“I Refuse to Give Up”

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McCaddon family

Mike and Leslie McCaddon

Today, I am tired of suicide.

I ache in my bones and muscles and soul for all the suffering that continues to occur.

I am tired of learning about people who reached out for help, sometimes screaming for help, and they were dismissed by the military.

I am tired of hearing widows who not only blame themselves unfairly, but are also blamed by the military (in writing) as the trigger for their husband’s suicide.

I am tired of an endless problem that seems to have no clear solution.

My heart breaks for each of us.

The moms, dads, siblings, widows and children. If we aren’t asking why any more (and many of us have learned to stop asking that question) we are asking what can we do?

Today, I am tried and frustrated that the number of suicides keeps going up and more and more families are in need of support from TAPS.

I don’t have the solution. But, I refuse to give up. We all have to refuse to give up.

Saturday one of the presenters, Franklin Cook — who is a suicide survivor himself — said: “You can survive anything if you keep showing up.”

And so, though at times today I was tempted to retreat to my room to process my fatigue and frustration, I kept showing up. And I will keep showing up until the path is clearer on what we can do to help our men and women in the military, and their families.

In the meantime, I’m going to process my grief (and too many others) the best way that I can. As TAPS says, I will Remember the love, Celebrate the life and Share the journey.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me for a while. I hope that together we can make it really count.

Leslie McCaddon of Massachusetts was one of two widows Time featured in its July cover story on the surge in Army suicides. Her husband, Dr. Michael McCaddon, an Army captain, died in March.