Monday, July 10, 2017

Army Combat Medic Faced One Death Too Many, His Own

Son’s suicide prompts Boylston mother to raise awareness
Worcester Telegram
By Paula J. Owen Correspondent
Posted Jul 8, 2017
“We honestly didn’t realize how much my mother’s death affected him until he chose to do what he did at her grave,” she said. “We never imagined in a million years. He always wanted to be a doctor and he texted me a few days before that he was accepted to BU.”
BOYLSTON – As a medic in the U.S Army, Sgt. Nathan R. Stark had seen a lot by the time he was 22, including several suicide attempts and a miscarriage. But it was the death of his grandmother to cancer on his birthday last year that seemed to take the heaviest emotional toll on him. It led him to take his own life at her grave.

Two months after his death, his mother, Rebecca L. Stark, 51, from Boylston, who works as a nurse, is raising awareness about high-functioning depression and how cancer affects everyone, not just those diagnosed.

Ms. Stark said her son was very close to his grandmother and that she was his confidante. Mr. Stark’s grandmother, Marion J. Stark, helped raise him while his mother was at work.

“She was his day care provider when he was little,” Ms. Stark said. “They talked a lot and he grew up around there.”

When Mr. Stark enlisted in the Army, his mother said, he felt guilty about leaving his grandmother, who had been battling endometrial cancer since 2006. He also had a hard time leaving his little sister, Jenna L. Stark, who was 6 at the time, Ms. Stark said.

“He felt guilty he couldn’t be there,” Ms. Stark said, holding back tears. “He would call from Korea and ask how his grandmother was doing. I didn’t want to keep bothering him, but I had to keep him informed. He just felt bad he wasn’t there. He was used to being a medic and making everything right.”
“Everyone was in shock,” she said. “Everybody says pay attention – people cry for help – but, sometimes they don’t. I think to myself, ‘I’m a nurse. How did I not see all this?’ I think sometimes you just have a perfect storm.” read more here