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I am a mother of two United States Soldiers. I very proud mother. On July.7th 2011, my son took his own life. He had returned from Afghanistan and was noticeably different. No longer the fun loving, joyful, full of life young man that we had loved. But someone that clearly was suffering . He would not respond to our concerns for his well being. His simple answer of *Im fine. Dont worry* rings in my ears to this day. My son was stationed at Ft. Lewis Mcchord. I have seen the news reports about the suicide rates at that particular base as well as others but I dont see anyone speaking out ...too the brave men and women that serve for our freedom. I do not want my son's death to be in vane and as I sit here now I am frustrated because while I grieve for my son ; I am in fear of others ...others like him that are returning that may be suffering in silence. While I cannot imagine what one goes through being deployed I know what a parent goes through and for every parent out there I write you now......
If you are suffering...get help. Please. Reach out to someone. I know some would say its showing weakness but please do not let the small minds or ignorance of others stop you from getting the help that you need. My son chose to serve. Although not my favorite choice for him, I supported his decision. I do not blame the military for his death. I blame those that either recognized the apparent change in him and said / did nothing and while it was HIS decision ..there isnt a day that goes by that I wish I could have talked to him....helped him...been there for him. I think of those that return and their families have no clue who they are or why they are different ...we as civilians dont realize the hardships they go through and while we celebrate their return they are still fighting a war inside themselves that needs our attention...our understanding...our compassion and our love.
For anyone active duty reading is precious and I salute you. I thank you for your service and I pray for your safety and well being as much as I would my own. I have a daughter which is active duty as well...she returned from Iraq before her brother went to Afghanistan....we are left with a huge void ...we lost a wonderful young man . He is greatly missed and will forever be remembered as our heroe. For all of are also heroes. If you think for one second that your place in this world is not needed or wanted or that you would be better off dead...please I beg you...think again. Suicide does not solve only ends up hurting those that love you and leaving unanswered questions. If I could reach one person....please...get help. You have no idea how important or loved you truly are. God Bless...stay safe...Hooah!

Re: Suicide

Dear Army Mom,

I am so very sorry for the loss of your son. I have also lost a son. He was killed by the enemy in Iraq with a bomb. You son was killed by the enemy in a more insidious manner. It grieves me greatly that so many of our men and women are returning home with time bombs 'implanted' in them.

I applaud you for your courage to speak out and to hopefully defuse some or many of those bombs. It is my hope that I can live my life in such a way that my son will be proud of me. I have no doubt that your son sees you reaching out to others and is proud of you for doing so.

To those who are struggling with the pain and terror of what you have experienced on the battlefield, please heed the urgency of the words she has shared. The enemy has taken enough lives, please don't let them take yours as well.

May God comfort you in the loss of your son, strengthen you as you continue on, and bless you now and in ways yet unknown.

...from another proud, though grieving, Army Mom

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