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When He Goes

September 2, 2017


This is a hard post to write for many reasons, but if I’m going to keep writing on here, I really feel like I have to eventually tell it. Sam and I have already talked (several times) since it’s about him, and he encouraged me to write. It’s a bit long so grab a coffee and toss the kids outside.😉

Sometime in the next few weeks, Sam will be leaving for 3-6 months to go to a dual diagnosis treatment center.

Now when I tell people this, their first response is usually “Oh I’m so sorry” and of course it’s so so hard to think of being without him that long. But the reality, and how I truly feel about it, is a feeling of pride and relief and – hope. This has been a long time coming for him, and a year – heck six months ago – he wouldn’t have even considered it. I know, because I’ve brought it up for a while now. He’s been on more and more medication from the VA, especially since being retired but it really started with his shoulder surgery back at the end of 2014.

He’s had two suicide attempts since Kaden died, both within a day or so of Kaden’s birthday, and both led to him being hospitalized for several weeks.

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While I thought the medication was his way of drowning a lot of that pain, it turns out drinking was another way.

So for those of you who asked, “How did Sam handle all of this loss and trauma without alcohol?” (since we’ve had so many issues with his drinking before) – the answer I naïvely gave back of, “It’s not an issue!” was wrong. It was an issue, only I didn’t know he was still doing it. He simply waited long periods until he had a chance to.

This June he admitted himself into a rehab center for the medications where he stayed for three weeks. It came after months of up and down emotions while he struggled to cope with being out of the military and being at home. His PTSD, TBI, depression, anxiety, pain, and trauma from Iraq, our sons, and abusive childhood have all been pushed down so long that it’s started to come out more as time passes and all the distractions he was able to use for years are gone.

While he was there, I searched for a long-term place that didn’t cost 100k (not even joking there) for him to go for long term help with all of it – alcohol, meds, PTSD, etc. Finding a dual diagnosis that is veteran focused was not easy. At all. You’d maybe think (as I did) that a medically retired war veteran with 100% disability would have a flood of options, but you’d be wrong. I spent weeks calling and emailing facilities only to be told he didn’t qualify or we’d have to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to put him there.

Finally we looked into a program called STARR that was a veteran focused, inpatient, dual diagnosis treatment center. He’d already been able to get off a ton of his meds in the rehab place, so this step seemed like a really good one to focus the other stuff (and he’ll be off the rest of the pain meds while he’s there). When he came home, we got in touch with them through his psychiatrist referring him to there after an eval. It’s through the VA so costs are minimal.

For those of you reading and in a similar situation as him or I, I would love to be able to link this program or info about it, but honestly I haven’t been able to find anything at all. The VA seems to know about it – there’s no site or specifics. We’ve found out details from others who went and it’s based out of a VA hospital in New Mexico (although there may be other places that have it). If you’d like more details though, please feel free to email me and I’ll help however I can.

So now, he’s been accepted into the program after a lengthy phone interview with them, and we’re waiting on a call that a room has opened up for him. It’s been two weeks so far, it could be a month or longer. It’s a little anxiety inducing to wonder if today is our last day of normal together before life is upended again.

Bella knows and understands as best she can. We’ve both tried to be very honest with her over the past 2-3 years about mental health issues in our family and in general. I know the girls will desperately miss him, and we’re hoping what we’ve been told about weekend passes and visitation are true (he’ll be about a half day drive away from us).

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So, with all of this being said, I want to say a little something of my own. I’m so proud of Sam. I’m so very proud this was his choice to go do, and that he’s pursued it when we never even knew what it entailed. He has been asked every step of the way if this is his choice to do, because it is optional. I know it might seem like a step backwards, but it’s not. It’s a HUGE step in his recovery to be able to do this, because it’s never even been an option he’d consider before. He is mentally and emotionally ready to take this next step and move forward in an even bigger way.

I love him so dearly, I’ve told you all for years that he is my best friend. He’s also an amazing daddy, a wonderful person, and has the most tender heart. Yes, it’s going to suck that he has to go for this long. Believe me, I’ve already done this in his active duty years. But.


I’d rather have him gone a short time then gone forever. And as dramatic as that might sound, I know in my heart if he can’t get some very serious, intense help for all he struggles with, we may lose him.

If you pray, please pray for his healing, his relationship with Jesus to strengthen (because I know in my soul that while this is a wonderful opportunity and can work well, truly life isn’t a life without Jesus), my patience and support to him and the girls while he’s gone, our finances, and the girls’ hearts as they wait for him to come home.

I know you’re reading this my Sam, so I hope you know how much you are loved and wanted. We want you home with us, healing. We love you as you are, but I know how long you’ve struggled. You are so incredibly strong for choosing to do this for yourself and us. So I hope and pray with all my heart this starts to give you that peace we all want you to know.

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  • Almost Home | Diana Wrote

    January 15, 2018 at 8:54 am

    […] will be home for good tomorrow. 120 days exactly of him being gone. He’s driven 4 hours home nearly every weekend […]

  • Laura

    September 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    This is amazing and had my ex-husband done the same we may have had a chance. All the love and light to your family on this journey.

  • Brinn Goddard

    September 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I am happy for you both. I pray this is the healing Sam needs to not feel such despair. I’m sorry it means you have to figure out how to get Bella and Char everywhere without a co-captain for a while, but it will be worth it in the long run. Praying, friend. ❤️

  • TSP |

    September 10, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    […] past few days we’ve soaked up every bit of togetherness before Sam leaves. Last night, he made banana bread and since I can’t bake to save my life I made coffee 😉 […]

  • LA

    September 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    You have been in my daily prayers for years and will continue to think of y’all. I have walked this road with my brother and while it’s hard for all involved in my heart I know it will be worth it. You got this Diana I know in his absence your strength will shine and you will carry the load. Sam your willingliness to work on you so that you can be whole again is admirable. So much love sent to you both. 💗💗

  • Kiki

    September 7, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    You both are amazing people. Created for a purpose and set apart by Him. Please know I will be lifting your whole family up in prayer. The light you shine on your life will always be used for good!

  • Elizabeth Barone

    September 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    As someone who lived with PTSD for a long time without knowing it—yet struggled with all of the symptoms—I’m sending lots of love to you both.

  • apep

    September 3, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I really, truly, sincerely am rooting for him, for you, for your family. I’m holding you all in the Light.

  • Erin (thismommywrites)

    September 2, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    I am so happy for him, for you, for the future of your family. This was a beautiful post and you are both in my prayers moving forward.

  • Sonya

    September 2, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    You are my hero Sam!

  • Mary Lauren

    September 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing and thank you Sam, for allowing it to be shared. The strength of both of you is inspiring. I will be praying

  • Hope

    September 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    I am so happy Sam has this opportunity for himself and for your family. You will all be in my thoughts.

  • inbetweenthepiles

    September 2, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I love both your and Sam’s honesty about his struggles. He is SO courageous in facing his mental illness and asking for and actively seeking help. I will be praying for all of you – for the specific requests that you have, for all of you to feel God’s presence, peace that passes all understanding, and healing. I have loved all of your recent posts and am so thankful that you have this space to share and that you’ve created this community. 🙂 Much love to all of you.

  • Katy

    September 2, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Hugs to you. I’m so glad you found a program that will work for your family. Prayers for all of you!

  • Barbie

    September 2, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about Sam. I will be sure to keep him, and you, the kids in my prayers.

  • Jenn D.

    September 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Hugs and courage sent your way as well as prayers. May God continue to be both of your strength ❤️

  • Linda

    September 2, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    We lost my father in law to depression. He took his own life and its been an agonizing 2.5 years for the entire family. The ripple effects of his loss are something none of us could have imagined. We are heartbroken that we didn’t know how much he was hurting or how unwell his brain had become and that he didn’t get the help he needed. I read this and my heart is both broken with you all, and so incredibly thrilled that Sam is getting the help he needs. There is no shame in needing help and its incredibly courageous to go and take care of your mental health. Diana, its also incredibly courageous of you to support Sam in this way. My prayers are with your family. I look forward to the day we hear that Sam is home and continuing to work on his mental health. Hugs.

  • Kim

    September 2, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Such an amazingly honest post Diana, such courage for you both. Your words and descriptions will help so many others struggling too. Love and best wishes from the UK.

  • Meli

    September 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I will be praying for these specific requests. What courage it must take for both of you. ❤. Sending my love…

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