I never thought that I would be a widow at the age of 23, let alone losing my husband to an illness, through suicide.

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Genesa’s Story

Posted By Genesa

While trying to cope with the loss of my husband and trying to find closure, I joined a widow’s group on Ft. Lewis, WA. A best friend of mine, who is also a widow, had been asking me for a few months, to come and join the group, but I just kept waiting until I was ready. The other widows in the group were all widows who lost their husband’s overseas, they were Killed In Action, or KIA.  I felt out of place when discussing our stories because my husband took his own life. A new widow would join the group and we’d go around in our little circle and say who we are, who our husband’s were and how he died. Mine would go, “My name is Genesa Ramsey. My husband was SPC David Ramsey, assigned to the 47th CSH out of Ft. Lewis. My husband was deployed to Mosul, Iraq for 11 months before being sent home and two weeks later, on September 7, 2006, he took his own life.”
I never thought that I would be a widow at the age of 23, let alone losing my husband to an illness, through suicide. I just couldn’t understand how he could take his own life and what could’ve been so bad that he just couldn’t go on. Although, I had lost two other people, years prior to suicide as well and I never have had full closure in their deaths as well. “More than one soul dies in suicide.”
It might have been two months after his death, that I started to look into ‘Non-Combat Related Injuries’, more specifically, suicides within the military. I also researched Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While reading articles about the mental states of service members returning from war and re-reading David’s suicide letters, I came to the conclusion that he suffered from PTSD. David was a medic and he worked in the ICW, Intensive Care Ward, in the CSH, Combat Support Hospital. He saw all sorts of injuries and deaths, and the ones that effected him the most, were the children. He had stated in his letters that he “couldn’t live with the things that I’ve seen while being in Iraq.”
In the year 2006, there were 99 Suicides in just the ARMY alone. That might not seem like a large number but when you think about how many other branches of service there are within the military and then adding to that number of 99, that’s TOO many soldiers lost. I’ve read into many of the soldier’s deaths and found that there were so many others that faced the same issues as my husband had. I also read that many of them didn’t receive the proper treatment from professionals, (I.e., doctors, psychiatrists, etc). Many reached out for help and in return, they were “made fun of’ in a negative way by their fellow soldiers or their leaders. Now, I’m not trying to point fingers and say that it was all of the Army’s fault for not helping David when he asked for it but what I am saying is that, it played a huge contributing factor in his death. I have found that others feel the same way, as well.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening. All people with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD. (Information from the National Center for PTSD)
Many soldiers that die from ‘Non-Combat Related Injuries’ have undiagnosed PTSD. All of the symptoms prior to their death and the events leading up to that day, clearly point out that they were suffering from the illness. They just weren’t professionally diagnosed with the illness.
I spend most of my days keeping myself pre-occupied, juggling more tasks than I can handle, but in hopes that I don’t sit and think about what could’ve been done to prevent my husband’s death. I have placed blame in many directions but know, deep down, that it was my husband’s own decision to take his life. It was him who ‘pulled the trigger.’ Yet, I spend a decent amount of my time, reaching out to others who have lost a loved one to suicide, focusing more on those that have lost a loved one while he or she were in service.

Genesa’s Story

While trying to cope with the loss of my husband and trying to find closure, I joined a widow’s group on Ft. Lewis, WA. A best friend of mine, who is also a widow, had been asking me for a few months, to come and join the group, but I just kept waiting until I was ready. The other widows in the group were all widows who lost their husband’s overseas, they were Killed In Action, or KIA.  I felt out of place when discussing our stories because my husband took his own life. A new widow would join the group and we’d go around in our little circle and say who we are, who our husband’s were and how he died. Mine would go, “My name is Genesa Ramsey. My husband was SPC David Ramsey, assigned to the 47th CSH out of Ft. Lewis. My husband was deployed to Mosul, Iraq for 11 months before being sent home and two weeks later, on September 7, 2006, he took his own life.”
I never thought that I would be a widow at the age of 23, let alone losing my husband to an illness, through suicide. I just couldn’t understand how he could take his own life and what could’ve been so bad that he just couldn’t go on. Although, I had lost two other people, years prior to suicide as well and I never have had full closure in their deaths as well. “More than one soul dies in suicide.”
It might have been two months after his death, that I started to look into ‘Non-Combat Related Injuries’, more specifically, suicides within the military. I also researched Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While reading articles about the mental states of service members returning from war and re-reading David’s suicide letters, I came to the conclusion that he suffered from PTSD. David was a medic and he worked in the ICW, Intensive Care Ward, in the CSH, Combat Support Hospital. He saw all sorts of injuries and deaths, and the ones that effected him the most, were the children. He had stated in his letters that he “couldn’t live with the things that I’ve seen while being in Iraq.”
In the year 2006, there were 99 Suicides in just the ARMY alone. That might not seem like a large number but when you think about how many other branches of service there are within the military and then adding to that number of 99, that’s TOO many soldiers lost. I’ve read into many of the soldier’s deaths and found that there were so many others that faced the same issues as my husband had. I also read that many of them didn’t receive the proper treatment from professionals, (I.e., doctors, psychiatrists, etc). Many reached out for help and in return, they were “made fun of’ in a negative way by their fellow soldiers or their leaders. Now, I’m not trying to point fingers and say that it was all of the Army’s fault for not helping David when he asked for it but what I am saying is that, it played a huge contributing factor in his death. I have found that others feel the same way, as well.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening. All people with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD. (Information from the National Center for PTSD)
Many soldiers that die from ‘Non-Combat Related Injuries’ have undiagnosed PTSD. All of the symptoms prior to their death and the events leading up to that day, clearly point out that they were suffering from the illness. They just weren’t professionally diagnosed with the illness.
I spend most of my days keeping myself pre-occupied, juggling more tasks than I can handle, but in hopes that I don’t sit and think about what could’ve been done to prevent my husband’s death. I have placed blame in many directions but know, deep down, that it was my husband’s own decision to take his life. It was him who ‘pulled the trigger.’ Yet, I spend a decent amount of my time, reaching out to others who have lost a loved one to suicide, focusing more on those that have lost a loved one while he or she were in service.

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