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.


  1. I don't know how you can be so strong, but your writing is proof of your strength. Your last sentence, "... guiding us as we face this alone." I think that you shouldn't be alone and you aren't alone, but that perhaps people are too afraid to say anything, for simply not knowing what to say.I have never experienced anything like what you have been through, but what you are feeling is palpable through your words. You are sharing your thoughts in an honest and forthright manner and I would hope that others would open up and do the same for you, starting like right now. My thoughts (and tears) are with you from my small corner of the world.

  2. Oh Katie, thank you so much for sharing this. It takes a very strong person to talk about "that day". You are an amazing person, and I hope that you find the strength to keep going on this crazy journey of widowhood. If you ever need anything, I'm always here!! I know we don't know each other, but I do know what this crazy ride is like. Hugs and lots of love to you and your little ones.

  3. Mandy~ Thanks. It's always good to know that there are others on this journey (not that i wish it on anyone), but I'm thankful for the support.

    Spockgirl~ I do have a wonderful support system. I hope it didn't come off seeming like I feel "no one" is here. I just feel like my partner in this world is gone and I have to figure it all out on my own. I don't have that ONE person I can turn to and say "what am I supposed to do now?" He's gone and it's totally up to me. That is a lonely and scary feeling especially with 2 small children. Thank you for callign me strong. I am really trying. It's not easy.

  4. I am so relieved to know that you have a great support system. I was a little worried about that, but I should have known instinctively what you meant. I totally understand the being alone and "what am I supposed to do now". Stay strong, hang in there, and hug your kids.

  5. Katie-I can't imagine! I understand the PTSD since our husbands were in Iraq together...I'm sorry that this happened. Its truly not fair. The only thing I can think is that God has some kind of miracle in store for of course have two little miracles that need you and love you and will always be a reminder of your love w/Tom.

  6. What a powerful entry, Katie. It is like a real glimpse, just a glimpse into the actual pain that Tom went through. You, as well.

    I can't imagine the stress of that last hour of "knowing" but not knowing.

    It is heartbreaking and just incomprehensible. It is amazing that you can come out on the somewhat other side still standing. That in itself is truly remarkable. That you can even type "lol," is one true miracle. I'll never not keep saying this, but you are truly remarkable. We are all full of faults, sure. I am still sticking to my story, you are an amazing woman, raw, rare, and incredibly beautiful-inside and out. Never doubt the power you have in your children's' life. They have been very unlucky in their short lives, but very lucky at that very same time to have YOU. You are a marvel to behold. I love you!!!

  7. Linked here from another military blog. It seems so inadequate to say, "I'm sorry," but I don't know what else to say. My family prays regularly for the military families. We now have some more specific things and people to pray for. God bless you. WB

  8. Katie, sweetheart, you keep right on writing to your Tommy; it's going to be very important for your kids to have this connection with their daddy and mommy, and I can't help but think that it helps to sort out your thoughts when you can actually see them. Be strong for your kids, but also for yourself. You'll be amazed at the things you can do, and I expect I'll be hearing great things about you.

  9. Thinking of you often... Stay strong.

  10. Hi Katie, I'm so sorry about the long chain of events. Keep writing. You can work a lot of things out by putting your feelings on the page. Writing to a large degree is therapeutic. Just write it for yourself, and don't care what other people think. Strength comes through adversity. This is a difficult time, but you will get stronger for yourself and the kids.

  11. Thank you for sharing. My husband is getting deployed soon and this is my worst fear. Not coming home or coming home and being so different that he doesn't know how to take it. I am very scared and worried. He has a job that he will "see" a lot of the bad. I pray that things get easier for you...

  12. Katie,
    I know it must have been utterly draining to even begin to tell your story. Thank you for being brave enough to be honest and share your journey. My husband was killed this summer and I am too am trying to work through the mess I call my life ... A new life that I did not choose nor do I want. It is so difficult to pick up the pieces when they won't make sense no matter how hard you try and put them together. There are no words ... but from one widow to another, I understand you.