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My son was killed in action in Iraq
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nicksarmymom posted:
My son was in the Army serving as a proud Infantryman. He joined Nov. 4, 2003 and gradutated Basic Training March 5, 2004. He was stationed in Germany and left March 21, 2004 and spent two years in Germany before being deployed to Iraq. He was first my son, then my best friend, my rock and the ONLY constant in my life. They were supposed to be out of Iraq October 2006 and their tour was extended. He came home on leave August 2006 and you could already tell he had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). It broke my heart to see all the pain & suffering in his eyes. My son had a HUGE heart and wore it on his sleeves. He would do anything for anyone. He left to go back to Iraq September 3, 2006 and I always had to be the last one to say goodbye because I always took it the hardest. He was my life. He always told me "Mom, don't worry about me - I'm going to be alright". Well, it's my nature to worry. About everybody but especially about him being in the most dangerous part of Iraq which was the Al Anbar province Ramadi, Iraq plus with him being Infantry there was always a greater danger. He had often told me that if I got a phone call he was hurt but if I got a knock on my door he wouldn't be coming back. He always told me not to watch the news but I was glued to the world news at night and would sometimes watch CNN. Everytime I heard of a soldier being killed my heart went out to those families because I KNEW they would get that knock on their door. I came home from work and that evening, which was Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, and on the world news that night they said that nine soldiers had been killed that day and that it was one of the worst days ever. Once again, my heart went out to those families. Lo & behold, I received that knock the next morning to tell me that my son was killed in action and later I thought, wow, I watched that on the news and I WAS one of those familes. My world as I once knew it, my being that I once was, will NEVER, EVER be the same. My whole world collapsed that day and continues to do so to this day, as I sit here crying while typing this. I have talked to couselors, seen a psychologist, belong to groups who have also lost their sons in this war and am going to see a psychiatrist next week but my husband (whom I am separted from at this moment and was my sons step-father) quit his job so what good is going to come of me seeing this psychiatrist only once because I will no longer have insurance. Five months after my son was killed, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and had to go on treatments for 6 months - have NO idea how I got that. I do NOT fit any of the criteria. A couple of months later, someone stepped on my foot and it broke in two places, and this past July had to have my left knee replaced and am STILL having problems with that. After coming home from the hospital and being here for 4 days I had a very severe pain occur in my right side so my mother took me back to the hospital and I had to be re-admitted because I had a hematoma (blood clot) form in my lower right quadrant. And all this time I'm thinking, "I'm the one with all the problems, why didn't he take me instead"? Everyone who ever met my son instantly fell in love with him. He was a very special and unique kind of person. He had one of the largest funerals and burials where we live. I continue everyday, even though it has been 26 months ago, to have breakdowns almost every single day. I do have a daughter that is 3 1/2 years older than him, he was 25 when he was killed. He was born August 9, 1981 and killed December 6, 2006. Just right after Thanksgiving and right before Christmas. He was buried December 16, 2006 and I ABSOLUTELY hate the holidays. What makes it worse is my fathers birthday is December 8th & my daughters birthday is December 9th. She was actually due December 6th. Thank God she decided to come late. I have NEVER felt so isolated & alone. It's so hard for me to exist in a world where no longer is.

What do I do??
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Dear one,

I am so sorry for your loss and for how your life must feel like it's falling apart, along with your health.

It's a LOT to deal with and it's good you'll be seeing a psychiatrist. It is possible that medication may help and s/he'll be able to help with that. But, generally, psychiatrists don't do therapy and I encourage you to get yourself back in to regular individual and group therapy. And go every opportunity you have. If finances are difficult, focus on the free group therapies and/or individual therapy via any of the armed services or through your church.

I know you had groups and therapy before but you may not have been ready for it and, either way, since then a lot more has happened that you need help figuring out how to deal with.

Your Nick loved you, that's clear from the relationship you describe, and he wouldn't want you to be hurting so much after all this time

Get the help you need and deserve. For yourself and for your daughter who still needs you. *gentlehugs*
 
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2findjoy responded:
I wish I could say I do not know how you feel, but I do. I, too, lost my son in 2006. He was 26 years old. He was not in the service, but he died just the same, and I often felt that I would never recover from losing him.

However, now I do. It has only been recently (about six months) that I have come out of my fog and have begun to re-enter the world. Finding joy is not easy. Some find it in religion. Some find it in a bottle. I have two things that make me happy now, and though they may not sound very therapeutic, they have helped me more than anything anyone has suggested or prescribed.

First, every morning, without fail, I get up and walk. I walk my neighborhood or if the weather is bad, I walk on the treadmill. It sounds like you had mobility issues, but if you can walk now, do so and do it every day. I put a small TV on the wall in front of my treadmill and watch programs from the History Channel and National Geographic. That makes the time go faster. But more importantly, I am getting exercise and exercise, more than any drug they tried on me, has helped with my depression.

The other thing I am doing is art. I'm not a particularly good artist, but after my son died, I saw the world differently. Not necessarily in a good way either, but very, very differently. Colors seemed faded. Sunny days were not so sunny (and I live at the beach). The sky was not as blue, and even my face seemed pale. It was a like a layer of dust covered everything in my life. Until I was watching/not really watching the Create Channel and saw someone doing collages. I thought I would try it. And I am hooked. I do Art Cards ( just Google them to learn as it would take too long to explain here) and other forms of mixed media. Now, everyday, I am out of bed early, getting my chores completed, and all the while I am thinking of what kind of art I can do today. I look at the world as my pallet, each item in it as something I can use in my art. I spend hours on end scouring the thrift shops and junk stores (beach areas are full of them) for stuff to amend or to use in a particular project. Art gives me something to think about when I'm pushing the vacuum or loading the dishwasher, instead of thinking of my dead child. Art has put color back into my life. It is cheap for me, but if you have the money you can buy lessons. I have artistic friends now, and it is true that you lose some friendship when your child dies, while others grow stronger. But having new friends who have this similar interest has helped me move beyond the constant state of grief I was in.

Every day, several time a day, I think of my son. But now I have moments when I do not think of him because I am occupied with good thoughts. Some of these I must admit are pangs of guilt that I am enjoying something and he is not. But I get past them, and instead think of the joys that were in his life before he died.

I see him in all the sunsets and sunrises. He is in everything in nature that I want to put into my art. I emotionally dedicate all my little pieces to him, and I smile when I think about how he would have stood behind me and ooohhed and aaahhed at my little art works. He was a good child and a good man at 26, but he is gone and I am here, and it is the same with you as it is with millions of other mothers through the years.

My heart bleeds for you and all of us that have had to endure this most horrific tragedy. It is wrong for a mother to bury a child. I am not religious, and to be perfectly honest, I was not spiritual until he died. Now I feel him near me, as he is in fact still in my heart and most always in my thoughts. But with my new ways of coping, the exercise and the art, I have learned that I am not going to die because of this, but rather continue with my life until whatever fate has in store for me takes me to where he is, either somewhere or nowhere.

I hope what I have written has helped you.
 
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Jan0325 responded:
Nicks army Mom

I am so sorry for your loss. After reading about your son I wanted to say that you did a great job as a Mom. He sounds like a great guy and he didn't do it alone. Much of who he was came from you. Use his strength .

You have a lot going on physically and it can take a lot out of you. Try to be good to yourself. You are not alone.

Jan
 
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deb5055 responded:
First of all, I want to thank your son for his service to our country. He was and remains a brave young man. I too lost my son in Iraq. He was a corpsman with a Marine Platoon, and did not live to see the birth of his daughter. He died July 21, 2005, and he was twenty-six years old. Travis was my youngest son, and his brother has been there for me through out this whole horrible experience. I want to tell you that the grief gets better, and it does, at times, but there will always be the before and after.

One thing that helped me was learning to celebrate his life, rather than dwell on his death. And my faith has helped tremendously. While I have had my rages at God, I have reached a point now where I know he is not coming home and that there is nothing I can do about it. I started a journal of letters I wrote to him soon after his death. Just little things I wanted to say to him that. That helped. I started a blog and wrote about him, and still do, and this helps. When you dream of him, how does he appear in your dreams? Whenever I dream of my son now, he is always smiling. I don't know what that means, but it gives me comfort somehow.

When I learned of his death, my first thought also was why didn't God take me instead? I don't have that answer. My eldest son also suffers from a lot of issues with grief. What doesn't help at all is "what if's" and "should have's". Think about how your son lived his life and how he would want you to live your life now. I imagine he would want you to go on and find some measure of happiness. It will never be the same, there will always be a missing place that was filled by your son, but you must find a way to work around it. If not for yourself, then for your daughter.

God bless you and your family, and I sincerely hope that you can eventually accept and come to terms with this terrible loss. I'm still working on it.
 
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GriefRecoverySpecialist responded:
Hi Nick's Army Mom,

I just joined this community and your post touched me right away. I am a retired psychologist with 25 years experience helping individuals and families heal from grief and loss. I would urge you to join a support group for Army Moms if possible, but any grief support group will help. Acquire some good reading materials for those private times you need to reflect on your loss. Seek out a professional counselor if you feel you can't function at all. These are minimum requirements for your grief recovery. I see the recent holidays have been tough, that's pretty normal. That's why group support helps take the sting out. Start with a few basic resources, then add and delete as you move along. You can heal from this and you will. What would your son want you to do for yourself? Start with that.
 
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Texas_Aggie03 responded:
I'm sorry that I have no advice for you but I did want to say a couple of things. I think your story of your son is beautiful and I can tell from your words the amazing person that he was. He's a hero and I am thankful for his service. I believe that he's waiting for you in heaven. And when it's your time, he will be there with open arms to give you the biggest hug ever. It will be a wonderful reunion. I can't imagine your pain right now but I pray that seeing your son again one day will give you hope to make it through.
 
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JayneL951 responded:
I'm very sorry for your loss....I can understand your grief and your great sense of loss. I bet the response that WebMD, although kind and considerate meant very little (sorry about that). I too lost my son due to the war. My son, a US Marine, came home from the military and seemed so different. He kept things to himself; although I could see right away that something was wrong. I pushed and pushed for him to get help. Due to these damn HIPPA laws, I couldn't get him into medical appointments or even hospitalization. Everything I did, he countered. Finally, he broke up with his girlfriend, swallowed a bottle of pills and ended it all. He suffered from PTSD. When I spoke to his medical doctor,she told me "she was waiting for my call." She told me how profoundly depressed my son was, and she kept trying to get my son to say something that would allow her to hospitalize him. She knew,under HIPPA laws, that she couldn't speak to me about the severity of his situation. All of our hands were tied.

Weeks before he suicided, he talked with me about starting a business together. He ate sensibly and exercised regularly - he wanted to have a lean body -- you know, a six-pack stomach. My son the Marine. He wanted to give me grandbabies. He was talking about the future. Six weeks later he was dead. The memories, I'm told, haunted him.

PTSD is difficult to deal with and especially overseas where help is limited and you're expected to "suck it up". I pray that your son didn't experience what my son went through. I felt so helpless.

These young men who come home are very messed up. At the time of my son's death in Feb. of 2007, 38% of returning troops attempted or completed suicide.

I'm telling you the gravity of my situation so that you know I understand. Believe me, I wake up in the middle of the night screaming.

But there have been two things that have really helped me out: 1) I had obtained my son's MySpace password and slightly changed the site to reflect a tribute page. I write stories about my son, and ask that others share stories too. This keeps me focused and I am doing something positive to keep my son's memory alive. I have received many emails and other Marines have shared stories of my son during a time when we were apart. I've learned so much about him and I'm very proud of him. 2) I pray, and I pray, and I pray. And I have regular conversations with my son. And sometimes he's there. I know that sounds a little weird, but I remember having lunch with my eldest son -- telling him about my latest discussion and how things were coming true. He rolled his eyes, then says, "let's test it". So I shared what I wanted and within two days (and a week after my son's 1 year anniversary), I met up with a family I hadn't seen in 13 years, who moved out of the area (and I've moved twice since that time as well). Impossible is the word. But here they are, in my life and my eldest son went from a non-believer to a true believer.

What I'm trying to say is...he's still here. Whether it be in your heart, or his MySpace page, or in little miracles. He's blessed to have such a caring mom. He's blessed to be so loved. And I bet he knows it and I bet he wants you to be okay and not hurt. Think about it. He warned you of what could happen -- he cared and he loved you too.

Talk to your son....keep his memory alive and let others help you in doing so.
 
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jmn23 responded:
I too lost my son who was 18 at the time of his death in Aug. 06. Mine was an auto accident where a dear ran in front of the car he was in. Your life sounds so much like mine. Don't you find that after 2 years it seem to get worse? I can hardly remember what my life was like before....I refer to thing as "oh that was before he died" or "oh that was after he died". Its all I revolve absolutely everything around. If Christmas, Halloween, Easter...and every other freaking holiday were removed from the calendar it would remove at least a portion of the pain. The month before a holiday or his birthday or his death day is hell. And then the day comes and passes and I've waseted another month of worry and sickness.

Oh, well I could go on forever, you know how that is. I wish I could have given you the answer you need, but I don't think there is one. I have begged God a million times to take me and bring him back. I have ask God why. I have ask him to just whisper the answer to me and I wouldn't tell anyone that he personally told me. I have tried to sell my soul to the devil to bring him back. So far he isnt here, that doesnt mean I wont quit trying. I couldnt tell you how many ways I've thought of suicide. I do know exactly how I would do it if I ever get to that point. Reply back any time want to talk or exchange son stories, Im always open to talk to another person who understands what I feel. J.


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