by Kerry J. Bickford
June 21, 2021
Sally Ponzio was driving to Florida in 2017 when her son, Travis, began talking to her about the disease of addiction and how he wanted her to write a song. Sally was puzzled because, although Travis loved music, she could not sing or read a note herself. When he persisted, Sally pulled over to the side of the road to capture his words, which came tumbling out faster than she could write them. This was even more puzzling since Travis had died of an overdose six months earlier.
I started writing the words that you were saying
On a napkin in my car
I had to pull over, I’ll never get over
Now that you’re gone
You said I’m alive in your broken heart
Let my love lift you, you can start a new start
Travis Ponzio was a bright, sensitive child. His mother says talking to him was like “playing a chess game.” He always seemed to have a plan, a strategy, but she embraced his individuality, and they shared a deep and loving relationship.
“He was always looking for an angle,” Sally laughed.
Travis zig-zagged his way through school, according to Sally, eventually finishing up with a GED, and no worse for the wear, he headed to college.
Like many other stories about SUD, Travis’s takes a sharp turn around this time. He was prescribed oxycodone for an arm injury, and his life then became a series of detox stays, jail time and general misery. The sensitive boy who loved animals and music slipped further away until a doctor finally said the dreaded words: “Your son is an addict. You didn’t cause it; you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it.”
Travis worked hard at getting his life back. He took a job at a local restaurant, but he habitually failed drug tests, indicating he might still have a foot in both worlds. His asymmetric lifestyle finally caught up with him when a lethal dose of fentanyl brought his world to a crashing halt at the age of 26.
When you were born I held you in my arms
How did your tears become ambulance alarms
Gone for years before you went away
I tried so hard to reach you but you couldn’t stay
These leather seats hold me down to the earth
A child, my child should not go first
Six months after his death, as Sally drove to Florida, Travis’s voice about the song he wanted her to write was ringing in his mother’s head. Sally scribbled down the words as fast as she could - on a napkin! Travis had instructed her to share the words with “Uncle Frank,” Sally’s brother, composer Frank Ponzio., and the final lyrics and music were composed by Sally, Frank and singer-songwriter Eleanor Dubinsky.
His name is your name
Her face is your face
My tears all these years
Cannot be replaced
But this song is our song
Our love… our strength
We never said goodbye
SADOD Voices is honored to spotlight personal expressions of grief, like this one, in our new platform -- Voices & Visions. We hope the work shared here resonates with or inspires you to create your own tribute to someone special in your own life who has died.
Sally has graciously shared her song with all of us, and we hope it brings comfort and healing to your heart, especially this Mother’s Day when so many of us will be missing our beloved ones.
Fly High, Fly Free
Spread your Wings
Remember Me (click here to listen to song)
Report a problem