Lets Blow This Wide Open

Attention #TravsArmy:

We are less than 25 days away from the first annual Travis Lee Roberts Memorial Golf Tournament.

The exciting news is that we have almost reached our max number of golfers and we are right under our monetary goal for the tournament.

But here is the truth!! Trav never met goals.
HE BLEW THEM WIDE OPEN!!!!

So… in effort to honor Trav lets do the same with this golf tournament.

You can still donate to the tournament in many ways.

There are a few golfer spots left!!! Sign up quick if you want to play.

You can sign up as a #BoomPlayer Ghost Golfer for $75. Your name will be assigned to a foursome even though you won’t be there in person.

You can pay $50 and attend the awards ceremony lunch and participate in the raffle.

You can sponsor a hole on the sponsorship page or participate in any of the other sponsorships available.

My brother Joe Pettit has been growing his hair out for a cancer wig donation FOREVER!!! He is most likely going to be able to #chophismanbun at the tournament. We offer a $50 donation to support the #chopthemanbun fund which of course goes to Cancer Kicks. This will be a great way for the Young Republicans to support Cancer Kicks and support the efforts in getting your friend a decent hair cut:)!

Or you can just DONATE to the golf tournament which goes directly to Cancer Kicks.

We are beyond excited about this event and we are SO very appreciative of the awesome support thus far!!!

I am attaching the link to the Cancer Kicks web site and the site to the golf tournament.

Please log on and donate today!!!

Please help us “BLOW THIS TOURNY GOAL WIDE OPEN!!!”

PS – Trav and I had/have the best support ever! THANK YOU!!!!

#cancekicks #kickinrarecancers #letsdothis

http://www.planmygolfevent.com/27178-TravisRobertsMemorial/
www.cancerkicks.org


Legacy

Legacy…

How do you define it?

If you google the word “legacy” the definition that displays indicates that it is about the amount of money and property left behind after someone dies.

But many of us realize that a true legacy is so much more than that.

As I sat in on a Hemma meeting two weeks ago I witnessed, firsthand, the stark contrast between the two types of legacies one can leave behind.

Hemma Concrete is the company Travis and Carrie started thirteen years ago.  We have told the story, many times, of how they started the company with a couple hundred dollars and an iron will to succeed.  And as I sat in on that meeting, I couldn’t help but smile at what those couple of hundred of dollars and determination had turned into.  Hemma did $38 million dollars of revenue last year.

They are projecting $50M this year. 

As far as Google is concerned.  Trav succeeded in leaving a legacy.

But, as impressive as the revenue figures were, that wasn’t what struck me the most in that meeting.

It’s been ten months since Travis died.  People have moved on.  Lives have continued. Travis has faded into nothing more than memories and the centerpiece of stories.

Or has he?

Trav’s legacy is so much more than revenue and profits. The purpose of that meeting was not just to discuss profits and revenues but a way to honor their founder…their friend by way of a golf tournament.  It says a lot about Travis’ partners to take on such an event to honor their founder. Planning a golf tournament is not an easy task.  More so though, I was amazed at how many employees were eager to pitch in, volunteer, provide suggestions, and do what they could to drum up sponsorships and participants. I was inspired by the love for a boss who was simply taken to soon.

That is Trav’s real legacy.

On June 1, the first annual Travis Roberts Memorial Golf Tournament will be held at Indian Hills Golf Course in Marietta, GA. Proceeds from this tournament will fund CancerKicks, the non-profit organization set up by Travis to fund research for rare cancers like Cholangiocarcinoma and to financially assist families ravaged by cancer.

We invite you to honor Travis on June 1. Regardless of whether you were a close friend of Travis’ or simply followed his story on this blog.

You can honor Travis.

We have multiple levels of participation from sponsoring the event to making a one time donation and everything in between.

There are options for you, or your company, to sponsor the event, a single hole and more.

For anyone who loves golf, or knows someone who loves to golf, we invite you to join us to play 18 holes in Trav’s honor.  You can sign up as an individual golfer or an entire foursome.

If golf is simply not your thing, but you want to honor Travis, there are multiple donation levels for the non golfer as well.  Additionally, you can register to join us for the luncheon after the tournament.

Please note that all registrations, payments, and donations must be processed online through the Travis Roberts Memorial Golf Tournament website.

One of Travis’ biggest fears was that he would be forgotten. At the time, we all thought it ludicrous for Trav to think such a thing.  After all, he was larger than life.  The life of the party.

But Travis had a different perspective.  He knew this life was temporary and our time here has little impact.

Unless, of course, you leave behind…

a legacy.

 

IMPORTANT LINKS

Travis Roberts Memorial Golf Tournament

Sponsorship Opportunities

Register to Play

Make a Donation (Listed Under Non Golfer)

Event Location – Indian Hills Country Club, Marietta, GA

 


Disney

I wrote a couple of times about Disney in the past. But it was a different kind of Disney…not one anyone would ever want to visit.

But this time is different.

This time I write about the real Disney…the Disney where everyone has a magical day.

This is the Disney of laughter, joy and happiness.  This is the Disney where childrens’ giggles drown out grief… if even only for a moment.

Despite Carrie’s grief.  Despite an extremely tough 60 days. Despite it being hard to get out of bed some days…let alone make it through the day without tears…along with her brother Joe (Unk) and parents (Mimi and Papa) she packed up her’s and Travis’ three precious babies and set off…for Disney World.

Why?

Because that is exactly what Travis would have wanted…

Travis was the king of fun.  He loved to have fun.  He made a game of everything.  He loved amusement parks and he loved rides…especially roller coasters.

And so what better way to grieve him?  To celebrate him?

Than to bring his kids to Disney World. 

Some moments have been tough…like walking up to the Dueling Dragons in Universal…a ride he rode more than 20 times in a single visit just eleven years earlier.  Tears came. But they were warm tears.  Warm tears filled with happy memories.  And as those warm tears flowed, Carrie, her brother and father boldly walked right up to that roller coaster and rode it.  Twice.

To honor Trav.

The grief is encompassing at times but life is going on.  Sometimes the thought of that…the thought of life going on without Travis is insufferable.  But the truth is…it simply is.

And so Carrie is doing her best to honor her true love.  To raise his children in a way that would make him proud. To ensure that, despite their grief, they have fun.

Because that’s what Travis would have wanted.

One of my favorite “Travis stories” was told to me by Joe not too long ago.  In the last week of his life, Joe came to visit Trav in ICU before he was brought home for hospice. It was a devastating time for all.  Everyone was hoping he could hold on a little longer to make it to the trial.  The realization had sunk in that was not going to happen.  The room was solemn.  The only sound was the machines forcing the oxygen into Travis’ lungs to extend his life just a bit longer. Joe sat at Trav’s bedside choking back tears.  As he watched his brother-in-law…his best friend…labor for breaths in the quietness of the room he swallowed the lump in his throat and managed to get out…

Trav.  Is there anything you want me to tell the kids?

Trav’s eyes opened.  He gathered his thoughts, and his breaths, and between those labored breaths he said…

Tell them they would have had more fun with me…

Well Trav. I think they’re doing the best they can to give that statement a run for its money. Hope you are proud.

 

 

 

 


A Divine Appointment

I think it is time to introduce myself. My name is Kristina.  I am Carrie’s best friend.  Travis was like a brother to me. I have written this blog as a way to honor my friend and his family.  Today I asked Carrie if I could write something personal and she said that would be perfect.  So here I go…

I’m not a hokey person.  I don’t buy into things very easily.  In fact.  I am a pretty skeptical and somewhat critical person by nature.  It has always been a struggle in my faith.  I like to find the hole in the argument.  The lapse in the reasoning.  The weakness in the debate.

It was the thing I  had most in common with Travis.

That’s probably a surprise to most of you who have followed the blog and don’t know me.  I probably have come across as someone with either strong faith or someone who believes everything she hears. Perhaps even a bit Pollyanna and naive.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

That’s just how much I believed in the message of Trav’s healing. 

I believed when the “Black Angel” spoke to us.  When Travis got an email with the same message a week later.  And when, just a few days later, he asked God “what should I read today?”, opened the Bible, and came to the same story yet again, that God had truly spoken to us.

That we had…a divine appointment.

But I was wrong.

Travis died.

Just twelve and a half short months later he was gone and my faith was in a shambles. Not so much my faith in God but my faith in hearing from Him. Of discerning His voice.

How did I get it so wrong?!? 

It’s been five months.  Five months and two days to be exact.

For Carrie the first three months were a fog to say the least.  It took everything within her to just put one foot in front of the other.  To put on a brave face for her children and be the mom Travis would have wanted her to be.  To honor his memory in every way she knew how.  The last two months she has begun to emerge from the fog.  She is smiling more and hearing her laughter warms her family’s and friends’ hearts.  She never misses an opportunity to talk about Travis and often apologizes for doing so which is silly because the people she is with love to do it as much as she does. She has begun to make every decision in light of “how would Travis handle this” or “what would Travis want me to do”.  She has met challenges head on.  Made hard decisions. Handled tough confrontations. And has navigated the waters of being a widow and single mom with the grace, perseverance, and perhaps even a bit of tenacity that shouts “I am Travis Roberts’ wife and he taught me well.” All in an effort to honor him and preserve his legacy…particularly the witness of his faith walk the last 15 months of his life.

And while juggling all of this.  She has done whatever she could to nurse my fragile faith back to health.

What an amazing woman… What an amazing friend…

Until today, since Travis died, I have gone to church one time. It was a disaster. I sobbed from the entrance of the church parking lot until some point along the route home with little reprieve.  While church, of course, conjures up all sorts of memories about Trav I think it was more my disappointment in God that brought on the tears.

(Gasp!  Did she just say that…)

Yes.  I said it.  Disappointment is just one feeling I have been trying to work through in the past five months.  I don’t know if I have been disappointed in God for allowing me to fall for that message hook, line and sinker or in myself for not being skeptical for the first time in my life.  If I am honest…it is probably a little bit of both.

I have been angry, hurt, confused, embarrassed and have even felt a bit betrayed.

So I guess God decided it was time for a divine appointment.

To be honest, I am not sure why we ended up going to church today.  We didn’t really discuss it.  We didn’t have a reason to go “today”.  We just got up and my husband said “how long until we have to leave for church.” And I didn’t argue.

On the way to church I quietly breathed a silent prayer that said something like “I can’t believe I am doing this.  It would be nice if You would speak to one of us so this isn’t a huge waste of time.”

We made it to church, said hello to some friends, walked the kids to their classrooms and found a seat in the monstrosity that is North Point Community Church’s auditorium.

I marveled at myself…

“huh…no tears…not one…isn’t that interesting?!?”

The music started and, other than the guy in front of me glancing back every few minutes to  remind me how painfully off key I tend to sing, it seemed like a regular Sunday morning.

And then the last song came on.  Oceans.

I should have known right then and there that, unbeknownst to me, God had scheduled a divine appointment...

The tears began.  But this time they were different.  They were’t feelings of anguish or betrayal. Instead, they seemed to be almost stripping away those feelings.  Stripping them away until there was nothing left….

Nothing but vulnerability.

And at that point.  For the first time in five months.  I was ready.  Ready for my divine appointment.

Being an Andy Stanley fan, and knowing how much Travis loved Andy, imagine my disappointment when another pastor took the stage.   I remember thinking, “God…I’m not going to get anything out of this…” and feeling frustrated.

Little did I know…

As Joel Thomas took the stage we quickly learned that Andy was supposed to preach that day.  However, his mother fell ill and so he asked Joel to fill in just 12 hours earlier.  And so Joel began to preach.  His message?

How to survive the first Christmas without a loved one.

I told you though.  I am not hokey.  I am naturally skeptical.  And so as quickly as I thought, “OMG!  this is just for us…” I dismissed it and thought “well that’s a neat coincidence.”

I made a mental note to ensure that Carrie listened to the sermon online.

And then Joel got personal.

He talked about losing his father to cancer his senior year in high school.  He talked about being taught by some individuals that, if you pray in Jesus’ name, your prayers would be answered.  He talked about always believing whole heartedly, even in the end, that his dad would beat it.  That God would miraculously heal him.  His dad beat everything…he was his hero.

He talked about feeling angry…even betrayed…when his dad died.

There have been 23 Sundays since Travis died.  I have been to church on two of them.  The first one, i can barely remember who preached (I am pretty sure it was Andy) let alone the message or topic. The second was today.  The day of this “unplanned” message.

Everything in me told me to be skeptical.  To not “fall for it” again.  To not believe that He was talking to me.

But there was this Whisper that told me otherwise. The Whisper told me that there was a reason I was there on THIS Sunday and not Sunday #22.

Since Trav died I have been ignoring that Whisper.  Pushing It out of my mind when It tries to capture my thoughts.  When It calls me.  I have dismissed anything that could possibly be God as a coincidence.

But this time…was different.  Instead of trying to decipher if I was right or wrong…if this was Him or not…I just felt…comforted.  I felt Him tell me,

“It’s ok. I’m here.  I still love you.  I DO care….”

I still don’t understand how I got the message about Trav’s healing so wrong.  Why God allowed those messages to come to us in the way they did, and in the timing they did, when they clearly were not true.

I doubt I ever will.

It is the first thing I plan to ask Him…at my last…

divine appointment.

 


Finishing

I started this post six times now. I can’t ever seem to finish it.

Two days after Travis passed…as I was keeping an eye on Carrie as she rested, waiting for her to wake up because I wanted her to know she was not alone…I wrote…

and I couldn’t finish it.

After the amazing funeral which felt more like a party then a funeral…

I wrote…and I couldn’t finish it.

One week after his death…to the day…

I wrote…and I couldn’t finish it.

And then two weeks…

and I couldn’t finish it.

And then Fourth of July came, which I had been dreading since the day he died because that was our annual tradition our families spent together.

I wrote…and I couldn’t finish it.

Three days later… It was the one month anniversary…

One month…really?!?

And I just. Couldn’t. Finish. It.

I have so much to say. So much to write.

To talk about his final hours…to describe his funeral to those who could not attend…

But I just can’t seem to finish it…

And then today I realized, while watching the video, that once again Trav managed to beat me at something.

He was able to finish.

Trav’s faith journey over the past year was not smooth sailing. While faith in Jesus came easy to Travis the day-to-day journey of walking out that faith did not.

Some people are blessed to have a blind faith…a childlike faith. A faith that allows them to accept things simply because the Bible instructs them to or they feel God has told them too.

Travis was not that person.

He challenged things. He never accepted things at face value. He questioned everything. He had a philosophical mind that allowed him to always see both sides.

It’s simply who he was.

But he never wanted that to be a burden to others. He fought through it with a few friends and mentors asking as many questions as he could and pouring over the Scriptures but never let on to others..  He wondered if it was “too late” for him. Had he been given too many chances and simply “missed the boat”?  He wondered if he was really saved. With all the mistakes he had made despite being taught the truth his whole life…could it be as simple as turning from that?

And yet…all the while…he showed no external signs of this internal struggle to others.  He encouraged them in their faith.  He invited them to church.  He pushed them to find their way back to God…

Many feel blindsided by Travis’ death. Count me among them. Just slightly over a month ago, I thought for sure we would spend our annual Fourth of July trip at the NIH in Washington D.C.

Instead we were, once again, at the lake.  But this time…it was without Travis.

How could this be? I knew he would beat this cancer. I just knew it. After all. This sickness was not unto death.

This is the part where I am supposed to back pedal. I am supposed to explain God and what He really meant when we received the messages from Him that I wrote about in the Black Angel post. I’m supposed to give you the “Christian” explanation that “Travis really isn’t dead” and “because he knows Jesus this sickness was not unto death because there is no eternal death for him.”

But I won’t.

Travis never made excuses and so, to honor him, I won’t either.

The truth is…I thought with every ounce of my being that Travis would be healed in this life. Not because he deserved it. Not because he believed in God. But because I truly felt that God sent us a message, on two separate occasions, that he would be healed…in this lifetime.

I have no excuses or reasons or wonderful “Christian” things to say to explain why he wasn’t healed now that things did not turn out as I so desperately believed, and wrote in the blog, they would.

This is the point where I expected my faith to fall apart.

But I have a problem. On the Fourth of July last year Travis looked me in the eye and said, “don’t you dare. If I die don’t you dare have a crisis of faith.”

And so I can’t.

I still don’t understand and, to be honest, I get pretty angry about it at times. But I have figured something out. Something Travis apparently figured out months before me.

This is hard. Watching Carrie and seeing her anguish is hard, gut wrenching, and knocks the wind out of you.

But I can’t imagine how much worse it would be without Jesus.

In the last few months of his fight Travis stopped fighting his journey.

He rested in knowing that he simply could not know everything.  He accepted that God was bigger than him and he couldn’t have all the answers in this life.

He finished his journey.

And so a challenge.

If you don’t know God personally…seek Him out.

I’m not saying give up everything you do or don’t believe today because Trav would want you to.

He wasn’t that way.

He had a way of understanding others and their struggle to truly believe.  I guess because he had been in that position for so long.

But he would want you to seek.

Open your bible. Show up at church next weekend. Ask tough questions.

Just don’t ignore that quiet nagging.

In his last 48 hours I had the opportunity to ask Travis a question…

“Are you scared?”

Through labored breaths he smiled, shook his head no, and managed to say

No…Want to know a secret?”  “I’m kind of excited.” 

Don’t get me wrong…I wish I could stay…I’m sad…but now that I know that isn’t possible…I’m excited…”

So…

Can you say the same?  Will your words be similar?  Will you have the same excitement and anticipation…

When you finally…finish?

 


Remembering Trav…

Trav met some amazing people in his journey over the last fourteen months.  Among them are the workers of Northwestern Mutual – Travis’ insurance company.  Northwestern Mutual had Travis speak at their regional conferences on multiple occasions.  As an expression of gratitude, the creative team at Northwestern Mutual provided a gift for the friends and family of Travis.  A gift allowing us to remember him at his best…

Grab a box of Kleenex and…enjoy…

Travis’ Video


In Full Color

It’s been 48 hours.

I expected the pain and sorrow to become more enveloping as the news continued to set in.  And it has.  But there is something I didn’t expect.

I didn’t expect the laughter to come so soon. And it has…

I guess because how do you remember, talk about, and honor someone who lived his life in full color and not have the laughter come?  The laughter is sometimes followed by tears. Sometimes silence.  Sometimes stifled giggles.  But the laughter is coming and, because of who Travis was and how he lived his life in full color, there really can be no other way.

Facebook has literally been taken over by #TravsArmy. Picture after picture of Travis has been posted. Some of the most amazing comments and stories have been shared about him.  The impact Travis’ life has had on so many is sobering.

On Wednesday we will honor him collectively. A celebration of a life lived in full color will be held at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, GA at 11 AM.  There will be a reception immediately following in the Fellowship Hall of Johnson Ferry Baptist and then a processional to Arlington Cemetery. A processional that will make Trav proud and have him smiling down from heaven.  Whether you knew him simply through his blog, or if he was one of your closest friends, please join us in this celebration so we can fill the room with color.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to CancerKicks, an organization setup in Travis’ honor for those who are walking the same  journey he was forced to walk.  CancerKicks is dual purpose organization.  First, to provide financial assistance for cancer patients and their families because people fighting cancer are 2.5 times more likely to go bankrupt.  Travis wanted to give the patient and their families the peace of mind they need so they can focus on fighting the cancer – not on paying their bills.  Second, to give critical funding for rare cancer research.  As Travis met with different doctors one thing became clear: Cholangiocarcinoma is deadly because the research going into it is underfunded. If Cholangiocarcinoma, and other rare cancers, had the kind of funding more common cancers have then the cure rates would sky rocket.  Therefore, CancerKicks has an initial goal of donating $1 million to a world-class cancer center. You can make donations online by visiting www.cancerkicks.org.

And finally, as you come to honor Travis we hope you will also honor one last request that he had.

No black at his funeral.

Travis wanted a colorful funeral.  He was known for his flamboyant style and colorful dress and he wanted his funeral to reflect that.  So please attend in the brightest attire you can to celebrate a life taken far to early but one that was lived…

in full color.

Obituary


Arms

Travis passed peacefully at 7 AM from the arms of the love of his life into the arms of his Savior. Funeral details to come.


Peace

There is peace flowing through the Roberts’ household.  A peace that surpasses all understanding.  Even the understanding of those of us who know Christ’s peace.

On Wednesday morning Travis went to the emergency room.  He just couldn’t breathe.  Well…he could breathe. But his breaths couldn’t seem to get enough oxygen in them.  Despite having been on oxygen for the last two weeks.

Travis was transferred to a room in ICU.  His lungs were filling with fluid and blocking his ability to absorb oxygen.  There were two possibilities…pneumonia or cancer.  The hope and prayer was for pneumonia.  24 hours of treatment would determine if it was.

It was not.

CT scans and XRays did not show tumors so there was hope that it was not cancer.  But as it turns out it is cancer in his lymphatic system.  Not his lymph nodes…but his lymphatic system. Those small lymphatic vessels that run through his lung tissue are filling up with fluid being produced by the cancer cells and blocking the absorption of oxygen.

But ask Trav how he is feeling and the answer is always the same…

I feel good!

What an amazing man.

Travis gets to come home today and be with his family…surrounded by love. Hospice has been set up and Travis has everything he needs to be comfortable.

And I can tell you this…

He is so peaceful.

Carrie is so thankful for everyone’s support and love and she asks for your continued patience and forgiveness if she is slow to respond to texts, calls, and emails.  Please respect this precious time for the Roberts as they ask people not to visit.

And so the prayer request is this.

Pray for peace and comfort for the whole family and for all of #TravsArmy.

Trav has touched so many.  Changed so many in the past fifteen months.  There are so many stories that will come out in the next several weeks of the impact Travis has had. But there are some who will have questions…doubts…confusion over the ending of this story.  Trav would want you to pray for those and that his story would not add to their confusion or doubts but only help walk them through them.  Because the peace that Trav has, the unexplainable peace that he is experiencing, tells him this.

This is not the end of the story.  It’s only the beginning of the next chapter.

 


Hero

The clock is ticking. With each minute that passes another cancer cell grows… And another… And another… And another…

The sickness has set in. The symptoms are here. The fight has kicked into high gear. There are good days and there are bad days. But through it all… Travis fights.

It’s humbling to watch him fight. To see him lose a battle and continue on.

That’s what heroes do.

The week before last Travis lost several battles in a row. His surgery wound opened. Blood clots set in. He was removed from a trial. And, worst of all, a rare and freak contamination of his cells. The cells that were supposed to be his lifeline .

And yet… Travis fights. No thought of giving up. With a bold faith in the Almighty and the love and support of his soulmate and caretaker…Travis fights.

Because that’s what heroes do.

Four weeks from now Travis is scheduled for the MAGE trial.

Four weeks is a long time. A long time for any fight let alone one with a body that has been ravaged by cancer.

His odds are not good. But that’s how Travis likes it. That’s when he thrives. After all, Travis has faced odds like these his entire life both personally and professionally…and he always comes out on top.

That’s what heroes do.

So for the next five weeks, as Travis fights, there are two small requests.

First, give him the time and space to fight this battle. This request is hard for Travis. It almost goes against his nature. The Roberts’ home has always been the “gathering hole”.  They have the most loving, caring, and giving friends they could ever hope for and their friendships are deep. But, for now, Travis’ focus needs to be on healing and Carrie needs to be there for him as she always is.

Returning phone calls and text messages are low on the priority list for now so please do not begrudge them if yours has gone unanswered.  And please do not be hurt when Travis does not accept visitors. He is busy fighting.

Second, your prayers are coveted by Carrie and Travis.  That’s how you can fight along with them. Carrie once said she doesn’t look for the “big miracle” anymore because she sees so many miracles every day.  Those miracles are a direct result of your prayers.  So please keep praying. Pray for the miracle.  Pray for his healing.  Pray he has the strength and health required for the trial at the end of the four weeks.  Pray, pray, pray… Fight with them through your prayers.

The next four weeks will likely drag for Carrie and Travis. Travis will be fighting every step of the way as the minutes, hours, days drag on.

After all… that’s what heroes do.


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