The following is from the blog of Shanen Daly, the mother of Morgan Daly who took his own life nearly two years ago. To read more from Shanen, check out her blog at https://dalychronicles.blog/.
A synopsis of my son’s life and demise…
Thursday, December 1, 2016. The day my son, my Morgan, took his life.
It was explained to me once, at a suicide support meeting for acute grief, that the thought of contemplating suicide is similar to a full glass of water. So full to the rim that the surface tension is preventing it from overflowing. That tension only holds for so long. Until something provokes it, and it wobbles and jiggles until it cannot hold on any longer. Just one more drop and the glass will overflow. Along came that last drop…
Before I continue, I would like to share my son with you. Following is a post from my blog (dated 6.28.17) that gives insight as to who Morgan is:
A pleasure. Polite. Outgoing. Outspoken. Driven. Dedicated. Strong. Determined. Handsome. Helpful. Giving. Loving, and the list goes on…
He studied Kenpo Karate, graduating with a Black Belt while mentoring others.
He played the drums, guitar, and even sang with writing a few of his own. He was in band through High School and did most of the drum sets his junior/senior years.
He played football for our local clubhouse, The Chiefs, from 6th-8th grades (mom missed 5th grade registration…) and played for his high school, The Valder’s Vikings, through his senior year. #51; now retired.
He and a good friend, Austin, ruffled feathers with insisting and petitioning the right to take each other to Senior Homecoming – they won and changed school policy even if for one time.
He was very dedicated to his Catholic faith and mentored in the Youth Group at his church as well as being Prayer Leader for his platoon.
He became interested in the United States Marine Corp in his early teenage years through visits from recruits during Karate classes. His interest was so strong he became dedicated to the idea early on of becoming a Marine and convinced me to enter him in the Delayed Entry Program (prior to age of 18). He graduated high school a semester early in order to ship out March 8, 2015, for boot camp.
He conquered The Crucible, earned his EGA and on 6.5.15 graduated PFC, USMC, being the top shooter of his platoon.
He marched in his Dress Blues on 6.7.15 for his high school graduation (something he had to petition for and ultimately won – his high school is cap/gown).
He became passionate about self-improvement/weight lifting (‘dem gainz) after his discharge and landed a position at his school’s weight room where he ended up receiving funding to order new equipment. I had received so many personal comments from people I both knew from his school district and strangers regarding how helpful he was to each individual with their weight room goals.
His weight room dedication brought him the opportunity to be the strength and conditioning coach for his high school football team the 2016 season.
He had many, many, many friends whom adored him greatly – even though he would disagree.
He had one girlfriend, Haley, since freshman year – 4 years. Of course, young, ups and downs, but 4 years!
He was a character and made crazy movies with his close friends at the time. They were called D.I.P. (Drop It Productions). You can find some of their videos on You Tube under the account The Austin Carron. The “Problem” song by Ariana Grande was the last video they made prior to my son’s issues developing during/after boot. He is the featured “singer” in the video.
He loved heavy metal music. I was honored to be able to see Iron Maiden for the first time with him in 2012. As well as take him to multiple Ozzfests and many other concerts.
He was attending one semester of tech school to gain the credits needed for UWGB, which he was enrolled to start January, 2017 (he didn’t plan on his military career coming to an end).
He worked from the age of 15 and up. Always had a job and always contributed to everything.
Funny. Honest. Athletic. Modest. Sensible. Compassionate. Kind-hearted. Sweet…
It was through boot camp I realized my son was changing. Not boot camp changing. More than that. The letters home were crossing the line of home sickness. I urged him to get help and the next letter would seem better; until the next after that. We both made it through this time. But the first time I saw him afterwards, things were physically and mentally off. His entire demeanor was beyond the Corp. A mother knows. He lost his faith after his discharge and had a rough time with his entire life plan coming to an end. The weight room job and college enrollment were positives, and things on the outside and to everyone around him were going great. Except to me. Something happened in boot. My heart aches and aches that this wonderful man, my beautiful child, suffered as he did and how fast his world came crashing down upon him. He had an ultimate plan and the day came that his plan became complete. I will forever cherish every single moment I had with him. My son.
Morgan J. Daly 10.15.96 ~ 12.1.16”
Back to that drop of water…
The days before Morgan died were comparable to that one drop of water that would make his glass overflow. No longer able to hold. Two days prior, Morgan had been in a car accident on his way to class in Green Bay. His car was demolished. One day prior, he failed the exam that was required for his personal training certification; part of his education to coincide with his UWGB attendance. These, along with other personal concerns he was dealing with that week and in addition to what he had been enduring since his discharge, were the things combined that equaled that one drop needed to overflow his glass that had been quivering since boot camp. These are what pushed Morgan to his final decision.
What developed before, in 2015, to make Morgan’s glass full, started with boot camp as noted earlier in my blog post. When I realized that my son was struggling from “something”, I urged him to ask for guidance, help, and advice. When he returned to Camp Pendleton after his 10-day leave, he hesitantly asked for support and he was immediately separated to medical. He was held at medical for a very lengthy time until his honorable discharge. During his time there, Morgan was ridiculed, disregarded, and stripped of his human dignity. All for asking for help to that “something” that took place during boot. He had a cell phone that he had hidden and would call home in distress and whispers for fear of being caught. My son was already dying in those phone calls. I was helpless on the other end with nothing but words. I felt as if I was throwing him a life preserver; always a foot short. It’s a horrific thing for a mother to feel; not being able to save her child. He had shared with me that at one point his superiors made him stand in the middle of a road for a period of time. “You want to kill yourself Marine? Let us help you…” My child, who conquered the Crucible, fought through the “something” and still stood proud and tall and became a United States Marine; One of The Few, The Proud; one of the brothers in a grand brotherhood, was diminished and tossed aside as if he was no longer worthy.
Morgan’s time in the Corp, his dream and achieved goal, destroyed who he was, and became his demise. It slowly, painfully, and heartbreakingly took him from us.
After Morgan’s funeral, I started my fight to find out whatever I could that would give me some understanding as to what began my son’s downward spiral. I contacted the VA. I hounded personnel at Pendleton. I obtained all the documentation I could. That documentation holds a lot of unanswered questions to this day. My quest was continuously hit with dead ends. Like a mouse in a maze. I have taken my search for answers as far as I can. Unless someone comes forward with additional information regarding his time in boot and the mistreatment he received in medical, that part of my journey is at a standstill. I pray someday I will have the answers I so yearn for.
After Morgan’s discharge, and even more so after his suicide, I harbored great resentment and animosity towards the USMC. It took me time to separate the immoral members of this armed force that inflicted their conduct on my son from the whole of the Corp. I am proud of the Marine my son became, and, despite everything; I am grateful and appreciative for what the United States Marine Corp stands for.
It is coming up on two years since Morgan left us. My grief and pain has not lessened. It is as strong as ever. Not a day passes that I don’t shed a tear, or am brought back to Thursday, December 1, 2016, from triggers of sirens and recollections that are present to me on a daily basis. I do my best to put my pain, loss, and emotions into my son’s memory to keep him alive. I am blessed to have been able to have spent the 20 years that I did with him. One of two of my pride and joys; the other being my son Logan.
Semper Fi ~ from the mother of PFC Morgan J. Daly