Dear Ms. Vicki,
My name is Kassie Gross. I am writing to ask you to help me reach the military community to ask for help.
Chris got out of the Marine Corps last year and got a job with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. One night, when I was eight months pregnant with our second child, I got a call from him at 3 a.m. when he was away at work.
He was crying hysterically, telling me that I deserved better. He had severe PTSD, but too much pride to ask for help. The next day I got a call informing me that he had taken his own life. They found him in the woods with a gun, a Bible and a lantern.
He didn't leave the kids and me with much: no life insurance, nothing but debt, so we moved into my mother's house in Texas.
In addition to the baby, Chris and I have a 4-year-old daughter who is disabled. She is nonverbal due to autism. I started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help pay off some of our debt, but it has turned into raising money to put a down payment on a house. The newspaper at Camp Lejeune did a story about us.
My mom and stepdad are going to take a loan out to help the kids and me buy a house and start our lives over, but we need to have 20 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. It seems there is no help for people like me who are left behind.
I know people don't really like to share Go Fund Me, but it's something that can make a difference for us with the kindness of others. Can you please share my GoFundMe page with your readers in case any of them are willing to help?
Thank you so much, Kassie Gross
It's great to hear from you. Every letter is very important to me. I have been thinking about you and I hope you are OK.
I know this is a very difficult time for you, and I hope you and your family will make it through the holidays OK and continue to build a life after this terrible ordeal.
I am very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine what that phone call was like for you, learning that your husband had taken his life. I think everyone can learn a lot from your husband.
Post-traumatic stress is real, and it is treatable. I hope everyone living with a mental health condition will learn that it is not weakness to seek help and that overcoming mental health problems is not a matter of will power.
Lastly, I am proud of you for being willing to seek help even though it may seem like doing so is a discouraging task. I read the article that was written about your husband. I must say it was hard for me to read it.
Kassie, you are not to blame for what happened to your husband. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Keep in touch.
-- Ms. Vicki