Paul Oliver served in the Marines for three tours of duty—two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He came back from the war, but to his family, he never really came home. “He had a hard time letting things go from his time at war,” Ron Oliver, Paul’s father, said of his son. On a gray day in February, Ron brought a pair of Paul’s old combat boots to lay on his son’s grave at the State Veterans Cemetery on Forest Hill Irene Road.

Nancy Oliver holds tightly onto "Brownie", Paul's childhood bear, while recalling his memory at her home. "He (Paul) died because of the war," Nancy said. "He never came home from the war and the war killed him."

"This is my adoration of my son," Nancy said of all the items in her house honoring her son. "I know he suffered terribly 24 hours a day. It has been an honor to be your mother, Paul Oliver." "He had a beautiful heart. He wanted to get well.”

Mario White, a friend of Paul Oliver since high school, received Paul's high school letterman jacket after Paul's death in December. White and Oliver played football together during their time at Memphis Catholic. "It's kind of weird, honestly, now that he's not here," White said about Oliver's death.

Judge Bill Anderson, left, and Jerry Easter, court coordinator, in Judge Anderson's office at Shelby County Criminal Court at 201 Poplar Ave in Memphis. Anderson and Easter are essential in the Veterans Court operations that started in July 2012 to deal specifically with veterans going through the court system and needing help with many issues stemming from their time at war, especially with PTSD.

The holding area used for people who have been arrested to appear in court in the Veterans Court at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex at 201 Poplar. Paul Oliver sat in the holding area during some of the rougher times in his life, awaiting his time to appear in Veterans Court. Oliver was about to undergo a six-week inpatient PTSD treatment program at the Memphis VA, but he passed away the day before he was supposed to enter the program.

Torn carpet padding and other scraps lay on the floor of the back bedroom in Paul Oliver's home where he died on December 6, 2014. "It's like the book was written about what happened to him," Ron Oliver said. "He would literally get into the back bedroom and turn all the lights out, hide his car in the back yard, lock all the doors, and stay in there for three, four, five days at a time without any interaction with anyone. He had a mattress on the floor and that was it. He would never even walk out the door," Ron Oliver said about his son as things progressively got worse with Paul's PTSD.

Ron Oliver gets up off the floor after replacing an outlet cover in his late son's home in Memphis. Ron bought the house for his son after Paul got out of the military as an investment and to try to provide some stability to Paul's life. After Paul died in December Ron has been dealing with emptying the house, renovating parts of it, and trying to sell the home where his son died. Ron has moved a lot of his late son's belongings to his home in Bartlett where he is slowly going through everything. "It's hard to do a lot at once," Ron said. "His clothes smell like him and I can only be around them for so long before it's too much."

Mary Oliver, Paul's sister, has struggled immensely after he passed away and has been seeking grief counseling to deal with the loss of her brother. “Mentally, he never came back from the war,” his sister said.

Paul Joseph Oliver's grave at the State Veterans Cemetery on Forest Hill Irene Road in Memphis is adorned with an old pair of his combat boots placed by his father and a couple signs put there on Valentines Day by Pamela Klusmeyer, a close friend of Paul's before he passed away. "He was my absolute favorite person in the world," Klusmeyer said of Paul. "I would have spent a lifetime supporting him through his battle. Knowing him made me a better person, and for that I will be forever grateful."

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