Ann S (Oklahoma):
Mike served 22 years, I served alongside him as his wife and loved being a military family. He was the classic Perfect Soldier. He followed every rule and held his career to a very high standard. He loved being a Soldier. In August of 2005 he left for Iraq. He was proud to go and felt his work there was required. I noticed his attitude started changing about 4 months in. He spoke of “it doesn’t matter” and “who cares”. These were foreign words for him to say. He told me of having bombs constantly threatening incoming and how one landed and tossed him onto his back but said he was ok and all checked out. As time went on I felt he was growing distant, he seemed to have lost interest in everything.
When he returned Sept 2006, he was nervous, he was just so shut off from us. I reached out to commands and doctors but was told to give him time, to not expect so much, to give him space. We struggled with reunification. We then were transferred to Fort Knox KY in July 07. He was gone a lot training guard and reserves. Every time he came back it was starting all over again with stress. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what mess I was in. We went to doctors over and over. We saw counselors and psychiatrists. I was losing the man I had known for 20 years. All the stress caused him to put in for retirement, even though our plan was doing 25 and he would have his bachelors degree before he got out. From active to retired was devastating to him, me and our family. We were unprepared for all the true changes. His behaviors grew worse, he either slept hours and hours or slept none at all. He went to the VA but just got more meds. I uncovered he had been using narcotics and any drugs he could find. Slowly his behavior became more erratic. He started stealing from us, being angry and making life even more miserable. I took him to behavioral health, doctors, ers, va and begged for help for him. I was told he had to say he needed help. Instead he continued to be given more medicine. He was sent to many pain management specialists where he would eventually be turned away for violation of drugs yet the VA never stopped him. He was just run through the system. They knew he had problems and did nothing but control where he got them. He couldn’t hold down a job, failing in his family, unable to function and they did nothing. They should have known what was going on, they were the professionals. The doctors knew 6 weeks before his death that he had failed every drug test but did nothing but tell him he needed counseling. They could have done something, he may still be here.
He got so bad he couldn’t keep a job. Without my knowledge he was spending 1000s of dollars on credit to keep his needs up which I am still paying for. When he would run out of drugs he would do anything for more. And this is where the ending comes in. He was accused of breaking into an apartment seeking drugs. The police questioned him and in his worst moment of life he realized he went from a Hero to Zero and couldn’t live with it anymore and ended his life. Our Hero was gone, we were stranded alone, the VA says not our problem, Military says he’s retired not our problem, society said suicide is evil not our problem. We were alone. I struggled through keeping our lives semi normal. We got involved in helping others suffering, but still had to manage raising 3 kids and adjust to having a financially secure family and a home and life we managed well. But I went to being a single mom with 3 kids, one being special needs with Autism. We get ourselves through the roller coaster but now will lose our home without $1500 to catch up the mortgage and restructure the loan.
Crusadersvalorforveterans We need to raise $1550 in donations to save the family house. Tracey Nazarenus President Crusaders Valor For Veterans 303-324-7096