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.