Nov 17, 2008


I don't know what is going on with me these days. Every minute of every day I think of Travis. Is it a delayed reaction or the proximity of the holiday season? I don't know. I dream about him now most nights, and it is usually about when he was a child. Perhaps I long for that lost time, when things were as they should be.

Travis loved the holidays. All holidays. He had planned to be Batman to his son's Robin on the Halloween following his death. He loved Thanksgiving, and usually would sit in the kitchen with me, watching and talking, making me laugh. I remember him calling me from Hawaii, where he was stationed, asking me how to cook a turkey.

For Christmas, Travis had his own miniature tree in his bedroom. I remember when he was five, he punched little holes in all the gifts to see what everyone had gotten. His excitement and anticipation was so great, he couldn't wait.

Oh, I miss him so much. So many people tell me to not think about it, to let it go, to go on with my life, but right now, I don't know how. I am consumed with guilt, with anger, too. I remember once he told me, before he joined the military, that he would like to go to New York and become a comedian. All I could think of was his 19 year old self, alone in New York, and I did not support the idea. What if I had? What if I had encouraged him to follow that dream?

The worst part of all of this is not being able to go back and do things differently. To spend as much time with him as I could. But we don't know. We just never know what tomorrow brings. His son's birthday is coming up, and I cannot be a part of his celebration, his life. That has been denied me, and it hurts. His daughter turned 3 in September, and I have never seen her, except pictures I have gathered from the internet. His widow works hard to keep his memory alive and I wish I could be a part of her life, but she does not want that. And I don't know how to fix it. She has her reasons, and, to her they are valid. To me, it is devastating.

I am not the only one feeling this kind of agony. Anyone who has ever lost a child knows exactly what I mean. And, I think sometimes, we are avoided. As if being close to someone who has suffered such a tragedy might bring tragedy with them. I had a therapist tell me that grieving people are not that much fun to be around. I had another therapist tell me that talking about Travis too much was probably not a good thing. I had a neighbor tell me that I just grieved for my son, and not the others who had fallen with him. What do you say to these people?

I just don't know. But I still get up everyday. I still try to smile and enjoy what life I have carved out, which isn't that much right now. I depend too much on my oldest son, and know it would be healthier for him to live away from me. I think he feels he must be there for me. And he has his own grief to deal with. His own regrets.

I will try to celebrate these holidays, for Travis, if nothing else. I will try to embrace that same joy he always had, the same sense of quiet wonder at the simple beauty of family being together. But I miss him so much. So very, very much.


Anonymous said...

Oh Deb, I feel so sad for you. Anyone who tells you to get over it has never lost a loved one, especially their child. How can you get over it? I don't think you can.

Mothers are so good at feeling guilty over things we do to our kids. Sure you could have encouraged him to go to NY and bam he gets hit by a New York taxicab.

Wasn't it you who said you can't feel guilt over good intentions that didn't work out. You can't feel guilt over not spending every minute of the day with him. That would have smothered him. It was either you who said it or Dr Phil. Either way it's good advice.

Just reading your blog tells me and other readers how much your son meant to you and how much you love him. If strangers can see it then of course Travis knew it too. Show me a perfect mother and we'll both know she's hiding something.

It hasn't been very long since Travis was killed. You're allowed to grieve as long as you need to and want to without explanation.

Take care Sweetie.

Spadoman said...

The years roll by, it's been over 17 for us, and it doesn't get any easier, Christmas time, anytime, they are missed. And you are learning that the other siblings have their own suffering as well. My other daughters have their own struggles over the loss of their eldest sister.

I don't like Christmas, birthdays or any holidays at all. I'd rather be tucked away until it's all over, but the Grandkids don't know the sorrow, so we do it for them.

Travis was out there on The Days of the Dead. We put his picture up. That holiday is tolerable for some reason.

Hang in there. We have a special place in heaven, I think. And they'll all be waiting for us on the other side.


just me said...

Spado, Leah, Thanks for your heart-felt comments. When my brother lost his son in a car accident, he told me that it never gets any better. I think he was right.

dawn said...

I agree with Leah and Spado, I also think this time of the year is harder for most people. I just invited my friend who lost her son for Thanksgiving because I thought it might be really hard for her. My heart and thoughts are with you.

SJ said...

What can I say... My heart and thoughts are with you.

Mary said...

I can't see why you shouldn't speak of Travis often. If you can't have him then I would imagine it would be a comfort to remember him and share him with others often.

Anonymous said...

Mary, you're a genius! She's right, Deb. Other people talk about their kids and pull out the family photo albums. Sometimes the kids live far away (like mine in Australia), sometimes they live in the basement or down the street, and sometimes they live in heaven. Where ever they are they're still our kids and mothers can talk about them whenever they want without explanation.

just me said...

Dawn, I agree. This seems to be a hard time of year for us.

SJ, Thanks, babe.

Mary, Yes, I agree, which is why I stopped seeing that therapist. I work Travis into the conversation more often than not. But, most people don't want to hear about your deceased son. That's just what I have learned.

Leah, You are absolutely right. I should be able to talk about him to my hearts content. But, as I said before, its a great way to clear a room.

dawn said...

its nicew to see you back , come visit

Craze said...

There is no right or wrong way to grieve and I don't think others can tell you how to do it. If you feel like crying then cry. I'm pretty sure you'll so emotional right now beccause of the holidays. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss and I look forward to reading your blog on a regular basis. You've alredy given me so much to be grateful for.