STEVE STEWART SEMINARS
276 N. El Camino Real, #184
Oceanside CA 92058
www.steve-stewart.com/ChooseLife

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Remembering Travis

May 2nd would have been my son Travis' 46th birthday. But we lost him at the age of 19. Not everyone lives to reach the average lifespan of 78 or 79, the averages for men and women in America. But 19 birthdays was all Travis allowed himself.

This is Travis and me in 1982.
He was 15 years old in this photo.

It took me 20 years and much hard work to vocalize my regrets, to say it aloud. Repression and compartmentalization and I became old friends.

First I had to come to grips with myself. The key for me was that I had focused my memories on Travis' last days, which were his worst, when he needed a loving heart as much as a hand up. We had no idea what he was leading up to, that his final days were near. Therefore I wasn't any good to him at the time I MOST would have wanted to be actively present. He was fine when we last talked. Then in about three days he was gone forever. In my mind, forever being emotionally present in those days was to be with him at his moments of greatest need. That's what fathers want to do - to be right there when we are most needed.

But of course, that isn't real when it's done in hindsight. And it is unspeakably grueling to maintain the fantasy over time. In my case, more than 20 years of the demanding desire to have been Right There.

The solution, for me at least, was to roll back the clock further. Rather than rolling myself back to his final day in 1986, I learned to roll the clock further back to his happier days. As often as I think of Travis, I think of him with kites on a string, of him sitting in beach sand with a castle forming in front of him, of him feeding the seagulls in La Jolla, sitting at the base of our Christmas tree in his robe and pajamas lost in play with his Christmas presents. If I have to pick a time in his life to remember, why not remember him with joy and smiles in his life?

Happy birthday, my son. But today in my mind, rather than forty-six, you are eleven. This is what gets me through the day.

With my love,
Dad

Steve Stewart Seminars | 276 N. El Camino Real #184 | Oceanside CA 92058 | 760-298-8146/Direct 760-216-1353/Cell | www.Steve-Stewart.com/ChooseLife