Love You More Than You Know

Love You More9781598510553_p0_v1_s260x420Love You More Than You Know: Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War

Janie Reinart and Mary Anne Mayer

Gray and Company, Publishers, Non-fiction, 2009

Suitable for:  Adults, Parents, Grandparents

Themes:  Sending a Son/Daughter to War, Love, Faith and Courage

Awards:  2013 Best Cleveland Book

Opening“Mothers are not prepared to let go when their children grow up and become soldiers.”

Synopsis:  This book is a collection of 45 powerful true stories written by mothers who share a common bond of sending their sons and daughters to war and the anguish of waiting and praying for their safe return.   The idea for the stories was born out of the experiences of two authors who began writing their personal stories and sharing them with groups.  They began to receive letters from other mothers sharing their stories and messages from their children about life on the front line.  There are some families with several sons and daughters deployed at the same time.  Reading these stories shows their strength, courage, love, faith and resiliency in some challenging situations.

When Janie Reinart’s 22-year-old son Joe, an Army Specialist with the Ohio National Guard, was deployed to the Middle East in 2003 it was like “time stopped.”  “Night ran into day.  I took off my watch and put on a lapel pin with Joe’s picture inside the frame.  I wore Joe’s picture over my heart every day.”  She spent many sleepless nights, sometimes falling asleep near the computer waiting for a message that would arrive at 2 a.m.   Her son rode in a Humvee in convoys, which were easy targets.  He lost friends.  Like many of the stories I read, Janie found that the only way to deal with a deployment was by realizing she was not in control of the situation and surrendering to a higher power.  Joe returned home from his deployment in February 2005.  He completed six years of service and was honorably discharged.

Mary Anne Mayer’s son, Stan, enlisted in the Marines in 1999.  Then Sept. 11, 2001 changed the world and he was deployed.  She kept Stan’s leather jacket hanging on the back of the dining room chair.  And there was a vigil candle on her mantel, with Stan’s picture nearby.  Stan was part of a Mobile Assault Platoon (MAP), which executed offensive missions against the insurgents.  Stan’s Humvee was hit by a suicide bomber, but he miraculously survived, although he had injuries.  He carried his wounded brothers to safety.  That day he lost four friends and many were seriously wounded.   Mary Anne’s hands would “freeze on the steering wheel when she heard on the radio that 14 Marines from Stan’s unit had been killed.”  “We rushed home and sat by the phone, praying that it would not ring and fearful of the sound of cars coming up the driveway.”  Stan was not killed and eventually returned home.  But their lives had been changed forever.

Why I like this book:  This book is not about personal feelings about war, but rather the love and unrelenting pride the mothers feel for their sons and daughters.  This book is truly a labor of love and a must read for anyone who has sent a son or daughter to war.  There aren’t always happy endings.  It is also an important book for those wanting to understand the depth of a mother’s love.  This book meant a great deal to me because our 20-year-old grandson was a casualty of war in 2009, the year Janie and Mary Anne published this book.  I have always felt the children families at home are the heroes as they deal with long separations and wait for those e-mails, letters and phone calls, letting them know their loved one is okay.  They serve too!

You can visit Janie Reinart on her website Love You More Than You Know, where she shares stories about heroes, unusual reunions, military dogs, loss, victories and the daily lives military families.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

38 thoughts on “Love You More Than You Know

  1. I am sure this will be a fabulous resource and source of comfort to those in military families, reading of others who can truly empathize with their challenges. I am glad it was honored by an award!


    • Janie and Mary Anne really created a beautiful collection of stories that really give you a glimpse into the lives of military families. There were so many to share, that I focused on the authors own stories. It is a very moving book filled with love.


    • Joanna,
      We military moms felt our burden lighten when we shared our stories together. The writing was very therapeutic. We also wanted to share a glimpse of what the journey was like with the public. Our children are so amazing. And they are “all” our children! Any service member I have ever met has always said, “I am just doing my job.”


  2. This sounds like a wonderful and very powerful book, Pat. I would imagine that people who have children going to war will find it very comforting to be able to read the experiences of others and feel connected and less alone. As someone whose son was in the Marines directly after 9/11, I can relate, although we were lucky – he was almost deployed twice (and even that was frightening!) but never actually went overseas except for training missions. But even just knowing he could be was very hard. I am filled with admiration for families who bear up under the stress of having a child at war.


    • Susanna, I didn’t realize you had a son in the Marines. You’d be able to relate to the mother’s experiences. I know having a grandson in Iraq was hard — and then to lose him was heartbreaking. The mothers write with love and power.


    • Susanna,
      Thank you so much for your son’s service. Joe enlisted into the National Guard right after 9/11 too! He said,”There is even more reason now then before.” (to enlist)
      You and your family help make the world a better place!


  3. Very moving book, Pat. How wonderful the way this book came about. Knowing others are experiencing the same thoughts, and feelings would be a great comfort. As Erik says, a powerful message. Thanks for sharing.


    • Coleen,
      I got the title from a letter that my son sent to me and my husband. Joe was in Iraq for six months and had six more to go. They had lost several men. Joe wrote that he didn’t know if he would make it back, or if he would be happy. He said, “All I know for certain is that you help me get through this sweltering reality I live in. He signed his letter, “I love you deeply more than you know. Your son, Joe.”


    • Michelle,
      We like to think of our book as a “living” history. It was an honor to bring the seldom heard voices of a military moms to the pages.


  4. Just reading your review brought tears to my eyes, Pat. What a powerful book this must be, and what a help for other families whose sons or daughters are deployed. Thank you for sharing it. It would take courage for Janie and Mary Anne to decide to share their stories. It will give other parents and families courage to carry on while their loved ones serve.


    • Beth,
      You are so right! It was hard to write, because it took us right back to that place of our deepest fears and greatest hopes. One mom cried the whole time she wrote her story. I cried through editing 70,000 words. Another mom still keeps her story in her purse so that it is always with her.


  5. Stories about love will always be relevant, no matter what the subject. Love conquers all and crosses boundaries of politics, faith and ethnicity, no matter what side you are on. This is healing.


    • Niamh,
      I had three goals for writing the book: for the writing to be therapeutic for the moms that wrote, for the stories to be a guide for those going on that journey of separation, and for a chance to give back to our veterans and their families. A portion of the royalties goes to two charities.


  6. I cannot imagine the heart-ache involved in being a mom of a soldier. Great book choice as always, Pat.


    • Catherine, this was an important book to review. I also have a great sense of what the families go through because our 20-year-old grandson was a casualty of war in 2009. He served the army in Baghdad. Thus, I have a special interest in featuring books for military families in May, before Memorial Day.


      • Pat,
        Thank you so much for reviewing LYMTYK. My heart cries with you for your beautiful grandson. The Readers Choice award honors our beloved sons, daughters and families in the military. Debra Estep, one of the authors in our book couldn’t have said it better, “Our stories are a tiny fraction of the thousands of military families who have had children ‘go off to war’. To the many who never came back, to the many who came back, but will never be the same, and to those still serving in far off lands….THIS IS FOR THEM !!!!!!


      • Janie, I am so pleased you liked the review. And, thank you for responding to each comment with additional thoughts. There were so many different stories, but they all carried the message of love. You have done such a beautiful thing in publishing this collection of stories. Debra’s words are so powerful! Thank you to all of the contributors/authors of this remarkable book! Blessings, Pat


      • Pat,
        You are welcome. Everyone please pray for the safety of all of our troops. Thank you all for commenting!


    • Catherine,
      I compare the experience of having a deployed child to being pregnant. It is on your mind 24/7. And you don’t get much sleep either.


  7. Pingback: Review on Children’s Books Heal | Love You More Than You Know

    • Barbara, LYMTYK is like the Chicken Soup books. You read them a little at a time. The best part is that these love stories are true! These young men and women are our real role models.


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