Chin Up Head Down: A Mother’s Journey of Madness and Grief

Chin Up Head Down: A Mother’s Journey of Madness and Grief

Helena Tym

Language: English

Pages: 236

ISBN: 1908487275

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Chin up, head down.” These are the last words that Helena Tym ever received from her son, Cyrus, at the end of the final letter he wrote to her. On June 2, 2009, two men knocked on her door and informed her that Cyrus, a nineteen-year-old solder in the UK Armed Forces, had been killed that morning by an explosive whilst serving with 2 Rifles in Afghanistan. In an effort both to cope with this incomprehensible news and to capture the memories of her son, Tym wrote this book, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help organization.
A heartrending account of a mother’s loss, Chin Up, Head Down will resonate with anyone with a loved one serving in the armed forces or dealing with a life-altering grief.

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This will just have to run its course and drag me with it. I see his face, those blue, blue eyes. That smile. The trouble is you can’t hear a smile or see those eyes blink again. How the hell do I go on? Where am I going on to? What do I do when I get there - if I get there? I don’t want this to be happening. I want him back home. Not under a mound of dirt that we tend like a treasured garden. Just home, safe and alive. But I know I can’t have that wish - not now, not ever. It’s more than I can

the window at that vine. I feel the need to stuff my hands into my mouth again. Chapter 6: Wootton Bassett When Cyrus last came home on leave he brought with him a pair of khaki shorts and an Op Herrick 2008/9 T-shirt with The Rifles insignia on the front, and on the back, in large black letters, the word ‘Rifles’ where a picture of a sniper rifle is used as the letter ‘I’. Op Herrick is the codename under which all British operations in the war in Afghanistan have been conducted since 2002.

good friends and slowly a relationship developed. He was exciting - so different from anyone I’d ever met before. Our home lives were completely different - mine seemingly restricted, his free and full of wildlife. A crow called Grunt, a ferret called Jasper, a one-winged rook who lived in the shed at the side of his house and only came out for food or to chase the postman; guinea pigs, chickens, gerbils and a kestrel. He would catch slowworms during the summer and keep them in tanks. His garden

and Corporal Stephen Bolger of 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. Two other families who were numb like us. One of the questions those men in suits asked was whether we would like Cyrus to be flown home on Friday 5th June or the following Tuesday. Why would we want to wait? He needed to be home - we needed him home. I couldn’t bear the thought of him lying dead, thousands of miles away. No we wanted him home as soon as possible. Apparently the repatriation had to be within ten days. The

‘get it’ when they haven’t experienced ‘it’? What on earth am I thinking about? I’ve gone mad and the whole world just keeps on turning when I want to get off. I got stuck in a shop yesterday. I went into Caversham to buy some Christmas wrapping paper and I just got stuck. I couldn’t find my money, I couldn’t open my bag, I couldn’t do anything but stand there and feel really stupid. I knew the lady in the shop as my boys and her children went to school together, but I just stood there and felt

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