It’s my birthday today. I have successfully completed 31 trips around the sun. I am older now and have been older for almost four years than my husband will ever be.

He was so young. He was so full of life.

He was at the beginning of what he hoped was a long naval career. He’d complete about six years in the Navy before he’d decide to take his life. And he was good at it! He went to work early and without complaint. I’m pretty sure he spiked his coffee with jet fuel just to enhance his experience. (Ok, not really.)

While I doubt anyone can appreciate long-term boat life, he didn’t mind it. He enjoyed getting grease on his forearms and dirt under his fingernails. He’d always come home with a perfume of day-old sweat, jet fuel, and mechanic’s grease. He hated the idea that with rank came desk work, but knew that he wanted to advance.

“You think I should do it?” he asked me.

“I mean, it’d be a pay raise. It’d be awesome for your career. I think you work hard enough to do it. And I think it’s a great step. I don’t see why not,” I answered.

“Yeah, but then I have to be behind a desk more than not,” he complained.

I smiled.

His supervisor (well, his LPO, leading petty officer) recommended trying for the LDO program (a program in which he could become an officer).

He’d never get the chance to see how a switch from enlisted life to officer would treat him.

He was 27-years-old when he pulled that trigger. Twenty. Seven. That’s it. He didn’t even get to 30. He lived long enough to have a rough childhood, to pull himself up out of the pit that everyone thought he would suffocate in, to get married and have two beautiful children…and then it was over. He snuffed out a bright light in this world.

Suicide didn’t just rob him of the rest of his life. Suicide robbed his children of a father. Suicide robbed me of a husband. Suicide robbed his friends of a wonderful person. Suicide robbed the Navy of a very good sailor. Suicide robbed everyone.

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