The Last Gift

The past few days have been extremely difficult. I find myself talking to Travis. I kiss his urn every morning and throughout the day. I hold the urn and weep and share my thoughts and ask him questions. One would think Im going nuts- holding my dead husbands urn. The silver lined urn is slowly becoming covered in tears and lip prints.

I am still living in a fog, as I write this post, I am siting on our new sectional and staring at the new fireplace that Travis encouraged me to purchase. These pieces of furniture just arrived last month. A few days prior to Travis going missing- I remember sitting on the couch- snuggled by the fire- asking him to come and watch a Christmas show. Everyone who knows me- knows that I LOVE Christmas. I start listening to Christmas music in October. I tape every new Christmas show on Lifetime, Hallmark and Family. The girls and I would always watch the movies. We would do our best to encourage Travis and Jacob to watch with us. Just as he always did- Travis made a smart remark and said he would go downstairs and watch “his shows”. I will never be able to snuggle by our fireplace and watch a movie with my husband.

I sit here looking at the Last Gift that Travis gave me.

15 days ago, Travis went to my brothers farm to pick up his ATV Razor. He texted me stating he had the razor and also the old red barn wood that I had wanted from my Grandpa Kadlec’s farmstead. He was teasing me, asking what I planned on doing with “old wood”. He thought I was crazy when I told him that I needed his help because I wanted to display it in our kitchen (on a large wall).  He reminded of the old milk creamer that was in our front flower garden for years and I just sold it this September (after him asking for the past eight years).

When the law enforcement allowed us to bring Travis pickup and trailer home from the land were his accident and death occured, his pickup was completely empty, no garage door opener, no iphone charger, no carmex, no tin heart container that held his spare change, no business cards. The trailer was also completely empty- except for the planks of old red barn wood. After Jacob and I secured the trailer gate, we drove off in tears. I was leaving without my love,  I carried the very last gift he would ever give me- the old wood.

I could not find the strength or courage to remove the wood from the trailer as it was still connected to the pickup and parked on the street in front of our home. When I drove back to the land with the pickup and trailer to cut down cattails- I had forgot about the wood. As I was traveling, screaming, crying and weeping- I saw red planks flying off the trailer and into the blustery snowy air. I didn’t stop, I was numb, a part of me didn’t care. I was mad that Travis did not physically give me the wood. HE was suppose to bring it to me and help me hang it in our home. We were suppose to make the memory together.The wood was with Travis the last day he was alive, the wood was with my children and me as we drove away from where their father took his last breath, the wood escorted me when I went back to the land to cut down the cattails where Travis body was found.

A few days ago, I did carry each worn, wet, muddy plank into our garage. I wanted to have them, in case I decided to display the wood. They lay next to the cattails which I was preserving. They lay where Travis pickup was to be parked. They lay next to the goose blinds that Travis was drying and was to put back in his goose trailer.  I knew someday I would use them, just not now.

Yesterday morning, Sydney texted me stating she felt “useless”. I asked if I could go to her college home and pick her up. Within 20 minutes I was there. Sydney spent the day with me. We talked about the uncertainty of the world. The unfairness of Travis death. She shared feelings of frustration, wondering what her purpose was in life. Wondering if her father had completed his purpose prior to his untimely death.  Asking if she should complete college, or why people need college. Frustrated that our world revolves around money. Concerned that she may die before achieving her dreams.

final gift with cards

Sydney suggested we display the wood. At times-as like prior occurrences in my life, my children give me strength. Sydney and I delicately carried each plank to place on the wall in the room which had our new fireplace and the new couch that I wanted to snuggle with Travis prior to his death. The planks are on the wall and will be a daily remembrance of his last gift to us. As I sit here now, looking at the planks, sipping my coffee (which he should be sipping with me), I am flooded with memories. Memories of our love and our family. Sad and cheated that we will never make new memories together. We also placed the preserved cattails next to the wood. The cattails stand tall, slim and strong- just like our Travis. They are looking over us.



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