Two years

For me, it’s been two years.

On nights.
Two years since school was over.
Two years working the “dream job.”
Two years since the last time I got a full night’s sleep.
And two years since I got to tell my dad I did something.

He shook his head when I told him and said that he thought it was something very few people could do. Or do well.
He emphasized, “good for you,” but he looked sympathetic, adding that he was glad someone in the world wanted to do this job.

The job cleans up well, when you tell others about it. It sparkles in the sun and sounds like a badge of honor you wear because you help “save lives.” Or at least that’s how you spin it when you don’t want to reveal how emotionally draining it can be.
If you’re like me.
To this day, I tell anyone who will listen about the thriller stories from trauma, like notches in a belt. Trophies from something I got to be a part of.

But, also if you’re like me, you leave out the part about losing the patient who reminds you of your dad. You leave out the part where you got spit on or you can’t find a homeless shelter with any vacancy. Or you had to call child protective services.
And you leave out the part where you can’t sleep even on the nights you aren’t at work.

And after two years loving nights but feeling like I’ve aged 12, I have more news I want to tell my dad. Not that I’ve had none until now, it’s just that this is important.

This is my last week of nights. My last week of taking to much benadryl and staring at the ceiling.
And the day I found that out, my best friend asked me to marry him. And you would have absolutely loved him.
And, within the week, we’ll get to meet Callan. And in another month, Megan’s daughter.

And Dad, you’re really missing a lot.


Today, Michael bought me flowers.
I wasn’t sure why at first. Why should he remember this day? I hadn’t brought it up and he didn’t known me back then. But they were there, sitting on my dresser with a happy sticky note.
A gentle reflection, kinder than the litany of memories refusing to cease fire in the cinema of my mind this morning.
In rapid fire sequence, these frames continue to play:

The phone call I got from Aaron.
[He never calls me, I thought, so when I answered I blurted out “hey, I passed you on the road!”
“Dad fell,” came the strangled voice from the man I have always looked up to.]
Sinking to my knees on the floor of my apartment and talking my brother and my mom through CPR.
Lucas, there to help out with harvest, insisting that I start to pray.
The memory of telling my sister. Over the phone, because she was at work, and being unable to hug her. Her disbelief.
Rob’s phone call. The most significant. On the impossibly long car drive home. We sat, connected through the miles, in silence.
Megan’s comment about us walking him down the exact same aisle the same day he walked her down the aisle a few years before, to marry Andrew.
Nolan waving his motorcycle wave at Dad the last time, his brow creasing in concern that grandpa wasn’t waving back.
How Aaron really hugged me in church…

This morning marks two years since I lost my dad.

Again, selfishly, I am going to steal from Rob:
He said that funerals, in a sense, are easy. You already know what to do. And in your consolation, you know intimately the three days of frozen hell the departed’s family has seen. You’ve met with the priest. You’ve picked the casket. When the time comes to hug or shake hands, you can provide empathy.
Unexpectedly, the weddings are the hardest. That was something that wasn’t in the manual. Weddings should be the escape. When done well, they are the furthest thing from tragedy; rare, pure afternoons of celebratory bliss where the mortal weights can be surrendered. They are good music and picture-perfect bridal parties, flower girls and fully inebriated dancing.

A very close friend of mine recently got married. And as it always does, during the father daughter dance, the weight of what I had lost became all that I knew.
Knowing that that was one thing I will never, never have.
That walk down the aisle.
That particular dance.
And my brother and sister are each picking out new baby names. That is something else I get to miss out on him seeing of mine. How jealous I am of my siblings and their time with my dad.

Last year I was lucky enough to get to know Michael’s grandma, briefly, and that loving, wonderful woman had the nerve to worry about me – how I would feel, getting close to someone very sick.
How utterly selfless she was.

And the strongest, most influential person I know has finally decided she likes to travel. This year, my mom is in Italy, like she always dreamed.

I wish he could see us all now. I landed what is still, after two years, my dream job and have met the most wonderful guy. Megan and Aaron are having more beautiful, intelligent babies who will no doubt “speak Mandarin” for the first 10 months, like he always claimed.
The house got a new coat of paint.
And we finally sold his truck.

Last year, I had pieces of paper.
…but today, Michael bought me flowers.

Collection of letters

Of the days I remember, I will always revisit June 3 as the most significant. The most poignant. Last year at this time I had graduated college, I had been offered my dream job in the ER, I had moved into my own place in Wichita and I was consumed by excitement and nervousness over my boards that would determine whether or not I could keep all those things. It was a rush. A high. I was driving back to barber county for harvest, my niece and nephew’s first, and was surrounded on all sides. That day, everything was falling into place. Nothing would touch me.

Tuesday, June 4th I lost my dad. Suddenly.
It was a shell shock. Like in the war movies when the sound cuts out and everyone moving around you slows down. Like being underwater and seeing everyone else able breathe. People in polite conversation say my dad passed away. It doesn’t feel like that at all. It feels like he died.

From that moment, every aspect of my life was rocked. I lost my dad. I passed the test the day after. I started the job and flipped my world from days to nights. My brother moved home for months to pick up the pieces. I lost touch with close friends and a significant 5 year investment. I grew up pretty fast, and every day I wish I could go back to the 3rd. Because the 4th sent everything I knew into a tailspin.

“I remember it every single day” is a cliche, horribly overused, Rob said. You remember it like a shotgun to the stomach while coming around a corner. Like how children trip roadside bombs in Fallujah. One minute your operation is routine and then suddenly and without provocation, in the middle of a meeting at work or beer with a friend your heart detonates. While paying bills or doing laundry, the weight you carry becomes all you know.

After that day, a friend of my dads recalled a memory where my father was describing his feelings about having grandchildren. He said, “It’s just getting to the good part.” And it was a year ago today that I felt that, too.

And I have this collection of letters.
They were my dad’s. Things he held dear, letters from Top, birthday cards from my aunt Joan…things no one would believe Brian kept. These letters are worth more to me now than the degree and the test and the job and the apartment. And now my sister has moved her family to Kingman and my brother, his, to Medicine Lodge.

This year, I have pieces of paper.
And my brother has a farm.

Brian Traffas

Brian Traffas, 59, died June 4, 2012, at Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital, Medicine Lodge, Kan. He was born Feb. 24, 1953, in Medicine Lodge, the son of Vincent and Mary (Gulli) Traffas.

A lifetime resident of Sharon, Kan., he was a farmer.

He was a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church, Sharon, Kan.

On May 22, 1976, he married Marilyn R. Marcotte in Victoria, Kan. She survives.

Other survivors include his mother, Mary Traffas, Sharon, Kan.; a son Aaron (Diane) Traffas, Wichita, Kan.; two daughters Megan (Andrew) Piester, Goddard, Kan.; Erica Traffas, Wichita, Kan.; two brothers, Dr. Vincent Traffas, Kensington, Kan.; Shawn Traffas, Buhler, Kan.; two sisters Elaine Graham, Kansas City, Kan.; Joan Berman, Fayetteville, Ark.; and two grandchildren, Nolan Traffas and Kylee Piester.

He was preceded in death by his father Vincent.

Visitation will be 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wed. June 6, 2012, at Larrison Funeral Home, 120 E. Lincoln Ave., Medicine Lodge, KS 67104.

Vigil service will be 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Sharon, Kan.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 7, 2012, at St. Boniface.

Burial will be in St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery, Sharon, Kan.

Memorials may be made to the Brian Traffas Scholarship Fund in care of the funeral home.

Condolences may be left at

Sad news

Sister M. Vincetta Traffas

Jan. 7, 1920 – Dec. 8, 2010 MISHAWAKA – Sister M. Vincetta Traffas, OSF, 90, of the Sisters of St. Francis passed away Wednesday in Our Lady of Angels Convent. She is survived by two sisters, Agnes Eck and Anne Bohrer, both of Kansas. She was preceded in death by eight brothers and four sisters. Visitation is today (Friday) from 5 – 7 p.m. in St. Francis Convent, Mishawaka. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday at 11 am in St. Francis Convent. Arrangements are in the care of Thallemer, Goethals & Wells Funeral Home.

Published in South Bend Tribune on December 10, 2010

Engaged to be Married

On October 17, 2009 at Ocean Beach in San Francisco,  Aaron Traffas asked Diane Michelle Poe to be his wife. Diane is the daughter of Edgar and Debra Poe of Oakley, KS. Aaron is the son of Brian and Marilyn Traffas of Sharon, KS.

I said YES to Aaron’s proposal and we are very excited to announce our engagement to be married!

We have been together since October 2006.  We look forward to sharing our special day with you. We have not made any plans yet. For more details about our wedding please visit

May to September

WOW! The summer definitely went very quickly and now I find myself in the middle of September! So much has happened since I last wrote anything on here. On May 17th I graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Life and Community Service. It feels so great to be finished with college! On that very same day Erica Traffas also graduated from Medicine Lodge High School. Erica has since decided to attend K-STATE, her major is kinesiology. It is nice having Erica in Manhattan and getting to know her and spend time with her. In June Megan and Andrew got married! It was an absolutely beautiful wedding for two wonderful people. I was just thrilled to be apart of it. I have posted a few pictures from the wedding in the gallery, you can also find the picture taken by the professional photographer at . It was truly a beautiful wedding. Once Megan and Andrew were married off they moved to St. Louis where they will both be pursuing Doctoral degrees. Megan is attending Washington University and studying physical therapy while Andrew is attending University of Missouri at St. Louis and studying Optometry. I wish them both well in their studies. Aaron and I both greatly miss having them just across town.

In July Aaron, Megan, Andrew and myself all took a trip to Nashville, TN for the National Auctioneer Association Conference and Show. I think we all had a great time, although I must say that I did enjoy the sunshine of San Diego (host city of the 2007 NAA C &S) a little more than the honky tonks of Nashville.

With August came long days and not much else. I started my job at KVC Behavioral HealthCare in May. I am a Quality Assurance Specialist, which is a fancy way of saying that I keep our records in order. KVC is a foster care agency, so we have a lot of files which must be kept current. I don’t mind the position, but I just do not think it is the right place for me. I have been thinking about what I really would like to do for the rest of my life and QA at KVC does not rank very high. So I have been looking at master’s programs at KSU as well as just exploring other employment opportunities.

With September comes K-STATE FOOTBALL SEASON! I have always enjoyed college football. The cats are off to a good season so far with a record of 2-0, but they have a couple of tough match-up in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing how the season will progress. I think part of the reason that I enjoy football season so much is that I get to see my family so often. Dave and Chris (my brother and his wife) as well as Craig (other brother) and my Dad have season tickets so they manage to make it to most of the games.

I have tried to convince Aaron to come to the K-State games with me before, but he doesn’t have too much interest in that as he sees Saturdays as his free day to do what he wants to do. He has been keeping himself very busy lately with the usual Purple Wave auctions and playing music across Kansas. Recently Aaron decided to add one more thing to is overflowing plate. He started a website which blend two of his passions technology and being an auctioneer. The website is One of the best feature of this site is that Aaron has also launched a podcast that covers the stories on The podcast can be downloaded from the website or it is also avaliable on itunes. I guess I can understand why he wouldn’t want to go to the game with me. : ) I may be a little biased but have the knowlege that I do of the auction industry I believe that Aaron is truly doing great things with his new website, he is educating and helping to connect the network of auctioneers across the country. I am proud of his website and his work.

I think that is all I have for now. I will try to keep the updates a little more frequent. Remember to check out the gallery for picture from the wedding and Nashville. Until next time…