'Something happened to Jeff'
Jeff Lucey returned from Iraq a changed man. Then he killed himself.
By Irene Sege, Globe Staff | March 1, 2005
BELCHERTOWN -- Less than three weeks before he committed suicide, Jeffrey Lucey, lance corporal in the Marine Reserves, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, totaled his parents' Nissan Altima.
He wasn't drunk when he ran the car off the road and landed between two trees, which was surprising given how much he used alcohol to dull the torment roiling inside his head. But he'd taken the Klonopin prescribed to ease his anxiety.
So when Kevin and Joyce Lucey visit their only son's grave, they drive his Hyundai, with the Marine Corps decal Jeff put on the back window and the Marine seal he affixed to the bumper and the ''Support Our Troops" magnet and Kerry-Edwards sticker they added after he died. They pass yellow ribbons still fluttering from trees in front of the house where they raised three children, and when they arrive at the Ludlow cemetery, an expanse of small, fluttering American flags tells them Jeff finds his final rest in the company of scores of other veterans.
Jeffrey Michael Lucey was 23 and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he hanged himself with a garden hose in the cellar of his family's home last June 22. His family shares his story in hope of helping those, among the hundreds of thousands who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who will battle similar demons.