The Songs My Son Loved on Radio 2

Thursday 3 November 2011, 17:28

Jill Misson Jill Misson

Tagged with:

Margaret Evison with Jeremy Vine

Margaret Evison with Jeremy Vine


I never thought I would sit at my desk with tears rolling down my cheeks.

My colleagues are now used to the sight of me sobbing and it's one guaranteed way to get them to make you a cup of tea. It still surprised me though the first time I saw Jeremy Vine wiping a tear from under his glasses.

It was Jeremy who came up with the idea for this special series for Remembrance week. Each programme features an interview with the mother of a fallen soldier in which she tells the story of his life and his death and shares the songs he loved to listen to.

The soundtrack is an eclectic mix from rock to rap to rave. There's a football chant, a soaring school hymn, a party anthem and a beautiful piece of classical cello. The music takes the mothers back to a particular time or place and the memories that emerge paint a picture of the son she lost.

As an army wife, I knew it would be an emotional rollercoaster as the subject is very close to home. I know how it feels to wait and to worry. I also know the feeling of complete joy when my husband walks through the door after six months away.

The five mothers we met never had that homecoming hug. Two of them felt fortunate to be able to hold their son's hand as he lay seriously wounded in a hospital bed in Birmingham but for the others their reunion was at RAF Lyneham when his coffin was carried from the plane.

These are some of the intensely personal moments the mothers shared when we visited them around the country. We were welcomed into family homes in Abergavenny, Caversham, Sheffield and Dulwich and greeted warmly on a windy day out at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Jeremy Vine says it has been an incredible privilege to spend time with the mothers:

"I have never in my entire career recorded interviews which have been so powerful and so moving. Sons who were only boys, who died on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan as young as 19, are missed as much today by their family as the day they left them. I doubt we will ever hear these songs the same way again."

The music has already started to follow me round. It feels like every time I turn on the TV or turn up the radio, one of the songs is playing and my thoughts turn immediately to Richard, John, Mark, Cyrus or Liam.

I will think of their brave mothers when I start moaning about the magnolia paint and floral curtains in our next army quarter.

We are all fiercely proud of a man in uniform at the centre of our lives but mine is still here and I realise now more than ever how lucky that makes me.

Jill Misson is a producer of The Songs My Son Loved which is on Radio 2 at 1.30pm next week, 7th to 11th of November.

Tagged with:

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    I have just listened to Cyrus's story and will be listening in for the rest of this week. Intensely moving doesn't even begin to describe it. Thank you so much for this.

    My nephew by marriage got back safely from his second Afghanistan tour on Friday. On his first tour, he made the headlines when a rocket propelled grenade bounced off him without exploding. Were it not for this freakish miracle Jeremy may well have been interviewing his Mum, he would not have married my niece, and my two lovely great nieces - one born during his last tour - would not exist. I can't begin to countenance how we would all feel.

    I was an Army wife during the Troubles and whilst lives were lost then, time has dimmed the memories. The coming of peace to Northern Ireland has perhaps made people uncomfortable about remembering those who lost their lives during that period. This is maybe the nature of things, but I truly hope it does not happen for those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    This series should be repeated each year. Those lost will never grow older and their stories should stay with us too. This is going to be hard to listen to, but mustn't be missed either.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    Never have i ran from my car into the house to finish listening to a radio show.......... i have now! This must be one of the most heartwarming and touching radio shows i have ever hear. The reading of Cyrus last letter for his family had me sitting in my kitchen in tear. The pride in his mothers voice when she was taking about her lovely son was heart wrenching.
    I have nothing but pride and great admiration for the service men and woman and their families at home.
    Amazing radio!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    I listened to this show, partly because it is remembrance week, but also because I had just had a very bad shock and I needed a fresh perspective to help me get on. Fresh perspective I got. I have an 8 year old son and I am a musician and song writer. This show made me see just what I have in my son and my music and how much I have to be grateful for. A profound and life-affirming and extremely moving testament to the power of music, friends and family. I felt honoured and humbled to hear it. Thank you BBC and thank you to the mothers and families involved. An especially big thank you to Cyrus' family for sharing that incredibly brave and private letter - it made all the difference to me today. I am now going to move on and pick up my son from school with my chin up and I'm going to give him a big big hug. He struggles with school too - I would be immensely proud should he grow up to be as fine at 19 as Cyrus obviously was. Bless you for your generosity - it really helped me today and I am sure I am not the only one who found courage within themselves after hearing this show.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 4.

    When my 19 year old son came home from Uni this afternoon he found me sitting on the sofa in floods of tears. He immediately took me in his arms and hugged me. I am such a lucky mum to have such a caring son.

    Listening to Helena talking about Cyrus and the special relationship he had with his family, the hugs they shared and the laughter, I can only wonder where she finds the strength to get though the day without him. I thank Helena and all the other mums for letting their sons go, for without them our lives would not be the same.

    Thank you for sharing Cyrus' with us in his music and last letter. There is so much more I would like to say but somehow I can't find the words.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    Cyrus's mother showed amazing strength during her interview with Jeremy Vine. The letter read out which her son left behind in the event of his death showed a loving, intelligent, thoughtful young man, wise beyond his years, a credit to his parents and two brothers

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    I cried as I listened to todays show. What courage and honesty from such proud and brave people. Our son is in 3 Rifles and is due to go on his second tour to Afgan in April. If we have to find his letter to us I hope we have as much dignity as Cyrus's family have shown.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    I have to say that I have never heard such a heart felt recollection of a mothers love for her son that gave me a lump in my throat before today. We all know the dangers of war, but today I heard a family convey the loss of a loved one without anger as it was Cyrus's chosen path which he had every understanding of the potential perils. To write to his family in such terms as he did is unbelievable. Your son would be proud of his family who he clearly loved so dearly. May he rest in peace.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    Like everyone else I listened to this in tears. I come from a military family with my grandfather, father uncle and brothers all in the forces. Only my uncle lost his life in the Second World War and only now can I understand my grandparents pride and grief when they went to Buckingham Palace to receive his medal posthumously. A wonderful programme. I am going to cheer myself up tonight when, as a midwife I hope to help bring new life into the world to redress the balance. I truly admire Cyrus's family.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    Just as one Mum to another I send my love you are amazing.May he rest in peace x

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    I was working at the computer and listening to Radio 2, I had to stop, I couldn't see the keys for the tears. I'll never forget the words Cyrus wrote and his music, thank you so much for sharing your precious memories with us.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    I sat crying in my car listening to Helena speaking about her son Cyrus she is such a brave lady, I don't think I would have been so brave, Thank you so much for sharing this with us today.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    I would just like to say I feel so humble and grateful to have been able to share in Cyrus's. God bless x

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    I would like to say a very big thank you to Helena and her family for sharing her memories of Cyrus - I was smiling at the happy memories and then had tears flooding down my face as the letter was read I still feel tears welling up thinking about it as I write this - Jeremy you did an excellent job with the programme and handled it with real professionalism . It is so important that we recognise the servicemen and women who are serving and have served our country and think about all of those not just this day but everyday . Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    Hi I have never commented on a radio show b4 but today I must, listening to the mum n brothers talking about their loss, n sharing their story about such a brave young man I was moved to tears whilst driving. This should somehow b broadcast to a wider audience - tv, BBC world, schools. Rememberance Sunday is such a special day to remember all who have fallen in our name. Please pass my regards to the family. I too have sons who r precious. Thanks for sharing. Sally

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    I was overwhelmed by the programme today. Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher was an incredibly brave young man and I am humbled by his commitment and passion to fight for our country. I will forever associate that R Kelly song with Cyrus, my heart goes out to both of his families - what a wonderful memorial to an amazing and much loved son.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 16.

    I was completely choked up listening to the show today. It certainly put a few things in perspective and made me realise how lucky I am. It was painful to listen to, but essential listening all the same.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    I'm a big hard bloke and I have no problem in admitting that listening to Cyrus' mother today had me in tears and then to hear his brother reading Cyrus' letter... amazing courage! I may well be a 'Big Hard Bloke' but you lads, and I very much include Cyrus in this, are head and shoulders above me.

    What a wonderfully warm, loving family you all are. It was heart breaking to hear your story but I was warmed by you as a family. You are undoubtedly proud of Cyrus but you should also be proud of yourselves.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    Thank you for doing this series. I always shudder in remembered fear when I hear the words "A British Soldier has been killed in ..." I'm remembering my Dad on active service in NIreland. To all the relatives of the forces you have my prayerful support all of the time and to those who have been bereaved my sincere condolences. Thank you for sharing such personal memories of your sons.

    I can't listen at work but will take time later to catch up and can easily say I will be in tears again tomorrow.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    I stood in my kitchen today, still,didn't move, listening to a mothers grief - the letter moved me to tears ...............such tremendous courage, I keep thinking about it........thanks Helena for sharing the emotion with us.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    I listened to this sitting at my desk in work today and was moved to tears, what an amazing family.

    I came home and listened to it on iPlayer with my two boys who are 12 & 15. We all cryed together and talked about it for a long time.

 

Page 1 of 3

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Digital radio: Signs of a tipping point?

Monday 24 October 2011, 17:53

Next
An Archive for the Future

Friday 4 November 2011, 19:05

About this Blog

The BBC Radio team explain their decisions, highlight changes and share news from all of BBC radio.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Most Recently Commented