Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Is How IT Happened... It Started Long Before It Ended

This is a work in progress. I will be coming back and editing it along the way, but this is my start point. There are so many more details to add, but this is what I needed to do for me today with me being 4 months out on Friday. This is how it happened. This is my short version, lol... (And I have not yet proof read or edited it, so please bare with me).

I suppose I should start from the beginning, but I'll make the 3 year prelude to the end as short as possible. Tom and I married in 2005 and had our first child the same year. Tom went to Iraq in 2006/2007 and got a TBI (Tramatic Brain Injury) while there from one of the IED's that hit his humvee. When he came home he began to suffer with really bad PTSD. It was a rough deployment for everyone. I have not talked to any of the guys or wives from that deployment that did not come back very different. After I contacted his command, Tom began getting help for his PTSD. There were so many struggles with him internally and within our marriage because of who he came back as. I have said since he came home from that deployment that 'The man I married died in Iraq and I didn't know the man who came back in his place.' We had another baby after a little while after that deployment and did all we could to keep our family together. I won't lie, it was hard.

Tom really wanted into MarSOC, so he acted like he was better. He was not. He went to Afghanistan in 2009 as a replacement for an injured Marine. He left in June and came home in a few days before Thanksgiving. Little did I know that we only had 6 months left. Oh, what I would have done differently. I described him after he came home as 'human' again and I'm afraid that it was this humanness that he could not handle. He felt deeper and harder than before. He was so cold and shut off to the world after Iraq, but his heart had opened back up.

A friend of his died while over there, and I know he felt survivor's guilt as it was originally Tom's name on the list for that convoy. The command needed Nick because of his job and pulled Tom off, but Tom struggled with this. I didn't know the details until after Tom died. All I knew was that it was significantly devestating to him to lose a friend. He finally started seeking help again.

We still had problems in our marriage because I couldn't see that he changed for the better-- at least not for a few months. I still had my wall up from all of the pain before, but the love was always there and that was what kept me holding on.

It took me some time, but I realized who he was and I saw the pain in his eyes. I saw the struggle he was facing and it scared me. He had begun the process to get out on Medical Retiement, but it takes too long. He was told 3-7 months. And the day he heard that he told me he didn't have 3 months. He couldn't make it 3 more months. And he turned out to be right. I realized that the man who possesed such an emense amount of self control was losing it rapidly. There were threats of suicide, but it wasn't until he pulled the gun out and put it to his head with the gun cocked that I saw this was spiraling. The second time I called the police. His command got involved. I turned to them and his psychiatrist. Not enough was done within enough time. I feel there were many people who could have done more to help Tom and save his life, but really that is a long and tragic story in itself.

I will bring you to Mother's Day-- the day before he died. What happened that morning doesn't matter right now, but the events of that morning set him off and no matter what happened a swtich was flipped and it became very apparent that this was the end. I knew we were close and I was trying to get him help, but I didn't realize how close it was until that day. I spent the whole day trying to change things and trying to convince him not to take his life. I took 2 guns away from him (which he was not supposed to have). There were 2 other guns that I forgot about (one of which I thought didn't work, so I kind of put it out of my mind) and when he told me not to even try to take those I looked at him and said "There is no way I can stop you from doing this, is there?" He looked back at me and said "No."

A few hours later he told me he wanted to go for a drive. Something that was common when things were upsetting to him. I asked if he was coming back and how long he'd be gone. He said he'd be gone just a few hours. He hugged me and kissed me and told me he loved me. He walked out the door and popped his head back inside and told the kids he loved them, too. It seemed odd, but after the day we had and the fact he said he was coming home and that I didn't think he had a gun I just let him go. A few minutes later I got a text that said he loved me and the kids.

I paniced. That was not like Tom at all to mention the kids, too especially after he just told us he loved us.
I started to call and text and ask him to come home. I knew what he left to do. I begged him to come and get me. I told him he shouldn't be alone when he dies. His Mom called me and I knew it was bad since he rarely ever called his parents. I Finally got him to agree to come get me. My friend came over to watch the kids. We went driving around, went to O'Charley's for a quick bite to eat, and eventually I told him he needed to take me home because one of us needed to be alive for our kids. I could tell by his driving that he had taken too many pills. He was all over the place and told me he tried to overdose and waved the gun around saying how that was for in case the pills didn't work.

He said no one cared and no one was listening to him and trying to help him. He was tired and didn't want to hurt anymore. I barely got him to come back in the house with me. I told him that we would pay out of pocket and get him help off base since the doctors on base weren't helping him. He agreed to come in after I said that. That night he told me how much he hated himself and how he'd done what he was meant to do in life-- serve his country and help bring Nathan and Avery into the world. He said that now it was time for him to step back and let another man take over his family. It didn't matter how much I told him we loved him and needed him and how no one could ever take his place. He wasn't hearing it. He was in too much pain.

I knew I had to call his psychologist the next day and that he needed in-patient. I also knew that there was still a gun in his truck. I wasn't sure what to do, but felt that if I didn't try and he killed himself I would never be able to forgive myself, so I made the choice to call. When I called his psychologist I told her about the gun and that he would say and do ANYTHING to get out of her office and if he did he WOULD kill himself!! She said she agreed as they had been talking about suicide for a while. I told her he'd say he needed to go smoke or get fresh air-- anythign to get out. He did ask to go smoke, but it didn't work, so when he saw his chance and a clear shot out the door he took it. He was chased and a group of 6 Marines and Sailors, but they couldn't stop him. He got to the truck and pulled the gun. He drove off and called me. He was crying and hysterical. He told me he pulled a gun on someone and said "I love you and I don't think I'm ever going to see you again." I screamed and told him no and that I loved him, too. I don't know if he heard me. I looked at my phone and saw that he had hung up. Come to find out the MP's were pulling him over at that moment. He got out of the truck and moments later he shot himself.

After his phone call at 1:04PM I called his psychologist and she said he was ok. She said "The MP's secured him and he's on his way to the hospital." I asked how they secured him and if he was shot. She said, "Katie, he's alive. The fact that you told me about the gun saved his life." It didn't settle right with me, but she said "alive." My Mom kept telling me to call or go to the hospital to check. I said I'd wait until the next day. It didn't sit right with her. Maybe I didn't want to know, maybe I wanted to believe our life was FINALLY going to get better because Tom was FINALLY going to ge the help he needed.

At 3:45 an unmarked County Sheriff car pulled into my drive way. It was odd and I walked outside. He had the wrong address and when I came inside and broke down crying. For a moment my heart sank. I thought he was there to tell me something about Tom, even though it didn't make sense. My 4 year old asked why I was crying and I told him I was happy. I thought to mysel, 'Thank you God that he is ok.' It was about 15 minutes later that the doorbell rang. I looked out the window and saw the government vehicle in my drive way. I figured it was just to ask questions about what happened earlier in the day with Tom pulling a gun, but then I opened my door.

I walked outside and closed the door behind me. I knew it was bad. No one shows up in those uniforms unless it's bad. Since we had been through 2 war deployments I had played this moment over in my head-- what would it be like if they knocked on my door. How would I react? I never wanted to find out, but that is what happened. I walked past them and asked if he was dead. The CACO asked if I was Katherine Murray (my maiden name). I said "Is he dead?" He asked again. I said "It's Bagosy" and fell to the ground. The only words I heard on my way down were "We regret to inform you..." I asked how it happened. Did he do it himself? The answer was Yes. But how? She told me he was alive, how did it happen? Why did she tell me he was alive. The Chaplin was sitting on the ground with me and said he didn't know. All my neighbors had rushed over by this point and ran inside to take care of my babies for me. It didn't make sense. It wasn't real. I didn't cry yet. I was in shock. The tears came, oh did they ever, and they still do. They always will. Things in our life were on the road to getting better. How was it that we were on the cusp of getting our life, our family to the place we had struggled for so long and somehow it was all over-- forever?
He couldn't hold on, I know that. It got to be too much for him, but still, I am left with this 'new life' that I don't want to nor do I know how to deal with.

I miss him. Every. Single. Day. I love him with all my heart and wish I could have done things differently. But I am here embarking on this new life, trusting he is watching over our babies and me and guiding us as we face this alone.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Avery's Hurting Too

Ok, so out of nowhere tonight while Avery was in the kitchen she puts her hand on her eye like she was holding back tears and said "I lost my Daddy." She looked so sad, and she has never used those words before. We weren't talking about you or anything and there she is, telling me she lost you. I was on my way to the front door at that moment to call my Mom and she said got up and said "Let's go get him!" I told her that we can't, and for the next 20 minutes or so we talked on and off about you. Mostly she was telling me "I miss Daddy... Daddy's dead... I'm sad..." She kept burrying her face and walking around with her head down. My heart breaks for her and I have to say that it has opened the flood gates for me tonight. It's interesting to me how I can be ok for days and not cry, and then something happens and it's like I make up for it with the amount of tears. I think I'm getting about 1 Big cry in a week and tonight was it for me.

Again, I was thinking of her birthday since I was talking to my Mom about planning her party. I know this sounds horrible, but it would be so much easier to skip her birthday and all the rest of the holidays this year for that matter. Of course I won't even attempt that, but it would make it easier on me. It's those days that are the worst. I think Your birthday was one of the worst for me. Avery's birthday is eating at me. I can not even imagine what Nathan's will do to me. I Hate the thought! I am sure it hurts more for the kids than myself on those special days. I can't take their pain away and I hate to see my babies in pain. I didn't really realize how deeply it was effecting Avery until tonight. My Mom had a theory as to what sparked it and she may be right. But the point is that now I realize that she gets it more than I thought she did.

You know she keeps asking for Pop-pop ALL the time. She misses my Dad so much. I think she gets that he's still around and you're not (as much as she can). I remember how she started calling him 'Daddy' right away, even before anything was mentioned about you not being alive. I also remember the look on my Dad's face the first time I heard her say it. I wasn't bothered by it (and soon after she started callign all females 'Mommy'), but my Dad look so worried about how I'd react. She was 19 months, what can you day? She tells me constantly that she wants to go to "Del-bah-wares" too. I assume it's because Pop-pop and Nathan are there.

Well, today is Labor Day. Not like it's any special holiday, but it is a long weekend for the Marine's and I'm sitting here thinking of this weekend and what I did and who I hung out with and how different it would have been if you were alive. I'm wondering what we would have done this weekend and in the past almost 4 months. Yup, Friday will be 4 months since you died. It's crazy to think like that, but I still just wonder what life would have turn out to be like. I was rocking Avery tonight thinking of that and a lot of other things, too. I obviously miss you, that goes with out say. I'm just glad that life isn't as bad as it could be right now. I didn't expect any good to be in my life this soon after you died, and yet here it is. Life is so imensely bitter-sweet lately.

Love you forever Tom! That is the one thing that will never die. And yes, I saw you the other morning and it was such a peaceful experience. It's comforting to know you are watching out for us. We all love you and miss you, forever!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Already?

So there is a picture on my blog page that is of you when right before you got on the bus to go hop on your plane to Iraq. It was September 2006-- 4 years ago. You were 22. Even now I will say how that was one of the most difficult days I have ever faced in my life. I was hysterical-- yes I was the wife who could not hold it together. I was so upset that one wife took Nathan out of my arms and another came over to hug and console me. It was your second deployment (first war), and honestly more than I thought I could bare. I was depressed for the first 2 months and went home to Delaware for a while which made it better, at least as much as possible. But that night was horrid. Watching you leave not knowing if I'd ever see you or hold you again? Wow, talk about feeling helpless and terrrified!
The Green Day song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" reminds me of that deployment. It was the longest September.

You know that picture is still around and now it's basically been passed on to Avery, though it will always hold a special place with Nathan and I as it has been a staple of our decore since then. I could write a whole blog about that picture alone. Maybe one day, but it's too depressing. I have always seen that picture and felt that you looked like you were saying goodbye, as in goodbye forever. I said that to Jena after you died and she said she could see it, too. I hate looking at it now because of that, because I do feel like it's your goodbye somehow.

September is hard for me now in other ways. Avery will be 2 this month. She will have never had the opportunity to spend a single birthday with her Daddy, as last year you were in Afghanistan. You missed Nathan's first birthday, too, but you sent him a Vermont Teddy Bear, which he has since passed onto Avery to keep her company at night since he has Sam. I'm sure one day he'll want it back. He is such a sweet and loving person and a wonderful big brother. I asked you to send Avery a Vermont Teddy Bear for her first birthday. I thought it would be really nice for her to have one, too. You agreed and sent one. I'm really glad they have those special things to hold on to.

I wish you were here. They need you so much, Tommy. We all do. I hate that there will never be another birthday or holiday without you. I think this time of year is going to be exceptionally dificult this year. Well, ok I already know it will be. Everyone knows that. I just hope I can hold it together for the kids's sake.

You know today Avery was playing with the sheep! Oh man, did that make me smile and then cry. She hasn't played with that thing in forever and there she was and wanting to take it to bed, too. That is one of those funny things that only we would find as amusing as it is. Mmmaaa!!

Miss you,