We don't move on from grief, we move forward with it as part of us. We are who we are today because they existed and they still exist within us. there will always be times, dates and events that are painful and they will always be painful, no matter how time passes and how long it has been and this is what people misunderstand. Once the first year is over, people expect you to also to forget, to move past the pain of loosing someone, but it just isn't like that. Their presence is in everything you do because it has moulded you into the person you are. Time makes it easier to handle on a daily basis, but it doesn't make it evaporate.
Our Nathan’s Story
In the first of our series of stories from family members who have ‘survived’ military suicide, we meet Maria who tells the story of Nathan, his depression and eventual untimely end.
Our Nathan was born in Germany 1978 to very much an Army family. His father in the Royal Corp of Transport and his Grandfather Royal Green Jackets. He was a highly intelligent child although moody. Could read from age 3 albeit it all in capitals, my fault.
Being a soldier was always on the cards for Nathan and he joined the Sea Cadets aged 11. He took his GCSEs and passed all subjects with B and A Grades. At the age of 16 he joined the Royal Engineers and promotion soon followed. We were so very proud of him.
He met the love of his life whilst serving in Bosnia and they married when he was about 24. She was also serving. They were blissfully happy and then Iraq happened and off he went to war. They were all given NAPS tablets to take in case of chemical warfare. He went by sea to Iraq and his Grandmother died (my mother) suddenly before he got there so couldn’t be informed.
On his return to Aldershot it was discovered that he had a very low sperm count as Rachel and him had been trying for a family. To cut a long story short Rachel left him for another man and broke his heart. He entered a bad depression and was put into hospital for a while.
Time marched on with promotions pushing him on. He was a perfectionist in every thing he did. He met his second wife who was also serving and she fell pregnant with a little girl who Nathan adored. Two tours of Afghanistan followed with just 18 months between and this left him emotionless.
This mood stayed with him till the day he died. Nathan did seek help with depression and was showing signs of ptsd, but was blocked being promoted, so he pretended to the Doctor that he was fine so as not to be overlooked on the next promotion board.
His second marriage broke down because of his moods although his wife always loved him but Nathan didn’t feel anything. All emotion had gone.
He bought his own house and was ready to leave the Army in the September having been offered several good jobs but he took his own life New Year and we found him on the 2nd January 2018. He had hung himself.
In order for this tragic story to have a positive outcome Depression when you are serving or have served in the military must be treated much more seriously than the general public as soldiers hold so much trauma in their heads. It should not block their promotion prospects which discourages personnel to admit to their problem. A much more open approach to mental health in the Services needs to be adopted.