Pandemonium (the last portin of part 1) ….

We left of as Shelly was trying to turn around to see the casket for one last time — let’s pick up and finish up —

I don’t know what happened next.

I walked out, and hugged his family goodbye, see you tomorrow for the ceremony and that they would be over earlier to go to the ceremony together.

I dreaded tonight and tomorrow morning. I would go early so the girls could somehow adjust to the surroundings.

Night came, the house seemed so empty, mom had left already, it was just me and the girls.  I went through the fridge to find some type of food, oh wait, there was a box dropped off earlier by Suzy.  I went through the box, made a quick meal for the girls, let them eat and put them in bed.  I walked through the house, so clustered, such disarray.  Travis’s cloths already donated, they had to be donated, except a few outfits that I had kept, His uniforms, so they girls could know what their daddy did, still hung up, his bulky shoes still on the mat. Mail piled high on the stand in the kitchen, and now a pile of cards to open and read.  I made some coffee, and started.  reading the sympathy cards.  At times, they do find the right words, some cards had checks and some had cash.  So thoughtful, so appreciated, at least I knew I could buy some groceries next week, and that I could pay some bills.  My dad made sure that I had contacted the Survivor’s link to report Travis death, and reassured me that the girls and I could be finically decent until I found a job, after finishing school.

It took a while but the last card was read, last name written down, for I needed to remember to send out Thank you cards, and wrote down the names of all the fire halls to send thank you notes.  Death. Funeral. They say a divorces are hard and difficult and the mounds of paperwork to go through, proving death to my school was hard.

Morning came, and it was time to get ready for the ceremony the girls dressed in white and black polka dot sundresses with a big pink button on the side.  Take away the situation they looked adorable. I couldn’t drive that day either, so Lizzy drove me, as Suzy and her family my parents and the girls.

We pulled into the driveway; I glanced at the sign near the road, which read

R.I.P Travis Silver.

I entered the building that had already members from surrounding fire communities, family, friends, and even scattered family members from previous chapters of my life, adopted parents, foster parents and biological parents.  I made my way up to the front and sat with my youngest on my lap.  I turned around and once again tears welled up in my eyes seeing a sea of black uniformed caps on the heads of the members of the fire community.  All uniforms crisp, faces weary, eyes red, backs straight.  It would make one proud to see such a sight.  Goosebumps ran down my body.

As I turned around, seeing the American flag and the fire community flag next to Travis’s closed casket, I couldn’t think.  I so wanted an open casket but it was told to me that it would be an inconvenience for they would have to usher everyone out to close the lid.

One of the firemen form his company came forward, Terry, one of the co-workers of Travis, who helped him by coaching him to lose weight.

“Let me assure you right now, today…. that spark you saw in his eyes was 100 times brighter when he talked about you and the two girls. The three of you were the light in his life,” said firefighter Terry.

Oh, that spark. Travis’s eyes would sparkle when he would retell a story of how a fire was put out, or whose life was just saved.

Another firemen went on to say” He had great skills and respectable bed-side manner,” said Captain Otter. “He and I recently took an ITLS class together, and Travis really excelled, even doing better than some Paramedics in the course.”

Towards the end of the ceremony, Jim came forward with the words,

“This is the last call, for Cherry Hill firefighter Travis Silver. In your short time in the Cherry Hill Fire Department, you touched many lives. Thank you for your dedication, sense of humor, and huge heart. Although you are gone you will never be forgotten. God Bless.”

As the assembly said farewell to Silver after the services, his final call came from dispatch.

The golden bell reminded me of a smaller bell from Pa.

As it was struck three times, chills ran down my spin.

One. Goosbumps, I tried to swallow my tears.

Two. My God this is happening. I tighten my hold on my Daughter.

Three. No. No.

Someone was tapping me. It was time to rise. My mom takes my daughter from me. The pallbearers start to carry the casket, the congregation starts to walk out the back. My body quivering I follow, Lizzy next to me, carrying me as I try to keep my head up.  We walk out of the rec room.  We slowly and solemnly walk out the side doors and there was a line of firefighter’s on both sides of me, bag pipers are playing Amazing Grace in the background. The respect that was being shown for the man Travis was beautiful.

The pallbearers stop as they reach the Hurst.  Oh God, this is not happening, I wanted to rush forward, throw back the lid, this was not happening, he was alive, he was somewhere, this is not true.  But I know it, this was the last time, I would ever be close to him again, even it was five feet away, even if it was in a casket, it was his body, his soul was not there, it was here, it was surrounding us.  I shake as the pipes are played, the scanners go off

“This is the last call for Firefighter Travis, May You Rest in Peace” —

The back doors of the Hurst are shut.  The director gets into his vehicle and drive off, leaving the assistant director in charge.  His assistant stays, and motions for everyone to go inside for refreshments and lunch.  I couldn’t eat.  I just couldn’t, I could hear laughter as stories are swamped, tales are traded, and memories are being remembered and made.  A while passes and the chief calls me up to the floor.

“When a firefighter passes, such as Travis, we retire the number, and give the helmet to his spouse” he says.

“Mrs. Silver will you accept this offer”  the chief asks of me.

“Yes, and please, remember, my door is always open, please stop by, anytime”, I reminded them and gingerly took Travis’s fire helmet out of the chief’s hands.

“Thank you” the chief says and the circle of firemen nodded their heads in appreciation.

“And thank you” I told the chief and nodded back to the circle of firemen.

I clutch the helmet like my life depended on it, It still smelled like him, it still smelled like smoke and sweat.  Such a relief.

I wouldn’t have his body in three days, but later that day as the family gathered at my house and sat at the dining room table I made it aware to the family that I planned on putting him to rest as soon as I received the ashes.

“Better not be Friday”, his younger sister quipped,” its show day, “

“What” I asked in disbelief.

“It’s show day at the fair, Scotty is showing his cow, we can’t bury Travis Friday”

What the fuck I think. You mean to tell me you prefer showing some piece of beef then burying your brother.

“Okay” I managed to say.  “Is there anything can do, o that you want to remember Travis by.  Luke, I am giving you his shotgun since you two had that memory when you were younger.  Please take it and remember Travis fondly”.

“Thank you. Do you want anything for it”. Luke asks.

“No, why would I charge, this is something that you had with him”.

“Oh Shelly, while were here, we think you should hire an attorney to handle the paperwork for the accident” Luke says with a matter of fact attitude and the rest of the siblings nodded and leaned in with approval of what Luke has just said.

“Huh?” I ask, I had no idea what they were talking about.

“You will need an attorney we have one in mind, he’s good Chester knows him”.

“No I don’t know him, someone I know knows him”, Chester says, correcting Luke.

“Anyways, the sooner the better, you need to file a lawsuit and sue the other driver, you should c’mon Shelly, the other driver killed Travis, he is alive, he basically took food of your table, cloths of your back and money out of the bank by killing Travis, he was the breadwinner, and you cant afford daycare and a job!… not in this town, and yeah, you’re in school, you can’t get a job right now and be able to do it all.  Besides he needs to be brought to justice, make him pay for the pain you feel”. Luke declares.

Okay, I was accepting of the help from an attorney that I had no idea how I would be able to afford, but any help with the paperwork form the car insurance would be gladly be accepted, for I had no idea what paperwork laid in store for me, all I know is that it was a lot.

After meeting with the attorney some of my anxiety was put to rest, but I was still skeptical, so much had happened in these four days; I hopped on Facebook to see what was happening in the on-line world to escape my reality.  The house was still oddly quiet, there were dishes in the sink, still hadn’t eaten that day, and the pile of mail…but…it could wait, why bother?

I penned the following after looking at Travis’s page, to read what other’s had written to him,

To my Teddy Bear,

It has been a week since you were taken from us. The pain in my heart it’s just. I cannot find a word for it..but bear with me love, you know I eventually find a word…you know…I wanted to tell you that your daughter’s are in excellent hands and that not to worry there is an extraordinary support team standing behind us… I miss you, miss you more than words can explain. The time you asked me to go out with you still plays in my head like it just happened yesterday…your laugh, your touch and your smell …. your hugs could just make everything bad disappear…I wasn’t afraid of the world when you were here for we fought together… but then again if I was the world I wouldn’t want to mess with us either ..col.. we were perfect together ….. well at least in heaven you can bite those fingernails all you want — col — I love you Travis, and I know it will sound childish but it’s not fair…. but we need to understand that heaven may need you more than us (even though that is difficult to process)… you have a blast up there, and I will see you when it’s my time —

Something changed in me that night.  I switch was turned on or off, not sure what.  I was now the head of my household, I was the women in charge, I was now a single mother of two beautiful girls, my husband was killed, and now, I was on the path to find out what, why, and what the fuck needed to be done next, and I dared to whomever in my path to stay there.  The next two days where tedious, getting caught up on the gardens, going through the fridge  that had barely been open, phone calls to the funeral home for now they could give me back his uniform, his rings that he had on those two days, as well as the urns that contained Travis’s now cremated body.  What once was flesh was now turned to ash.

Holding his rings just started to clarify that his body was not here anymore.  They had become ashes, why of course, they were ashes, these urns held what used to be his physical body.  I have one, his sister who cared, and the fire hall, the three places that he loved to be at, three places where he felt happy.

Now it was time to bury the ashes, the day was sunny, but not our hearts as we stood under the tent, I did not shed a tear, but I was choked up.  I was becoming angry, I was angry, how dare he leave us.  Only a handful of people came out, and it seriously started to dawn on me how things were going to be played out, how empty the words actually were, how insincere some comments were.

I came home, fed the girls, laid them down for their afternoon nap and penned these words:

Would like to take the time to thank each and every individual that has stood by our family in this time of sorrow. We appreciate it. Even though Travis’ body has been laid to rest today,  the memories of him will never die nor fade away. – August 6 – 2011

“Ah, to think how thin the veil that lies Between the pain of hell and Paradise.” George William Russell

After Travis’s body was laid, the traffic died down immensely, but, that was already taking place.  Barley anyone called, texted, stopped by or anything.

Days afterwards of burying Travis’s body, the harassments from the neighbors started.  Cruel words were said, crude and cruel comments were thrown my way.  The hurt that was felt got to the point, I couldn’t even open my curtains for the taunts were so earsplitting horrendous.

I had to start to look for a new home for my daughter’s and myself.  Not even a month had passed since I laid my husband, my daughter’s father to rest.

Luckily, I still had the support from Suzy who gave me a night off one Friday. I took the chance to clean out the garage that night.  I walked into the two car cement garage with the paint peeling on the sides, and I felt weary already.  I took down some construction helmets that were resting on the garage shelves, my fingers grazed the stickers that Travis and I had placed there not even three years ago, his scent wafted towards my nose, and I knew I needed help to get this job done.

I ran towards the back entrance of our three bedroom home and grabbed the full bottle of whiskey, two bottles of rum and a full bottle of hypnotic, and carried them out to the garage.  I downed the bottle of hypnotic like it was water.  I started to throw odds and ends into a box…stuff I had no clue whether or not to keep but I knew this had to be done.  As I downed the bottle of rum, I walked over and bent down to hold close to my heart ..his helmet, and smelled his scent that still lingered, I started to ball, now the bottle of rum was gone. I crawled over to my whiskey, unscrewed the lid and started to gulp the liquid down.  It felt like syrup as it passed my taste buds. As I sat there, memories washed over me, I started to succumb to the alcohol that was inside.  With each gulp, the pain started to subside, as I finished the whiskey I collapsed on the garage floor, holding tight to the helmet that Travis and I stickered together with his names and Union only stickers.

I was awoken suddenly to my phone ringing, my speech still slurred it was Lizzy

“Hey girl , how you doing” she says cheerfully.

“Not good, I need someone” I slurred as I try to sit up.

“Oh …I’m sorry I already drove by, wish I could have swung by….you sound kinda drunk you ok” Lizzy says.

“No, I need him Lizzy” I started to weap again.

“Oh, I know sweetie we all do” Lizzy says trying to console me, all I could think was Fuck you saying we all.

“I started to pick up the garage and I came across his helmet Lizzy, …I started to cry it still has his scent” I went on to tell Lizzy.

“Oh that sucks Shelly, I am on my way up to meet Daren, you know that cutie I told you about” Lizzy says.

“I need someone here Lizzy” I cried unto her.

“I know sweetie we all need someone” Lizzy stated.

Then it hit me like a plank, it was only the girls and I.

In a way it’s sad but sweet …. both girls now hold onto multiple pictures off their daddy to go to sleep …. During the day those pictures barely leave their hands well except to get after one another …

“Oh okay Lizzy you go have some fun”.

That night I would have the shock of my life, for a distant friend of Travis would stop by.  After I hung up with Lizzy.  Matt phoned and said that Lizzy had called him, and it sounded like I could use someone.  I said I did.

I rushed inside the best I could in the somewhat stupor shape I was in, brushed my teeth and fixed my face and hair for it was just horrid.

I had mentioned to Lizzy earlier that week that I wanted to pack the china cabinet that still held Travis’s ashes and photos with other mementos, but I needed help packing them for the move, for I felt like I was packing him away.  All I could say if someone asked me at that point would be to:

When I hear silence all I want is to hear ur voice/laugh/ur heartbeat… when i see ur pic all i want is u in mortal form.. when i try to sleep at night all I want is u too say hush my love it’s gonna be alright and wrap me in ur strong arms … they say time will heal … but my heart is still heavy … my muscles ache and my heart/soul/eyes r still waiting for u to come

I cannot believe it — I am already halfway through this current term and need to register for next term classes as I am packing.  I felt like saying “c’mon life give me anther fucken ball and I will  hit it right out of the atmosphere, like I haven’t had enough for a while.

The move went decently enough, never know I had so much shit, until I started to pack a three bedroom house myself, I was fortune, for I had help from Travis’s brothers and family.  It was odd; since Travis had passed the brothers appeared to be somewhat humane towards me.  Yet, perhaps it was because of the girls and the responsibility they felt.  It can be sad that it takes a death for family to feel that.

I reached out one more time through Facebook,

Would like to take the time to thank each and every individual that has stood by our family in this time of sorrow. We appreciate it. Even though Travis’s body has been laid to rest, the memories of him will never die nor fade away.

Even though these have been beyond trying days I am very deeply appreciated of every text/calls …. my door is open to anyone/everyone that wants to share memories and or even cry….. We all know Travis…yet we all carry a different piece of him…..

There was no response, my phone didn’t ring or text.  I was alone in this canyon, I was my own guide.

It was early September now; the girls and I moved to a house that we had hoped to call home.  But there was a flaw.  The house was located near the lake, where there was a special moment that I held dear and near to my soul.  Within five hundred feet where I would lay my head down at night was also the same place where Travis confessed his love he had for me.

When we had started to date we had to do it in secrets of his family for the crudeness that was shown, my parents were happy that their daughter was happy.  One day, I had enough once again for what I was hearing through the grape vine; never know so much of one until you speak with the town gossip, so in retaliation I penned these words

seriously — want to know how i truly feel — okay here it goes — every muscle in my body hurts and aches -from the top of my head to the soles on my feet- I can’t sleep — my girls are always up to no good (always getting into mischief and making messes – but hey that’s kids for you — right?)– i had to move for the safety of my family only a little after a month after my husband was killed — my world is shattered yet I’m still trudging on — i hit a bottle after bottle after bottle for one night cried my eyes out laying on the garage floor for i found a helmet that my husband had worn that we put together with those “stupid” stickers on it — i smelled it and it still smelled like him — every day is battle that i feel as though i am losing — yet i still trudge on — each day i feel as though something else is about to be taken from me — so this is how i feel — it is so flippen u know what — it’s so fucken irritating how you try to be so good and remain so fen positive and u still end up paying the price for someone else — it is so fucked up that now every time i have to explain to someone new that yes my husband is deceased — I don’t want pity –i want to be able to talk about him and have the ability to give them the understanding that Travis was an incredible man -I want to share stories with others that knew him as well- what else is fucked up — each day my girls are numerous times saying “daddy in heaven” and sometimes they do it out in public — of course heads turn — and yes i say “yes daddy is in heaven but what else is daddy” — they pipe up and say “daddy a hero “– so yes — i may appear to be “ok” — but lets take a deeper look then just the shallow outer appearance — lets look into the eyes and see the hurt the pain — lets listen to my heart that aches/and is broken — i seriously just want to give the fucken middle finger to the “time will heal” bs… but hey lets go back to where I normally pipe up with each negative comment and say well at least — (for yes, i can be quite levelheaded) and say that yes we moved to a place that is nicer — yea – guess what — about 500 ft. from where I sit now is the place where Travis first told me he loved me — 500 ft from where i sit now we planned our 1st move together — 500 ft from where i sit we would spend so much time together just sitting and gazing out at the water. Watching — talking– getting to know one another on a more deeper level — so with this battle inside my heart the battle inside my mind — the battle that I fight for my girls — the battle i fight just to get by — no one will truly comprehend – no one (ok perhaps a few will ) can understand thoroughly how mentally/emotionally/physically exhausting each day is- and that is another fucked up concept — so that is how i truly feel — i feel — i feel fucken old – sept 6, 2011

sep 28

My Love,

You know…it has been 9 weeks…yeah…i cannot believe it .. it feels like just yesterday when the news came of how you would not be coming home to us..ur wife…ur daughters….each time i ponder about how we will go on without you here it breaks my heart…each time i think about how it was you who would walk down the aisle to give our beautiful daughters away on the day they will wed i cry …. how we were going to make our children’s futures and childhood better then ours … and now …. or how when our daughters give us grandbabies … or how we would talk about our girls going into sports and how we were both gonna try and be there to cheer them on …. or how you wanted to advance everything you know …. or how we were gonna redo our vows …. each time these and more thoughts cross my mind not only am i wanting to cry but i become angry love…. I don’t understand how someone as strong and unbreakable as you … someone that was trying to create such a positive and healthy role model for their children can be taken… and how someone that is a disgusting piece of human flesh can still walk around disgracing the community they live in … babe just remember i love u …. and god damn no words can express how much i really miss u — ur essence — ur touch — ur soul -ur mind – ur hugs – ur everything — i miss hearing ur voice as read to the children — i miss talking with you — i miss seeing u at the end of the day and u telling me everything that had happened — i miss cooking/baking for u — i miss taking care of u — i miss ur spontaneous and adventurous spirit — i miss cuddling with you — you made me feel so safe — i miss .. i miss .. u….. i miss seeing you holding the girls — i miss ur laugh — i miss us …. i even miss us taking each others toothbrushes -( but hey u started it )- i miss ur little quirks and i miss our ability to compromise on anything — i am exhausted without u — i miss helping u on anything that u needed — i would say let me know if u need anything up in heaven cause i would try to send something but u wouldn’t — ur soul was pure — all i want is one last day with u but … i know that can not happen — i miss hearing i love u coming form u — u were so gentle yet so invincible —- u were perfect and we were perfect together —

I am tired, Beloved,

of chafing my heart against

the want of you;


squeezing it into little ink drops,

And posting it.

~Amy Lowell,

Your Green Eyed Vamp, (col .. I can still remember how you picked that one)

And some more from “Pandemonium” …..

I am actually quite happy with myself for releasing parts of my novella to the public….granted it may not be for all, but it can be helpful to some …

Yesterday we left off as Shelly was overcome with the emotional pain that she felt after speaking with Travis who was lying dead in the casket …

I kissed his forehead, hugged him once again, and starting to walk away.   I couldn’t, halfway down the aisle, I stopped, collapsed on the floor, and started to bawl my body just rocking back and forth.  My mind was spinning, my world upside down, by heart shattered, my soul broken.

Felt like a lifetime went by until the tears stopped, but they did, I stood up and walked out.  As I was walking down the aisle, I was stopped by another uniformed firemen.

“Shelly there is a man here, claiming to be your father and a female claiming to be your sister”

How the fuck did they find out? I thought. Who the hell told them?  Oh my god, there is going to be an incident, they are going to cause a scene.

“I don’t want them here” I remarked.

“Do you need me to handle this, and tell them to go away”

“No, I will handle this” I reasoned with myself, that sure I can take this on as well.

Sure as shit, as I opened a side door, there they were. Pathetic.  Oh, how am I am gonna do this I thought.

“Hello Dad, hello Ashely” I said with bitterness.

“Hello Daughter, we came, how are you” he said.

By no means was this male my dad, nor my father. He just participated in the act that created me.  All the bull that he has pulled through the years, raping my mother, not being able to provide, preferring alcohol and tools before providing for his infant daughter’s.  The things this male has done, whatever.

“Travis is inside”, I told them.

“We can’t stay long daughter” Fred said. Good I thought.

Fine, that’s okay with me I thought.  “Oh, okay” I said.

As we walked towards the casket,   Ashley remarked “It smells in here, why does it smell”?

I blow the question off. No sense in trying to explain it to her, she’s 24 and has the brain of a seven year old.

They quickly glance at Travis and diverted their eyes. Within ten seconds of being in the building and seeing Travis, their bullshit started.  This time car problems.  Normally, I would listen and give some helpful hints or tips.  This time, I couldn’t take it.

“You know what, that is my husband, the father of your nieces, your granddaughters, I do not have time right now, nor do I care, right now, if you cannot show respect for Travis or myself, who you claim to love and care for, then get out”

They turned and left.  A month later, I changed my number, and haven’t seen them nor heard from them ever again.

The second wake was about to start.  I walked back to the bay area of the firehouse and stood next to Lizzy.  A couple of firemen came up to me, eyes stricken with grief, as I look at them, I reassured them that it was going to be okay, they couldn’t talk.

IT was time. Time for me to take my place next to Travis’s side again.  Suzy came back up and took her place as well as Lizzy would too, but behind me.

Seven different fire companies stopped by this time.  Trails of black, blue, green, white uniforms each color from different company.  These were men and women that I didn’t know, but somehow Travis knows them.  Lives that were touched by them, served with them.  Majority of the members would come up to me, shake my hand or hug me, giving me their condolences, and tell me of what a great man Travis was, and what a lost to the community it was.

There was a spell of where there was not a soul up near the casket and I looked across the rec hall to the family and friends that were sitting in chairs, some in groups, some swapping stories, some wiping tears, some just in a trance.

“Such a great man, so youthful” I overheard a person say.

Out of nowhere, a young woman entered jean shorts, a tee-shirt, beautiful hair, red eyes, rush up to the casket, look, and rush out while saying “I’m sorry”.  I had no idea who that was.

Minutes later, co-workers stepped up, saying it took some time to make it up here, I just couldn’t, I can’t, he, he was so great to work with”. There were people who couldn’t make it up to the casket, for they couldn’t bring themselves to do so.

8:00 p.m came, I watched people leave. The Honor guard that was guarding my husband’s body was dismissed for the night.  No, it was not time.

I glanced back and there out of nowhere was a line of uniformed officers lining the walls of the rec hall.  I was surrounded.  No.  No.  They cannot shut the lid.  No.  They cannot take him away. I felt tears rise up.  No. I was looking at his body for the last time.  The very last time to see his face, his chest, his nose, mouth, ears, fingers, legs, feet and so much more.

Suzy wept “can’t be time, can it, no Travis, Shelly, can’t you do something… don’t, it …cant…be..time”.

I watched as she bent down to hug her baby brother for the very last time.  Weeping Suzy says “we are going to miss you Travis.”  Her husband proceeded.

Me.  I wanted everyone out.

“Can we keep the lid open, please, I begged”


“Can I sleep here, one last night”.


Oh my god, my body started to shudder, I bent down to give Travis his last hug, I fixed his collar, kissed his hands, looked at his nails, which her bitten unbelievably short, no dirt though.  After hugging him, the last time I saw Travis was through a blur of tears, as I walked down the aisle. I tried to turn around but I was instantly meant with a wall of uniformed officers, I couldn’t even see the casket anymore.

.. a tad bit more from “Pandemonium”

Yesterday we left off as Shelly was seeing Travis in the casket … let us pick up now —

As I stepped closer and closer I could see Travis’s hands placed carefully on his stomach one hand over the other.

So grey, so lifeless. Travis was indeed dead (or a very well done imitation of Travis being dead).

I felt like letting out a shriek of despair, my baby, my love, my teddy bear, my all, now he lies here cold and frozen in time.


Next to his casket stood two solid firemen that were standing guard. Travis was going to have a firemen’s guard, where every two hours they would change guard.  In their hands they held an ax. The American Flag proudly displayed next to his casket, a few feet away stood the bell.

I finally forced myself to make the last couple of steps to his side, and I wanted to collapse, for this is what I had been waiting for the last couple of days, just to see him. I had asked if I could see him at the morgue before but was denied, or perhaps they don’t get that question a lot.

I lifted each of my daughter’s in tears, so they could tell their daddy their last goodbyes.  My oldest waves, tries to give a hug, and cries as she says,

“I wuv you Daddy” Catherine says not quite sure exactly what is happening.

My youngest at the age of two, knows something is wrong, but waves her bye-bye to daddy

“wuv you too daddy” Marissa utters outs.

Here Travis lies, in his black, sleek, crisp firemen’s uniform.  On his left ring finger, his wedding band.  On his right, the platinum band that I had personalized just for him, for his birthday. In the middle of the top of the thick band was the firemen’s emblem. I traced the symbol with my fingers, while the memory of how this ring caused a little controversy came to mind.  I had just given this ring to his birthday last March and on inside the band in old English the words “MY HUSBAND MY HERO” engraved.  I thought he would love it, which he did, he just mentioned that

“It feels weird to wear two rings, and I think I look gay”

“No you don’t look weird, it looks good on you” I had told him.

I couldn’t look at his face yet, I couldn’t, but my eyes traveled up his body, and my eyes eventually landed on his strong, but now lifeless face.  In his black hat  he used to carry the pictures of his girls on the inside top pocket, I knew it was still tucked inside.  They had asked to make sure that the outfit would have a hat of some sorts. They wanted to make sure that gash on his head was not visible to others.

“How did he get a gash on his head?” I questioned when I was told this, well like the director would know that.

His friend Mark had replied,

“Shelly, when his truck flew and hit the tree, the impact caused the gash on his forehead”

That had sucked my heart further.

Now, here he is, I started to hear voice behind me,

“Oh my god,” Suzy, whispered, hand on her mouth, tears whelming up in her eyes.

“MY brother, my brother, Travis, why?”

I couldn’t answer, but soon…soon the building will fill.

I must take my spot now. I assumed, for I saw a uniformed fireman start to walk up to me, hands directing me to my seat, my chair next to Travis’s casket.

This is not happening, I must be in a dream.  I have to be.

I sat down, but tried to keep my chin up.  I started to notice friends, family and his co-workers walk in, some walking directly up in the aisle and  some walking to the side where there was three picture boards set up.  Yesterday afternoon and evening I had spent a few hours trying to create his life in pictures.  How do you do that? Thirty five years in pictures but only on boards, but I did, somehow I had and had brought in little memoirs from each chapter of his life.  Displayed were helmets from road construction crews, the cigars he had bought when the girls were born, his high school diploma, all his certifications he had earned from OSHA to the more recently medical certifications.

As I stood next to him, I wanted to reach out and wake him up, hug him, but I couldn’t and I had done that already, his body was so…so very cold, so frozen.  His heartbeat was not there no more, and I already miss that to no end.

After an hour of listening to some more apologies, shaking hands, wiping away tears, and most not mine, reassuring everyone that the girls were fine, and that I was, well good as I could have been.

I needed a smoke. Lizzy signaled a fireman that I needed a break.  He mentioned that to take the back door for some privacy.

I had to, not only to wipe my tears, but to lessen my anger for what I had just witnessed.

Travis’s family was never close, I mean damn, when we first started to date, one brother would yell crude terms out at me, and it was hard to avoid at times.  My mom and step-dad dad lived right next to Travis’s family for years.  Travis took an interest in me after I meant and reconnected with my mother a year before. Travis had finically supported his brothers and mother for years, and when he eventually moved out four years ago they were furious.  When our courtship first began his mother had accused me of just being with him for his money, I often wondered what money and so did Travis.  Yet, three months after dating we had moved in together and he had to undergo kidney surgery. His mother started to like me, but never talked to me.  His father had divorced and moved out when Travis was eighteen.

And now, his father entered the building, with his booming voice, and his behavior acting like he was the father of the year.  What the hell. Inferiority. Oh, and his brother-in-laws family just coming in and automatically turning their backs on Travis, never looking at the coffin which held the man that worked for hem for years in his youth.  Never, stopping by to even give their condolences to me or Suzy. I couldn’t take it. I had to get some fresh air.

I as I sat down on the cement block, Lizzy sat down next to me,

“How you holding up” as she held me and whispered in my ear.

“I, don’t know Lizzy, it is so hard, I don’t know what to do”

“People have starting to hand me cards, they’re in a pile on a chair, you should read them”

“I will, ..later”

“Okay let’s get back in side”

I opened the door, tried to throw my shoulders back, trying to act strong.

His sister Suzy soon placed a chair next to mine, which in a sense gave me some strength.

I observed his two brothers on the other side of the hall, elbows on their knees, heads in their hands, every now and then glancing up at their baby brother for one, older brother for the next, and I caught them once glancing at me.  I wondered if now, if they were sorry of how they treated all of us, his brother, their nieces, and me.

It was brake time, for two hours then the second wake would start.  I dreaded every minute, for I know that soon it would be time to close the lid on the casket.  I had hoped for an open casket so I could have a few more minutes to see him, before his body was never mine again.

I had to walk out, but requested that I have some time alone with him.  My wish was granted.  I walked down the hall where the rest of the siblings were, the kitchen for lunch.  I was sick; I did not want to eat.  I sat down, and clutched our wedding bands, and my engagement ring that was on a long silver chain that was given to me my Lizzy.  I listened as everyone talked, talked about the news, and swapping some stories about Travis.

“Shelly” Tim said, another fireman that served quite often with Travis, who also had daughter’s that were the same age as Travis and mine.  “You need to eat, have you eaten anything”?

“No” Lizzy said, she hasn’t eaten anything since Wednesday

“Shelly, we cannot have you faint or pass out, please eat something, even if it’s a bite of the cake, just eat, you look so pale.”

“Or” Lizzy who was trying to be funny now “We can hook you up to an IV line”

“Fine” I tried to shovel a couple of bites of cake in, it was decent.

I told Lizzy and the firemen that I need some time to be with Travis.

As I walked I felt like a zombie, felt like I was in a different life, I peeped through the window on the door that led to the rec hall, I saw Mark and his wife sitting next to Travis.

Mark’s head was in his hands, elbows on the knees, I could see his shoulders moving up and down, he was sobbing, his wife’s arm reached out to rub his back, I backed off, and snuck outside to smoke.

I walked outside to have a smoke; there were a few stranglers left over, and some firemen from two other companies mingling about.  I was still in a daze; a few firemen mentioned that it was going to be a okay and how great a guy and fireman Travis was.

I put my cigarette out, thanking them, and that yes he was.

Now it was my time, my time to be alone with my husband, my time to be with the man that I loved and admired and looked up too.  This was the man that I adorned, who taught me so much.  This man that was so strong, and that at first glance nothing could take him down.  Travis was this man, a big burly man, arms so strong that at one time we measured to see if my thigh muscles was larger or smaller than his bicep, of course, his bicep was larger than my thigh.

As I moved towards his casket, so many words, so much to say, so little time.  I placed my chair closer to the casket, but I bent down to hug him, but my tears shoke my whole body,.

“Why Travis, why. We were so good together. You were so strong, so powerful, so invincible. Why. I am so sorry Travis, so very sorry.  What am I going to do without you. Our girls, Travis, what about our girls.  Who is going to help rear them, who will walk them down he aisle. Travis, I am so mad now, you, you Travis, you were supposed to walk them, teach them, be their daddy Travis.”

I sat down, and wiped my face, tried to wipe the tears away that was on his uniform.  I held his hands, and just sat.  I told him, about the updates about our girls, who were with my mom at the house.

“Travis, I will do the best I can.  Those girls will be okay, I promise you, in my best ability to do the best I can.”

I kissed his forehead, hugged him once again, and starting to walk away.   I couldn’t, halfway down the aisle, I stopped, collapsed on the floor, and started to bawl my body just rocking back and forth.  My mind was spinning, my world upside down, by heart shattered, my soul broken.

..and as mentioned a little bit more from Part 1 of “Pandemonium” ..

We left off as Catherine/Marissa were brought down from upstairs —

“Where daddy” a sleepily three year old Catherine inquired. Her red curls, ivory perfect skin, emerald green eyes, one could see the Irish in this one.

“Where daddy, mummy” Catherine asks again.

As they look at my tear staid face, red puffy eyes face couldn’t lie of how weary I was already. Both girls now show signs of concern.

“Where daddy” Catherine asks this time more concerned than ever. I look to my parents for some type of sign.  I look around the room, for some sign, something, something that would assist me in breaking the news that the man that played with them, called them their pet names, the one that could wrap them up in his strong arms, the one that kissed their bo-bo’s away was never coming home. How do you break this type of news to an innocent three and two year old.

As I kneel down to look them in the eyes, holding them tight I forced myself to say, forcing back tears, forcing back just desiring to curl in a ball myself.

“Baby girls, daddy not coming home, daddy, daddy went to heaven” I silently whimpered to my girls.

“Where heaven mommy?” Catherine questions of me.

I point to the skies (which was just the celling at the time) and suffer through more tears,

“Up there girls, daddy in heaven up there” I could barely get the words out, as I saw the precious faces, trying to cope, trying to understand what their mommy was telling them.

“Can we go,we be good” Catherine asks eagerly.

“No girls”, I look them in the eyes and say, “once we are in heaven there is no coming back” but oh god, I wish there was a way.

Dread. Oblivion. Duty. This became the following hours and weeks.  Dread to inform family and friends.  Oblivion to the outside world.

I showered, barely remembering how to do this, crying in the shower bracing myself against the walls.

I force myself to wash, dry off, walk down the empty upstairs hallway to what used to be our bedroom to dress.  What the hell do I wear. I could not even look at myself in the mirror, I did not want to see myself.  The following days I refused to eat.. to sleep.  Why should I eat and sleep, how could I betray Travis like that. I pick up a shirt of Travis and just crumbled to the ground.  I laid on the floor next to the bed, hugging his shirt that still had his scent, his scent.

Then I heard some sounds coming from below, my mother’s voice, and some ones that I could not recognize.

Soon a congregation was at my home,

Someone mentioned to me that there was a fireman at the front door

I walk to the front door and look down the four cement steps at a man in a firemen’s uniform.

“Hello, my name is Mark”.  (god I remember Travis saying his name, he was supposed to be his man of honor).  I look him up and down, but too tired to process much of what was being said.

I never meant this man before, but he goes on to say that,

“I feel like I know you and the girls well.  Travis always talked about you and the girls, do not worry we are handling things well down at the hall. We have Travis’s uniform out in the front, with his helmet.  There is a group of guys down at the hall just talking about Travis”….in my mind I already feel betrayed, why can’t you come here and talk about him, he was my husband, I want in too, but I keep my mouth shut.

Wtf.  I want to talk too..about him, to him…to my Travis.

So I dialed his number…which went to his voicemail..what was I expecting, him to pick up or something, so I let it go to voicemale and through tears I say,

“Hi honey, it’s me     I just wanted to tell you that I love you (I am starting to break down again)…so I wanted to tell you I love you one more time, have fun up there, we miss you soo so much”……

During the morning the fire hall brought over coffee and doughnuts, I did not want a flippen doughnut, but the gesture was so sweet, of course the girls loved the attention but didn’t understand the solemn faces, evening came, and I get another shock of my life.

By that time his two brothers and sisters along with their children and husbands and arrived.  With people scattered around the house and afternoon stretched into the evening before anyone knew it the 6:00p.m news had come on. As I and the family were preparing for what had previously been told to us that the accident may end up on the news this evening. One of the two anchormen announces a somber tone,

“We have solemn news in the community of Cherry Town where a volunteer firefighter was killed in an overnight crash”

By the time “solemn new” was mentioned I flew into the living room and rushed my girls out as I was following them to make sure their eyes would not avert to the television screen eyes found their way to the television screen and there was his red dodge truck ..Crushed like a tin can.

My hands flew to cover my mouth hand I gasped in horror as that image that was being processed by my mind.  Front end looked like an accordion and the front driver door looked like it was ripped off by the great hulk himself. But probably more realistically it was looking the Jaws of Life had to be used to pull Travis out of the truck.  The roof was caved in and my only thought was that my love was in pain, my husband was in pain and followed by who the fuck did this to him, he….he was in pain.

Not the way out if Travis had his way.  God if it was his choice in how he would die it would have been in a fire saving some poor soul from the burning blazes of hell.

The reporter went on discussing some of the know details of the accident. I was like stone, just limp from the image forever engrained in my memory.  Shock. Disbelief.  Family was saying something to me or was it to each other. I don’t know.  I could not process.

The siblings soon left, with condolences and if you need anything just call.  The look I must have given to them, they all looked away for  they understood, what  I needed was obvious but it could not be bought from the store and could not be taken care like an errand.

More phone calls had to be made after everyone left. Its only Thursday not even 48 hours had passed.  Insurance was being handled, taken care off.  Friends were called, his friends not mine, for at that point in my life, I was consumed by being a new single mother, by school, by being a supportive wife, and taking care of the household and all the duties that surrounded taking care of a house.

That night, my mom helped feed the girls some supper, bathed them, and helped put them to bed.  Around 11, she was tired, don’t blame her, she told me

“Daughter. go an get some rest, you need it, you have the planning you need to do tomorrow”,

God damn it I know, 25 and I am planning a funeral for my husband, I know I was not the only soul that was doing this, but I felt like I was treading on a path that no-one had trend on before.

I showered, get pj’s on, and looked dazed around the bedroom.  Scanner was off. I looked at the bed we once shared, the comforter he had bought us with matching pillow shams for Christmas that year.  They were king sized even though we had a queen bed for I guess I always stole the blanket.  I looked above the bed at his piles of tee-shirts, and jeans.  He had endless neon orange and green shirts for when he worked at the road construction company.

I looked at his night table that had is oak charging table, empty except where his portable scanner sat and his charger for his phone.  Oh no, all those pictures of him and the girls are on his phone, how are the girls going to remember such a remarkable man.  I walked over to the dresser  and glanced up at the mirror still in a daze, I looked at my reflection and asked myself, “what the fuck am I gonna do now”.

My life has been centered around him,why Travis, why, why did you have to leave, I collapsed to the floor and just cried, balled my eyes out, ..just repeating why….why….what did we do wrong.

Morning came soon enough, I showered and went to Facebook to see if anyone had updated or perhaps there had been an update, or was it to just keep myself busy even though I so didn’t need help in that area

I penned the words to a man that I loved and still love, even though I know he would never see them, part of me still believed this was not happening, so I went to Travis’s timeline and typed;

To my love of life,
We have been through a lot together, both the “that was freaking awesome moments” and “the wtf moments.” We met under the warm sun and had our first kiss in the rain. At that moment I know that I loved you and you loved me. We shared our souls/heart/mind with one another. When life kicked our ass we fought back together. We were invincible together Travis. I miss you my love.  July 28-2011

Friday, Mark made the remark that he was going to the scene of the accident.  I wanted to see this. I wanted to see the last place he was before his soul left.  Perhaps, just perhaps, I could see him again; I wanted to see him, just one more time.  After leaving my mom in charge of the girls Mark and I left. The ride felt like it took forever, and then I saw it. The road was so similar but the ride felt so awkward, like these roads were somehow new. Mark pulled off to the side of the road, pointed to two trees. We both solemnly get out, walked over the grass and rocks.  AS I was walking the image of the truck on the news the previous evening and even in the morning flashed back in my head, I started to get choked up. There were shards of glass, red and black plastic remnants of where the accident took place.  I felt so sick, sick to the pit of my stomach, perhaps it wasn’t the fact that I haven’t eaten in over 48 hours, the lack of sleep or just all the trauma my sprit had been under but once again tears from somewhere came back, I felt lightheaded as I bent down to pick up a nut from the grass. I thought that his toolbox must have been forced open through the impact of the other vehicle.

Forcing my feet to walk the accident scene I see yellow caution tape, deep tire marks in the grass, all I could picture what possibly could have been Travis’s last minute of life.

“Smith and I were out here last night, we got a small baggy of nuts and bolts together.  Sweetie he was such a great driver, but this is what we think get him” Mark said.  He pointed over to the ditch that appeared to look like a normal ditch but poking out of the hill where the water would go was a small silver of metal. The dirt that covered the ditch drain pipe and worn away and was visible were we were standing. “You can’t see that pipe poking up out of the ditch from the road” Mark goes on to say.

I force myself to look at the road, and there were black tire marks on the road I turn away and face a large solid tree about twenty feet away from the front of the house we were standing in from of.  There was a scuff mark on a branch of the tree. No, not a scuff mark the tree had been engraved where the roof of Travis’s vehicle hit it.  There were remnants of tools nuts and bolts that fell out of his tool box from the back end.

His siblings had already been there too, for there where two small white crosses with fake flowers, standing upright next to the tree.  His soul must be around here somewhere I thought with hope.

Today was Thursday, or was it Friday.  All I know what was going on was I had to start planning a funeral.  How the hell am I gonna do this, or where am I gonna find the money.  Who or what am I supposed to do.  I call the number one of the firemen had given me, a number for the funeral hall that had taken care of another fire officer.

Of course, the funeral director apologized and what have you, I still had no idea how to handle an apology.  Like seriously, I bit my tongue, granted, maybe it, maybe they just had no idea what to say and in today’s era, saying I’m sorry had become so easy to say at times.  After setting up an appointment with the director I pondered my next moves.

Still dazed and confused, I acted like I know what I was doing when I entered the funeral hall. His sister Suzy came, her husband, and Mark came too.  We were ushered into a spare room.  God this place was hideous.  Death seeped through the walls, interior was like from some Victorian Age, Travis would hate being seen in a building like this.

Oh, he talking to me, what is he saying…

“of course there are ways to reduce the price of a funeral” the director went on saying.

“What” … I was being handed a pamphlet of prices and services that the funeral hall did.

Are you fucking kidding me, close to a thousand dollars for a casket I thought as I was looking over the prices of caskets, cards, and the book to sign.  Holy hell, it dawned on me then, the process and everything that needed to be done for a funeral.

“Now, do you know whether or not you want the remains to be cremated afterwards?” the director asked of me.

Everything was happening to quickly, not even 72 hours have past, and now I have to plan a funeral,that I had no flippen idea how I was going to pay for.  Not even fifteen minutes earlier I had just seen my husband’s turn out gear outside the fire hall. I wanted to somehow escape, to feel safe and not so exposed.

“No, I remember, for we have had that talk, he would want to be cremated, he felt as though the bugs, he did not want to be eaten away by bugs, it would freak him out”  I managed to say it..but then again, I have always been socially awkward. I had no idea how to act here.

I don’t remember much of the meeting, just somehow, I started to plan a funeral, a funeral for a man that I loved, and never would see again.

After being dropped off at home, my mom commented that the neighbors had brought over some food.

“Oh how thoughtful”, I said wearily. I went into the kitchen to see, there were cakes and cookies, a couple of cards.  Really, how sweet, but so unhealthy I thought. My daughter’s need a meal with substance.  I tried to cook, but I cannot remember even how to cook. My mom comes in the kitchen and takes the spatula out of my hands and finishes making scrambled eggs and toast for the girls and helped put them to bed.

God, I need a drink. So I grabbed my bottle black velvet went to what used to be our bedroom and drank, and cried myself to a disturbed slumber which didn’t last long.

The next couple of days, firemen stopped by, siblings called, aunts and uncles called, but always the same, apologizes were given and the words “IF you need anything, call”.  Even a few journalists came out to interview me, but my step dad would say that I was in no condition to talk and that all the apologies and well wishes were deeply appreciated.  However, I was outside when a female journalist had come by for one last attempt and I was able to talk about Travis so that the paper could understand what a loss the community he was.

The day of the wake, Suzy and her family stopped by to follow us up to the Fire hall, in the next town over, for they had offered their building for the wake. As we pulled into the parking lot,

Lizzy commented by saying “Look, they even put Travis’s name in the sign near the road”.

As we pulled into the driveway and slowing pulled to the side of the building near the side door’s, I saw the Hurst, and I gasped my tears back. I saw the funeral director quickly walk toward Lizzy’s car.

“You ready” Lizzy said as she glanced towards me inside the car.

“No, but I want to see him, I want to see Travis” I said anxiously, but I wanted to shout no scream fuck no, you ready to see him. A portion of me still believed that he was still alive.

I opened the door, got out of the car, and straightened my only pair of black slacks and black blazer that barley fit me anymore.  I had already dropped ten pounds since all this had started.

The funeral directors looks at me, I can see the hint of remorse in his eyes “Ready”

“Yea” I found myself saying.

“It is still okay that we came right” for I had asked that if it was okay for the kids, family and myself to see him before he was gawked at my others the day before when the assistant director had stopped by to give me Travis’s wallet that was in his jeans when the body had been sent over from the morgue.

“Yes, Mrs. Silver Travis is inside right now”.

I wanted to see him, his face, his skin, and eyes.

As I walked forward, I was eager, hesitant, anxious, and mortified. My daughter’s next to me followed by my step-dad and mom.

My breath was taken away and my body frozen as I stared across the large rec room in the firehouse.  There, there he was, the black casket with gold trim, pots of flowers, a couple of pots with the white peace lilies displaced accordingly around his casket. I forced myself to take a step, and another, and with each step I took I could start to see his body emerging over the sides. As I stepped closer and closer I could see Travis’s hands placed carefully on his stomach one hand over the other.

(A little more from) Pandemonium

*We are picking up where we left of yesterday,as the news was being delivered by the sheriffs.

“Ma’am there has been an accident” the officer pronounced.

I was dumfounded, my heart sank. I started to shake the words off .. so I blow what was just said off…

“Naw, he’s here this must be some kind of joke”.  I quipped.

“What makes you say that” the officer says with a dumbfounded curiosity.

“Well you know Travis, always ready for a joke”, I tried to push by them to prove that his red dodge would be down the road a little ways with Travis  in there with his look of “gotcha” and to  just to prove to me that I still need him in his life, or that he get me in some sick joke.

“Ma’ma Travis is not coming home”  the officers said again.

“No, you’re wrong, you’re wrong” I declared.

“Ma’am there has been an accident, Travis is not coming home” the officer says a little more persistent with more power behind his voice.

“He is going to be alright, right?” I ask, I have to make sure he is okay I thought,  I need to go to the hospital to see him.  My insides felt so heavy, I felt like lead, I know something was wrong now.  His truck still has not pulled into the driveway.

“Yooouurr…wrrroonngg”, I started to blubber.

“Travis was killed on his way home.  All we know is that it was between Green Street and Hunt Road” the second officers proclaimed it to me.

I did not hear them, I started to cry, blubber, weep, I was shaking, backing up from them like they were going to attack me, my hands flew to my mouth, I wanted to curl up and hide like I was some hideous monster from the medieval times.

“Mrs. Silver, … Why don’t we go inside” the first officer mentioned. We were still in the front room with the front door wide open to the world.  I dreaded to be in these predicaments, vulnerable with no form of protection or a way out.

“ummm..oh..oh..ok I go make coffee” I said, for it felt the most hospital thing to do, but also a way to escape these solemn men that had just showed up with no warning.

The officers and firemen seemed to take up the whole room. They were so great in stature.  I walked through the rest of the front entry way, through the dining room and into the kitchen. I removed the glass pot from the coffee maker and it was like I was in a some horrible dream.  I attempted start o fill it up with water but my mind was a million miles away, staring out the kitchen window into nothing I hadn’t even realized that the coffee pot had overfilled. I hadn’t even felt the cold water wash over my wrist.  The chief takes the pot out of my hands and says softly to me,

“Here let me do it”.

“You know how to”, not that I was dismissing the fact that he could indeed make coffee; it was the fact that one, Travis had never made coffee and two that I had never seen a man make a pot of coffee before.

Like in a dream, I somehow turned over my duty to make coffee for the guests and managed to make my way back into the adjoining dining room and I plopped down in the dining room chair dazed. My mind going through a million things….nothing….and … questions, I could not process everything and the nothing that was going on in my mind.  Silence…filled the room…

One of the officers speaks up “Mrs. Silver is there someone we can call?”

Like I was going to have someone else do my duties for me.  I am Shelly.  I am invincible.  I am a mom. I can do it all. Then again, I dreaded what needed to be done next. It was like Mount Everest of thoughts, and things to do and things I was unware that had to be done.

“Yes, let me call my mom.”  I phone my mom, and I can get barely speak, I forgot how to talk…I could not get anything out, my words are filled with tears as I say,

“Mom….Mom”, I whimpered…” it’s …Travis, its Travis”,

“What happened “ she says drowsily, I must have just woke her up.

“He isn’t coming home mom,…mom” … I felt so weak, so powerless right now.

“Oh my god,..oh my god,…my daughter”,.. there are tears in her voice as she wearily says “ my daughter we will be right there..”

It feels like forever or perhaps for a spilt second I forgot how to actually click the red end call button on the touch screen for the phone was take away by one of the officers who clicked the red button for me.

“Is there anyone else” one of the officers questions me.

Oh shit….his family…oh my god, what are they gonna think….what are they going to do to me…oh my god…then it hit daunting the task was going to be in phoning everyone from family to friends to his job and coworkers…how the hell am I going to do all of this ….

“Yes, his family, call Suzy” I whimpered. The two fireman, one was sitting next to me at the end of the blond oak dining room table and the other one sat across from me, both watching me in my next move.  The two sheriffs both stood next to the table, powerful in their appearance and uniform.

“Who’s that” the officer questioned me.

“His sister” I replied through tears.  God, the only sibling that ever acknowledged me as his wife, the mother of his children, and actually spent time with us, well time spent with her at her house.  No one in his family barely ever came to our home   His brother’s never took interest in either the children or me, one used actually hollered obscenities to me while I was dating Travis before he moved in with me. But now is not the time to let my wonder and be taken over by what used to be.

I dial Suzy up and could not get past  even the “Hi…Suzy” before I started to bawl…

“Suzy…..its ..its…Travis “

I could hear her tired voice as she was waking from slumber…

“God no….no…is he…he is ok… is he ok?”

I started to shake; I trembled as I held the phone out like that was supposed to solve the issues at hand.  I was weeping and there was words being said and  I felt like I was going to fall off the chair in pain, pain from my heart, shattered from within, my soul was crushed. The men on the room seeing my agony, nodded to the officer who then took the phone, and took over the painful news that had to be broken.

“Suzy, this is Officer Tad..I regret to inform you that your brother Travis was killed in a motor vehicle accident.”

I could not hear what else he said my heart, my soul…then another crucial awareness was brought forth… my daughter’s, oh my god my daughters.

“Who else can we call for you Mrs. Silver, perhaps   a mutual friend”. Lizzy came to mind, for the rest of his family would not, I could not wake at this hour, I will handle that in the morning. I figured that Lizzy should still be awake.

The officers called Lizzy who tore right over.  Holy shit can that women drive, made a ten minute drive in five.

As I am waiting for everyone to arrive and making sure that everyone was aware that there were sleeping toddlers I had asked if anyone smoked.  God I needed a smoke. It must have been routine of walking in the house, for I found myself at the front porch.

I sift through my hoodie pocket for my pack of cigarettes and blue mini bic lighter. Through the trembling of my body and face dripping with tears, I tried to flick the bic, and I failed miserably,…multiple times. Could not even light my fucken cigarette.  How pathetic I must appear to these strong men.

I glance down the street, two patrol cars, lights flashing red and blue bouncing of the neighborly houses.  Surprised that no one had come out to gawk at what possibly could be going on. They were parked on the other side of the street.  Two other vehicles parked on the same side of the road as our house was, they must be the chief’s and that assistance chief’s truck.

As I attempt to puff on my cigarette and feel the burn of the menthol, I am still waiting for Travis to come home.  He can help handle this.  I tried to call him, still no answer.

God this is not happening, not so happening.

Even though we had that fight we were still planning our five year anniversary, Lizzy she was supposed to my maid of honor.  His cousins were going to help out and god, he even found a ring to fit his finger.  He was proud of losing all that weight, almost able to come of his high blood pressure medicine; he was so happy and proud to be able to start setting a good example for our kids.

Oh my god, my daughter’s how am I, what am I what am I gonna do. I felt as the world stop, I am dazed, tears still strolling down my face.  I plop down on the cold cement step outside our front porch.  I somehow  feel the presence of all four men start to walk towards me and out on the front porch.

They are saying words to me, I do not comprehend anything. They are saying who was in charge the investigation,  my mind thinks what investigation… is a blur…

“Ok” I say “I will have Travis call”, ..the men all glance at each other…wait..

As the officers are mentioning about the car accident, my mom and dad pull up on the other side of the street, they rush out of their blue Chevy… my mom.. her face says it all.

“My daughter, my daughter I am so sorry, do we know what happened?” she says with tears strolling down her face as she sits down a step below me on the cold grey cement steps of our front porch.

The officer as they are ready to leave mention to us that “so and so is in charge of the investigation here is his number”.  The officers walk away, solemn that they have to be the bearer of such heart rending information.

My step-dad takes the card with the investigators name and number says his thanks them as they leave.

Lizzy shows up before the chief leaves… They swamp some information. A lesson that I was soon going to soon learn.  They all leave.  They all leave.

I tried to take a couple of puffs on my cigarette wet from tears; nose is all stuffed up as I weep in my mother’s arms.  My mom trying to comfort but she too weeps.

“It’s gonna be all right, it’s gonna be alright” as she rocks me back in forth.

My step dad pipes up but is choked up as he says,

“It is gonna be ok, mom and I are here we will help take care of things”.

It is close to 3 in the morning now as I check my watch on my wrist. We are still outside when Luke my step dad mentions has anyone called the car insurance company.

Are you serious! I think. Things like this were the furthest thing from my mind. I had no idea, if there was a death you had to do this.

Didn’t the cops call or perhaps someone  I assumed that if someone died that they was oh I don’t know a special button goes off in their department.

I grab my phone, wipe my face, blow my nose and phoned geico.  Stupid automatic bull shit. I had no patience for this.  My head hurt with all that was happening.

“This is Jane, how may I help you” a voice cut into my thoughts.

“Customer service” I managed to pipe out.

“Hello this is Jane from customer service, may I please have your policy number” a sickly sweet voice

“What, I don’t know it” I spoke.

“Can I have your name please” the sickle sweet voice of Jane from the customer service line replied.

“My name is Shelly Silver” I uttered in disbelief, don’t they have any freakin idea what is happening, I do not have a time for this bull shit.

Going through rest of  bull shit, what is your address, phone number and email address just  to make sure who I am is who I said I am.. like anyone ever wanted to be me.

“Okay, and how may I help you today ma’am” Jane said with stupid sweet voice.

“Well … there has beeennn aa ccarr accciddnet”I pronounced.

“Okay, we can assist you, let me put through the department” Jane said.

What the fuck I think, how the hell can you do this to me, I started to ball again then I hear a males voice on the other end.

“Hello this is Jeff from I what I hear there has been a car accident, may I please call you back”.  Fuck you I thought, time to put my foot down.

“No, my husband died” I stated with all the force I could.

“Oh I am soo sorry” Jeff said from special department at geico. (Those words I soon meant nothing, like what did you do that you are soo very sorry for.

After gieoco was handled, it was mentioned that I should get some sleep.

No. I could not sleep.  I could not eat.  I could not do anything.  Lizzy had left already to go down to the firehouse, to see how the other firemen were doing.  I felt so betrayed, so lost, so out of place.

It seemed like forever for morning to come.  But I know what I had to do when it get here. So, I just paced the house, drinking coffee, smoking my lungs off, thinking about everything yet nothing.  I was just waiting to see Travis’s red dodge pick up to pull into the driveway.

As soon as 8:00 in the morning hit, I was on the phone.  I figured that 8:00 in the morning on a Thursday was a reasonable time to call people.

Sitting at the kitchen table I phone his aunt.  I called his Aunt Feria first. Shock…horror…these were becoming the reactions as the news was passed along.  Travis’s close Aunt Feria mentioned that her and his Aunt Dede would start a phone chain to pass on this horrendous and horrible horrific piece of news.

His aunt  of course crushed, passed the news on.

I heard some rustling upstairs above the dining room, where my daughter’s shared their quite large bedroom.  The sounds of small feet pitter patter across the floor, my mom walked the wood staircase, down the hallway to the girl’s room.  She lifted the girls up and over the childproof gate that kept them enclosed.  The girls being two and three, there was no stop to the caution I would take to protect them from any form of disaster, especially with their level of curiosity.

My daughters were awake. As my mom and dad carried the girls down, they exchanged the cute good morning with the girls, and the common question that parents ask, “how’d you sleep, little ones?”

As they sleepily rubbed their eyes, one holding tight to her large purple share bear from Care bears that she dubbed Mr. Snuggles and the other holding tight to her pink fleece blanket asked her their barely understandable words,

“Where daddy” a sleepily three year old Catherine inquired. Her red curls, ivory perfect skin, emerald green eyes, one could see the Irish in this one.


I was hesitant to do this — but I am releasing a portion of my 1st novel to my blog.  It has taken quite a long time to actually sit down, and let the words flow but I did it.  Now, comes the fork in the road.  I want others to read it, become inspired and motivated… I want to know what others think. Feel free to comment and if everyone wants more — I will release more.. the novel is based on actual events that I have experienced —

Here it goes —-


By: Bethany DyAnne Ackerson

Listen to your loves’ heartbeat.  — Put your ear on their chest and listen to the strong and steady ba boom of the heart. Feel the sound of their heart.  For when your love is lost that half is ripped away from you. This will be the one sound that you will miss besides the sound of their voice and their laugh.

 Dedicated to:

My love of the of the past

to my daughter’s Catherine and Marissa

and to my most inspiring, annoying (at times), talented,

Ryan D. Murphy

 PART 1:


Feeling the warm grass under my feet as my daughter’s and I walked to our community mailbox and hearing the words,

“You the best mommy in the whole world” cross my four year old daughter’s lips for I was allowing her to pull her pink plastic wagon to the mail box today delighted me.  My daughters are probably one of the few only reasons why I am still alive today.  All those shrinks out there probably could still pick that statement apart.  There are multiple moments during the day where I reflect at where I am now emotionally/finically/mentally then where I was two years ago.  Bitterness had become a new emotion that I have felt, the “screw you” statement had become a daily, now, and multiple timed daily thought. “Screw you” had joined and taken over my once naïve happy full of life persona, being able to look and see the good in everyone one, was no longer there.  The give a damn has been lowered since realizing that the world was and is indeed full of out for themselves and instant gratification individuals.

Or is it?

In a month it will mark two years since my world was ripped, shredded, the broken pieces of my life shattered all around me, like a vase thrown to the ground.  Shards of once what I thought were a normal life could not be put back together again.  If I even thought I trying to put that life back together, like picking up a broken piece of glass, knew I would but cut.

July 27, 2011

 July 27, 2011 began normally or what was the norm “once upon a time”.  I woke up around 4 in the morning to make my husband and I our pot of coffee.  As the scent of warm caffeine filled the kitchen I packed my husband (what a wonderful man) his lunch for work.  After kissing Travis goodbye, I got ready for the girls to wake up whom at that time where two and three who were still slightly slumbering.  During the day, I did my meager household duties, laundry…cleaning…but today was different.  Today was Wednesday, and for me it was special, for it marked a week off from school, for the ten week term ended yesterday and once again I had made the President’s list.  So, today, I was going to make it even more special not just for me, but for our sweet girls who tolerated me and for Travis who stood by me and encouraged me to succeed.  The girls “helped” me do the weeding in our little vegetable and fruit garden. I did our wash, steamed cleaned of all the carpets and made Travis his favorite meal.

Through the day, I baked and I baked my ass off.  Sugar cookies, spiced oatmeal raisin cookies, peanut butter cookies and pork roast with fresh veggies from the garden to compliment this exceptional meal.  The day was hectic and busy, so in the afternoon hearing the voice from Travis on his break was a god send.  We swapped the details of  our day, said our love you’s and hung up.

While the girls were down for their naps, for back then I was lucky to have an hour a day where they napped.  Going outside to weed the gardens, pick produce that was ripe, I caught up with my neighbors.  Evening came, the call from the hubby said he was going to be late and that he taken on the extra hours.

Fuck, that means he isn’t going to be home till 11, and that I am going to have to put the girls to bed myself, one more night where they don’t get hugs/kisses from their father, and now dinner will have to be microwaved.  9:00 rolled around, (I still have that voicemail).  It pissed me off to have to microwave such an awesome meal.

I missed it.  Travis had called but I was like “whatever”.

10:30. I should be hearing from him by now I thought and as if my luck… there we go… there’s the phone ring.  Travis proceeded to say work was done and that he was on his way home. I was sitting in the overstuffed burgundy recliner in the corner of the living room watching cartoons popping plumb red raspberries and small acai dark chocolates  that, somewhat and somewhat awkward phone call would be my last.

“I am on my way home now” Travis said.

“You sound tired, you okay” I ask concerned, for I was.

“Yeah, just a long day at work” Travis said tiredly.

“You hungry”, I ask.  I was concerned, but I also was working out the timeframe of when to exactly pop his plate of food in the microwave.

“Not really”, was Travis’s response.

What the hell I think to myself.  I spend majority of my day cooking/baking for him.  I can’t please this son of a bitch can I.

“Okay see you in about twenty”. Travis uttered to me. In reply I told him that I loved him.

“Love you”

“Love you too sweetie” Travis uttered to me.

10:45 rolls around I felt eager to see Travis.  I race to the front entrance to turn on the porch lights, stopping for just a moment to check out the baby cuttings from the herbs to see if any roots had sprouted. With quiet urgency I go throughout the house to turn on the dining room lights, kitchen lights as well as the back porch lights, for I had turned them off previously to put girls down.

10:50 damn I look like a sight as I caught my refection in the large square mirror that hung in our dining room on the side wall. My hair still not brushed from a shower forty-five minutes previously.  Although, those hot pink tips still looked pretty freaking amazing.  What you do when your twenty-five and still trying new things.

11:00 I called Travis to see where he was just to see if he was ok or something came up.  Since he was a volunteer fireman at Cherry Hall he sometimes he would take an EMT call if he was close by. So, I texted to see if that was the case. While waiting for a reply I brushed my hair, still in love with my tips I slip into some pj bottoms, and the scanner goes off.

Fuck those things are loud, holy hell. The tones from the scanner go off again, what the fuck, the muffled voices on the other end travel through the bedroom and the echo of the voices I could hear coming from the bathroom.  Travis would know what they were saying, not me, so I turn the scanner down.

Where the hell is he, I slather some lotion on, throw a sweatshirt on and check FB on my phone.  Perhaps, Travis on his way home get sidetracked, maybe there is something on FB of a recent call.

I mean c’mon, I sent him text messages, called him like twelve times to see where he was, there still was no answer.  Searching on FB, I see he had be-friended what looks like a scank. Who the fuck is she?  Posing like that with no shirt on, seriously, now granted, nice firm boobs, a tan, but seriously Travis?

Then it dawns on me, our recent fight two weeks ago. Yah the divorce fight, where I throw my engagement ring and wedding bands at him, it didn’t even really phase him. He just sat there in the lawn chair with a beer in his hand.  I was fuming as I picked up the girls and went in the house. I didn’t even see where the rings had landed in our lawn.

He had been spending so much time there lately, at the firehouse.  I know how the weekend panned out.  They had been the same for the past three years. Friday night, screw it, firehouse for him, me at the house with the girls. Saturday wake up, breakfast, get ready for the only outing we had in the week, yeah go to fucken Walmart for groceries and anything else the house needed.  Saturday afternoon and evening he would be down there at the firehouse and Sunday afternoon as well.  He had seemed distant lately, but I thought everything was going to be ok.

We had talked about this. After Travis had given be some time to cool down, we went for a family drive.  He saw where my rings had landed and we had talked about how he was going to spend more time with the children he helped bring into the world and find more time with me his wife, who had stood next to him during all his ups and downs.  His wife who helped him loose close to 75 pound in a year, his wife who tolerated quite a bit of bull shit from him.

And now, seeing this fucken broad.  Oh hell no. I proceeded to send him a text message of the wife’s fucken intuition and brain.  The emotion of the moment swallowed me in fist of…rage. I felt like packing his shit and throwing it out of the freakin second story window.

11:30 still nothing.  Fine I thought, be like that.  I walked angrily throw each room, turning off all the lights, and locking all the doors, mumbling to myself like a scorned wife.  Screw you; you can do everything in the dark.

12:00. With Family guy playing on the TV, I thought I heard a pounding.  Eh, it was nothing, so I go back to the meaningless show, there it is again. What the hell is it?  I turn the TV off, and very distinctly I hear the pounding again, and this time followed by the doorbell.

Oh God damn it!  I am abou to be robbed or something.  I walk over to the window in our second story bedroom window which faced out to the main road. I see flashing red and blue lights of two police officer cars.  Oh my flippen god, did he seriously call the cops on my text message. I am so gonna get him with alimony and child support, that broad ain’t gonna get a dime I thought with vengeance and determination.

I still look like a sight, turquoise pj bottoms  on with a sweatshirt from Darien lake, the only place besides Walmart that Travis had taken us too (well besides fireworks at Wolcott beach, and the nursing home where every Sunday morning was spent to see his mom.  Women put herself in that place to avoid being taken care of by her younger manipulative and crude son).

I was heated as I opened up the front door.  At the front door were two sheriffs and two random guys who introduced himself as the chief of Cherry Hall and the assistant chief of cherry Hall.  I look to the cops and angrily but scared voice I say,

“Are you here because of what I texted Travis” I bitterly asked.

“No ma’am, what text message?” the officer says with curiosity.

“The text message I sent,” (like they were supposed to know what I meant)” He is not home… he must..”  I was cut off by one of the officers…

“Ma’am there has been an accident” the officer pronounced.