Top positive review
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A tribute of deepest love and deepest grief. Not an easy read, but so worthwhile.
on 13 December 2012
I bought this book because Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher has 'registered on my radar' more than any soldier who had served in Afghanistan, with the sole exception of my nephew. Cyrus was killed shortly before my nephew married - at that time I can remember Cyrus' unusual first name catching my ear, and my sadness that at just 19, a promising life was ended. I saw Cyrus' face on the official photograph that was released for news reports - a tear of sadness, as he looked so young.
There are memories of Cyrus' funeral - so many young faces torn in grief for their friend. I heard Helena's tribute to Cyrus on 'The Songs My Son Loved' on Jeremy Vine's show in 2011 and recognised his name instantly. From this broadcast I learned that Cyrus was dyslexic - I specialised in tutoring learners with dyslexia and have always felt a special bond with those who struggle with learning or organisation.
What a beautiful, infinitely poignant song the family chose to remember him with too - R. Kelly's "If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time". If.. if...
I bought the tribute song to Cyrus - 'Breathless' by The Kixx that was released at the same time.
So when I heard of Helena Tym's book I knew I had to read it. Cyrus was already more than just a name to me and I knew from what had gone before that he was so, so loved by his friends and family.
This book shows all this so clearly, how deeply he was loved, how shattering was his loss.
I didn't find it an easy read,but I'm so glad I persevered. Cyrus WAS exceptional. Helena wrote in the moment and her anguish and pain at his loss pour off the pages. His father also lost a son, his brothers a beloved sibling, his comrades their brother, his friends someone they loved dearly.
There is Cyrus' last letter; the one he wrote to be opened in the event of his death. It is so very touching.
How did he write that? Even for someone with no word difficulties it's an impressively daunting task.
How I wish with all my heart that we had never heard of Cyrus Thatcher, if this was the case he would still be alive and one of many brave young Afghanistan veterans, probably still serving, almost certainly still smiling.
Thank you Helena and Rob for sharing your beautiful son with us.