PUBLIUS GUEST AUTHOR: Char Westfall, Author of A Beautiful Tragedy: A Navy SEAL Widow’s Permission to Grieve and a Prescription for Hope.
On June 28, 2005, nineteen U.S. service members perished in the mountains of Afghanistan. The author’s husband, Navy SEAL Jacques Fontan, was one of those killed.
The mission, Operation Red Wings, has become one of the most well-known operations in contemporary warfare. Only one survivor lived to tell the harrowing story, resulting in books, speeches, and a blockbuster movie, Lone Survivor. Perhaps more important, the mission created much-needed public awareness and curiosity about the realities of war and survival.
But there have been no books, speeches, or movies written about the other survivors: the women and children whose lives changed forever that summer day. While each widow and family processed the tragedy differently, Char became absorbed in anger and bitterness. Coping with grief was unfamiliar and scary to her. She hated God, whom she had trusted all her life, and blamed Him for losing her husband in such a violent manner.
Before she knew it, she was on the front lines of a battle to regain her own life. When all seemed lost, the kindness and persistence of a neighbor brought renewed hope and restoration to her horribly broken heart in a surprising and refreshing way.
This is her story as one of the survivors of Operation Red Wings.
Talk with Char Fontan Westfall about:
-Her life as the young wife of a decorated Navy SEAL before the crash
-How her entire world was turned upside down after Jaques was killed in action
-How she was treated after Jacques death by the U.S. military
-Her single biggest mistake in the aftermath of the crash
-How her anger and loss of faith nearly destroyed her and those around her
-What she would say to others dealing with sudden, unexpected loss
-How and when to safely move forward in a new relationship
PLUG BOOK: www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Tragedy-Widows-Permission-Prescription/dp/1733428046/ref=sr_1_1?crid=D5TFDVNEF79P&dchild=1&keywords=char+westfall+book&qid=1594601083&sprefix=char+west%2Caps%2C139&sr=8-1
BIO: Charissa Fontan Westfall is a wife, mother, Christian, and the surviving widow of Navy SEAL Jacques Fontan, who was killed in action during the rescue mission depicted in the book and movie “Lone Survivor.” Char’s life was turned upside down the day her husband was killed in service to his country. Her dreams of being happy on earth and having a family with Jacques were crushed, leaving her seemingly without hope or a future. Over the next year she tried to cope with her enormous loss, but to no avail. With her visions of the future crushed, she began a downward spiral that manifested itself in extreme anger. She was mad at everyone, even God, who she’d always had such a strong relationship with. Through the help of family and friends and several survivor foundations, she began to seek help for her anger and grief. Char turned to counselors who helped her process all the questions she had. While she does not hesitate to admit that many questions remain unanswered, she is the first to also admit her biggest mistake was not seeking therapy right away and choosing instead to deal with her loss alone. Today, Char’s life is a picture of restoration and hope. One of her favorite things to tell people is that God blessed her life twice with love. She married Drew Westfall in 2008 and they were blessed with their first child in 2009 and their third in 2014. It was because of Drew’s encouragement to share her story and support other surviving spouses that she became involved in several foundations that help those dealing with loss. Her involvement has included work with the Special Ops Survivor Foundation, being on the board of the Lone Survivor Foundation, in addition to working with the Boot Campaign and Team Never Quit, all of which have made a difference in both her continued healing and that of others.
“While there are many excellent books and movies portraying the heroics of our fallen heroes, it is not often that we are offered an inside look at the lives of the loved ones left behind. Char does an excellent job in her book laying bare her experiences with her warrior husband, from the time she met him to the time she lost him and afterwards.
We tend to overlook the sacrifices and agonizing pain of the families of those whose battlefield experiences become the stuff of legends. This book gives us an opportunity to see inside the feelings of someone who truly loved her Navy SEAL husband who was taken far too early.
Jacques was on the bird that came to get my teammates and I out of the hornet’s nest. He was and will always be remembered as a warrior who never quit. My admiration for Char and all of the families who lost their loved ones that horrific day will never cease.”
-Navy SEAL and bestselling author of “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell