Hello my name is Miranda Kruse, wife of CPO Jerald Kruse of the United States Navy. On January 1, 2006 Jerald put a gun to his head and committed suicide. Jerald had less than a year before he hit his 20 year retirement mark.
Jerald and I met in 2003 and we had instant chemistry. We were both single parents, and shortly after we met we fell in love, and soon began living together. Our families blended nicely and we were happy. However, as the first year passed us Jerald’s mental health problems started to become a parent. Sleep became a issue for Jerald he could not get enough. For some reason falling asleep and staying asleep became anxiety instead of relaxation. Then in 2004 he began rocking his chin to his knees back and forth. Shortly into this obsessive rocking a incident happened that was the trigger of us realizing we were fighting a mental health battle. I came home one evening to over hear him swearing at someone in our master bathroom, only to open the door and discover he was alone. It was after that incident I expressed my concerns over what was happening to his mind, and he expressed his inability to concentrate at work. He wondered if he could still maintain the safety of his fellow men. With all of the obvious signs we both agreed that it was time to get professional help.
Jerald like a lot of military men was a proud man and expressed to me how incompetent he felt seeking help. He was worried about what people would think and what would be placed in his military record. However, on June 30, 2005 Jerald went to counseling at Naval Portsmouth Medical Center. It was a difficult decision for us to make. It took a lot for Jerald to go that day and four other appointments would follow. I would go with Jerald to these appointments and could not understand why nothing would change and why no medication would get prescribed? Help he so desperately and obviously needed.
August 2, 2005 I excorted Jerald to what would be his last counseling appointment. The rocking at this point was so intense dinner dates were no longer an option. Jeralds fingers were bloody stumps. And the man I fell in love with was slipping away with anxiety. On the way to the session I was very concerned as to why he had not been prescribed anything? Why the psychiatrist had not noticed his rocking of back and fourth. At this point he was doing this constantly even during work. I felt it had to be noticable! Jerald went into the session that day only to come to me in the waiting room with a look of defeat in his brown eyes.
When we got to the suburban he broke down. I asked “what happened? Did he give you anything?” Couldn’t he see the obvious I thought? Jerald said “No I have been told I drink too much caffiene!” I had known by this point that caffeine clearly was not the issue. However, at the fear of Jerald losing his military career which he worked so hard for, we figured we could fight through it. Jerald only had a year left before he would be eligible to retire.
Jerald and I fought a battle that neither one of us was skilled to fight and we tragically lost our fight on January 1, 2006. A fight of pure disappointment from the people we so dearly trusted and at the same time feared. I found my husband that night in the back yard and am still four years later looking for answers?
My family has paid the ultimate price for such bias. A bias that just because you are in the military, a person can not receive mental health and should not. And when help is received medication does not get prescribed. Our military are some of the most important people of this great nation. Yet they are shunned for getting help and the family is shunned after the death for how it happens. Grief goes misunderstood and lives get shattered. “If only I had done this?” Or “If only I did that?” Plays over in the mind of those left behind. Never knowing “what if?” It is a problem that is deeper then the help that is currently out there.
My children and I will never hear his voice, feel his touch, or sing in the car together again. I will forever dwell on this earth without the love of my life. The pain and horror my family has experienced I would not wish on anyone. Not even the man that told him he was to cut back on the caffeine. My dreams will forever be haunted by “what if?” However, my determination to stop this from happening again will never subside. My husband was CPO Jerald Kruse, Stationed at Seal Team Two, Little Creek, VA. And I am his proud wife and a Survivor of a Military Suicide.