"We lost another one." I read in a text message from my dear Marine husband. I've heard it too many times in the almost 8 years of married life we've lived beyond active duty. I'm lucky, I never heard that phrase during our active duty life. I'm extremely lucky.
"We lost another one." It makes me curse - out loud. I am Pollyanna, the ever hopeful and positive girl, but not in moments like this. Moments like this chip away at my heart.
"We lost another one." This time, it wasn't suicide...but all of the other times it was. This time, it was a horrible accident cause by a drunk driver. This time.
"We lost another one." Suicide. It's so complicated. It is so much more than suicide.
"We lost another one." PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a label thrown at veterans and active duty. It scares civilians. It scares military spouses for different reasons. Insane, violent crimes are explained away because the one committing the crimes has PTSD, which scares civilians. Watch out for the crazy vet with PTSD. The military spouse worries because PTSD means anger, lack of restful sleep, and irritability.
"We lost another one." Why? How can we help? How can I help?
"We lost another one." Who? What feels like an eternity passes before receiving an answer. So far, no one from our inner most circle has been lost. The demon gets closer. It is only a matter of time before it reaches someone in my circle of acquaintances. Right now, I'm lucky. Luck runs out sooner or later...
"We lost another one." I pray. I pray for the family of the one lost. I pray for the ones in my circle of acquaintances who worry me. I pray for the ones who worry me because I can sense the danger. I pray every single time they come to mind. Every. Single. Time. Lord, keep them safe. Battle the demons with them.
"We lost another one." What can I do? How do I stop this from happening to another one? I read. I read about becoming a Marine (the psychology behind it), I read about combat, I read about adapting to life after active duty. I read about PTSD and suicide.
"We lost another one." I dream of owning a place with room for all of "my boys" to visit. I dream of a reunion with all of them together at the same time. Shenanigans and laughter would ensue. The fire department might need to be on standby. I'd video the whole thing. Vets spending time with other vets, it helps. Talking with each other, it helps.
"We lost another one." How long before I hear this again? I hope I never do. Statistically, I most surely will. #22Aday #22toomany
"We saved another one." This isn't something I'll most likely hear. There are no statistics, no hash tags. It doesn't make it any less powerful if it happens. There is a fairly new non-profit organization I have been following on social media called Irreverent Warriors. In a year, they've done wonders in the lives of vets. In the video posted below, one of the co-founders if shown speaking to a group of active duty Marines about suicide and suicide prevention. Take the time to watch this video. It is the BEST explanation of this disease I have ever heard or read. Click on the words "Suicide Prevention" to view the video
*Warning: Warriors, all warriors not just the one pictured in the video, are rated at least PG-13. Warriors drop F bombs and other curse words and talk about stuff you don't want your kids to hear. Wait until the kids are in bed or wear your headphones to watch this video.
*Spoiler Alert* Watch the video before reading the rest. Seriously, watch the video. I know it takes times, it is worth it. I promise. Just, watch the video.
Danny O'Malley presents some interesting facts about the #22Aday statistic. I had no idea it was 22 vets a day from only 21 states who reported statistics. Yikes. How many more are we losing a day? Of those 22, 15 of them are 50 years or older? Whoa. To survive the demons for so long, to live a long life, and then to end it. Alone. Danny says he isn't an expert, he's merely speculating when he discusses this hypothetical 50+ year old veteran committing suicide, the circumstances certainly make sense.