For one of his birthday’s Travis got a piano cake. I was so jealous. I thought it was the coolest cake at the time. I had never had a cake anything like that. Sure I had a calico cat cake, but I had never had a cake that was pieced together like that.
Today would have been Travis’ 43rd birthday. To recognize it, I bought two small cakes yesterday. One was a red-velvet and the other an almond. I was going to surprise Grandma with them, but as I was putting her to bed last night she revealed that her daytime caregiver’s 40th birthday was today. So we had them for lunch today to celebrate not just the anniversary of Travis’ birthday but also her caregiver’s birthday.
I also stopped by Travis’ grave today. It was soggy from yesterday’s rain, but not as soaked as some of the other ones. 2 months ago
Sixteen years ago Travis was lying dead in his bathroom at this time. He had pulled the trigger while in the bathtub. His id and documents were set on the floor outside the bathroom.
As a paramedic, I have had to go into scenes like this and confirm that the patient is deceased. I have had to wait for the coroner and the investigation to be complete, then assist in packaging and moving the body. At other times, I have gotten there in time and been able to get someone to the hospital.
Some people leave notes. My most recent attempted suicide patient had left a hand-written will with instructions on what to do with her body. There were statements in it that gave some evidence to trouble with her family, but nothing definitive as to why she was doing this.
As far as I know, Travis didn’t leave a note. In seeing the families where there is a note, there is some closure. In those where there is no note, I can see the same confusion on the families face as there was on mine. 7 months ago
I stopped by the cemetery today. Travis’ grave is right beside his maternal grandparents. They had flags on their graves from serving in WWII. Even though I remember the dates well, I still did the math to calculate his age at the time of his death. 26 seems so young, but considering one of my patients that died this weekend was only 16, 26 is also old. 10 months ago
I ran into Travis’ mom in Rite Aid this week along with her husband. I hadn’t seen them in ages. It was nice to get caught up on their current health status as well as what’s new with Margaret and Paul (Trav’s siblings). 11 months ago
Grandma and I were talking about Travis the other day. She couldn’t remember the year that Travis had died. I had said 1996 right off, but she wanted to say it was 1995. That made me get confused because then I thought Travis was 29 which would have made it 1999. Grandma had written the date in her Bible beside a Psalm. I flipped through her Bible and found it marked beside Psalm 84. I was right, 1996. 12 months ago
I was cleaning out my bedroom at my parents’ house this past week (one of the advantages of being an only child). I came upon the thank you card that we received after Travis’ funeral. It’s postmarked October 7, 1996 so it was written just days of him being buried.
It’s a simple card with a raised tree and bridge pressed into it. It reads “Thank you sincerely for sharing our sorrow. Your kindness is deeply appreciated and will always be remembered by the family of Travis”.
I have always kept cards and mementos, but was surprised this card wasn’t in the appropriate box where I store them. I think I wasn’t ready to file it away at the time. I’m glad I didn’t because it’s nice to see the card and the handwritten message inside again after all these years. It’s also neat to see that stamps were 32 cents back then. 12 months ago
I was in an empty classroom, sitting on the floor up front writing things down related to the table of contents and page count for an APA. Travis came in the room and sat down beside me leaning against the wall with his head close to the blackboard. He asked me about money and I was telling him I could probably lend him $300 right then. It was an odd dream and I think while the person I was seeing in the dream looked and sounded like Travis, it wasn’t him that I was dreaming about as Travis and I never discussed money and he never would’ve been hitting me up to borrow some. Still it was nice to see him in a dream. 13 months ago
Last night I had a weird dream in which I made reference to Travis, though he wasn’t actually in the dream. There was a situation going on that required firearms. I made a comment to someone about needing to grab Travis’ rifle. I think I had been influenced by episodes of The Walking Dead because I was at a farm house, and Flashpoint because there was a hostage situation. Anyways, I needed Travis’ rifle.
Thinking about it today, I didn’t ever know Travis to have a rifle. Growing up he did have a BB gun which he brought out one time to Grandma’s. It was a rifle of sorts as opposed to a handgun. We did shoot it a few times at targets and crows, but that was it. I’m trying to recall if Travis went deer hunting in the fall, but I honestly can’t recall. I do recall that his dad was able to pack his own shells at their house in Harmonsburg. 14 months ago
Today Travis would have turned 42. I’ve been thinking about him a lot this last week leading up to today. I kept hoping I’d dream about him or sense him around me somewhere. It hasn’t happened, and that’s okay.
The day after Valentine’s Day, the estranged husband of one of my coworkers died. He was only 34. There’s speculation about what happened, but I suspect it was suicide. The timing of it and his mental state lead me to suspect that, though his wife thinks it was murder and the police are leaning toward accidental overdose. Fortunately with Travis there is no question of that nature, though of course there are still unanswered questions of why.
Today on his birthday though I’m thinking back to the birthday parties we would have as kids at Grandma’s house. I was so impressed and jealous of his piano cake. His mom played piano and had a player piano in their house. I always wanted to learn piano, though Travis pursued guitar.
Those parties were always fun. The last one we had for Travis was a joint party with Uncle Howard whose birthday is tomorrow. (We often have joint parties with Aunt Nancy too because her birthday is the day before mine.) They’re actually our Great Aunt and Uncle though we have never said the Great. Back in those days there would be 12-18 of us together. At the latest birthday there were just 6 of us. I know that if Travis was still alive he would be at all of our birthday gatherings. I also believe that he’s there in spirit now. 15 months ago
I got the call on Monday morning while sitting at my desk at work. I think it was my dad that called me or it could’ve been both of my parents, but I’ve blocked that memory. I know my boss commented about my crying and I told him. Once I had my composure I started making calls myself. The rest of the week is a blur. I remember going into a room that no one was in during one of the viewings so that I could get my composure and my mom coming after me. I told her to leave me alone. I didn’t want to break down then. I’ve shared in other entries about the actual funeral when I did break down. I haven’t shared what we did at the interment service.
At Roselawn, the family and those who came along to support us had our brief service. We had brought balloons with us and had passed them out. I remember Grandma explaining to Margaret about the balloons and how we were going to release them. When we did let them go, one balloon lingered with us while the others took flight. It too finally took off to the sky. We watched them shrink into the distance until we could see them no more.
I went to Roselawn today and brought balloons with me again. I brought some flowers too and put them in the urn. It looked like a bigger bunch while they were tied together, but once I untied them they didn’t really fill the pot. I spent some time there even though I know Travis’ spirit isn’t tied to that spot. His maternal grandparents are buried beside him. I noticed that his Grandma had passed when he was 15, and then his Grandfather when he was 20. I always think of Travis as being two and a half years younger than me, but reading his headstone I was reminded that he was just 26. Before I left, I let the balloons go and watched them float off into the distance again. While one did separate from the group, none lingered with me.
Above you’ll see a photo of us playing with my Mego action figures back in the late 70s. 20 months ago
The last time I saw Travis was fifteen years ago today. I was home for the weekend and he came to my parents house for dinner as we were celebrating my birthday. We hadn’t had a dinner like that for my birthday in ages, and it was nice to just spend time with the family over a meal. Travis gave me a card which I still have. I haven’t looked at it since then, but I know it’s in the box with all the other cards I’ve received. I should dig it out. We didn’t spend that much time alone talking that day. We’d done that a couple weeks earlier on Labor Day. If I had known it was going to be the last time I’d see him, I don’t know that I’d have done anything differently. It was a happy time for the whole family filled with laughter, good food and love. 20 months ago
My Great Aunt is in bad shape. She has been struggling to recover from pneumonia and an infection. This past weekend her sister (my grandma) decided it was time and allowed them to discontinue the IV and they’re only giving her pain control, no fluids or food. I’ve spent time with her the past couple of days, and I can tell that she’s in pain and uncomfortable. It reminds me of when my grandpa was in the hospital dying. He wouldn’t speak to us either, but at least we could tell that he wasn’t in pain.
While going through Alice’s things, I found she had a copy of this photo of Travis and me. You can see Alice on the left in the background, and that’s her brother Jim on the right. He passed already.
I had my chance to get closure with grandpa, and am having it now with Al. With Travis none of us knew the last time we saw him would be the last. 2 years ago