I first met my husband the day before my 13th birthday in 1998. He was 15. We dated off and on for years, as we both had troubled teenage years and bounced back and forth between different places, but all the while remaining best friends and in love.
Unfortunately circumstances kept us apart, and him joining the Army and going to Germany prevented us being together. Finally in December 2008 we married. In February, I moved to Germany to be with him. In April he received orders to go to Kansas, and then deployed to Iraq in July. I was so blessed to have him come home to me safely in July of 2010, right before our youngest son was born… but the man that came home was much different than the man I had known for so long.
He didn’t want to leave the house, and I tried to be patient as he had been gone for so long. Then came the drinking. The anger, I had never before seen, was taken out on me. Having stomach pains and only wanting to sleep. He was diagnosed with Crohns disease shortly after coming home, and we bounced around from different meds to different specialists to find something or someone to help. Finally we decided surgery, and then came the pain meds.
He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011, and the amount of pills he was on, I just couldn’t even fathom how any one person could be prescribed so many for so many different things. He was in the process of being medboarded out, so I moved back to NH in 2012 with our children to buy a home so we would be settled when he got out. He finally came home to us that Christmas and was officially done. I hoped once returning to civilian life we could try to reclaim some sort of normalcy in our lives and get him the help he needed.
We decided that while trying to get the things he was dealing with under control, and to have some peace and healing, he would stay home with the kids and I would work full time. The morning of March 28th 2013, I woke up late for work. I rushed around half awake trying to get ready, and then realized it was odd my 2 year old wasn’t awake yet. I went to his room, and he wasn’t in there. I went down to the main floor in our home, and no sign of our youngest or my husband. Then I noticed the basement door was open. I went down, to see my husband slumped forward and my son trying to wake his Daddy. As soon as I walked over I knew he was gone.
My husband had been in so much pain, and so much mental distress, he was taking more pills then he should have and overdosed. I will never forget the feeling of his cold skin on my hands, or the weight of trying to lift him to see if I could save him. I hate that that is the last memory I have of my husband. It haunts me every night even 5 months later. I didn’t lose my husband to the war overseas, but I lost my husband to the war he had within himself from his time served, and from a broken medical system that we had to constantly fight to get him help. I never imagined I would be a widow at the age of 27. I never imagined a life without him, or raising our children by myself. My husband didn’t die an ‘honorable or noble death”, but he still served his country the same, and my boys and I are more proud of him then he will ever know.