In Loving Memory of my Son, Travis, and Grandaughter, Hope
Carmen Leighton-Herman, Ft. Collins, CO
It was Mother's Day weekend 2005, when my son, Trav, came to me to tell me that he wasn't going to win his battle with cancer, and that he and his wife, Diane, were leaving for California to participate in a clinical trial - a last effort to save his life.
During our conversation, he told me how he wanted his younger brother, Justin, to marry his wife after he was gone, that his children should continue their education at Ressurection Christian School and that his family would continue to live in the home he built for them.
I wanted to literally die in that moment. Trav had never spoken about not winning the FIGHT before, but in just 4 short months, he did lose the battle and in response to his death, I was determined my grandchildren would have a happy life, so I put a smile on my face and went on.
In 2008, to my absolute horror, Trav and Diane’s daughter, Hope, followed her daddy to Heaven, as she lost her battle with cancer, too. Once again, I was personally devastated and for my beloved daughter-in-law and their remaining two children. Again, I dug down deep and reminded myself that Travis and Hope are with the LORD, and the image of Hope skipping off to Heaven to this day brings a smile on my face and happiness and peace into my wounded heart.
In 2006, Trav’s brother, Justin, married our daughter-in-law, Diane, as his brother hoped he would do. Travis apparently knew, before we did, that Diane and I were intended to reflect the story of Naomi and Ruth, and Justin is Diane’s “Boaz.”
On June 29, 2012, Justin, Diane and Isabelle relocated to Guatemala to invest their lives in ministry and to precious orphans, fulfilling Hope’s expressed desire to help the helpless and the hurting in this world. Our grandson, Slate, graudates from Resurrection High School this May, and he is living with us until that time (which is a real source of joy for me and for my husband!)
I am a very blessed and proud mother. If you would like to know more about Justin and Diane's ministry of HOPE in Guatemala, you are invited to visit their site at http://wwwgiftsofhopeproject.blogspot.com.
When I was invited to share something of my story with Mothers Day just around the corner, I wondered what I would write and these are the first thoughts that came to my heart about my son, Travis . . . he was my friend. I thank God for my other three sons and I love them deeply, but Travis showed his love for me in ways that made me feel like I was the BEST Mom in the world. I miss the way he loved on me, not just on Mother’s Day, but every single day of the year.
Because of my faith in God and the hope of Eternal Life (when we will all be together again), I continue to put my trust in God who continues to give me hope and strength to grieve as I must, but to also “fake it until I can make it.” I stand firmly on the promise that by His grace, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13) and that He gives "beauty for ashes, joy for mourning and praise for the spirit of heaviness . . . " (Isaiah 61:3)
With Love, "a mom like you."