Firsts without our love

Happy Thanksgiving from The Voracheks! Every year our family hosts Thanksgiving for our families (the Vorachek’s and Kadlecs). Our home is overflowing with love and laughter. Grandpa’s, Grandma’s, Great Grandma Annie, Cousins, Aunts and Uncles will sit and talk for hours- laughing and sharing their stories. Yesterday- was our first Thanksgiving and first holiday without our Travis.

thanksgiving snow by evergreen dad planted
Snowing on Thanksgiving- an evergreen that Travis planted as a little seedling years ago.


I found myself many times going to a room which was empty- so I could gather my composure and cry. I think it was the first Thanksgiving in 26 years that was not with Travis (we started dating 27 years ago).  Everywhere I look- he was there. I could hear him talking to me about the turkey. I could feel his presence watching over me as I was stirring the gravy. He ALWAYS made the gravy. I could imagine him checking the stuffing, tasting the potatoes, basting the turkey. My heart and entire body ached (ALL day).

As always, we decorated our Thanksgiving tables with the fine wedding china Travis had chosen 22 years ago. I wanted something classic and he wanted a little design. I recall going to Daytons to register. We were SO IN LOVE! I also used the Christmas dishes that Travis bought me for my last birthday together (just two days before he went missing). He would have smiled.

Our Jacob was having an emotional day. He was in his room for most the time family as over. His sisters and I would check on him frequently. His face looked so sad. I wanted to hold him and kiss him and love him. I so wish I could take away his pain. I share with him what I have learned and what I have experienced.  “its OK to cry, Its OK to be mad,  it will hopefully get easier”.

I was able to have Jacob join us as we said our prayer before our meal. It didn’t feel the same, we didn’t have Travis. All that I was thankful was right there. My children and my family. Nothing else mattered. I didn’t have Travis. I would never have him again.

our new carver
Travis father- Paul will now be carving the turkey (something that Travis always did and enjoyed).


As people were gathering their food- Jacob sat in the corner of our kitchen counter. He cried. Tears fell down his beautiful face. He was so sad. I cried. I try to be strong- but it just hurts. The pain is excruciating at times. Its numbing. It takes over my entire body. Why did this have to happen? Why? Why do my kids have to suffer so?

my world
our three most beautiful children


The children and I did not sit with our loved ones- We all sat together in our family room- with our new fireplace and the old red wood that Travis was to give us the day he went missing. We sat with Travis- his cattails, his ashes. I didn’t realize that were with sitting with him, until now. As I type this blog. I guess we were together- sharing our little thanksgiving. Jacob and I didn’t eat. I couldn’t make myself eat.

The day was LONG, it didn’t seem right to hear others laugh and smile when Travis wasn’t with us. I know I need to move on, I know I need to be strong for our children. I just cant imagine my life never having him with me (EVER).

Earlier in the day- the children asked about Black Friday shopping. It has been another tradition- the girls and I go out- we sip our starbucks and shop for the best deals- even shopping for ourselves. Sydney is worried about the financial aspects of his death. Will be afford to go shopping- will we be able to live the way we do. She is so smart and she knows that we no longer have his income. I KNOW we will be ok. I KNOW we will be savvy and spend wisely. I hate that my children worry. They have so much to experience, they should be worried about what movie to see, where to hang out with friends, what flavor of starbucks to get—–instead, they are worried if we will be ok financially.

I am so very grateful that Jacobs older cousin came over later in the day. To see him laugh and play floor hockey warmed my heart. To see him take his mind off his father. Jacob, his cousin and uncle went Black Friday shopping for he didn’t want to “be with the girls”.

dads flowers at main table
An arrangement from Travis funeral in our main Thanksgiving table.
thanksgiving roses
The girls know how I love flowers- they made some arrangements for me.



My heart wasn’t in Black Friday shopping, my heart was and is with Travis. I tried to smile. My emotions took over and as my girls walked into a store- I stayed outside and cried. I tried to hold back the tears- but they fell. Of course, Sydney was worried about me and came outside to check on me. How I wish I could be stronger. I have always been one to show my emotions. I believe its one of the things that Travis loved about me. I had severe stomach pains while shopping with the girls. Pains that I have never experienced in my lifetime. I believe they were grief pains. I would tell myself that I was ok, I would try hear Travis voice comforting me. I would try feel his presence. After a while- the abdominal pains did disappear.

I cried myself to sleep- holding his pillow. Missing him terribly.

This morning, I had the strength the turn on Christmas music. How I LOVE Christmas. In years past- I would usually play Christmas songs in October and eagerly wait the day after Thanksgiving to decorate our home. Travis would always joke with me about our “17 Christmas trees” and all the décor. But- I know he LOVED it as much as I did. This year- I will decorate for him. Decorate for our children. I have to continue with the traditions and memories. We will also have to create new.

our girls
Our 2 sassy daughters!

Daily- I see Travis in our children. Their words- their mannerisms, their strength, their determination, their love. They are my strength.

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