If you had read my last post, you would know that I only recently found out my best friend had taken his own life about a month ago. He was the most positive and strongest (emotionally) person I knew. The news was heartbreaking but what’s even more heartbreaking is that he left two beautiful daughters and a very loving and patient wife who I am also proud to say is my friend.
Three years ago he had been medically discharged from the army because of injuries and PTSD that left him unable to serve. He took this hard as he came from a long line of soldiers and it was so much more than a career to him, it was his life. He was strong and although it crushed him, he gave his time to helping diggers much younger than he. He had also been fighting the DVA from day one and his wife had to work two jobs so they could make it through, barely.
This is not the first time I have lost a friend to suicide, each time my heart breaks and if it wasn’t for my friend and his wife’s caring friendship, I would not be here today myself. This morning I got another email from his wife which he had written to me. In it, he said that he was so sorry but he could find no other way. They were in dire financial difficulties and the insurance policies he had meant his wife and his two little girls could have enough money to live a bit better than they had been doing so.
He didn’t take his life because he couldn’t deal with his demons, he did it because he loved his family. If you have never been in that situation you wouldn’t understand how a man could do that and leave his family in terrible grief.
I have spent all night outside on my porch crying. Because I get so much Spam mail I missed an email he wrote to me a month ago explaining why he did it and asked me to watch over his family. He had changed his number sometime back and I remember a day where I had 12 missed calls from a number I didn’t recognise and I mostly ignore unrecognised numbers. The guilt I am feeling right now is eating me up. Ten of those calls were from him and Two from his wife. I can’t help feeling that maybe I could have spoken with him and talked him out of it. He was always there for me and the one time he may have needed me, I ignored his calls, if only I had known.
How long will it be before the powers to finally get it into their collective heads we are not numbers, we are humans and as such, those of us with PTSD do need help. They say the words and makeup programs but we have to fight them every step of the way. These are real lives they play with. It makes me so angry that the system we once served, really doesn’t want to serve us. His wife called me early this morning and I didn’t know what to say. She is trying to understand and I feel like my heart has been ripped out.
PTSD is not an injury you can see but it destroys lives and sometimes PTSD sufferers just can’t go on or feel it is their only choice.
My mate was not a Coward, he made a decision because he loved his family. He was my friend and a guy I looked up to. He was honest, funny and always there for people, and me. We were brothers and the times and adventures we shared will always be with me.
Not a day goes past where I don’t think of ending it all. The pain, the demons, the shame, I have so much baggage and it weighs me down. I’m lucky in that I have a partner who I adore and she keeps me going, but I admit to feeling guilty that she has to suffer along with me, it’s not fair on her, but she has digger her heels in and told me we can do this together.
PTSD doesn’t only affect the sufferer, but those they love and care about, everyone around us suffers.
I feel grief, not just because he was a mate but also for his wife and two girls but I also feel guilty that the one time he may have needed me, I wasn’t there. I let down the best mate I have ever known and I deserve to feel guilty.