Sunday, November 20, 2016

Travis Speaks

This was an awesome day. 
God answered our prayers this very day.  
Travis spoke to the students at Midway High School.
MHS had the "Shattered Dreams" program come
which is amazing.  It is two days long
and involves many students.  There is a "fake"
wreck, recorded live, and students die.
It's a very somber and serious program.
The following day after the student body
watches a VERY real like accident, 
half of the student body (SRs & JRs) attended
a "funeral" in the arena
and half of the student body
watched it from their classrooms.  
Lynna, Travis and I were part of the 
funeral.  Here we are waiting......
there were more than 2,000 students
in the arena watching!!!!!!
Officer Foley who was behind all
of this and the one who first asked
me if Travis would speak, introduced
us and we had some pictures showing on screen.
First I spoke from the perspective
of Trav's former teacher; and moreso,
of course as his aunt.  Then Lynna spoke
from a mother's perspective.
After both of us, Travis walked to 
the podium - this in itself was 
The students were in AWE of Travis.
The reality of it all
and the miracle of him.  
This is what I said:
Hi.  I am Mrs. Pierce.  I had some of you when you were in the tenth grade.  Thank you for allowing me to speak today.  I am very honored.  I hope you carry with you the emotions and feelings you have from yesterday’s experience and today’s for the rest of your life.   You might be wondering why I’m even speaking.  I’m actually here to tell you about a former Midway High School Student.  He graduated in 2006.  He walked the same halls that you have walked here at Midway High School.  In fact he sat at one time in these very same seats, hearing a very similar message before prom. 
This is Travis Bigham ~ (show picture from high school).  Travis attended Midway from the 5th grade on.  He was about as fun loving, sweet and handsome as a kid could be.  Everyone loved Travis.  You couldn’t help but love him!  Seriously ask Mrs. Wilkinson or Mr. Wellbaum, among many others.  Travis wasn’t - by choice - the smartest in the class; in fact, he chose to kinda coast by ~ I don’t know that he opened too many books, but he maintained A’s and B’s.  He played football for Midway in his younger years and then focused on theater in high school.  He had a leading role in some major plays, and he was amazing!  Travis had the world in the palm of his hands.  I was fortunate enough to have Travis in a French class.  He kept me entertained!  Several times I would start class thinking he was absent only to find him pop out of the back closet.  I still can’t figure out how this HUGE 6’4” kid ever fit in that closet!!!  He was a mess, but a MESS that everyone loved.  His million dollar smile, his free spirit, his good looks and his kind heart drew everyone in plus Travis was always nice to everyone.  He was one of the good guys.  Travis graduated from Midway and attended MCC.  In September 2010, he had huge plans to move to California to pursue a modeling and acting career.  As his teacher, I encouraged Travis to first finish school!  But in typical Travis fashion, after hearing why he was taking a break from school and taking the opportunity to pursue this dream, I couldn’t help but support him!  If anyone could have made it big, I thought it might be him.  You see Travis wasn’t just my student, I am also his aunt.  Travis is my beautiful sister’s first born child.  Travis was my first nephew, my first love, the first time I knew what it’s like to love unconditionally on earth.  I was just thirteen, attending Midway myself, when Travis was born.  From a very early age, I knew what it was like to love like a mother loves her child.  Travis was so full of life, talent and love.  He had always been our Superman;)  
On Friday, July 24th, I called Travis to see if he was working.  His grandmother and I wanted him to go eat with us.  He was at his house and I asked him what he was doing, “reading” was his response…Travis loved to read.  As fun loving and crazy and handsome as he was, the boy sure did love to read.  I know Mrs. Roper remembers that about him.  Before I even had the chance, Travis told me he loved me as we were getting off the phone.  He was such a loving and sweet guy.  Always.  If I could go back to one point in time in my life, it would be that moment.  That moment around lunch time that particular summer day.  I would drive to Travis’s house and snatch him up and keep him with me and not let him out of my sight.  Unfortunately, we aren’t given opportunities to go back in time. 
At this time, I’d like to introduce my sister to you, Lynna.  She is Travis’s mother.  She is also a graduate of Midway High School.  In fact, she was the Homecoming Queen in 1980!  I tell you that not so you will know how old she is (ha!) but to show you how connected we are all and what a small world this is.  We aren’t some strangers on a TV screen telling you our story. This also isn’t a re-enactment of something that could happen to one of you or to someone in your family.  Our family could easily be your family.  Lynna…..
Lynna was AMAZING!  
I was so proud as I can't even 
imagine the depth of what she experiences
to this day.  Everyone was so touched 
hearing this from her point of view:
“Thank you for allowing me to speak today.  This is the first time for me to speak like this and I’m really nervous.  Since this is a funeral and a Shattered Dreams program, I bet you think I’m about to tell you about the death of my son.  And in a way I am.  On July 25, 2010, in the early morning hours my beloved son who was 21 at the time was the passenger in his roommate’s car and they were driving home drunk from a party.  They had both been drinking too much and decided to take a cut through street to avoid being stopped on the way home.  Apparently they still had the wherewithal to realize they needed to take a safer way home, but yet drunk enough not to realize what could happen to them.  Alcohol does that to you.  They crashed into a tree.  My son’s roommate walked away from the accident.  My son, my handsome fun loving Travis, had to be pulled from the truck.  #pictures#
The ambulance drivers didn’t think the kid they had just pulled from the cab of this truck would make it to the hospital still alive.  I was away on a camping trip where cell phone coverage could not reach.  The paramedics and then the doctors and nurses at Hillcrest Hospital did everything in their power to save my son.  He lay there dying and I could not be reached.  Thankfully the chaplain at the hospital was able to connect Travis to my sister and she was the first to receive the call about his accident.  She rushed to the hospital on my behalf and literally fell to the floor when she walked in and saw Travis lying in the hospital bed ~ being kept alive by machines. 
There isn’t enough time to fully describe to you what the last 5 and ½ years have been like for Travis or myself or our family.  Travis suffered a major Traumatic Brain Injury in the accident.  The FOUR long months that Travis was in a coma is actually nothing compared to what else my son and our family has endured.  We are truly living out “Shattered Dreams” – the dreams Travis had were shattered in an instant.  The dreams that I had for my son were shattered in an instant.  Nothing about our lives has been the same since July 25, 2010, and nothing will ever be the same.  Travis had to relearn EVERYTHING and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING.  He’s been in seven different medical facilities across the state of Texas.  His brother who was still in high school here at Midway basically had to raise himself his last years of high school.  His Dad and I gave up our lives to help our son who for a VERY long time couldn’t do one single thing for himself.  His friends have come and gone.  Their lives have moved on while Travis has been stuck with me enduring therapy after therapy and procedure after procedure and caregiver after caregiver.  In a nut shell, Travis still can’t completely walk on his own.  He can’t swallow properly therefore he can’t eat and has a feeding tube.  He also can’t talk.  It’s been almost six years now since I’ve heard my son’s real voice and carried on a real conversation with him.  Think for just a second how you would feel not to be able to EAT or TALK.  My son’s life is DIFFICULT ~ harder than I could adequately express to you today.  He has his mind intact which is a miracle but also a catch 22 – he’s fully aware of his struggles and all that he has missed and is missing.  He is still that fun-loving, incredible guy my sister told you about, but his life is so different from what he dreamed of or what we planned for.  Thanks be to God this isn’t the end for my son.  I just don’t know that most could survive and fight the way he has.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. 
Today our message is that you don’t always just die from a drunk driving accident.  I can assure you that many times on this journey that Heaven seemed like a much better option for my son than to suffer and endure what all he has had to endure and continues to endure.  So think about your own life but also think about your mom or of someone who loves you – someone who is in your corner.  It may be your mom like me, your Dad, your aunt, your grandparents, a teacher, even the friend you are sitting next to.  In one instant, not only your life could change because of one poor decision with alcohol but also your family’s, your friends’ or even another family’s. 
At this time, I’d like to introduce my son to you.  This is Travis.  He is truly a miracle and his strength and perseverance is actually a whole other message for another day.  He’s the strongest, most amazing person I know.  Today though I want you to know that he is the one who once sat where you are sitting with so many dreams and ambitions ahead of him.  His life is very different now, but I’ll let you see that for yourselves.  It’s my honor to share our miracle with you in hopes that his life could save one of yours… 
Then Travis came up and it 
He stole the show.
The students LOVED him.  
“Hi” (in his own voice). 
iPad:  I’m Travis Bigham.  My iPad will have to speak for me today.  My mom and aunt pretty much summed up everything for me.  Don’t let this happen to you.  One night of drinking and fun is NOT worth this.  I truly thought something like this couldn’t happen to me.  I was wrong.  Don’t do this to yourself or to your family and friends.  My story and life are FAR from over because of my faith, my strong will, and the support of my family, but trust me, nobody wants this to be the way their story goes.  I’ve been in the fight of my life since July 25, 2010.  One wrong split second decision while you are intoxicated could change the rest of your life.  
Thank you. Deuces.  

The high school body went crazy over the "Deuces"!!!!!
He was just amazing.
He was reality.
Many students and former teachers
came to see him after the program.  
The girls loved Lynna!!!!
My Valentina was so touched...
Haley loved it!!!
Mrs. Lacy was in charge of the 
program and such an 
integral part in encouraging us to
do this.  We are so thankful for her.
Travis had her in high school.  
This day was a start as well as a 
culmination to something I've
prayed and prayed about for Travis.
A glimpse into the "why" almost.
The Shattered Dreams Group from MHS.  
My heart was so full that day.
I was beyond proud and beyond
thankful.  The response from the 
school was OVERWHELMING.
So many of the students thought
Trav's part was by far the most it should have been.
It's real.  I pray that this is the
start of a mission of sorts for
my handsome and amazing 
nephew.  I love him so much.
May the Good Lord bless these two.
They have been through so very much.  
WAY more than anyone should have to endure.

No comments: