Shared by his wife, Jessica:
“Jason and I have two children now 18 (Chloe) and 10 (Max). Jason was a good and loving father and husband. He was kind, wonderful, simple in his desires for life. He wasn’t flashy, didn’t boast, or aspire to impress anyone. He was a good man – an honest, trustworthy and respected friend. He was a good son. He grew up in South Milwaukee, WI and loved and Brewers and Packers.
He came home from Afghanistan a different person – he had lost 40 pounds, styled his hair differently, and refused to talk about or acknowledge anything was wrong with him. I tried taking him to counseling under the guise of “marriage counseling” hoping the counselor would help him open up. When the first one didn’t seem to help, I brought him to another, and when that failed, I went to his command behind his back and asked them to bring him in, as he would not seek out help on his own.
The home port chief assured me he would be talked to by a Military chaplain who was trained in dealing with PTSD. That never happened and soon after Jason decided he wanted out of the military, even though he had previously planned to be a “lifer,” he was granted his early out 2 days before his battalion was deployed back to Afghanistan – his bags were already packed and he was prepared to ship out. I hoped this sudden change and a return to our home town would help him; it did not. We tried counseling one more time, and thereafter he refused to go.
I went to the VA with my general power of attorney and tried to have him forcefully committed; they told me they couldn’t help me, as he had not verbalized his intention to kill himself. He died by suicide two years later. They were very difficult and sometimes scary years, as he was able to masquerade for family and friends that all was well and he was “just fine.” I sometimes doubted my own sanity, and questioned my concerns for him, as I was apparently the only one who saw it. His death was awful and destroyed our whole family, and life as we once knew it, the core of our beings is forever changed. This has been extra hard on me and the kids, as we really lost him twice! The Husband and Father we knew and loved is not the same man who got off that bus. Seeing his flag draped coffin was the culmination of my worst nightmares while he was deployed and so unbearably cruel, as our guy made it back home, but died anyways! Thank you for telling his story.”