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Sad News For Me At Least



If I am posting this on the wrong forum, I apologize in advance. my husband passed away very suddenly yesterday afternoon. I was all by my self and had nobody waiting with me as things went down hill. Right after I heard the news, I tried calling the VA out patient clinic in in Ft.Smith. My husband was inconsiderate enough to die after business hours. When I called no one would pick up the phone. Even when I dialed 9 for emergency, no one answered the phone either in Ft. Smith OR Fayetteville. So I called the bastards up this morning to give them a piece of my mind. Nothing was resolved, they did not care that I am all alone, with no family or friends in the local area. If I become suicidal again, just go to an emergency room or urgent care. Otherwise we will see you on the 12th at your scheduled appointment. Now, if I should feel a need to go to the emergency room, how am I going to get there???? Who will take me??? My husband is dead, he used to take me to all my appointments. But I coud not expect anything different from our fine VA health care system B)

I will try to struggle thru the long holiday weekend. After all, I still have my Siamese cat to care for. Once I get thru next week & get affairs in order, I will proceed to attack VA again.

About my husband......he had a verry colorful career, a proud Viet Nam vet with 23 years honorable service. I flew in the back seat of F-4s over Viet Nam. Even the crazed Marine pilots could not make him throw up no matter how many Gs they pulled, He was discharged from the Navy in 1984 on a medical diabiliuty. The Navy rated him as 20% disabled because of a back condition called angolsing sondilitis(SP?) A progressive back disease that would eventually affect his breathing. He was OK for a while after retirement because of temp civil service jobs. But once we moved to Arkansas, his health started going down hill gradually. Over the years, I tried talking him into filing a claim with VA. He would have none of that & he did not want VA to treat him. He has had high blood pressure since I've known him, but he also developed type II diabetes, & gained almost 75 LBs since getting out of the military 22 years ago. I am sure my own mental health issues probably affected his own will to live. He would not follow doctor's orders or the pleadings of his wife, family and friends to take his health seriously. I hope he is happy, where ever he is tonight.

Aftter I get thru the following next weeks, is there any way I can file some kind of posthumus claim for him & get benefits as a surviving spouse?? Again, that is not my concern right now. I just needed some one to talk to tonight even if it is only to a computer screen.

Thanks all for your patience. Sorry to have rambled on so.

Liz, giving new meaning to the slogan HADIT!!!

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I am very sorry. That is not the news I was wanting to hear today.

I dont mean to post this right now but if you are going to file a claim, You need to have an autopsy performed to get the official and secondary causes. That will save you headaches down the road.

You are in our prayers this weekend.


Edited by jstacy (see edit history)
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This is shocking news Liz- just horrible- I been there-I know how you feel right this minute-it is a stunning shock-when a spouse dies like this-

Men and women- do NOT call the VA to try to get an ambulance in any emergency situation-like this-their ambulances do not come to a PTs home to get them in situations like this-

Locally we call 911 for the volunteer ambulance corps- I think 911 is who you have to call for an ambulance-anywhere in the country now-they dispatch the first closest ambulance they can-

it wont come from the VA-it will come from the closest private hospital.or from a local volunteer ambulance Corp. In a critical emergency a vet is much better off anyhow getting taken to a real hosp by a local ambulance.

This is who you also have to call Liz- 911 and tell them if you yourself need an ambulance.

You are right not the time to think about the VA or any benefits- I advise you to have him autopsied-where did he die? you were somewhere else?

Tell them if he was an organ donor , and make sure you get many copies of the Death Certificate with the stamped certified impression on it-I went through 6 copies in two weeks-and still needed more-

Did he have service disabled life insurance?

Do you have his DD 214 on hand for the undertaker?

Make sure his obituary contains all the awards and decorations he got for his service.Write it yourself . I did.

Also if the minister, Priest,Rabbi etc didnt know him well -write for them what you want them to say about his military service.

Some of them dont have a clue as to what the death of a veteran should mean to us all.

Call the American Legion IMMEDIATELY- if you want a military funeral service with the guns and color guard-

(I assume he is eligible for the color guard?) for service connected veterans-I dont know what you said his VA comp was for-

They need time to get out their uniforms, buy bullets and make arrangements to be at the service.

I am sorry-I lost two veteran husbands . This gives me flashbacks------

There will be so much you HAVE to do that you will not have time to grieve for a while.

The claims matter can come later-

I am deeply sorry for you and regret that this happened.

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  • Elder

Dear Liz:

I am so sorry that you had to go through this by yourself. Forget about the VA and concentrate on yourself. If there is anything I can do please let me know.

Just know that you are in my prayers. I will also pray for well being and that you will find someone to help you through this irdeal/

God Bless you and Keep you in Grace and Understanding


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So sorry to hear about your husband; I've not any experiences to relate, so I will just say if you want someone to talk with my wife and I aren't too far away, near Hot Springs, AR.

Take care of yourself, and try not to worry about all that is going on right now with the VA. Take care of yourself right now. Your in our prayers!


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  • Elder

Liz, I'm so sorry! What a shock for you, dear one. You had to go through this all by yourself yesterday. Please remember that we are here, you are not alone! I have been so comforted over the years with all the members of Hadit. We all know, really know what it feels like to lose someone close. Just keep reaching out - to everyone you meet, and everyone you talk to. The bonds of human beings run deep: our experiences in life are more similar than different. I agree with all the prior members: breathe deep, walk, keep your body moving: it will let your feelings surface - let your feelings out! Everything you feel now is normal, everything. Right now, you need to be good to yourself, and take some comfort in God and us, if that makes you feel better.

Keep posting, we can offer our advice: someone said to ask for an autopsy. That's a good idea. The next few days will raise questions about his burial, services, etc. Just ask for the help you need and deserve.

Love to you, and prayers. Silver Wings

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One more thought Liz- most VAMCs have vans that the DAV has purchased with donations. I am very big on the Van fund- and donated to it for the Bath DAV van. It has helped many many of my local vets here.

The local van driver is a volunteer and I helped him with his claim- what looked like 0-10% became claim for 100% and SMC in 2 days-then his illness became critical so I hope they have other volunteers-

good volunteer job for many SC vets-

I dont remember what your service disabilities are but call the VAMC and see who to talk to about the DAV van service and maybe they can get you to your VA appointments.

Your post was unclear to me- if he died at a VA-I assure you they do ALL they can to comfort the spouse and explain what happened.

I know for a fact that when a veteran dies, they contact the closest family member and then the Chaplain and others on call-are there for the family whatever time it is that they can arrive at the VAMC.

I was at the VAMC at 4 AM once due to another matter but saw the Chaplain and another VA employee extend their sympathy as soon as a family had parked and even before they even walked into the lobby------

I gripe about the VA but this does not mean that they are insensitive when a vet dies-

If he died at a VA hospital and you went to the hosp-you would have gotten support from them.

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So very sorry to hear about your loss. And to make things worse, to be begging for someone to help you, only the system that should be there to help is not available to you. That stinks, big time.

Please hang in there. Berta is right. Locally, our DAV has numerous vans that you constantly see at the VAMC and other places waiting to assist those who need them. That is what they are there for, so please take advantage of their help.

I also am unsure of, by your post, as to where your husband was when he passed away. Berta is also correct in the fact that if your loved one passes away while in the hospital there, they can be very compassionate during that time. My husbands brother passed away a couple of years ago at the VA and there were many doctors, nurses, etc. there for as long as we needed them and answered all of our questions that we had.

The VAMC was also helpful in telling us some of the things that he would be eligible for, due to his death.

There are a lot of people here that will be there during your time of need and are more than willing to talk to you and help you through this terrible time in your life. Please use them to help you through this. You are not alone.

Again, I am so very sorry about your loss.


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Thank you all so very much for all your support. Yes, the people at mental health were very upset that I might want to spoil their 3 day weekend. They don't want to see me until the 12th. Guess what? That appointment is at 3:00PM on a Friday. I will deal with VA all in good time. I have more important things to take care of right now but believe me, the worm is about to turn.

Sorry about my confusing, rambling post yesterday but my husband did not die at a VA hospital & he never went to VA for treatment , never filed a claim either. Heck, if he had been treated at VA, I probably would have lost him years earlier. But he did die at St. Edwards Mercy Center, the biggest private care hospital in Ft. Smith. The staff tried to be suppotive but they were not all all familiar with how to deal with military affairs. I was pressed to make a choice of funeral homes on the spot & he has probably already been cremated. They did not ask me if I wanted an autospy(sp?) & I was so dazed at the time, I did not think to ask for one. I hope I can ask for a copy of his medical file. As I did not expect him to die when he did, I did not have any numbers for any service organizations. I thought they were going to run some tests, maybe keep him over the weekend & he would be home Monday or Tuesday.

I found some copies of some of his service records in the desk this morning. I did not realize that he had been treated for episodes of major depression secondary to his back condition while on active duty. I could tell he was depressed toward the end. After all, living with me was certainly no cake walk.

For the record, I am currently rated at 70% for major depressive disorder, 30% for glaucoma & 100% P & T for TDIU. However, I think mental health at Fayetteville & Ft smith are doing their damndest to get my rating lower or tossed out all together. Oh yeah, since dealing with VA, I have become paranoid too. B)

Thanks again for all your support. It means a great deal to me.


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Liz-another thing I thought of-

I hope you applied for SSA disability with this SC award from the VA.

It is possible that the SSA could change your benefit there to a widow's benefit because you are disabled-and then regardless of your age (most widows benefits start at 60 or older)

the SSA might find that this benefit on his work record could be a higher amount for you then what you receive now-

If you haven't applied at all even for your own disability from SSA please do this ASAP-

There is a web site for SSA and one can begin an application right on line-

Tuesday-if I were you I would call the doctor listed on the death certificate and see if an autopsy had been done-

I regret that I see this as a very long road for any potential DIC-

there could be a chance for - my point is that widow's claims are not treated well by many vet reps-and

You will need excellent representation-

who helped you on your claim?

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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Hi Berta:

Yes, I did apply for SSI after I got the award from VA. I had always heard rumors that it was very hard to get disability from the state of Arkansas, but it wasn't in my case. I didn't even have a physical. It just started 6 mo. after I filed the claim.


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There could be a higher benefit now due to your husband's death-possible- not sure-

Liz-in case you did not see my reply under the Medication Topic-

I urge you to contact the ME, the Medical Examiner or Coroner ASAP_ the MEs and coroners are always on call and could return your call or email- and ask them to give your husband an autopsy-

based on what you posted it appears that he was a Blue Water Navy Agent Orange vet with DMII-

Although he was in flight? I assume he spent much time on the deck of Navy ships in the South China Sea.

If he has the VSM on his DD 214-I mentioned to get a vet rep and take a copy of the NVLSP statement on Blue Water and also (I will post as separate topic) what I posted here as to widows of Blue Water veterans exposed to AO and file a DIC claim.

The complete 21-534 apication is at the VA web site- I suggest you fill it out yourself and bring whatever else you would need when you see the vet re-marriage license , death cert etc.

I know there is a lot on you as it is- this will get the DIC claim filed- These claims under Haas decision must be filed as soon as possible before the VA attempts to change or overrule Haas.

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I'm so sorry to here of your loss.

Along with getting military funeral if you desire there is also the patriot guard riders which is a group of motorcyclyst and others who attend funerals for any and all veterans whose family request them. They will escort the hearse with flags flying and/or stand quietly by the grave site or outside the service. Contact them fi you so desire and they will help to honor your husband anyway they can.


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Oh Kirk:

I wish I had thought about the motorcycle escort sooner!! :lol: That would have been so cool & so appropriate for my hubby!!! he bought a bike 3 years ago but hardly ever rode it, guess it was a trying to recapture a lost youth thing. However, I don't think his relatives would have approved. :rolleyes:

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Guest terrysturgis

I just joined the Patroit Guard. My first confirmed ride will be Sept 16th for Sergent DeRoo from Paw Paw, MI. To join just go to the web sit Kirk posted and sign up. There are no dues to join. You do not have to ride a bike. Some of the people drive cars. The site explains what they do. You need a 3x5 flag on a pole and the ride captain said to dress like you normally do. No set uniform. Some people are dressed like hard core bikers and they maybe standing next to a guy in a suit. I am going to use the flag I received from my father's veteran funeral. Respect is what it is all about. Liz, sorry for your loss and God bless. Terry Sturgis

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