Who's Left Behind When a Soldier Commits Suicide?

Becca Morrison's husband came home from Iraq and killed himself. She's "still here, and still fighting."

Now she's trying her best to light the way for other people like her, military spouses who lose their husbands and wives to suicide, because she knows they're inevitable.

"I want people like me to know what it's like," she says. "Someone has to be there and hold the torch for someone else. I'd feel honored if I can do that. That's the only reason I've done any of that so far. To keep this awful thing from happening anymore." Everywhere she goes, she shares the things that have worked for her: counseling, EMDR, caring for her pets, exercise, support groups, surrounding herself with friends and loved ones and God.

And in talking and talking and talking about Ian and suicide and prevention and hope, she's found herself, slowly, in a much better place. "I've kinda kicked butt this year," she says, with a little laugh. Next year, she's decided, she won't return to teaching. She wants to use her psychology training to help military kids who lost their parents to suicide. She's seen a lot of those kids at TAPS events, she says, and they've been inspiring: "There's so much hope in kids who have lost someone. They still see the world as a wonderful place."

Last week, she heard that another West Point graduate killed himself. She's waiting a little while to reach out to his wife, but she knows what she'll tell her, just as Kim Ruocco told her: "You can survive this. Fight for your life, because you're still alive."

It's a mantra meant to help heal the wound, but it also reminds her of Ian, of a conversation she and Ian had just before he deployed.

"You've got to be so careful," she told him. "Take care of yourself. I know you're smart, but be extra smart. Don't get cocky. You have to come home and be here. I'd just die if something happened to you."

"I'll be careful," he told her lightly. "But your life wouldn't end if I died. You'd be real sad for a while, but you'd eventually move forward."

"We're not talking about that today," Becca told him, and changed the subject.

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16 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

War Criminals ... doing society a favor.


Willie
Willie

Well done.  Thanks for the fine story.

Kristin Haggard
Kristin Haggard

Rocky Top Therapy in Keller offers equine therapy through their Horses for Heroes program. Great program for DFW-area vets. Ask for Brooke.

Danni McCarthy
Danni McCarthy

That is so horrible and I haven't even read it yet!

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Thank you guys so much for reading. Becca also wanted me to mention that TAPS operates a national helpline for suicide survivors in crisis: 800-959-TAPS. She says, " If you are in crisis please call. Get help. Reach out. You are important."

Genevieve Kissinger
Genevieve Kissinger

I haven't read something that hit me like a ton of bricks like this in months..

Brian Whitson
Brian Whitson

damned shame. Too many are going this route. War is hell. Esp. a sham like Iraq. R.I.P.

Joshua Jennifer Faught
Joshua Jennifer Faught

This is why Pathways, www.createagreatlife.org , and "Soldiers Serve with Heart" have such an interest in helping those who return home to bring them ALL THE WAY HOME.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

NVRS 5/5 well done, a sad story to read for sure.  And sad to hear this is your last story for the Observer.  Good luck you in your endeavors and let us know where you go.  We must never let the Vagina rating die.  I can only imagine what the new vagina writer for the observer will think the first time she sees that rating

mcdallas
mcdallas

@bvckvs Wow, you are so militantly anti-Christian.  I assume that extends to all other religions.  But thanks for at least being sensitive about it.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bvckvs ... and that his soul in now burning in Hellfire for eternity for the heinousness war crimes he participated in.

... or for gross hypocrisy. 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@ScottsMerkin She'll have to decide, as I did, whether to be offended or amused. I'm glad I went with the second one. 

 
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