We can only hope and pray every day all our survivors can cope with their nightmares as that is harder than fighting the battle, I have witnessed the effects by being in the same room over night with a Nam Vet friend and it scared the Hell out of me, so I could never know how bad it is for him and others who have experienced the horrors of battle!
This friend has not been able to sleep lying down since his tours in Nam! He sleeps sitting up in a recliner with the TV on as he needs noise to also keep the flashbacks away, if he lies back in the recliner it is the same as being in bed! He drifts off into a deep sleep and all the nightmares attack him and that is what happened when he the wife and I were sharing a room in DC for Memorial Day Weekend back about ten years ago!
I have an e-mail friend who has been e-mailing back and forth with me for over a year now and I feel like I’ve known him for ages and he is a WWII USAAF Veteran who has a web site called, “Stumps R us” www.stumps.org and he has helped many a Veteran with coping.
That is how I met him, through a great friend and a Navy Nam Vet that found Dan’s site on the Net and Dan helped him cope with the loss of his leg to diabetes and several years later the second leg and eventually his life, but not by taking it.
I pray for all our Veterans to be able to hang on and live a life filled with hope and love life!
Dealing with my handicapped situation, which is not horrific and not military related as I was never allowed the privilege of serving my country, I do best to keep my concentration on others worse off than I and try to help as many as possible.
My Father told me when I begin to feel sorry for myself to stop and look around me as there are countless far worse than I.
The Wife and I have worked with Veterans for over twenty years in being a friend and in assisting with Veteran Issues, just all sorts of things.
The most important thing anyone can do is listening, when they feel comfortable in relating their heavy burdens to you in an attempt to try and unload them as to possibly make life a bit more bearable.
You do not pry; never ask personal questions for if they want you to know, they will tell you.
I’ve had people ask how does confronting that which has taken so much from them able to help heal their souls from all the memories of battle?
Those who have been able to talk about it are the most likely to survive as opposed to keeping it bottled up and locked away in the back of their minds.
When something triggers a flashback for those Veterans it is far more horrific than those who let the demons out and keep them at bay.
It is far harder to cope with life than to relieve yourself of life! So, when one takes their life they have come to the end of all the avenues they know to keep on living, that’s when they need a friend who can understand enough to keep them moving forward in never giving up!
I salute all who are of the Special Breed to place their lives in jeopardy in order to maintain our freedom that comes with the US Constitutional Republic and its US Constitution… There is no greater sacrifice than their laying down their own life to save hundreds of millions of people’s lives from the horrors of war, people who they absolutely do not know, but they do know a nation that has given them and their family so much it was worth the chance of dying for their freedom as well!
The Virginian Pilot
We knew he had demons,’ war veteran’s mom says
Video: go to http://hamptonroads.com/node/637228 to see and hear…
Jon Bartlett participated in this Virginian-Pilot video in 2008, the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.
Jon Bartlett is all smiles as he snuggles with his mother Esther Bartlett on the couch of their home in Norfolk in 2004. (Vicki Cronis | Virginian-Pilot file photo)
The Veterans Crisis Line (www.veteranscrisisline.net) connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential hotline, online chat or text. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online or send a text message to 838255.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (): Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
By Kate Wiltrout
© April 20, 2012
Jonathan Bartlett, an Iraq war veteran and double amputee who was featured in numerous Virginian-Pilot stories as he recovered from his injuries, died Tuesday at his home in Chesapeake. He was 27.
Family members said he killed himself.
On Sept. 25, 2004, Bartlett was a 19-year-old Army infantryman at the wheel of a Humvee outside Fallujah when it hit a homemade bomb. He lost one leg in the blast; the other was amputated soon after.
He spent 13 months recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where he learned to walk on prosthetic legs and amused nurses, therapists and visitors with his salty language and black humor. He liked to wear T-shirts referencing the stumps of his legs. One read: “I was golfing. I found the alligator.” Another admonished: “Tell your children not to stare, or the bogeyman will take their legs, too.”
A graduate of Maury High School, Bartlett returned to Norfolk in 2005 and enrolled at Old Dominion. He eventually moved into a wheelchair-accessible home in Deep Creek purchased with the aid of a veteran’s organization.
In 2007, Bartlett was one of 10 service members featured in an HBO documentary called “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq.”
Bartlett was outspoken and opinionated, with a flair for the dramatic; he’d regularly post manifestos about politics, religion and government on Facebook, and link to essays and articles that invariably made him mad.
His mother, Esther Bartlett of Norfolk, said she saw him a few times in the past week and Jon seemed his usual cocky self.
“We knew he had demons,” she said. “He brought probably more than a few of them back from Iraq with him. We thought he had at least made some kind of peace with them.”
A friend, Jumaria Copeland, said Bartlett helped her get through tough times, whether she was struggling emotionally or financially.
“I remember being so flat broke, and he would hand me a $20. He’d say, ‘I know it’s not much, but it will put gas in your tank.’ “
He pushed her not to give up her dream of becoming a criminal psychologist, she said, prodding her to stop thinking about it and start doing something to achieve her goal.
She remembers him as wickedly funny and verbally talented, but said she most values the inspiration he provided to rise above minor annoyances and focus on what was most important.
“Here he is, he lost his legs, he barely survived all of this, and through everything he still had a smile on his face, and he was still willing to help people,” Copeland said.
Bartlett insisted he was not a hero. It made him uncomfortable when people thanked him for his “sacrifice.”
“You know what sacrifice is?” he said in a Virginian-Pilot video in 2008. “Throwing yourself on top of a grenade to save your buddies, grabbing a kid out of the street at the expense of your life or limb – that’s a sacrifice, because you didn’t have to do it, but you did it anyway. I got hit by a bomb. I’m a casualty.”
Perhaps the thing Bartlett missed most about losing his legs was being able to run. He ran track at Maury, he ran in Army training, he ran as a means of coping with life.
“If you run fast enough, and you don’t look at your legs, you can almost fly,” he said. “It’s very peaceful.”
Bartlett’s funeral will be at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made in Jon’s memory to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Kate Wiltrout, 757-446-2629, email@example.com