As we approach the end of Suicide Prevention Month, I asked my sweet friend Amy to guest blog for DPF. We both believe seeking help is necessary, even though we’ll never know if help could have prevented loss. What we do know is it’s always worth a shot. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or suicidal thoughts, please call or text 988. Help is available. -Jenn
“I did a lot of bad things for America.”
That’s one of the last things my husband said to me, right before he said goodbye and ended his own life.
I’ve asked myself the question many times….how could he do it? To me. To our daughter. Everyone asks this question about someone who dies by suicide.
And it’s not easily answered.
The tragedy behind suicide for our veterans starts long before they decided to end their life. The tragedy starts when they experience horrific, traumatic events, and then push it all down hoping to forget what they saw.
Jenn Perry, Kris Miller, Jessica Cronkhite, myself….we’re all widows who have found each other in the worst way. Each of our late husbands have a few things in common: military service, battle scars on the outside and inside, and suicide. Each of these men had children at home, wives who loved them, and military buddies all struggling with the same things.
What could have prevented such a tragic ending? I am not sure, but I have ideas. For my late husband, Adam, he repeatedly refused to seek mental health counseling to deal with the PTSD. He tried to bury the pain well below the surface, and did not trust in Jesus to help deliver him. He was a man of deep faith, and stood by my side in church every Sunday, but I never saw him get down on his knees and lean on the Lord to do His good work. And when our family was faced with many trials, the pain became unbearable to him.
It’s extremely difficult to open up your heart and your thoughts to a stranger in a room. Emotions you fight hard to control bubble up to the surface and unleash dreams at night and anxieties. But through mental health counseling, you process what has happened to you and you start to heal within. It’s only through counseling that I have been able to process what happened to my husband. How it happened, the events leading up to it, and how to survive as a widow with a 2 year old daughter. And it’s only through leaning on Jesus, the ultimate healer, I’ve been able to climb my way through inexplicable pain, grief, PTSD, and fear. I’ve been able to find a way to live through this, to process the traumatic experience of suicide, and live with joy.
With life comes sorrow, grief and suffering. It’s how you handle the trials of this life that help you live with joy, regardless of the circumstances.
For every veteran out there who has to live with the daily battle of PTSD, there is hope to relieve what pain traumatic events leave behind on your heart, mind and soul. Adam said to me and his military brothers that he would never leave his friends and family behind by suicide. He knew several other military brothers who left this world by suicide, and the thought always angered him. Yet, he left this world the same way a mere few weeks after these conversations. What does that tell you? “I would never do that to my family.” Adam said the same thing – and he did.
So prevent losing the 22 veterans a day, and seek the help you need. Do it for your family and for the military who have already lost the battle.
Do it for Adam Blunck, Ryan Miller, and Michael Cronkhite. Do it for Larry Perry.