Episode 396 Jess Timmerman Military Suicide Loss and the Path to Healing Transcript

This transcript is from episode 396 with guest Jess Timmerman.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Jess Timmerman. Uh, she’s A remarkable individual who has turned her personal tragedy into a beacon of hope and support for military suicide survivor families. Her journey is marked by loss and resilience, and I think it serves as an inspiration to us all.

So before we get into the story and You know, what we’re going to talk about here today, I want to welcome you to the show, Jess. I’m really glad to have you here.

Jessica Timmerman: Thanks for having me, Scott.[00:01:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. Um, so let’s, I kind of gave a little description of what we’re going to talk about here in the intro, but, um, can you share with the listeners a little bit about the story of your, your brother, uh, and the circumstances surrounding his passing?

Jessica Timmerman: Sure, sure. Um, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t lose my brother. Um, so that’s kind of where the right place to start. Um, my brother served proudly in the United States infantry in the army for 15 years. Um, he was active duty at the time of his passing. He passed on Mother’s Day of 2022. Um, he saw combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Africa.

He, he was very accomplished, you know, uh, they’d say a squared away soldier. Um, he had a rough, my brother had a rough last six, eight months or so. [00:02:00] They. My brother married, had, um, his little boy is seven now, but so five at the time. Um, they moved to Germany, um, in 2018 and we know what happened with the world after that.

You know, you had COVID, which sidelined, you know, people don’t get into the military to relax. So those are people that need to be active and busy. And so COVID kind of sidelined him a little bit. Um, his marriage was in a rough spot. Um, he was helping train in Slovakia in about February and had to have a GI surgery.

He just was going through it. Um, had a DUI, was drinking a lot. He kind of, in his last six months of life, he thought he was losing everything. And, you know, as, um, He did agree to see treatment. He didn’t know if the army, if he would be separating from the army, um, because of his DUI. He [00:03:00] was unsure of what that picture looked like.

You know, he, you know, it happened in October and he passed in May and he still wasn’t sure. I think the separation board was in August. Um, so it got dark. It got scary, but we all Everybody thought he was going to rehab on May 16th. You know, they didn’t have beds available at the time. So we kind of had to wait for that, but he was living in a cool off barracks.

We knew help was coming and. It just, we didn’t know that he had this planned, but, um, yeah, he just lost his battle to it all. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s unfortunate, um, there’s a, I mean, that’s maybe an understatement, I guess, like, obviously, it’s, it’s a tragedy, um, for, uh, for you, for your family, for, you know, his wife and his, his son, um, for, for everyone who knew him, um, Uh, you know, especially, uh, thinking back to my time in the [00:04:00] military, knowing those, those squared away soldiers, like you said, like that, that was who he was, he was squared away.

And then, um, things start happening and they start falling apart. And sometimes it can come upon rather quickly, you know, within a period of just a few months. And, uh, You know it, it almost feels like you’re, you’re drowning and you need something but you just don’t know where to, where to go and um, it’s, it’s hard you know, I, I’ve lost people, um, under similar circumstances, people that I served with, um, and it’s, it’s frustrating. It’s really the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing, um, with this podcast is because there are people out there who need help. They don’t know where to find it. There’s, there’s stuff going on in their lives and they, they’re just feeling like they’re all alone, that they’re, they got to deal with all [00:05:00] of this on, on their own.

And there’s. Tons of reasons why people do what they do, but if there’s just a little bit of hope, a glimmer of hope, that might be just enough to make it another day. You know what I mean? And that, that’s, that’s what, My hope is with, with this whole podcast, but also this episode is to give a little bit of that hope to the folks who might be listening, who might feel like all hope is lost, or maybe you know somebody who is in a similar position and, and you can share these messages with them, you know?

Um, now how did your family and, and you, uh, kind of navigate the aftermath of your brother’s passing and what? Were there any support systems or anything that you use that was, that you found helpful during that time?

Jessica Timmerman: Sure. So that’s a interesting thing. You know, um, they say a suicide loss affects like 135 people on average, right? So [00:06:00] there seemed to be a ton of support if you lose your spouse or, you know, it gets a little grayer if you lose your cousin or your best friend from college. Um, And, and again, what you just said about why you do this whole podcast, I wish I had a roadmap and I could tell you do A, do B 1000 times.

And you’re, you know, it’s, it’s taking the little pieces of hope in whatever day. Um, it’s really been helpful in my journey to find people that can relate to what I’ve been through or have walked similar things. And that to me has been another really disheartening thing. Thank you. You’ve spoke about losing people you’ve served with and even outside of the services, if you’re, if we can be vulnerable with our stories, you never know, it might be like a mom, you pass in the car line and she said, Oh, my cousin was a Marine and he lost his life, you know?

And those minutes of connection can [00:07:00] make people feel not isolated because clearly we can put all these services and programs into play. But if we, as people don’t connect with each other, how are we going to? Get out of it.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I think that connection helps because we, a lot of times, especially service members, we will isolate ourselves. We’ll just, I don’t want to burden somebody with what I’m going through and what I’m dealing with. So I’m just going to, I’m just going Go away and I’m going to be isolated and I’m not going to go out to family functions, to public events.

I’m not, I’m just not going to be around people. Um, and then that idea that I’m all alone in whatever it is that you’re going through becomes reality. You really are all alone, but. You’re not. If you were to kind of push yourself to get out there with other people, um, there’s other [00:08:00] people who might be experiencing the exact same thing that you’re going through, or there’s other people who might know somebody who’s gone through that and is like, Hey, this is the thing that helped them, you know, and, and you can talk to those people and they’ll, they’ll help you.

Um, but, yeah. Like you were saying, in your case, there’s a ton of support for spouses and immediate family members of service members who are killed in action. Um, that line gets a little bit more gray when it comes to, uh, families of, you know, uh, suicide, uh, uh, victims, right? So, um, You know, so that becomes a little bit more difficult.

So finding that community of people who, uh, you can be around to get that support that you might need, uh, is especially important in, in cases like yours, because there may not be a [00:09:00] ton of other options that are out there, right?

Jessica Timmerman: right, right. I do think TAPS is a fantastic resource. Um, to me specifically, why I felt I had to get involved more is they like you to be three years revolved from your, uh, removed from your loss to be helpful or a mentor. And to me, that seemed very hopeful, you know, loss of hope. Also, I was like, you want me to sit here in this pain for three years?

Like, I’m much better, you know, To me, like, emotion needs movement. Like, I need to be doing something with it.

Scott DeLuzio: What you’re doing now to, to help, oh, I guess, just talk to us a little bit about what you’re doing now to help, uh, folks who are going through similar journeys and, and everything that you’re doing now.

Jessica Timmerman: Um, this is why I was so glad to find you and your podcast. Um, you’re somebody doing the work to me. I always see what I want my future to look like and then try to like [00:10:00] back channel. How do I get there? Which is so silly. ’cause peop I’ve been fortunate to go on a few podcasts. They’re like, well, what are you doing?

And I’m like, I’m still figuring it out. Um, I just want to be, you know, if. If, if it’s me that has to cry on the milk carton and show everybody what a suicide loss survivor looks like, and if that makes people reach out, then I will be that person, I guess. But

Scott DeLuzio: Well, and it makes sense what you’re talking about, and I don’t think it’s silly at all the way you described it. Um, in the military, we do this a lot where we back plan, we say, well, you know, what’s the mission? What’s the objective? Where do we need to be? And let’s work our way backwards to where we are now.

And then we can fill in the blanks of everything that we need to do or where we need to be, when we need to leave or, uh, you know, all of that kind of stuff. We can kind of figure all that stuff out. And I, I even do that today in just my normal, regular [00:11:00] life. Like if I have a. Doctor’s appointment and it’s at 10 o’clock.

Um, and it takes me a half hour to get there. I, I like work my way backwards. Like, okay, I have to leave by, you know, 9 30 at the latest, but giving myself a little buffer and I work my way backwards with all that kind of stuff. But even with You know, goals and objectives and like, what is it that I want to do with whatever this, um, whatever this plan happens to be, um, you know, kind of take a look at what is, um, what is the end goal?

And kind of work your way backwards to figure out how do you get there? And, um, you know, it’s, it’s not always easy because you, the end goal may not even be all that clear. Um, but along the way, as you’re, you’re working way through it, I think it kind of gets a little bit more clear, uh, you know, as you’re, as you’re working way through, but, but what you’re doing now, um, [00:12:00] coming on and being that, that vulnerable face that it’s like, Hey, you folks are not alone in what you’re going through.

Um, and that’s an important message to the people who, uh, again, might feel like they are alone. They don’t have the community that you were talking about and they, they need somebody to help them find that. And that’s an important mission too. You know, and that’s what I, I see what you’re doing right now, right?

Jessica Timmerman: I think it’s hard to be like a really empowered, passionate civilian military supporter because there are certain things you can’t get into. You know, I can come up with every idea in the world, but if people don’t listen, you know, so it’s just about. knocking on doors and seeing who is wanting to collaborate, which can be frustrating.

But I guess the hope in all this, right, is that we don’t know who we might be reaching. And if there’s one person that seeks help [00:13:00] and doesn’t think that they are without hope, then we did our jobs, right? I mean,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Now your organization, the, the final salute, um, can you tell us about that and like the, the services and the type of stuff that you, you do?

Jessica Timmerman: sure. I immediately set out to be a death doula for, which is a very specific niche to military suicide loss survivor families. You know, um, when you You know this, when you lose a family member in the service, you get a big binder of decisions you have to make right away. And it’s very overwhelming, lonely.

You don’t know what you’re doing. You know, we make decisions quickly to put check boxes. I thought it would be an incredible service if I could sit there just with unbiased to be a support to the families going through it as they’re sitting in funeral homes. Um, as I, you know, being an adult, um, you look younger than me, [00:14:00] but being 40, my time is so limited.

And I just, whatever I want to, I want to pour all my energy into what I can do. So, um, I’ve shifted away from doula work and I’m leaning towards doing more podcasting, blogging, just, um, If I think we’re all born with unique things and most of the time I love talking to people right now. I’m breaking out But I just think if we can share our stories So you asked about the final salute.

The services I offer, um, are death doula, um, public speaking, fundraising. And then, um, I always think of Robin Williams. I think he was just such an, I think of him going on those USO tours and visiting with, um, people that had unfortunately gotten hurt in the line of battle. And you just, I just think of him walking through the hospital rooms, holding hands with patients.

And I just. I’m no Robin Williams, but I think that’d be such a cool thing to do. [00:15:00] I’m

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, yeah, so, uh, you know, thinking about Robin Williams and in the work that he did, I’ve seen some videos. I’ve never seen him in person. Um, but I’ve seen some videos of some of the USO tours and the stuff that he did and, uh, He’s out there putting smiles on people’s faces, making them laugh, like not just giggle, like a little laugh, kind of thing, like they, they got the, the, the full deal when, when he came out there and, um, you know, I remember there’s this, there’s this one video where, um, he’s on stage, he’s telling jokes, he’s doing his standup routine and, and, and, All at once, everybody in the audience, all the service members in the audience, turn around and like, face away from him, and, uh, I forget, I forget when it was, but they were there to, they were saluting the flag, and they were, um, [00:16:00] Then afterwards, everyone turned back around and he was like, what the hell was that? And he’s like, when, when everybody in a military uniform turns around, you think I probably need to follow them and like go that way because they’re retreating or something like I shouldn’t stay here. He was, I forget the whole routine, but, and clearly he did a way better job at, uh, making an impact on people and making them laugh than I would.

But, um, but. You know, having that goal in mind, right, that you want to be the type of person who is going to, uh, make an impact on somebody’s life. And I know sitting in that funeral home, going through all those decisions, when it’s just like, So overwhelming. Um, I, the military does a great job trying to, uh, make it a little bit easier.

They do, they do have some, uh, you know, information [00:17:00] that, that kind of makes it a little bit easier, but still, um, there there’s all these forms and documents and all these things that you got to go through. Um, And I’m sure when our family went through it, um, we made some mistakes and did some things that, I don’t want to say mistakes, but maybe we could have done something better.

Um, but as you go through this, you start to learn what those things are and what those decisions are that you could maybe do better or worse or whatever. Um, and, Having someone there to help guide you through that, unbiased and all that, I think is, is a great idea. It’s a great service. Um, you know, I, I, I wish there was no need for it, you know,

Jessica Timmerman: You’re right. That’s the ultimate goal. Right. But, um, I think as long as humanity has been around, we, Suffer, right?

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, we do. And unfortunately sometimes that [00:18:00] suffering gets passed on to other loved ones. Um, and it’s a tragedy, I think, when that happens. Um, we, we don’t want that. Um, you know, we want to, we want to stop that in the military community. We want to stop that with everybody, but, um, you know, our focus here with the show is the military community.

That’s clearly where your, your passion lies as well. Um, and so, um, you know, the, the services that kind of help transition or not transition, but help go through that, that process I think are, are super important, but, but just, you Knowing that there’s someone there who gets it, I think is, is important too, right?

Jessica Timmerman: Yeah, I think that I couldn’t tell you who did this research study, but I do think if you, there was a research study done and it looked at lost survivors and what they did that [00:19:00] felt most helpful to them. And it was, I want to say the only thing that was like 100 percent was going to a support, a support Not just a grief support group, but specific for this type of loss.

And I don’t necessarily, it’s anything about the group that does it. I think it’s just connecting to someone that has walked the path. And if we don’t talk about suicide in normal society, how are you going to find out if, you know, somebody that you have coffee with every other month has been through it, you know, cause we don’t talk about it.


Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And you know, no, one’s immune to experiencing this. I mean, you, you said your, your nephew, your, your brother’s, uh, son was five at the time, you know, so anyone like any age range, I mean, I was a kid. I was, God, how old was I? I was probably seven or eight years old. I had a baseball coach who committed suicide.

You know, like you’re, you could be at any age and [00:20:00] still be exposed to this. Unfortunately. Um, mean, it, it happens, but having the, the people around who, like you said, have walked the path who know what you’re going through, um, it’s, it’s helpful. To, um, to get through that process. I mean, we do this in the military too.

We have, um, just that camaraderie that we build amongst ourselves, right? We, we are kind of going through shared experiences to, you know, together. And, and that helps us get through those. Crappy times, the, the miserable mission that you’re getting rained on the entire time or something, you know, you’re covered in mud and you know, you can look over at the other guy who’s also covered in mud and you can laugh at him because it’s.

It’s funny to see [00:21:00] him all covered in mud, you know, um, but more than that, though, it forms that bond, that connection that you now have this level of trust with this person and, um, you know, it’s like, yeah, they get it. So I feel like I can open up and talk and share and be vulnerable around this person.

And like you said, just having that, that group of people, um, it’s maybe not necessarily the, the group itself. It’s just that connection, that bond that you get through that group, right?

Jessica Timmerman: yeah, I do think there are a lot of um, organizations out there doing grassroots effort. I think one of the losses my brother was mourning before his passing was the idea of separating from the military, right? If you plan to be, and there are organizations out, I just, if there was a way we could streamline all these services, for instance, I know, um, a guy that served with my [00:22:00] brother that was living in Kansas, They had a veterans group where they would go duck hunting once a month.

And then, like you said, the camaraderie, and I know in Wyoming, these, um, these guys that do a rodeo, but again, I mean, if you have a very specific hobby, you live somewhere you didn’t grow up, it stinks when you’re the one suffering that you have to advocate for things that might help you, I mean. It really does stink when you’re in a tough place that you just have to keep digging deeper and trying different things.


Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Uh, you know, that’s pretty much the last thing that’s gonna be on your mind is digging up these resources and trying to find it and which is why, like, through this show, I try to make it easy to find resources. Uh, you know, we talk about a ton of different resources, um, and just by listening to what we talk about in, in the [00:23:00] organizations that we share and the, um.

The groups that are available, um, should help point you in the right direction, but that requires the work of actually listening to this type of stuff. Right. Um, and I love the word you said, one word, one keyword that in my mind, like kind of Triggered a, uh, an idea and I don’t know, maybe there’s someone out there who can take this and run with it.

Um, I’m definitely not claiming ownership of this or anything, but, um, you know, a way to streamline and streamline was the word that you used this process of the military and there’s different paths that everyone’s going to end up taking. Um, they, you know, Everyone gets out for different reasons.

Um, and you may get out and you may want to go to college and that’s the goal. And that’s what you’re, you’re trying to do. So there should be [00:24:00] a, uh, you know, a path where it’s like, okay, that’s my goal. That’s the direction I’m taking. This is what I need to do, I need to go take this class on, you know, the GI bill or, you know, whatever, and, and figure out that side of things.

Um, because all the other stuff that’s out there may not be relevant to me. It might be, there might be some little pieces that might be relevant, but for the most part, let’s take care of that bulk of that. Um, you may be getting out for. Medical reasons, you know, okay, well, what are some of the medical resources and the disability resources and all that type of stuff that’s available to you?

Learn that stuff. Um, but I know when coming off of active duty, when, uh, when they go through all of the resources that are available, they go through all of the resources that are available. And it’s like drinking from a fire hose. There’s no way you’re going to get it all. It’s

Jessica Timmerman: right,

Scott DeLuzio: [00:25:00] So, It’s like, how about just give me what I need right now.

Maybe give me a pamphlet with some of the rest of the stuff in case I need it later on, but let’s focus on this. And so like in your brother’s case, I think it would have been helpful for, you know, having some idea of like, what does life look like? After the military, um, you know, it may not have been in his plan to get out, but you know, here you are, you’re getting out.

Um, and what does that look

Jessica Timmerman: can still be a great life, you know, with a different deck of cards, you know,

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah, exactly. I mean, you know, maybe you want to stay in it for. Twenty years or more and, and make a career of it, but that’s not in the cards for everybody. Um, but there, there is life after that for everybody. And you, you just have to have a plan. And sometimes that fear of the unknown is, [00:26:00] is.

Paralyzing almost, like you just don’t know what to do.

Jessica Timmerman: Definitely. Yes.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s, it’s hard, I think, um, you know, it’s, it’s hard finding that balance because, you know, it’s not like a, a flowchart where it’s like, you know, if this, then you go here and then there and you know, whatever, there’s, everybody’s kind of a, like, unique blend of stuff that

Jessica Timmerman: The military probably does have a flow chart of A, B, and C,

Scott DeLuzio: I’m sure they do.


Jessica Timmerman: said, none of us go in that box.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. That, that may be the problem is they’re trying to fit us all into a box and we don’t all fit that way. So, um, so that might be kind of a problem. So, you know, I guess the best thing is just finding that community. Um, you know, some people don’t want to dwell on it or they feel like it’s, um, you know, it’s too sad and I don’t [00:27:00] want to, I don’t want to be around this constantly, but by having those people in your life, it, it helps.

It helps you to figure out like, what do they do to kind of get through this, this stage of the grief and how do I get to where they are kind of like what we were just saying earlier about kind of that reverse planning where you, you see, where is, where is the end goal and how do I get there? Right? And I think that’s That’s the best thing that people can do, I think.


Jessica Timmerman: Yeah, I think you definitely, every day is not meant to be a home run, right? I mean, especially like grieving, right? You’re going to have days that kick you on your butt or there’s all days we doubt everything, but the thing is just hope to get us to the next one or, you know, and it, yeah, I

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Jessica Timmerman: was about to go on a cheesy.

Brand there that

Scott DeLuzio: no, that’s okay.

Jessica Timmerman: No, it’s okay. I’m good. It’s gone

Scott DeLuzio: okay. [00:28:00] Um, yes, every once in a while I go on cheesy rants too. So I’m, I, I like to have company when, when I do that. So if, if there’s ever a cheesy rant, you don’t feel like you got to hold back.

Jessica Timmerman: It was weird even preparing for this today And you know I’m like redoing my website and I just feel so silly because it’s like lots of people lose people just get on with your life If you need a job your kids schools need substitutes like just grow up Jessica, you know, but I think that’s really like imposter syndrome.

It’s hard. You and I didn’t say, Oh, I want to be a podcaster. I want to talk about the worst things I’ve ever been through. I mean, that would be weird for us to be 10 year olds that did that, but you just kind of have to have like courage to do the next thing that makes sense, even when it feels silly or hard, or I got on Facebook for some stupid reason before I got on here with you and I was like, You know, these Facebook holidays, it’s like National Siblings Day.

I was like, Oh, that’s ironic. I’m going on [00:29:00] this with him this time. And I was like, or it doesn’t matter. Cause it’s made up, you know, I just,

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Jessica Timmerman: life’s weird. Just gotta, sometimes we’re laughing. Sometimes it’s, it’s really sucks though, but

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I, and. Just for the record, I hate those made up holidays. Like I,

Jessica Timmerman: How do they have one for every day of the year? Like who made this?

Scott DeLuzio: year and, and some days there’s like multiple things. It’s like, it’s national cookie day and, uh, I don’t know,

Jessica Timmerman: And burritos.

Scott DeLuzio: hug your, your dog day or something stupid like that. Like,

Jessica Timmerman: you

Scott DeLuzio: who cares? Who, who has that much time to come up with this? This is, I’m going off on a rant. I’m going to, I’m going to come back on focus here, but, uh, no, that’s fine.

It’s, um, you know, but. I think you’re right, where sometimes you do feel like Just get over it. Like, why can’t I just get [00:30:00] over it? But it’s like, such a huge piece of your life, the person that you lost is Was such a huge piece of who you are. Um, you know, as in your case, as a sister, my case, as a brother, when that is ripped away from you, suddenly, unexpectedly, you had no visibility that this was coming.

Um, that’s like ripping an arm off or worse, you know, it’s like,

Jessica Timmerman: it’s a loss of your complete identity and you have so many memories and there’s so many triggers and it’s just, it’s completely uprooting. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Told that my brother was killed in action. I felt like something was like physically, like in my stomach, like ripped from me, like it was, it was like a punch to the gut, but worse. It was this [00:31:00] physical, I’m surprised I didn’t puke moment. Like it was, it was that bad. Um, and so, yeah. How do you just. Quote unquote, get over it. You don’t,

Jessica Timmerman: I mean, there’s things and it’s, yeah, you have to ease your way back. You’re right. It still sometimes feels like a punch in the gut. You know, uh, I, my husband and I went to high school in the same small town, like 10, 000 people. My grandma lives there. We were there recently. And the friends we stay with, this is just a small town thing, right?

My, our best friends live in the house that my brother’s best friend lived growing up. Like I know the floorboards you could push on of where like beer cans were stacked, you know, and that I’m like, This shouldn’t be triggering, but staying at a friend’s house. But I mean, it’s just, you lose your whole identity.

You know, I don’t really like the sports. We, you know, we used, you know, my brother would watch all these cheesy like sports movies, like Rudy. I can’t even like look at that or Notre Dame football.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Jessica Timmerman: Yeah, [00:32:00] you’re right. But talking about it takes you right back to when you heard and

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And, and. It is, but sometimes, you kind of have to just experience the awful feeling to kind of get through it. And then, you can kind of remember the good times. You can remember the happy stuff and the fun things that you might have done. Um, you know, it’s, it’s It helps sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s like, well, damn, I wish I could have more of that.

And, you know, so I guess it depends on the state that you’re in. Like, what do you, do you want to just be mad and get angry and yell and scream and scream into a pillow and just yell and get it out, you know, that, that type of thing, or, um, you know, if you want to. Experience memories, like go look through old photos or, you know, home movies [00:33:00] or, or things like that.

And then you can relive some of those experiences if that’s the place that you’re in, you know, but not everyone is in the same type of place. So there’s not like one magic solution. You can’t wave a magic wand over every situation, just fix it, you know, so It, it takes some work on, on your end too, to figure out where is it that I am in this grieving process.

And that may change, like you said, from day to day, not every day is going to be a home run. Um, Some days are going to be a complete strikeout if we’re sticking with the baseball analogies. But, um, you know, but how do you get to the next day? The, the next at bat, if you will, um, so that you have the possibility of a home run, you know, what, what do you do in the meantime?

And, and how do you get to get a better day? And it’s going to vary for each person, but you kind of have to, [00:34:00] I think, maybe listen to yourself and see what. What do I need right now? And, and seek that out.

Jessica Timmerman: Right. I agree. It is, it seems wrong that, right. The worst thing happens to you and then you have to advocate for yourself, but. Right? It’s like getting hit by a car and then, oh, would you like to go to the hospital or to, you know, it

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Jessica Timmerman: seem real, but you’re

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Um, but I think in, in any situation, you’re always going to be your best advocate. You have to advocate for yourself, um, because nobody’s going to want the best for you, the way you want the best for you. If that makes sense. Like you’re, you’re going to want it more than anybody else is. And if you don’t want it. At all, if you’re not seeking out the best, uh, whatever, in a whatever circumstance, um, there’s not going to be people out [00:35:00] there who are just going to do it for you. Um, they’re, they’re going to realize that it’s kind of a futile effort. And you know, why are we going to spend our time on that? If it’s. Not gonna be fruitful.

So, um, yeah, you, you kind of have to take that first step. And once when people see that you’re, you’re trying, that you want this, that you want to get better, you want to, uh, be able to grieve and, and go through whatever the, the situation that you’re in. That’s when people are going to be like, okay, well, I can help and I will help.

Um, but if, if you’re not willing to take that first step yourself, uh, people aren’t going to come knocking on your door and, and drag you out of bed and make you take a shower and make you brush your teeth and make you go, you know, to the gym and get some exercise and sit outside and get some fresh air or go to work, they’re not going to make you do any of that stuff.

Um, you know, unless [00:36:00] you’re. Putting in some effort yourself. And so, um, sometimes it’s hard to do any of those things I just mentioned, but you kind of have to take those first steps and just force yourself to do those things and allow yourself to experience the negativity. The, the, the grief, uh, I don’t want to say it’s negative, like it’s, like it’s a thing you want to avoid, but allow yourself to experience the, the grief and the sadness and the, and, and things like that, because that’s normal, quite frankly, right?

It, it, that people are

Jessica Timmerman: abnormal to hide it and to push it down and yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I mean, in my experience, unfortunately, um, when my brother was killed, I had to push that stuff down in the moment that, uh, I found out because I was. Literally in, in combat. Um, we were, we got shot at like 15 minutes after finding out that my [00:37:00] brother was killed.

So like I had no place else to go. Like I couldn’t just go to some safe place where the Taliban wasn’t going to attack or something, you know, like that didn’t

Jessica Timmerman: They weren’t going to take the day off

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. Like I’m, I’m sitting in the middle of a. Uh, uh, desert on top of a mountain with RPGs and small arms fire going off. Like I had to push that down.

I had really no other choice.

Jessica Timmerman: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: Once when you’re in a environment that you can grieve, that you can experience these things, let it out, let, let those emotions happen, because like you said, it’s not normal to push that stuff down. It’s, it’s not. Totally abnormal. Like what I did, not normal. You’re not supposed to do that.

Um, sometimes you have to, uh, in my case, I had to, um, but. If you’re in an environment where you can let that stuff out, let it out. [00:38:00] So, ah, man, I know

Jessica Timmerman: got off your set list, right? Cause I like threw you a curveball with Robin Williams and made you think it’s over.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s okay. Uh, you know, so just for the listeners. So before each episode, I, I come, I prepare, I come up with a bunch of questions and things like that. Just kind of a roadmap, general, uh, ideas that I want to talk about during the episode. Um, but I look at it. Kind of like a road trip. Like the guest and I were, we’re going on a road trip together.

We’re going from A to B kind of like that backwards planning that I was just talking about earlier. Um, and, uh, I always think about it. Like if we’re on a road trip, if we, you and I were in a car together right now, we’re driving, going from A to B, wherever it was, and we see a sign on the side of the highway and it’s like, You know, this real cool thing.

And we’re like, yeah, let’s go check it out. It’s not on the path. It’s not on the, the, the roadmap that we’re, we’re traveling, but let’s go check that out. Anyways, that’s the way I see this [00:39:00] outline that I send to all my guests is I can take that detour. It’s cool. Um, And we’ll find our way back to, uh, the path eventually.

Um, and if we don’t, that’s fine because we probably came up with something cooler to talk about than whatever it was I had to talk about anyway. So that destination may be better than, than the original destination that we had in mind. So that’s kind of where I look at it. So, um, guess, so we kind of talked about actually some of the stuff that I had on, on my outline here, but, um, What are some resources that are available?

Uh, you mentioned TAPS, you mentioned your, your organization, The Final Salute. Are there any other resources that you found that were, were helpful, uh, to support, uh, folks who are going through their grief journey? Right.

Jessica Timmerman: if we’re talking specifically about suicide, I think that AFSP, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, they have a ton of stuff and they even have, um, like a [00:40:00] search bar where you can look for loss support groups near you. So that’s kind of nice if, um, that’s always a good first step. Um, there’s, yeah, TAPS is a, TAPS is fantastic.

They have webinar, they have free webinars. I had a mentor for a year. She would call me like once a month and check in on me and just talk about things. Um, there’s things out there. You just have to, again, like you said, pay attention to like what’s helpful.

All of these are really helpful and what’s hurtful, right? You want to go towards what feels supportive and not like your activate. You know, not all support groups are created the same. Not all therapists are the same. That was something I’ve never said before. I think sometimes, you know If you can get a resistant person to go to therapy and it’s terrible, they will never come back, but they should know that you being the patient have all the power.

So you can straight up ask, I recently lost someone I love [00:41:00] to suicide. Have you seen clients like me before? And that’s a relevant question because if they haven’t, they’re going to be treating you from a textbook and we’re not textbooks, you know, so.

Scott DeLuzio: Yes. And that’s a good point. And I think for. Anybody, I don’t care how hard headed you are or whatever, anyone who takes that first step to go seek out therapy because of whatever it is that they’re going through. Um, if that first person that you meet is not clicking with you and you’re not feeling it and it just is not a good situation, there’s somebody else out there.

Um, you can, they, they will not be offended whatsoever. If you’re like, Hey, This isn’t working out. I’m not really feeling it with you. Um, we’re, we’re not clicking. I don’t think you have the right experience, whatever the case may be. Um, just tell them. And as a matter of fact, they’ll probably help you find somebody who.[00:42:00]

is a better fit for you. And, and that is just part of the process. Um, I personally, I’ve, I’ve been to many different therapists and, um, you know, some of them were way better than others. Um, one of them in particular, I, I don’t think I could have gotten away from fast enough. Um, but, but, uh, with that said, it, it was a learning experience because it’s like, I, I can’t just quit.

On this all together, I just have to find somebody else. And eventually I did and it’s, and it’s helpful, right. But, but you can’t just, you know, throw in the towel because you know, it’s that one session wasn’t great for you. Like you gotta put a little bit of effort, you know.

Jessica Timmerman: Right. Right. And there’s so many modalities out there and we need different things all the time, but you know, um, you know, it’s [00:43:00] like working out, right? You’re not going to, you don’t want to do the same thing for 50 years, right? Sometimes you want to work on different things, so

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Otherwise you’ll have massive biceps and little pencil legs, you know,

Jessica Timmerman: those, yeah, I

Scott DeLuzio: so, um, this has been a great, uh, conversation, I think. Um, can, can you maybe, you know, offer like a little, like, kind of closing advice for folks who, uh, might be in a similar situation to what you were in and, and, uh, What are some ways that you think might be, uh, that we might be able to better support military families and folks who are going through, uh, losses like this?

Jessica Timmerman: have a very good friend that’s husband passed away, you know, at 39, um, just even just. Natural conditions. Um, and [00:44:00] it’s so heartbreaking, but typically less than a month after somebody loses somebody, we stop checking in on people, you know, whether that’s suicide, cause it’s difficult, whether that’s combat, because that breaks people’s hearts.

I just, if you’re, if you think about somebody, you shoot them a text, call them up, just say you’re thinking about them. It, I think those tiny things have to be doing something. And then I also know you have a lot of active duty listeners. And I think you and I, with the circumstance we’ve been through, I would just assume we both, um, went through some sort of post traumatic stress, right?

I, people have to do their best to take care of that because I think PTSD, I try not to say the D in there, uh, post traumatic stress, it hijacks our present, right? Because if we’re just thinking about all the terrible things, we’re, we’re missing out on our present. You know, and I think we really have to work on that so that it doesn’t take over our future too.

Scott DeLuzio: a great, uh, piece [00:45:00] of advice because you’re right. It does hijack the present. Um, and you know, it keeps you from. Being present in, in the moment, like, you know, being present with your family and, and your, your spouse or your kids or, or whatever. And it, it keeps you from enjoying the things that you should be able to enjoy.

Um, you know, I’ve experienced that myself. Um, I know other people have experienced that too. And sometimes it’s not an easy thing to be present, uh, to be in that moment. Um, but

Jessica Timmerman: It’s sometimes the hardest thing. You just would rather be numb or get through it. And then you feel so bad. You’re like, did I just say I want to get through Christmas with my kids? Like, uh.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah. And, and that’s, I’m glad actually that you said that because that’s something that exactly that thought is what goes through people’s head is I [00:46:00] just need to get through, you know, Christmas or I, that I just need to get through this thing, which should be. Enjoyable, you know, it should be a fun, it should be a happy, it should be, you know, put whatever word to it that you want.

It should be a good positive experience, uh, but you just wanna get through and just get it over with, like, check the box. That’s the feeling. Um, If you can find the good in those moments, uh, it may be helpful to, uh, feel like you’re not just getting through, but you’re, you’re experiencing and you’re enjoying the, the thing that you’re doing, right?

Jessica Timmerman: Right, right.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s great advice, and I’m glad that you, you mentioned all of that. Um, before we wrap up, uh, where can people go to get in touch [00:47:00] with you? Find out about more about what you do with the final salute and, and things like that.

Jessica Timmerman: Sure. Um, I’m on Instagram and Facebook, the Final Salute LLC. I also have a website that should be done by the time this comes out. That’s thefinalsalutellc.Com. Um, on there you can find services. We do the Death Doula, the fundraising. Uh, if you’re local to Oklahoma, we have a 5k every year at Veterans Day and we love runners or volunteers. Um, so that’s where you can find me.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Excellent. So before we wrap up the show, um, I know a lot of times, uh, people Topics that we talk about on the show are a little bit heavy, kind of, kind of tough topics to talk about. And, um, this I think was, In some cases, this was definitely one of those kind of harder to listen to things and I kind of like to end each episode with a little bit of humor just to make people laugh, put a smile on their face.

And, um, you know, sometimes people are having a [00:48:00] rough time and maybe the only smile that they get on their face all day and, um, I always say if the joke that I tell isn’t funny, you can at least laugh at me for trying. Um, you can, I’m okay with that. Is laugh at, laugh at me for how corny I, uh, of a joke. Uh, I decided to tell because I thought it was good and, uh, you know, whatever.

I don’t, I don’t really care as long as you’re laughing. I’m good with it. So, um, if you can just indulge me for a second here, um, Little, little question joke here for you. What do a hamster and a cigarette have in common?

Jessica Timmerman: Oh, I feel like this has something to do with the butt. No, don’t know.

Scott DeLuzio: They’re both completely harmless until you stick one in your mouth and light it on fire.

Jessica Timmerman: I bet some military member has put a hamster in your mouth and lit it on fire.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, if they haven’t, [00:49:00] um, after hearing what I just said, they probably will. Um, Here’s the disclaimer. Don’t do that. There you go. So now you can’t blame me if you do it because I told you not to. So, um, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do anyways, so it’s okay. But if they do it, and I’m not telling you to do it for any of the listeners out there, I’m not telling you to.

But if you do record it and send it to me and I can use it in another episode and that would be hilarious, but don’t do it. But if you do send it to me in a video, that would be great. So anyways, thank you again, Jess, for taking the time to come on and share your story. Thank you for being vulnerable and open and sharing, you know, everything about your brother and your family and the experiences that you’ve gone through.

I really do appreciate it.

Jessica Timmerman: Thanks for having me.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on [00:50:00] Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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