Author Topic: "The War Took 15 Years to Kill My Husband"  (Read 341 times)


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on: February 07, 2021, 01:50:47 PM
man, this hurts to read

The War Took 15 Years to Kill My Husband

by Martha Laughman

Maybe I will remove or edit this later...I just found out he died yesterday. Matt and I met when he was stationed at 2nd Rangers at Fort Lewis (JBLM). He was the most arrogant, focused, reserved, motivated 20 year old I have ever met. He told me on date #2 that we was going to marry me and he would be in Delta Force. Less than 5 years later we were married and he was (at the time) the youngest Delta Operator.

Matt's dedication to his job was inspiring. He knew he was 'average' and would stay nights at the range until 2am. He practiced all the required skills on the weekend (and there were a lot of odd requirements for them). But, Matt always wanted 2 things since the day I met him (1) A successful career as a Special Operations Soldier (2) Lots of boys. We got pregnant right before he deployed in the summer of 2005. Matt was told 1/3 would die, 1/3 would be injured and 1/3 would make it out. This was the first time I have ever seen him scared.

July 2005, Matt's Little Bird crashed and he was severely wounded. Bed mats from the top of the building flew into the helicopter. It spun and hit a wall, Matt was already unclipped to jump out. The helicopter crumbled and Matt was caught in the blades. It It chopped off his leg and then threw him against a wall. Matt was medically evacuated to Walter Reed.

Don't ask me how I feel about our time at Walter Reed. I will have a one word answer "hell". They forgot to feed him, mold was in the water, they operated on his bloody stump with out meds because oops forgot to turn on the pump. Delta send us someone to stay with him all the time and after a no contact order, blow up with the General in charge the story hit the papers and Delta got us out of there. I wouldn't have left my dog in those conditions. Last thing I will say about it and then I will move time I left to go get 5 hours of sleep at the hotel and there was sewage leak in the ceiling above his bed and wheelchair. His bed and wheelchair pad was full of poop. They never cleaned it up because it was not his day for his room to be cleaned and I was given a bill for the wheelchair to be replaced. Okay, moving on.

Matt had no use of his legs, arms, and tested at a 6 year old lever of understanding when he left the hospital. He was on heavy oxycontin. The Army didn't have support for caregivers or rehab for brain injuries or chiropractic care. I need to pause to say I am eternally grateful for all the support we got while in Walter Reed and after. I could write a whole book on the people that contributed to his recovery.

Here are a few that stand out at the moment: Drew Carey- The man ignored everyone in the room and let Matt speak at his own pace, I still cry from gratitude when I see him on tv. Two female runners that randomly walked into his room with homemade cookies on day and returned with dinner the next. Someone that brought dogs and let them cuddle while he tried to sleep. His PT nurse that helped him take his first step and assisted with navigating Walter Reed politics. The men that paid 40,000 of medical treatment not covered by the Army. The surgeon at WashU that freed up the nerve in his leg so he could walk again. And, hundreds more......

Matt and I spend 7 years in recovery. At least that is what we said. For 7 years the focus of our time, attention, and money was surgeries and cognitive rehabilitation. He was winning like he always does and I was proud to be apart of his journey. Then, he stared to go paralyzed from the shoulders up, was on a liquid died and in severe pain. We were told he had Eagles Syndrome, was having mini strokes and it was inoperable. The doctor said we could count on maybe 2-3 years to live. This diagnosis was later changed, but not before we sold everything and moved to Colorado for an adventure and new life.

Colorado was a mix of successes and pain. He was able to hold a full-time job at Northcom and loved his work. During that tine he fought a severe soft tissue infection and needed his stump modified and a bone marrow transplant. Matt started to focus on adventures to give him purpose and hope. He took up climbing and joined a group of Wounded Warriors that were going to climb the 7 summits. He had another good year and then Matt started to change. He acted out at work and was almost unrecognizable at home with his kids. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Two years of radiation and he beat the tumor. I don't know what happened but during that time a lot changed for us. He was angry, lost his job, acted impulsively and scared us to the point where our oldest son was diagnosed with PTSD and attempted suicide. I tried to get 'custody' over Matt, but I was told if 'he can put his pants on one leg at a time' I didn't have a chance. Two years ago we divorced. This is the most painful part of my life. I feel like I had failed him.

In the past 2 years he has continued to have ups and downs. People tended to view him in the microscopic experience they had with him. Ever since his accident in 2005 nothing has been consistent. He has suffered greatly, and so has my family, but I would not give it up for the world. No one is as brave, hard working, or a survivor like my Matt. 18 years together was not enough. Matt died on the mountain in Alaska. He was doing what he loved. One time he told me he lost everything, and didn't know how to feel anymore except when he was doing something dangerous it made him feel again. He needed this. He was a shooting star.

My sons and I wish he could have full military honors and be buried in his hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. The day we found out he died we also found out he was secretly married for the past 4 months, so we will not get the send off for him we want. Matt this is my goodbye to you. I would do it all over again with you and I deeply regret not being what you needed in the end. Please forgive me and look out for your boys.

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


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Reply #1 on: February 07, 2021, 02:45:23 PM

“O Lord God, let me not be disgraced in my old days.”

'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'


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Reply #2 on: February 07, 2021, 04:13:47 PM

wow... that's a rough trip.

Vituð ér enn - eða hvat?  -Voluspa


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Reply #3 on: February 07, 2021, 05:00:50 PM
Brutal  :(

Somewhere, somehow, I woke up in the wrong timeline. I'm pretty sure this isn't even my dimension.


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Reply #4 on: February 07, 2021, 08:41:41 PM
Jesus.  I don't have the words.  :'( 

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Reply #5 on: February 07, 2021, 08:46:10 PM
Wow  :'(