The people's voice of reason

Tears and Laughter: Never Assume You Have The Luxury Of Time

Travis came into my life in 1990, when he was two and I was 18. His mother was not involved at that stage in his life and my life had not prepared me for being a stepmother. But I changed my schedule at AUM, and switched from working nights at Country’s Barbecue to working days at Colonial Bank. I would drop Travis off at daycare before 8:00 and pick him up just after 5:00.

Up until now, I don’t think I have ever written a word about those years of my life. It is not as if 18 to 23 didn’t exist, but they weren’t easy years. I did the best I could where Travis was concerned, but the marriage was destined to fail, even after adding a daughter. His dad returned to Illinois shortly after the divorce and Travis, who was then eight, naturally went with him.

That’s what happened. That was the reality. I don’t know how to spin it into anything other than what it was. Travis grew up. And I grew older.

I can’t remember when we started messaging. It was years ago. He sent me a picture of him and me together from when he was little. He said he carried it in his wallet still.

I was happy that he seemed happy. Life had taken him from Illinois to Texas to North Dakota. From North Dakota he moved to California. I did not pry into his personal life, but I took it to be work that provoked the recent move. He liked to work. He was adventurous. Skydiving thrilled him. Speed did not scare him. Little did. He was a bit fearless. Rules and limits weren’t top priority for him, but it didn’t come across so much as rebellion. It had evolved it appeared, into strength and confidence. I was proud of him.

I don’t know what happened in California. He did not seem content there. Jokingly he had said it wasn’t the place it was the people. He expressed interest in living a quiet life in the country.

In late May and early June there was a series of messages I didn’t quite understand. He asked if I could remember being his mom and I told him I could. He wanted to know about a letter left on the Christmas tree when he was young. He said, “But I know it was from you.” This letter was significant to him. And it prompted him for whatever reason to express his thoughts further to me. He was so open and sincere that I did not have the heart to tell him the letter was not from me. He said, “I have a lot of good memories about you and your family.” I told him there would always be a place for him at my table and a space in my heart. I also told him how I had always felt if I had been older and had more life experience that I could have been a better mom to him. To which he replied, “Well I don’t have any bad memories so that’s a good thing right? Lol. That’s part of why I always tell you Happy Mother’s Day every year. When I think about Mom I think about you, and when I think about my childhood I think about being in Alabama.”

I did sense that his openness that day was somewhat unusual. I asked him if everything was okay. He said, “Life’s been a little rough, but I really can’t complain. There are people who have it worse.” He thanked me for asking.

Other than an exchange of simple, “good mornings,” it would prove to be our final conversation.

Travis Christopher Saferite chose to leave this life Friday, July 13, 2018, in the same way in which he lived – on his own terms. He was 30-years-old…and leaves a permanent emptiness.


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