Sunday, December 27, 2015

Daniel Somers Is Gone But Not Forgotten by His Family

EJ Montini of the Arizona Republic wrote "The Internet is fickle" and rightly so. Daniel Somers is gone but his last letter survived his suicide. His parents are left clinging to that letter with an everlasting hope they can spare other families from the same grief. Montini went on to explain what we've all been dealing with, the tendency to forget and move on to what peeks the interests of keyboard commandoes searching Facebook for selfies while the selfless suffer.

Since Daniel Somers committed suicide in 2013, the number "22 a day" may be filling your head however it is yet one more internet rumor that has been passed on while they pass away. No, not 22 a day, but closer to 73 a day if the figures from the CDC are correct and veteran suicides are double the civilian rate.

Who has time to get it right when it has become acceptable to spread a rumor? Who has time to ask simple questions like "If everyone is doing something why isn't anything changing?" Or even take the time to find out what is working and then support it? Oh, it is just so much easier if you have a following to start your own profession off their suffering.

It is a safe bet that most of the hacks didn't even know the majority of the veterans committing suicide are not from the post 9-11 generation but are in fact over the age of 50.

That is exactly the type of response that is creating more grieving families instead of healing veterans.
Montini: Couple completing soldier son's last mission
The Republic
EJ Montini
December 26, 2015
"Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it. This is what brought me to my actual final mission…”

Howard (l) Daniel and Jean Somers (Photo: Somers family)
The last time Howard and Jean Somers heard from their son, Daniel, was on June 10, 2013. He left a long letter for his wife, his parents, his friends… and us.

It begins, “I am sorry that it has come to this. The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on.”

Daniel was an Iraq war veteran from Phoenix who suffered mentally and physically from his battle experience, and then struggled to get the treatment he needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs. On June 10, 2013, he took his life.

The letter he left behind went viral on the Internet, with hundreds of thousands of views in a very short time. The number is in the millions by now. Those who read it were inspired, horrified, outraged.

And then most of them quietly moved on.

The Internet is fickle.

The tragic story of a veteran will pique our interest for a while, then Adele releases a new album or Grumpy Cat gets a movie deal or Kim Kardashian poses for a magazine cover with her derrière showing.

We move on. We forget.

Howard and Jean Somers did not move on. They did not forget.
read more here