WADE GOODWYN, HOST:
Now another installment from StoryCorps' "Military Voices Initiative" honoring those who served in the post 9-11 conflicts. In the coming weeks leading up to Veterans Day, we'll be listening to the stories of our men and women in uniform and their families - today, Kevin Lucey and his wife Joyce. In 2003, their son, Marine Corporal Jeff Lucey, was deployed to Iraq. He returned to the states later that year. And though he appeared to be well, something inside him had changed. Here Kevin talks with his wife about their son's decline.
KEVIN LUCEY: I can remember that evening on the day of deployment. We drove him - it was about 4:00 in the morning - very dark, but it was eerily lit up with all the headlights of everybody who was dropping off their Marines. And I just remember him walking away into the darkness and the darkness engulfing him. I had a tremendous fear that was going to be the last time I was going to see my son again.
JOYCE LUCEY: He returned and there were balloons. They got an escort from the police. It was magnificent. But on Christmas Eve, we went to my moms. He didn't come. His sister went home to see him and when she got there, he threw his dog tags at her and said, don't you know your brother's nothing but a murderer? And he started having nightmares.
K. LUCEY: I think you found the flashlight underneath his bed.
J. LUCEY: At night, he was searching his room for spiders because he said he could hear them.
K. LUCEY: He started staying within the house. And sometimes he would stay just within his room. It was like the perfect storm converged. On June 21, that evening, about 11:30, he came into the front room and he asked me if he could sit in my lap and if we could rock - which we did. And I - I wasn't even thinking that this was his way of saying goodbye. When I came back from work, I saw the cellar door open. And I saw Jeff hanging from the beam. I went under him and pushed him up and he was in my lap for the last time.
J. LUCEY: You know, he was very social and outgoing, always smiling. And you just didn't think Jeff would have any problems, you know, dealing with the emotional side of war.
K. LUCEY: We never saw that he was mortally wounded within his spirit.
GOODWYN: That was Kevin and Joyce Lucey, remembering their son Marine Corporal Jeff Lucey, who ended his life by suicide a decade ago. Their conversation was recorded in Wellesley, Massachusetts. This interview, like all StoryCorps conversations, will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. To hear more stories about the lives of post 9-11 conflict veterans and their families, subscribe to the StoryCorps podcast at iTunes and at NPR.org.
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