Military Suicides

One of my friends returned yesterday from his high school buddy’s funeral.  His friend was a Lt.Col.  in the Army and an accomplished orthopedic surgeon specializing in the spine.  This Lt.Col made one tour to Iraq.  As a surgeon I can not imagine the traumas that he personally witnessed.  Imagine the number of times he must have been up to his elbows in soldiers body parts.  Honestly, just sitting here typing on this keyboard and thinking about it is making me a little ill.

Lt.Col. committed suicide this last week.  He leaves behind a wife and two very young daughters.  Normally I would rant about what cowards and how selfish people who commit suicide are.  But thinking about the hundreds of wounded people Lt.Col. worked on and watching some make it and other not being so fortunate….  I just can not comprehend what that must do to a person’s mind and heart.

Recent reports state that there were one hundred-forty-seven military suicides just last year!  That’s nearly THREE every single week of the year!!  How tragic for all those involved with these broken lives.  The torment in the individuals and the families that must lead to the culmination of a decorated hero finally determining that the only peace they will ever experience is that in death… to me it’s just unfathomable.

I know our family went through a million “What ifs”.  How much more so for the families of the hundreds of families of the military member who found peace in death.

My heart goes out to those widows and widowers, to the sons and daughters, to the mothers and fathers, to the aunts and uncles, to the brothers and sisters, to the grandmothers and grandfathers and of  course to those who were to be wed.

Thank you for serving in our defense.  I pray you found the peace that was so illusive after your return from the battle field.

May the Lord, God Almighty (somehow) guide and comfort those left in the wake of the war torn families.


8 Responses to Military Suicides

  1. mssc54 says:


    i learned a long time ago that it isn’t selfishness that makes these people commit suicide. they honestly feel that they have no one to turn to. that they are completely alone. that no one is there for them. no one will understand their complete sense of being lost. its a horrible thing to witness. i have gone through 2 friends committing suicide, another friend came to me twice begging for me to help her get past the feeling of wanting to die and a man that i dated had me on the phone when he took a bottle of pills and slammed a bottle of whiskey and begged me not to hate him bc he had picked me to be with him when he tried to kill himself. all 4 of these people were very close to me. for the first time in my life i witnessed true fear. that is something that truly scares me. to watch someone that care about self destruct. i have taken the time to reach out to every single person that seems even the least bit alone in this world. i for the longest
    time thought it was selfish too. to not think of those that they are leaving behind to clean up their mess, to leave their children, their friends, their loved ones. and it took me looking in the eyes of a 19 year old girl to see that it is true fear that they are alone and no one will miss them. it is amazing to me to see the look in a persons face when i go out of my way to invite someone to go out, to hang out, or just email someone that needs to know that there is someone that cares how they are doing. i never want to feel the loss that i have felt in my past and constantly think of what i could have done to save them from their selves and the fear that ate them.

    mssc54 replied:

    Anonymous: We can spend alot of time doing the “what if” game if we aren’t careful.

    Thanks for sending this.

    • anonymous says:

      Very true. and it will drive me crazy until the day that i leave this world. but that is the cross that i am willing to bear for the people that i come across in my life. bc with out those people no matter how little they impacted my life they have made me the person i am today. i have more compassion for the human race than most. i honestly believe that most all people can change. (i’m discounting the really hateful mean people:killers, rapists, terrorists). But there is never a reason for someone to go through life feeling they have no one to turn too and feeling nothing but pure fear. and the “what if: game sucks it really does, and i hope to never have to play it again.

    • tessa says:

      Anonymous, thanks also, for sending this. I know you must be right for all you have seen and been through with loved ones. IT makes perfect sense that it is due to fear and unbelievable feelings of despair, of hopelessness, of loss.

      My heart is with all the military who is in the midst of loss, and for those departed who served us.

      Thank you for this blog. I will also reach out to as many as I can who I sense need a friend, need someone to care. Sometimes I have seen people who needed a friend, but I am guilty of being too afraid myself to reach out to them and say lets get together sometime. No more will I do that. This will stick with me.

  2. Enola says:

    One of my friend’s husband is the commander of a national guard base where the unit has served two tours in Iraq. This last return saw a month where he had to go to funerals way too often – mostly suicide. There were also lots of late night emergency calls for help. It’s sad – I’ve seen my brother go through a lot too since his return.

  3. Unfortunately, the Iraq war meant that many of our men and women stayed long past when their tour of duty was to be over. I simply can’t imagine what some of them had to do or see. My thoughts go out to his family.

  4. supermom says:

    This is so horribly sad.

  5. boditree says:

    Being a war veteran myself, this isn’t news to me, but I wish it were given more attention that it is. Healthcare for veterans and active duty is woefully inadequate.

  6. Austin says:

    You said:
    Normally I would rant about what cowards and how selfish people who commit suicide are.

    I say:

    You said:
    But thinking about the hundreds of wounded people Lt.Col. worked on and watching some make it and other not being so fortunate…. I just can not comprehend what that must do to a person’s mind and heart.

    I say,
    This is what makes the difference between judgment and understanding, when you stop and think about why the person did it, what the person was feeling and how you could never do it yourself. Then and only then can you see suicide has to do not with being a coward or with being selfish but with reaching your breaking point.

    I am up to my elbows in body parts and mind parts from my own wars. When I feel suicidal it’s because I’m dangerously close to my breaking point. Hopefully I will never reach that point and have someone actually stand in judgment and use words like coward and selfish instead of offering a little bit of understanding.

    The suicide and your general mindset on suicide are tragic.

    mssc54 replied:

    Austin: I am fortunate that I have not been personally “connected” to any suicides. The only exposure I have had with suicides is looking at the “aftermath”. The children especially left to deal with a parent’s decision to take their own life… well honestly it just angers me so.

    Like most things in my life my learning and understanding about suicides is evolving to encompass more empathy (I still can’t understand) toward the one who, for whatever reason, has become so overwhelmed with life that they can only see death as their release.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and call me to task.

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