Love You More Than You Know
Mothers' Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War
- Softcover, 230 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- ISBN: 978-1-59851-055-3
A powerful, heartbreaking, and patriotic book. Joe Eszterhas, screenwriter and New York Times bestselling author
45 mothers of U.S. service men and women open their hearts and share what it feels like when your son or daughter leaves home to fight a war.
“Mom, I'm being deployed . . .” When they heard that, all of these mothers knew their world had just changed. They were overwhelmed with emotions. A strange mix of pride and fear. Anxiety at not knowing exactly where your son is in the world, whether your daughter is facing enemy fire or heat and boredom. Elation at the arrival of the briefest message. Daily dread, when returning home, of seeing a government car in the driveway . . .
Any parent who reads these stories will feel their power—and will gain a greater understanding of the sacrifice made by parents as well as their children in our military.
“If you want to understand what war does to a mother's heart, grab a handful of tissues. One story will break your heart. The next one will fortify it. All of the stories will make your heart swell with compassion for every mother whose umbilical cord stretches across the ocean to Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . These military moms are all around us, at the grocery store, the dry cleaner, the soccer game. But they, too, have been deployed. Their hearts serve in war zones as invisible shields over sons and daughters who just yesterday were safe at home.”
— Regina Brett, author of New York Times best seller God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours
“This is a book for every American home; an important look at the courage of our military service members and their mothers, who dedicate their lives, no matter the circumstances or the consequences.”
— Helen Toolan, wife of Brigadier General John A. Toolan, Jr.
Illustrations: 42 black-and-white photographs
Packed with images and moments that resonate with the reader long after the stories are told . . . offers a powerful statement about the sacrifices made not only by those who serve, but also by those left behind. Cleveland Magazine
A book for all mothers, fathers and Americans regardless of which opinion of the war you may hold since it speaks to the enduring sacrifices of parents for their children, of young soldiers for their country and to the nobility of the human spirit when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. coolcleveland.com
A testament to the resilience of the human spirit, to the need for peace and diplomacy, and to the courage and strength of our soldiersand the families they leave behind, awaiting their safe return . . . [These are] moving stories, all of which are framed by love, sacrifice, and service. Rep. Dennis Kucinich
A book you can't put down . . . incredibly riveting. WGAR FM Radio
Proud stories, hopeful stories and mostly love stories. They're all stories that Americans, whether they have children in the military or not, should read. We all know someone who has enlisted or the parent, spouse or friend of someone who is serving our military and fighting for us. And in that way, those soldiers become our sons and daughters. Currents
About Janie Reinart
Janie Reinart is a storyteller, educator, and freelance writer who seeks ways to give people a voice to tell their own stories through prose and poetry. Most weekends she can be found praying and singing with the choir at Holy Angels Catholic Church. More About Janie Reinart
Question & Answer with the author...
Q: What was the inspiration behind putting together a collection of stories by mothers of soldiers?
A: Mayer: After my son was deployed to Iraq a coworker handed me an article by a woman who had sent her son off to war and she said, “Read this, I think it will help you.” When I read it I realized the author was someone I went to college with thirty years ago, and it was Janie. I opened the phone book and got in touch with her. As we talked and shared the stories of our sons we realized that we had a lot in common besides college and that some of the common threads that we thought we were alone in were shared by both of us.
A: Reinart: In talking we thought, “Why don't we see if we can collect stories from other mothers?” Because we thought it was important for people to hear the voice of the mom and also what our soldiers were doing, they were fighting for all of us.
Q: How did you recruit the other 43 contributors for the book?
A: Reinart: Originally we started speaking at military support groups and telling them about our project and what our goals were. Everybody was very excited, but we kept warning them, “This is going to be really tough to do.”
We did a group poem together and by letting the moms see that we as a group could do this and that they shouldn't be afraid to write and that they could play with words and we could get our feelings across. A few of them said, “Wow, that wasn't so hard.” And they really liked the product in the end. They liked the poem. I think it helped many of them to write.
Q: Did you notice any general themes or thoughts that ran through all the stories in the book?
A: Mayer: The fact that we all have sent our children to war was a common theme. It goes against every maternal fiber in our body. You just don't do that to your children, you protect them. Faith—no matter what the religious persuasion or denomination, whatever faith this mother believed in, faith was a common thread throughout the book. Pride—I'm scared as hell, but I'm also proud. Juggling those two emotions is so hard.
A: Reinart: One of the themes we saw throughout was the worry and concern that you would get the phone call or the knock at the door and that the worst had happened to your soldier. That freaked everyone out, worry that there was going to be a strange car pulling into the driveway.
Q: How, personally, did you benefit from writing your own stories?
A: Mayer: My son had taken a journal to Iraq and wanted to write a book when he came home. Unfortunately that journal was completely obliterated on May 7th when his Humvee was attacked by a suicide van and it kind of took the wind out of his sails. It was hard for him to start writing and so I was proud to write his story. I was also in kind of a healing process myself and getting it out. Then when it's all over you feel this sense of relief and yet, you want to talk about it. You want to tell people what you went through.
A: Reinart: I'm a writer and when I write it helps me understand my thinking and maybe take a breath. Maybe some of the fear and some of the emotions that you feel are not as constricting and not as binding. I think when I found out that Joe was going to war I think I felt frozen. I was having a hard time doing anything.
Q: What do you think mothers/parents of soldiers will gain from reading your book?
A: Mayer: If I had this book when my son deployed it would have helped me understand what the months ahead were going to look like or be like and let me know that I'm not alone. They're getting a glimpse of the war, how it's affecting the family. In reading this they will find ways to get through it. Encouragement—I think it will encourage them to write. If you haven't picked up a pencil since high school or not, you can do this just write it from your heart. I think this will speak to them on many levels.
A: Reinart: Our goals for writing this book were, first, to have the writing be therapeutic for the moms who had gone through it. The second thing was to be a guide for the moms who haven't gone through it yet. Our third goal was to give back to our veterans. We were so in awe of what our soldiers do for us, we thought, we wanted to do something to give back. And a fourth thing is that the general public might get a better idea of what our soldiers and our military families go through to protect our freedom as they serve.
Q: Other than mothers of soldiers who might this book appeal to? What can they learn or gain from your book?
A: Mayer: I think they're going to gain an insight as to what these men and women and what their families sacrifice for all of us. You hear “freedom isn't free” and all those clichés, but this is real life. It's a very real glimpse into what, heretofore was a very private experience.
My husband read the book. I thought, “Oh gosh, I hope we haven't created a chick book here,” but he thought it was very powerful. And I know you may think, “He biased, he's your husband.” Joe Eszterhas read the book and had to go to his son's bedroom and just look at him.
A: Reinart: They're love stories. Everybody loves stories about a hero and I think these stories, because they're about our heroes and they have a lot of suspense, they're about struggling, with the basic struggle between good and evil, and sometimes the struggle between the persons themselves. They're going into a situation thinking, “Will I change? Will I be different? Will I have the courage to do this?” And so these stories, not only are they great, but they're true. They're heroes that are alive, and real.
About Mary Anne Mayer
Mary Anne teaches and directs plays and musicals at St. Francis Xavier School. She lives in Medina, Ohio. More About Mary Anne Mayer