Mother and Son

Sheila Simmons and her son, Travis, grapple with addiction, family and future.

Created by: Brad Vest

In and out of incarceration, Travis Simmons, 28, and his family deal with an emotional, social, and physical landscape that constantly changes. Their dreams hinge on his ability to stay away from drugs and support his family.

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SHELIA: I don't hurt as much anymore. Cuz after you see 'em at these court hearings after say like the second or third time it seems routine to me anymore.

PATIENCE: Me, ah. Me and Mommy. Me and my daddy. Is that right?

Da Da, Daddy.

SHELIA: Hey, thought I'd start you a letter. Before I forget your dad gets paid Friday so I'll send, send you more later. He put your porch back up he knocked over with the camper. Yesterday a man drove his car through the water on Copper Fork Road and it swept the car over into the creek. The car sank to the bottom and his body floated out and Gary and a couple other men found him up against the tree.

TRAVIS: Hell up until I got hooked on pills life was pretty good. Cuz we had all them toys and stuff down there by the river. Swing set and then we had the river right there. Yeah, we'd go outside and sit there and play with the kids.

SHELIA: That day I didn't feel, ya know, really bad at all because I thought well, three, four months he can do that. He's tough he can take it then he'll be home. Look Travis mom and dad can't hold your hand forever. It's time for you to grow up and realize you have kids that are more important than drugs. You're a good daddy but you cannot be the best daddy you can on drugs. And if you're gonna have your ups and downs, your bumps in the road, but that's no reason to get high. Ya know, just go on with your day and that bump in the road will disappear. I think Travis would've had a better life if, me and Allen would have done better by 'em.

TRAVIS: Not being with her, not having my family, that's when I wanna say I wanna get high. When all my memories come back and hit me all at once

SHELIA: Patience. Daddy wants to talk to you, hurry.

When she's pretending to be talk to her daddy on the phone she'll say things like. Daddy, don't snort pills up your nose no more. I mean, Daddy you shouldn't have broke the law. One time she said, um. Daddy I miss you, I know you miss me, but you shouldn't have done what you did so now you'll just have to sit there.

I can't remember when I was four-years-old so I'm hoping she don't either.

Who his friends are. Who he's hanging with. If he has easy access to it. He might do it again.

PATIENCE: That devil wouldn't get ya if the devil was still a angel.

SHELIA: Well the devil's not an angel. And you don't tell lies no more. Okay.

PATIENCE: He used to be.

SHELIA: And you don't tell lies no more. Okay.

PATIENCE: He used to be an angel.

SHELIA: And you don't tell lies no more. Okay.

PATIENCE: I won't.


PATIENCE: But, he used to be a angel.

TRAVIS: Just about everybody I know does something. It might just be smoking weed, or it could be shooting up. Getting high makes things go away. That's just a temporary fix, you come back down and it's all still right there on your shoulders.

SHELIA: Since Travis has went back to prison. Then I've gotten kind of excited, knowing it's just that much time closer for him to come home. One time Patience had wrote her ABC's and I mailed 'em to him. Well, on the phone when he called he's like, "did Patience really do that, them ABC's," I'm like yeah, she did that. He's says oh my god Mom I gotta get outta here. And sometimes you can hear him like choking back, trying not to cry about stuff when it comes to the kids.

I don't know. I just, I just want him to be happy for a change. He always says in his letters that he's sorry, he knows he messed up, he's sorry for the pain he's put me through, he's thankful for everything that I've done for him. And I think when he first gets out of jail he keeps that stuff in mind for a long time. But then he just, that slips away.

TRAVIS: Right now at this time and this place in my life is the time to straighten up, get my act together and be the father that I need to be. And that is one that is sober. I've got too much to live for. I ain't got much, god knows that but what I do have, it's my life.

PATIENCE: Wanna talk to Journey? Here, Journey, here's Daddy. Daddy says she loves you. Mama, Daddy says give her a kiss for him.

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