To the souls behind the Special Forces Experience,

I am not sure that my tears have stopped since Joel (CAN10) walked back into our arms on Saturday morning.  The change in his presence was palpable, the depth of personal gain and growth in his eyes was overwhelming to bear witness, and his emotional presence had the most profound and beautiful shift to it.  I saw him and all I could do was smile the biggest smile and weep tears of relief that he has finally been able to see himself for who he is. That he can look himself in the mirror and see the man I have seen all along.

I have been madly in love with this man of mine for almost eight years now, and year after year I have recognized that something massive was missing in his soul.  Yes he has always been the most incredible partner to myself and father to our two wee lads, but there was a void – a vast expanse of grey matter that neither he nor I could put our finger on.  It was slowly consuming his spirit as the days wore into months and then into years.

When Joel (very) hesitantly brought up coming across the Special Forces Experience at dinner one night,  I am one hundred percent certain that my face nearly landed in my plate of food in sheer exhaustion at the thought of solo parenting my way through another six months of rigorous training schedules with Kokoro not even having happened yet.   He knew that this was dangerous territory to even joke about with me, as managing the little whippersnappers all day and then running my art business all night was taking it’s toll on my reserves.  But, I caught the sincerity in his tone and did not want to deter him from his quest for meaning and finding his greater purpose, so I plopped myself in front of my computer and watched the video on the website.

I don’t think I made it one minute in before I realized that this is absolutely, hands down, no excuses what he needed to do.

I am a firm believer in the limitless potential of the human spirit, and that if nurtured and challenged in the right ways there is no greater power than knowing that you can.  No matter what,  you can. Some fortunate people need only a yoga mat, a paintbrush, and stubborn Irish bloodlines to figure this out. Some not so fortunate people need to be challenged in incomprehensible ways, pushed to inconceivable limits, and to be battered and beaten emotionally, spiritually and physically until the roots of their being are exposed and raw so that they can then begin to figure it out in their own way.

You ridiculously selfless, grit filled,  soulful, passionate, insanely skilled and sincere human beings gave each of those men who showed up and laid their souls on the line just that, and for this I don’t think I could ever thank you enough.  You gave them the tools that they need to fight for their worth and purpose in this suffocating world of societal expectations and mediocrity.  You gave this and more than even I can ever possibly imagine to Joel, and because of this you are all my new favourite people.

Jeff, thank you from the bottom of my heart for deciding to pour your heart and soul into this, and to each and every other member of this Elite Cadre, please know that you have deeply impacted our family in the absolute best ways imaginable.  Your time, energy, and efforts are beyond appreciated, in fact words don’t seem to do the amount of gratitude that I have any justice.

Joel has no clue that I am writing this and I apologize for the novel, but I just had to get my heart down in writing before we head home and back to the beautiful chaos of family life.

You are all the greatest.

With the utmost love,

S.M.

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