"For Daniel, he needed more and it wasn't there for him," he said. "He fell through the cracks."
'Lance at the end of the spear'
Shortly after Somers' note hit the Internet, TAPS released a statement discouraging media from publishing it, fearing it could foster future suicide attempts.
"The note written by Somers and being reprinted in the news media is dangerous because it implies that suicide can end pain and that the service member or veteran is now 'free.' This analogy may encourage other vulnerable individuals to die by suicide," it read.
In response, Jean and Howard Somers insisted that their son's story should be shared.
"I think what Daniel has asked us to do, which we will not stop doing, is to address the systemic issues at the VA that led to him writing that letter," said Jean Somers, who spoke by phone from her home in the San Diego area.
"And in that respect, I think it would be very helpful for vets in crises. This is an area that, if we let it go, there's just going to be more people who do this," she said. "I think, what we're hoping for is kind of a ground swell of 'O.M.G.' -- and people contacting their leadership and people who can make these changes to get them done."
"Our message is (about) what drove him to it -- not the suicide itself," said her husband. "The lance at the end of the spear is the letter. I just want it to open up the opportunity to drive in and proceed with what we can do to change the system."
The Somerses reached out and spoke with Ami Neiberger-Miller, a TAPS representative, after the group issued its first statement after the suicide note went viral in late June. The family was concerned that TAPS would shift attention away from the significance of their son's message.
After that conversation, the organization revised and re-released its statement, simply asking media to be "mindful" when re-publishing or excerpting the suicide note.
"There are many things in the note that point out deficiencies within our system of how we care for veterans," Neiberger-Miller told CNN. "And that's really important information that the family wants to share and that they are being courageous about sharing."
Members of Somers' family are frustrated by what they see as the VA's bureaucratic process. They feel the system could be fixed by a more organized patient database and better communication among health professionals.
"The way the Phoenix VA works, and we don't know if they all work like this, but, when you call and ask for an appointment, they say, 'OK, well, we'll send you a postcard when we have it scheduled.' So then you have to sit there and wait for a postcard," Jean Somers said.
It took months for her son's postcard to arrive. His change of address form was never received. The VA called Angel to discuss her husband's suicide about two weeks after it happened. The department still had the wrong address on file.
Paul Coupaud, a spokesman for the VA in Phoenix, verified the postcard process, but said it is primarily used for confirming appointments, not making them. He said he could see how the mishap with Somers' address might happen.
"There are so many people who have access to the system, and if the new information doesn't get approved, it doesn't get stored. It's all one national system," Coupaud said.
He was familiar with Somers' suicide note, but said he could not release specifics about his file because of privacy concerns.
While Somers waited for an appointment postcard, his wife found him a psychiatrist in the private sector. The couple paid for most of Somers' medication, treatment and therapy sessions out of pocket.
They waited on a benefits claim for more than two years.
Such long waiting periods were common in the past, Coupaud said. But clearing backlogged cases is a top priority for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, he added.
A little more than a week after Somers committed suicide, Shinseki announced an end to the two-year waiting period.
"Over the past two months, VA has been dedicated to providing earned benefits to the veterans who have waited the longest," the secretary said in a prepared statement. "Thanks to our hard-working VBA employees, we have completed nearly all claims that have been pending two years or longer. We've made great progress, but know much work remains to be done to eliminate the backlog in 2015."
But the backlog wasn't Somers' only obstacle.
"Additionally, the VA told him he had to be in group therapy or no therapy at all. And he couldn't go to group therapy, because of his security clearance," Jean Somers said. "He had a top-level of security clearance because he was involved in some very high-level intelligence missions, and he would not be allowed to discuss that within a group."