Travis Ronald Backs; born 12-16-91 & died 2-6-20. A life cut so short. So much left to offer this cruel & ever changing world. Travis from a fairly young age struggled first with ADHD, and then in late adolescent & adult years that struggled changed to depression. What you would see every single time you encountered Trav was an ear to ear smile; and yes- sometimes those smiles were fake. Regardless, he tried so very hard to make sure you saw nothing but love, light, happiness and incredible comedy when you saw him. The struggle seemed endless for Trav through the years. School- he was never a fan. Although when he applied himself he achieved good grades. Always finding athletics easy, he for the most part refused to play school sports because of the “friggin’ politics” he said. He tried high school football one year, and he was damn good at it; but wanted to quit mid way thru the year because of said politics. Years of playing Babe Ruth Baseball he definitely enjoyed and yes- excelled at. Those politics he spoke of were not “witnessed by Trav”; not in any of the years he played.. He never complained of those years. Vividly I can remember the day he smashed his first home run! The light, pride, confidence, and love of the sport shone so brightly on his face right then.
Travis was the only sibling and very best friend to his sister Amanda. They adored each other. But, on the days there was any kind of strife between them; let not a soul speak foul of the other- or there would be hell to face. When Amanda had her first born Trystan; Trav had such an enormous love for that boy, and the same when her second child, MaKenna was born. Oh, you could just see it the instant they were around one another; that complete and deep love. Travis wanted nothing more in the world than to someday have his own little family. Family was “the mission” for Trav. Yes, he and Amanda come from a broken home; as I divorced their father before Amanda was 2. Each of them carried a ton of pain, anger, wonder, and mistrust with them after the divorce. For Trav; it was worse. He could not ever deny it; and he never tried. Many a day I questioned myself after finally getting the courage to leave the marriage; if I was going to be the target of my childrens’pain & anger. Thankfully; I never was. There were MANY girls at Travis’ feet, seemingly; at all times. A few long term relationships he had, 2 of which we would’ve loved to see not ever end. BUT..... But- then came the one he gave his life for. The one he met before the age of 10, and came back in contact with after over 20 years. From the first time he met “her”; he had adoration for her. A first crush; you might say. When we all came back in contact with her; Trav was still smitten. Instantly and completely; like never a day passed. Her relationship at the time was very sketchy to us. (That was red flag number one to Jeff, Amanda, & myself; but not to Trav- the one that mattered most.) For months and months they shared “a hidden relationship as she was still with her fiancé (red flag #2) but she continually lied to Travis telling him they were “done”. The last year and a half my son was alive, was probably some of the happiest times we’d seen from Trav. Although he would thwart any negative thoughts or questions we had about “her”; and let us see nothing but the “this is what I’ve wanted all my life” ‘supposedly complete & pure happiness’ face- only after his death did we learn how incredibly toxic the relationship really was.
I cannot and will not get into the gruesome, heart and gut shattering details surrounding his death; but nothing could possibly hurt us worse than discovering Travis was living a complete lie, and a life of heartache. He had gotten his previously lost license back, had his own car, was working in the foundry @ Gould’s in Seneca Falls for about a year and a half, and- most importantly to him; had a live in relationship with his very first crush. The fiancé was finally (or so we thought) out of the picture, he now shared a home with her and her daughter; both of whom Trav adored.
Trav, though; all his life- only let you see what he WANTED you to see. Never more was this true than the last year and a half of his life; in that toxic hell relationship he was living in. There were no precursors, no “tell tale signs”, no “should’ve seen this coming”, no warnings. NONE!! NONE! What there WAS, is me texting and talking to my son one day and the next day he’s dead. That simple. Dead... One never wants to envision the reality of losing a child; for the exact reasons you think. How did this happen? What did I miss? Did I fail him as a parent? What was he not telling us? How did he look so purely happy when we laid eyes on him?
Only after 6 investigator meetings, 3 Court attendances, cleaning out his work locker, and being given back from the police his phone & wallet; did we FINALLY have Travis’ Truth. The sole reason, the VERY sole reason; for my son taking his own life- was HER.. Proof, now; we had- no suppositions nor guesses, but pieces to his puzzle that I promised him in his casket I’d die myself if I had to- trying to complete.. We had full proof.
What kind of a person’s very first words upon arrival at the death sight that night to the deceased’s mother & stepfather are “who’s gonna pay my bills now?!” No, I am not shitting you; that is the god’s honest truth. Those were her first words to us when I still had one shoe on my foot coming in the door. Bingo!! You’ve now shown your truth; B.T. Trav’s Truth and our PROOF! ❤️💜💙