Sue Hubbert's Story
Delbert and I were high school sweethearts. We got married as
soon as we graduated. Delbert joined the military right away and
left for his first tour at sea. One month later, just before my
nineteenth birthday, I found out I was pregnant. Delbert was on
duty when Brandon was born and held our baby for the first time
when Brandon was six months old. It was rough being in the
military, moving around so much, but we learned to rely on each
When Brandon was ten, my husband stopped going to sea and
was home a lot more. It was wonderful having him around, but
it was also an adjustment for Brandon and me. Brandon and
Delbert both loved the outdoors and went hunting and fishing
and snowmobiling together.
Our son was a very smart young man, so his dad and I demanded a lot of him. But I
could always talk to Brandon, and he was an extremely loving child. He didn’t see race
or understand hatred; he was everything his father and I raised him to be and more.
When Brandon was about fourteen years old, he started having a chip on his shoulder
about moving and leaving his friends. He’d have outbursts, but I could always talk him
through them. When he was nineteen, he joined the Coast Guard, but the officers said he
had an anger management problem. When he was twenty, he got married. He and his
wife were expecting a child, and Brandon took a civilian job along with his job in the
Coast Guard to make more money, but in April, 2005 he was diagnosed with bipolar
disorder. In June he called to make an appointment with a psychotherapist, but he was
told there was no opening until October. That was two months too late for our son.
Brandon was under a lot of pressure; he’d lost his civilian job and had surgery on both
knees. One night before he could get control of himself he hit his father. He felt so
terrible realizing what he’d done. When Brandon heard his father say, “[h]e needs to go,”
that pushed him over the edge, but Delbert only meant that Brandon needed to get his
own place to live.
That night Brandon took his own life. Delbert and I thought we knew the warning signs
to look for when someone is suicidal, but we hadn’t recognized any such signs in
Brandon. For two weeks after Brandon died, I was in such a state of shock, and felt so
helpless; I had no feeling in my hand.
Once the word was out that Brandon was dead, our families and our military family