I was privileged to receive an advance reader’s copy of Where the Water Meets the Sand, a memoir by Tyra Manning. While not specifically a “military spouse” book, I think most military spouses will be able to relate to much of her journey as Tyra faces her worst fear–receiving the news that her young husband had been shot down and killed in Vietnam. Pause for a second.
Typing those words seems so matter-of-fact and clinical, but understanding the reality Tyra found herself thrust into–battling mental illness and addiction, raising a young daughter, and suddenly finding herself alone makes me stop and ponder for a moment how crushing those circumstances must have been.
For this isn’t simply the chronicle of one woman’s journey of fighting her way back to a life and reinventing herself, but one of facing your worst nightmares, learning how to carry on even when you’ve lost the person you loved the most, and keeping promises you made as a young idealistic bride. And this isn’t a story with a happy ending neatly tied up like a bow. Rather, it explores the themes of love, loss, misunderstandings, friendship, and so much more, along with the bravery it takes to forge on in a new life she wouldn’t have ever chosen herself.
She was able to keep one last promise she’d made to her young husband Larry, but I’ll let you read the book yourself to learn about that.
So, who is Where the Water Meets the Sand for? Anyone who could use inspiration for their own tough journey or perhaps even those wishing to understand better the impact the Vietnam War had on real families back at home. This isn’t so long ago in our country’s history, really. This is living history here, and I’m so thankful she documented her family’s unique journey for us all to share.
Those who’ve coped with mental illness in themselves, a friend, or family member will gain strength from Tyra’s story of defeating the stereotypes of mental illness. She went on to earn her doctorate and enjoy a decades-long career in education.
Something that was interesting to me is that Tyra mentions that she wrote the book over many years. I had noticed the progression in the way the book is written and how her voice matured over the course of the book.
I highly recommend this beautifully written memoir.
Flesh and bones die, but loving relationships never do…
Focus on the miracle. I heard the words in my head again, then Larry’s voice chimed in, reiterating the encouraging mantra included in all the cassette tapes he’d mailed home to me.
“Girl, it’s going to be fine. Remember, girl, I love you.”