In “Unbreakable Bonds,” coauthors Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris present an all-too-familiar story from a new and worthwhile perspective
“I just remember going to bed the night before and then waking up in the hospital three weeks later,” said Lance Corporal Mark Fidler of Pennsylvania.
Though it occurred more than three years ago, Mark still doesn’t remember that grisly day in Afghanistan when the IED took his legs. The same, however, cannot be said for his mother, Stacy Fidler.
“’Most people don’t know what this is like unless you are living it every day,’” said Stacy, who’d basically set up camp in Mark’s hospital room at Walter Reed, standing sentinel between him and the rest of the world like a postpartum lioness, never leaving his side for more than minutes at a time. “Mark wanted me here all of the time. It is very important to be an advocate for your son, and the little things, like making sure his medication is in order or that his specialized bed is made properly, are extremely important.”
The story of Mark and Stacy Fidler is just one of the moving accounts Dava Guerin has documented in new book, Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed.
Unbreakable Bonds is actually a 10-story anthology of mothers whose children were seriously injured while serving in the U.S. military during the War on Terror. These poignant stories — lovingly crafted by Guerin and coauthor Kevin Ferris — recount not just the bravery and tragedy of the warriors themselves but also that of war’s most unsung heroes: the selfless mothers who, in so many cases, are expected to somehow put all the scattered, tattered pieces of their sons back together again, as if miraculously giving them life for a second time. As the most dreaded fears of these women mutated into real-life nightmares, Unbreakable Bonds shows us close-up the mothers who left behind her careers, homes, families and friends in order to provide unwavering support for their sons during their uphill campaigns
What is especially redeeming about this inspirational compilation is that Guerin and Ferris don’t sugarcoat the often unseemly realities of war’s aftermath. They don’t shy away, for example, from the bumps and scrapes these protective mothers would occasionally have with hospital staff and others who are necessarily dedicated in their own ways. While the authors wisely don’t offer judgments or take sides in such conflicts, their presentation of them is important in the way they illustrate the intractability of such desperate situations, no matter how well-intentioned its participants may be. And the effort has not gone unnoticed. No less strange bedfellows than Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Dole have united in their ringing endorsement of Unbreakable Bonds, while former President George H.W. Bush (who reportedly came out of foreword-writing retirement just for this book) and former Maryland Congresswoman Connie Morella contribute the forewords.
It’s worth noting that Guerin, who currently serves as the communications director for the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, not only keeps in touch with one or more of these supermoms on a daily basis, she was, as of this writing, hosting them for a “girls’ beach weekend” at her home in Berlin.
Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed officially goes on sale Nov. 4 and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and Books-A-Million.
UNBREAKABLE BONDS: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed
By Dava Guerin & Kevin Ferris
224 pages (hardcover)
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
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