Travis was the youngest of four children and a joy to all who met him, of which there were many; he was a very outgoing person. From a young age he could always make me laugh. I remember once we were watching a “Feed The Children” commercial and at the end they gave a number to call. Travis asked, “Mom? Can you call them because I’m hungry.”
While reflecting back on his life, it never seemed to be an easy one. He always seemed to have problems to overcome but for the most part, he managed to deal with them in a positive manner. He was 5 years old when he had his first surgery–tubes in his ears for constant ear infections. Walking out of the hospital he looked up at me in amazement: “Mom! I can hear my footsteps on the sidewalk!” It broke my heart, I never realized how much damage the infections had on his hearing, yet he was even finding the good in that.
Looking back over the years, I realize that Travis was like so many others who have anxiety and depression issues. He worked constantly to make those around him feel happy and comfortable while in the meantime he was struggling with his own issues. Travis started medicating or experimenting with drugs in his early teenage years. Unlike so many people who become addicted, he never had a problem with alcohol but worked his way through the lineup of weed, pills, and then Opioids.
If there is one thing I would want people to remember about Travis, it would be his love for his family. He loved me, his mother, and I always knew that. He loved his brother, sisters, young nieces and nephews. Regardless of his own struggles he always took the time to guide them through all aspects of their lives–he cared deeply.
I was so hopeful about Travis beating this and moving on with his life. He was in jail for a probation violation for about 6 months and then moved in with his elder sister for three months. We believe he was clean for those nine months but unfortunately, after getting out of jail he had no health insurance, and he stopped taking medication for depression and anxiety.
He was making changes in his life and posting publicly about them. He talked about his desire to start a family and own a business of his own someday. He was one of the first people in our area to become a certified tree worker from the International Society of Arboriculture. He took pride in his job and was very good at it. Finally he seemed to be focusing on his own life. But it took just once. On May 12th, 2015, my son gave into temptation and it took his life.
On Easter Travis bought me a beautiful pink dogwood tree. On Mother’s Day, two days before he died, he gave me a yellow knockout rose bush. They are both planted in the memorial garden that I have made for him on my property. They grow alongside other plants, stones, and features. I couldn’t spend Christmas with Travis this year so I put a solar powered tree on his memorial spot. It was the closest I could get to him.
The Sheriff’s department of Fauquier County helped me through the process of losing my son more than you could ever know. They asked if they could take their new initiative, the Naloxone Opioid Overdose Reversal Program, and name it after my son. I was honored and the Travis Project was born. First responders and all deputies are now trained and equipped with the medication to save those in the throes of overdose. In the short time since they have implemented the program several lives have been saved.
Losing Travis has left a huge hole in my world, but I know his death has helped others to live and he will always remain in our hearts. He would be proud of the progress we have made.