it stood for. 

At the end of each update email he wrote to his friends and family, he signed off  "Keep on Rocking in the Free World".  Its because of men like him we can do that.  Thank you Ryan Means. 

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the book when it becomes available October 15th.  Its an important and beautiful story.  I was honored to be asked to read it.  I think you will be too. 


Day Old News said...

That is such a beautiful story and post. I will be sure not to read that book on a plane or in public or I'll be crying like I am now ;)

Reading Material