The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
My husband served 20 years in the Marines. He loved every minute of it and was so proud. In 2015, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Gastric Cancer. This involved surgery to remove his stomach, plus weeks and weeks of chemo and radiation.
I watched for almost 3 years as my husband tried to eat and keep his food down. I watched him go from the strong, healthy man that I married to a frail, weak man. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune for rifleman training around 1970-1972, but the VA refuses to approve my DIC claim because gastric cancer is not one of their pathetic diseases.
Sept. 19,2018, is when my whole life fell apart. The cancer had spread too much and he passed away. The anger and rage that I feel is horrible. My heart breaks for every Veteran and family member that has been poisoned by our government and the Marine Corps.
They did it. They knew it and did nothing to protect the people on that base. Now they are spitting in the faces of Camp Lejeune victims. My fight won’t bring my husband back but maybe if i keep fighting, I can get justice for him and all victims. It’s a disgrace and they need to pay for what they have done. God bless all of you Camp Lejeune victims! Yes, we are all victims.
I have always been proud of my husband being a Marine, but now I wish to God he had never taken that oath. He served honorably thinking his own government and the Marine Corps would take care of him and that’s so very sad. I have not been able to find my way in life without him, but i am thankful that he isn’t suffering anymore. When he got sick, he weighed about 265 lbs. strong and solid. The morning that he passed away, he weighed no more than 125 lbs. That is what Camp Lejeune did to him.
He fought so hard to live, but his fight with cancer is something he couldn’t win. Now, my 2 granddaughters (ages 6 and 14) that thought their papa walked on water, but instead he is gone. Their best buddy is gone. Having to tell a 5-year old at the time that her papa was gone was devastating. She screamed and cried wanting her papa back. That is what Camp Lejeune did.
He was cremated and his urn sits on a shelf at their house because somehow it comforts her. She can talk to him. She draws him pictures to sit on the shelf with him. One day, she put a bottle of water and fruit snacks beside him. This is what Camp Lejeune did, and for them to get a pass on what they have done and have taken from so many of us is something I can’t let go of.
Forgiveness is not in my heart, maybe one day. What I feel borders on hatred for what they have done and are still doing. I am not a Marine widow. I am still a Marine wife because, despite his death, the love I have for him doesn’t change.
I AM A MARINE WIFE AND I AM MAD AS HELL AND WILL KEEP FIGHTING AS LONG AS I AM ABLE.
God bless all of you. Never give up.
- Author resides in High Point, North Carolina.
Note from the Editor: The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.
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