In Memory Of:

John Spraul
Navy

Never, Never Give Up
18 April 2013 at 14:57
written by Cady Spraul, Wes’ sister

I’m not always one for sharing a whole lot, but today I’m impassioned with the desire to share the real story. 7 weeks ago today was probably the worst day of my life and in the lives of my loved ones. My brother, Wes, had taken his own life, and we realized would never get the chance to spend more time with him here on this earth. The expected judgment, “Oh, he gave up.” or “How could he do such a thing to his family?” of hearing the news of his suicide are normal, but I want to make it clear that none of these are true. There’s so much more than most people know, and Wes doesn’t deserve for anyone to have poor thoughts about him now.
Most people know that Wes came back from Afghanistan in July of 2011 with a spinal cord injury. What you may not know is how much pain this caused him every day. He went through at least six surgeries, if not more, that were all extremely dangerous within a years time. He suffered from at least one stroke, where he lost control of some of the muscles in his arm. He already couldn’t feel hardly anything from his stomach down. He had trouble sleeping, unbelievable amounts of pain, and so much more than he would tell anyone. The massive amounts of medications that the doctors gave him were so strong that they even gave him seizures a couple of times. So, he was in a lot of pain, so what? He went from being in the physical shape capable of taking him through the hardest military training out there to become a NAVY SEAL, to barely being able to walk around on his own. He loved playing sports and was always active, but after his injury he made of fun of himself for not even being able to dribble a basketball. For anyone who knew him, you know he was crazy sarcastic all the time, but still extremely caring and happy. Even with everything that happened to him, he still was his same sarcastic self yet you could always see the love behind the teasing. He still had his amazing smile even while he spent so much time in hospital while the doctors were trying to help him with all of his pain. Every day was a struggle for him just to get out of bed, but he did! His daughters and his wife meant absolutely everything to him, and he put everything he had into spending time with them. I’ve talked to some of his doctors, and they have all told me that he amazed them with his positive (though still very sarcastic) attitude. He didn’t complain to those he loved about how much pain he was in; if he needed a break he would go lay down for a bit, which we knew meant it was really bad. I still can’t even imagine just how bad it was for him. He was definitely the strongest person I have ever known.
So, now to the part of this tragedy that most people do not know. The day before he passed away, Wes was in a car accident. The exact happenings of the accident are still unknown, but what is certain is that he was knocked unconscious for a substantial amount of time, meaning he hit his head pretty hard for this to have happened. The doctors checked him out and said he was all clear later that same afternoon, because nothing more than a few bumps and bruises and some sore muscles seemed to be bothering him. He came home from the ER and was expectedly very worn out so he slept the rest of the day and through the night. There’s plenty of medical studies out there linking concussions and other head traumas to suicide, trust me, I’ve read through plenty of it. Medical study or not, I truly believe that it was not the same Wesley we all know who pulled the trigger that horrible morning. He had been so happy, making huge progress in his therapy and spending more time with his girls and his wife. Whether it was his medication, the car accident, or the combination of both, I know that Wes didn’t give up.
Wes was the strongest person I’ve even known. Even when I was little, he was always the brother that I looked up to the most and wanted to be like. Of course that means he was always the one who gave me the hardest time, too, but deep down I loved it. Wes enjoyed life to the fullest. He always had that huge smile on his face. He was always friendly to people who weren’t always easy to be friendly too. He was always looking out for those he loved, even more so than his own self it seemed. That seems pretty obvious, because in the NAVY he did two tours in the Middle East even when he had his beautiful family back here in the states, and it was always his life goal to become a NAVY seal. He’d always wanted to serve his country whole heartedly. He challenged me constantly to strive to make myself better. He taught me by example not to judge people before you know anything about them. I knew that he was always there for me no matter what I needed, even if it was just a kick in the butt to stop being so lazy! He always has been, and forever will continue to be my hero.
Every day I miss him, but it is now my goal to honor him by striving to do all of those things he taught me. Every day I want to strive to make myself better. Every day I want to be friendly to everyone, not just those who make it easy to be friendly to. Every day I want to make sure that those I love know how much I care for them and would do anything for them. I want to enjoy every day of my life, because I am so blessed. I think it is important that this is how we remember Wes. We can honor him for everything he brought into our lives. Someone had given Wes a necklace that said, “Never Never Give Up.” I will always treasure these words as a sort of motto from his life.

To everyone that has reached out to our family in the last few weeks, THANK YOU! I’m not sure how we could have made it through without all of the support. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we try to heal and strive to preserve and honor the memory of Wes throughout our lives.