In honor of my son...
Posted on September 06 2014
My son, Nick, joined the Army in 2008, at the tender age of 17. He excelled as a Soldier and promoted quickly. He served in Iraq in 2009-2010. During his deployment an IED blew up during a mission convey. He sustained a TBI. When he returned homed, he sustained another TBI in an auto accident. While at Ft Riley, he did not receive proper care and deteriorated quickly. He took to self medicating with spice and alcohol. This only made his issues worse. When he left the Army in 2011, he continued to dodge help despite being hospitalized multiple times while in FL. Again, falling through the cracks of the system, but this time it was with the VA system; just like when he was in the Army. Meantime, he became a national missing person for nearly 3 weeks. Somehow he traveled from FL to AZ with no resources, just the clothes on his back. My heart was relieved he was alive, but hurt so much when I realized how bad his TBI, PTSD, and Psychosis were. During this time, I tried to obtain Guardianship of him, but was refused by the AZ Courts. He was released from a facility in Tucson, AZ in June 2012. I was told that my son was too well for the hospital, but too sick to be in the VA housing program. They released him knowing he had no home to go to in Tucson. I don't understand that kind of thinking. Within the first 24 hours of being released he attempted suicide. He was reluctantly returned to the same facility. He was released again in July 2012. This time, I flew to Tucson to make arrangements to have him live with me in Idaho. Prior to this, I really felt being in the hospital was the best thing for him. Was I wrong, or what? I can't image how much pain he was in and how torchured he felt. It was so good to be reunited with my son, getting to be "mom" again made me so happy, I thought he'd finally be safe because mom was taking care of things now. We spent a heartwarming evening in the backyard. I will always remember the fire roaring and my son hugging me so tightly and telling me he loved me. The next morning I got to make him breakfast. He asked for a journal to write a song...something he often did. I left for a few hours for a horseback riding lesson. When I returned home, I found my sweet boy dead. He found my gun...my gun...I can't believe I didn't remember to hide it better. I can't believe I went to a damn riding lesson. The doctors never warned me of anything. I am forever filled with the guilt of being the mom who couldn't protect and help her child. The system failed in so many ways. I failed. I miss him so very much.