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Chin Up, Head Down

Chin Up, Head Down [Kindle Edition]

Helena Tym
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.95
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Product Description

Product Description

On 2nd June 2009, two men knocked on our door, bringing with them the news that our nineteen-year-old son, Cyrus, had been killed that morning by an IED while serving with 2 Rifles in Afghanistan. Our family as we knew it was destroyed in an instant. I had three sons, a job as a manager in a day centre for people with acquired brain injuries – and suddenly this had changed for ever.People ask me how I’ve coped, and my answer is that I have written it all down – partly for fear of losing those memories too, and also to tryto make some sense of what has happened. This process of madness continues to be part of what has become my new ‘normal’.I have a new life now, which I’m trying desperately to come to terms with – and follow Cyrus’s words from his last letter to us.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3032 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Tommies Guides (25 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009GEP5CY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #238,956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've had the knock at the door too 30 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book, read the back cover and then put it aside until I felt strong enough to read it. My 24 year old son was killed in Afghanistan last summer (2011) I have kept my own diary of what has happened since that day but Helena's book has showed me that mothers are strong and that I will get through it. I've now passed the book to another family who also lost a son last year in Helmand hopefully it will help them too
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 22 Jun 2012
By bill bb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had to read this book in one go as i could not put it down. It is really gripping and the author shares her grief and anguish in a frank and honest way. I have not been personally touched by tragedy in the way she has and the many other families of services personell. This book gives me an insight into the real pain and suffering behind the regular news reports of one more dead soldier in Afganistan. Everyone should read this book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cyrus would be proud of his Mum 5 Jun 2012
I was already in awe of Helena Tym before I read this incredible book. We met when I was producing a series for Remembrance on BBC Radio 2 in November 2011. She was one of five mothers who shared their stories with Jeremy Vine for The Songs My Son Loved. An eloquent speaker who spoke with unflinching honesty and intimate detail about her close relationship with Cyrus who died aged 19 in Afghanistan.

Visiting their home in Caversham, I was struck by what a loving family he grew up in and how much he was missed. Helena seemed so composed when describing the most awful events any parent can imagine and yet through this book, I now have a glimpse of what was going on beneath the surface and under the painted-on smile. A devoted mother whose life still revolves around her partner Rob and their other sons, Zac and Steely but who will never be quite the same person since losing one of her children. She worries she is descending into madness and putting pen to paper has helped her to articulate and record the emotions she endures in her struggle to survive.

I felt privileged to receive an advance copy of the book but had no idea just how beautifully written it would be. Helena manages to paint the most vivid tangible picture of grief that I have ever come across. The way she describes the desperate black hole she falls into and the venomous glue that seems to run through her veins is heartbreaking yet fascinating. It is a study into just how much sadness the human body can handle and how the death of a loved one can cause not just mental anguish but actual physical pain. It also gives the reader an insight into the tortuous journey a bereaved forces family takes from the first knock at the door to the funeral and the inquest.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chin Up, Head Down 2 July 2012
By ww1geek
Chin Up, Head Down describes the journey of a mother after her life was turned upside down on 2nd June 2009. On that day she learned that one of her sons had been killed by an IED in Afghanistan.

It must be every mother of a soldier's nightmare; that knock on the door, being told that your son has been killed. The rest of us have the luxury of being able to switch the channel after hearing the news, but for the families affected there is no such luxury.

The book follows Helena Tym's journey over the year and a half following her son's death, from the initial administration and paperwork through to repatriation, burial and beyond - a life now marked by painful anniversaries of death, remembrance, and birthdays her son would never see.

She is obviously writing at a time when the emotion is still raw, grappling with inner turmoil whilst trying to put on a brave face. Her writing is brave, dignified, and honest; she even shares her son's last letter, only to be opened in the event of his death.

Chin Up, Head Down brings home the risks our soldiers take and the daily danger they face in Afghanistan. For many they may just be another statistic, but every one of them has a family who suffers. Whilst none of us can truly understand what these families go through, Helena Tym conveys the pain and anguish felt - a timely reminder of the importance of supporting both our servicemen and women and the families left behind.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swift & Bold 15 Jun 2012
By Chadams
`Chin Up Head Down' is without a doubt the most emotional and heartfelt book that I have ever read. It tells the factual story of the events from a mother's point of view after the death of her much loved, 19 year old Rifleman Son and the constant struggle to try to get back to `normality.' Helena and her family are truly inspiring. Having the pleasure of knowing them personally and knowing what a unique and beautiful character Cyrus was makes this book completely melt my heart. `Chin Up Head Down' is an extremely personal and deep insight into the emotions felt and the daily struggle of losing someone that is so irreplaceable within such a close family unit.

This book really depicts what a brave, unique, happy, fun-loving and inspirational person Cyrus really was from the viewpoint of someone that knows him better than anyone else - his mother. The impact that his death has had on his family has been completely devastating; but Helena has found the strength and the courage to pour her heart and soul into this book and has composed it in such a beautiful and compelling way, which I find truly amazing.

`Chin Up Head Down' is a completely fascinating, interesting yet heartbreaking read that really lingers in your thoughts even after putting it down. It really depicts what a strong bond the family have now and will always have between them.

I highly recommend `Chin Up Head Down.' I believe that this book is completely unique to anything that I have read in the past before. It is so emotional, so honest, so raw but yet so poetic and deeply personal.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
This will take several attempts to read this as it is so heart rending.
Published 10 days ago by No
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very emotional.
Published 1 month ago by maureen king
5.0 out of 5 stars book
chin up head down , what a grand title.the insight of pain hurt sorrow when having to come to terms with lost of a child ,,,,having to read that final letter its just heart... Read more
Published 5 months ago by saldel
2.0 out of 5 stars Too soon
I am not sure why I took this book out of the library. I had a son with the Green Jackets in Iraq - mercifully that knock on the door did not come and so I suppose I felt compelled... Read more
Published 7 months ago by MrsS
5.0 out of 5 stars Mothers Grief
This book is worth reading, a mothers true feelings of how the death of her son touched her both emotionally and spiritually. You have to read it for yourself.
Published 10 months ago by Liz D
5.0 out of 5 stars Crying on the train :-( 30 pages in
I am only 30 pages in and started reading this on my train journey this morning. Big mistake I was a blubbering mess. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Denny
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
This book it's truly moving and brought me to tears a few times , this woman is so strong especially to be able to write a book like this!! Read more
Published 11 months ago by steph
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
A moving story of a mother who has lost her son in the war's abroad at a young age, how she and the family cope from day to day with the loss, it's a story of truth and it touches... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr. G. E. Gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars Mum's everywhere
A harrowing story from the ripped heart of a mum who has lost her son. No parent could fail to be moved by the anguish seeping through every page. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ms E Broaders
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mothers loss
A compulsive read for me as cyrus was my paper boy together with his two brothers =all dfferent but so polite
Published 17 months ago by Mrs Ann Deane
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