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$897
pledged of 5.000 $pledged of 5.000 $ goal
31
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, June 2 2018 3:46 PM UTC +00:00

About

Michael and I
Michael and I

On March 28, my USMC "Wounded Warrior" Michael Russo took his own life. We were in a relationship for just under two years and living together.  I found him.  Since then, I have been wanting to find the time to write a book regarding our relationship, his death and all of the things that have been happening since then. 

I plan on calling this book "Warrior Widow" - subtitle yet to be determined.  

I would like to be able to write a book about Veteran suicide and Combat PTSD from a perspective that I hoped I would never have to endure - as a survivor of suicide.  This has been a long and lonely road for me with no end in sight.  Losing Michael was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to endure in my life.  And it still is.  There are no words for the pain that myself and Michael's family has had to endure.  

One of the things that Michael told me was that "You can find a better boyfriend".  This wasn't Michael talking.  This was the PTSD.  However, any "Warrior Lover" can tell you, we hear all kinds of things come out of their mouths due to that nasty little monster that is better known as PTSD.

With this in mind, I am hoping that my book can fall into the hands of Warriors and Warrior Lovers alike and maybe stop one (AND HOPEFULLY SEVERAL) Veterans from doing what Michael did.  I'm hoping that if they read the thoughts that were going in Michael's head, that they, too, will be able to identify with the monster and realize that those thoughts that they are having are not real.

Michael was an AMAZING man.  He was absolutely brilliant.  He was funny.  He was kind.  He was my best friend.  The loss that I have been feeling is enormous.  

The Bunny Whisperer
The Bunny Whisperer

People called him "The Bunny Whisperer" because he had the ability to train rabbits like dogs. The first time I let our rabbit "Frankie" out of the cage after his death, he was hopping around the house and looking all over for Mike.  Mike was just that kind of guy.  Even the rabbit is sad.  No kidding.

Because of all of this, I want to not only help myself heal but also as an attempt to help other Veterans, Military Spouses, and Veteran suicide survivors. I feel that this book is a much needed weapon in the arsenal against Veteran suicide.

Has the VA system failed us?  I'm not sure.  I can definitely say that improvements need to be made.   There was a known risk of suicide with Michael.  They were very well aware that he had those thoughts in the past.

There are 22 Veterans a day that commit suicide on average in the United States.  Help me get this number to ZERO!

RIP My Marine!
RIP My Marine!

From my latest blog:

Dear Michael Russo - USMC, this is what I WANT YOU to know!  

Dear Michael,  

     It’s been a little over three weeks since you took your life in our home. And there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I don’t think about you. In fact, I OBSESS about you. I talk to you while I do the dishes. I talk to you about what I should do with our rabbits. In fact, I even wear your clothes if there’s no reason for me to wear my own. I mean, WHY wear MY PJ bottoms if I can wear yours?

You see, you took a VERY BIG thing from me. It was you. It was always about you.  

    Since I met you, I did what I could FOR YOU. I stuck by you in bad times. I laughed my ass off at you in the good times. And well, when you went to that “dark place”, I did EVERYTHING I could to pull you out of it. But stubborn is as stubborn does. You wouldn’t let me.

    Even though I was DYING inside, I stood up at your prayer service at the funeral home and had a mini eulogy about OUR life. Not the common thing to do, but I did it. As YOUR grieving partner. I spoke for you again. Because that’s all that anyone had to grasp on to. It was the simple fact that I knew you better than anybody. You let me in. I devoted the last few years of my life to you. And you were a recluse. You REFUSED to participate in much of life. Besides what you could bring yourself to do for my family’s sake. They LOVED you for it. They are eternally grateful that you were in my life. And theirs.

    I also got to meet your daughters for the first time. In the funeral home. They’re AMAZING. When I laid eyes on Maddie, I started crying. She looks so much like you! And Zoe... she came up to me and asked me to judge a drawing between her and her cousin. I picked hers just like I always picked you. I saw the beauty of what she made and there was a sun in hers. And she had just lost her father. Her cousin’s didn’t have one. That’s how I knew she is a “Lil Trooper”... just like her Daddy. I’m so sorry that you let that MONSTER take you (us) away from your kids. They are adorable.

    I know you spent the last month of your life convincing yourself that I would be okay if you went away. I AM NOT. I’m not “finding a better boyfriend” like you hoped for me. In fact, I’m now involved with new people. One is my trauma counselor. I’ve got PTSD from finding you. The others are women like me. They are widows too. I’ve been messaging all night with one whose Wounded Warrior shot himself in the head. In front of her.

  At least you had the decency not to do that to me. 

My days and nights are not better without you. In fact, they are miserable. I miss you SOOOO MUCH. And my grief is inconsolable.  

  The only thing you accomplished by taking your own life is making me DETERMINED that no one else should EVER feel the way that I do. I will fight this battle until my dying day.

  At least I’m back to writing now. I know that’s what you would have wanted for me.

  I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. But that doesn’t mean I can’t save somebody else.

  My Sweet Michael, until we meet again...

  My name is Leilani. I used to be a Warrior Lover. Now I am a Warrior Widow.

Michael's Prayer Card
Michael's Prayer Card

Risks and challenges

Let me introduce myself. For the last year or so, I've gone by another name. A pen name to be exact. It is "Leilani Anastasia". I am a five star rated author on Amazon regarding Combat PTSD and relationships.

However, on March 28, my Combat PTSD relationship abruptly ended. My Wounded Warrior took his own life. Since then, I have been struggling to deal with not only the loss of his life but also the loss of my life as I knew it - lover, caregiver, best friend and "spouse".

In an effort to cope with my loss, I would like to write a book about my experiences concerning the death of Michael Russo - USMC. However, I need funds to not only spend time writing this book but also to promote this book and get it in the hands of those who desperately need it - other "Warrior Lovers".

Having written books that were well-received before, I'm sure that I can easily accomplish this task should I have the time, energy and funds to complete this project. I would like to take time off of work to write my best book EVER in honor of my Fallen Marine.

Please help me in doing so.

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Get a COMPLIMENTARY song download!

    Get a COMPLIMENTARY download of Tom Cotter's song about PTSD "On the Inside" delivered straight to your inbox!

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    Get a COMPLIMENTARY copy of the Book!

    Upon completion of the book, you will be gifted an electronic copy of it via Amazon.

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    Get a Candle Made by Michael

    Michael was always into one project or another due to his PTSD. Two winters ago, he made over 200 candles! Get your own so that the light in Michael never goes out with your $100 pledge

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Funding period

- (45 days)