A Beloved Son, an Addiction, and an Honest Obituary

by Danni Morford
March 16, 2020

One year, after receiving too many Christmas letters about perfect families, I decided to write my first “true” Christmas letter about our family, including living with three sons who were struggling with addiction. These letters were a humorous (but truthful) parody of our lives. A few excerpts from over the years:

It’s been a busy year. The boys are all doing various activities. Unfortunately, most of it is illegal.

Merry Christmas from the Morford’s—the family that knows how to put the fun into dysfunctional. This year consisted of three active boys, two dogs, a workaholic spouse and me wearing a scarlet “C” for trying to control.

 Hope y’all are doing well. We sure had a great year; Travis finished up treatment in Louisiana and has been working and living in a sober house. In October, he was ordered by the State of Texas to return home and begin probation. As a welcome home gift, the court presented him with a cute gadget called an Interlock Breathalyzer Device (IBD) for his truck. It is very easy to work, especially if you don’t drink alcohol.

 When Travis died from an overdose at the age of twenty-five, it was important to keep telling the truth, even in his obituary, saying that he died from the disease of addiction. We hoped that by continuing to be open and honest, it would bring awareness to this disease and help end the stigma and shame.

On the day of Travis’s funeral, the director of a local addiction treatment facility came to “meet the parents who weren’t afraid to openly announce their son had succumbed to the disease of addiction.”

No more shame.

Danni Morford is the author of the book Shoot My Ashes from a Cannon—Beyond Addiction: The Letters.


Travis Edward MorfordTravis Edward Morford

Travis Edward Morford, brown-eyed son of Pete and Danni and brother of Eric and Caleb, died on July 8, 2007. He came into the world late and left far too early. He was a fighter with his lopsided grin from the moment he was born.

At age 25, Travis lost his long fight with the disease of addiction, a fight he could not win. God proved stronger and called him home. He is our hero, protector, and friend, and will forever be in our hearts.

He loved working out, taking his dogs to the park and snuggling on the couch watching X-Files with Megan. The memories we shared with him will comfort us in all the years ahead.

In addition to his parents and brothers, he is survived by fiancé Megan Ballard, grandmothers Pat Fourton and Maggie Morford, aunts and uncles Ed and Michele Fourton, Happy and Diane Fourton, Russell and Michielle Sullivan, Mike Morford, David and Becky Morford, Suzanne Morford, many wonderful cousins, his faithful dogs Tyson and Kai, and countless loving friends. He was preceded in death by grandfathers Edward Fourton and Robert Morford, Sr., uncle Robert Morford, Jr., and cousin Leah Sullivan.

The visitation will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 North Lamar on Thursday, July 12th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Westlake Bible Church, 9238 Bee Caves Road on Friday, July 13th at 1:00 p.m.

Donations in the name of Travis Edward Morford may be sent to Austin Recovery at 8402 Cross Park Dr., Austin, TX 78754.

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Danni Morford

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  1. When my daughter died from her addiction, I, too, felt it was important to be honest in her obituary. I had several people, friends and strangers, thank me for my honesty and courage. Most of those people confided that they were in the midst of the same situation with their child.

    • Jeanette, I am so sorry about your daughter, you were very brave
      and helped so many in the midst of your grief.
      I hope you feel surrounded by her love today and always.

  2. So very sorry for the loss of your precious son to such a horrible disease. Praises to you for your openness about his life, struggles and death. So grateful for your efforts to educate others and end the stigma. We have dealt with addiction in two of our children for the past 20+ years. For three short, but glorious years they were both sober. I have been contacting our state (Texas) elected officials about incarceration versus rehabilitation, but to no avail. I either get a generic reply or no reply at all. Any suggestions out there?
    Keep up your writings and God bless.

    • Donna,
      I really appreciate your comment and your condolences for the loss of my son, Travis.
      Living with addiction, especially when it involves our children can be tough on the whole family.
      I admire you for trying to make a difference. I do believe awareness is happening with Sober High Schools
      and Sober fraternities. Awareness is powerful..keep sharing your story. I wish you more glorious years
      with your children and know that you know you are not alone.

  3. Kudos to you for speaking truth and for being transparent, when it is most difficult but much needed. Substance use disorder is a reality for many families and we can only overcome the stigma attached to it by being open and honest about ALL of it…the memories, the good times, the struggles, the sadness, the here and now, the truth….As a parent of an addicted loved one, I thank you for your testimony and reminder of how precious life is — no matter what we face in life. May God bless you and your family!

    • Bobbie,
      Thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me.
      In sharing my story I hope it brings awareness to The Disease of Addiction.
      This is my way to honor Travis and help others. I wish you the best with your family. You are a brave parent also.

  4. My condolences to you Danni and all the parents who have lost their beloved children to this vile disease.
    I haven’t lost my addict son (yet..what a horrid word to write) as he thankfully (again what a word to write) keeps getting arrested for possession and violating his probation. At least I know he is somewhat safe in jail (again).
    Our family keep wondering how much longer with this merry go round keep going? This horrible disease has taken control of my beloved youngest son for over 10 years now. He was functioning for about 4 years while on a methadone program, missed a dose and well down the rabbit hole again.
    The past 2- 3 years have been hell. Promises are made and broken over and over.
    I have spoken and am on social media discussing my son and this very worrying situation. I have no shame. No one should.
    My best to all of us parents out there..

    • Beverly, this disease is so powerful…your willingness to share
      about addiction will make a difference, change is happening so stay strong.
      Thank you for writing to me, please read my book,you may find some answers
      in the letters.

  5. Thank you Danni for these truthful and honest words! We used our sons ‘celebration of life’ service as a platform to talk truth about addictions! It was POWERFUL!

    • Joyce, I am sorry about your son and the pain you go through each day missing him.
      What a wonderful way to bring awareness. I know it must have been powerful.
      Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. Together we can make a difference.


  6. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve often wondered what to say if our son doesn’t beat his addiction. Like you I plan to be honest and open. Just as I am now . Let’s end The stigma.

  7. Vicki, I am sorry that you are having to think about what you would do or say if your son
    doesn’t beat his addiction, I had the same thoughts about Travis, it is hard not to look into the future.
    You will do the best you can and your voice and openness will help others, peace be with you and your son.


  8. Dear Danni,

    My heart hurts for you and all mothers who have lost a child to this disease. We started seeking treatment in 2014 for our four sons, all impacted by this disease. We’ve been up and down the road so many times to treatment centers and participated in so many family programs, all the while counting ourselves as the lucky ones. I don’t know what tomorrow holds for my sons. Today they are all sober, but there have been many relapses so I just pray for the future and count my blessings today. You are a trailblazer – far ahead of your time when Travis left this world too early. Thank you for your honest, heartfelt words and encouragement. To all mommas out there – pray for one another, we are in this together.

  9. Grace,

    Thank you for your comment, it means a lot to me. I am so sad for all that your family has been through, but grateful you found Sandy’s MomPower.org. She has so many great resources and I love her gentler side to being a mom of an addict. Living within this disease, I found that going to AlAnon meetings and working the steps helped to keep me strong, mentally, physically and spiritually.
    It truly is a day at a time, I hope you will read my book and that you will find your answers in the letters.
    Prayers going for you and please stay in touch, as you said, we are all in this together.


  10. Thank you so much for your sharing. As a mom with an alcoholic son, your situation is our greatest fear. The fear of losing our loved ones. He was a handsome young man, such a loss. This is such a heart breaking illness. We lose them before we may lose them to death, or they recover. Thanks for your part in calling out the disease in hopes that others come forward. Jayne Williams

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