There is nothing in life that is guaranteed. You never know which moment will be your last, reason enough to cherish every minute you spend with your friends and family.
The most perfect life can turn into a nightmare in a matter of seconds. This is the story of a family that faced immense heartache and loss and is now working to recover from it…
Ashlee Rhodes and Travis Nunes lived in Lincoln, California with their two sons, Bradlee and Easton Nunes. Ashlee was known for her friendly personality that made everyone feel comfortable. She was a mother as well as a businesswoman; all in one!
Both parents always worked hard to make sure their children had the best of everything. They wanted to give them a better life than the one they had.
But little did they know that their perfect world would soon be turned upside down. On September 26, 2022, the whole family went to a pumpkin patch to take some photos and celebrate little Bradlee’s birthday. They had no idea that this would be the last time they would take photos together as a family.
After spending some time together at the pumpkin patch, the family split into two pairs. As Travis drove his daughter Bradlee home, Ashlee headed to a bowling alley with Easton.
She was planning to pick up dinner for the whole family on her way back from the bowling alley so they could all eat dinner together as a family.
Three hours after the couple split, Ashlee and Easton were still not home. At this point, Travis had begun to worry and couldn’t think why they hadn’t returned yet.
Travis decided to go and find out what was holding his wife and son back. He got into his car and took the route he guessed his wife might have taken on her way home. When he got to Lincoln Boulevard he saw a lot of police cars that made him nervous.
When he approached officials in the area, his greatest fear was confirmed; it was his wife’s car that had been involved in an accident. The car had been struck by an oncoming train at a railroad crossing.
Travis recalled an officer telling him about his wife’s death. He remembers hearing, “I’m sorry to inform you that she passed away.” He didn’t even have time to process the loss, as he immediately rushed to the UC Davis Trauma Center, where his son Easton had been transported.
The boy was seriously injured and was in the ICU. Doctors told a devastated Travis that his son had two broken femurs and serious lung injuries, but they expected him to make a full recovery.
Hearing about his son’s survival and the fact that he would recover, Travis said, “He’s a fighter just like his mom was.”
Even though he was dealing with the trauma of suddenly losing his wife Ashlee, he had to put that aside and focus on being there for his son. He didn’t leave Easton’s side for a minute.
And on September 29, he finally told his son that the accident he was involved in ended up taking his mother’s life. As hard as losing Ashlee had been for him, it was just as hard to break this heartbreaking news to his wounded son. He said, “His eyes began to water, his lips trembled.”
Fortunately, Travis had many family members around him to help him. His relative, Bryan Nunes, created a GoFundMe page to help with all the costs the family would face in the wake of this tragedy. Unexpected funeral costs and little Easton’s medical bills had to be dealt with.
Bryan said in a statement: “Ashlee’s passing has left a significant void in many of us that words cannot explain, but it left us with many memories.”
“As you can imagine, families have been on a roller coaster of emotions to make sense of this horrific and tragic loss,” he continued. The GoFundMe campaign was aiming to raise $150,000 and officially surpassed that amount just a few days ago.
Easton was also doing well in his recovery and he was moved out of the ICU as he was no longer in danger and recovering wonderfully. As for Travis, although seeing his son get better from him made him feel calmer, he still felt heartbroken about losing his wife. But still he made sure to find strength, he said, “I’m going to be strong like Ashlee wants me to be.” He asked people to pray as he and his family navigate this confusing and difficult time for them.
Easton was released from the hospital on Oct. 2 and doctors allowed him to go home. Although the boy was still in his wheelchair, the doctors were confident that he would recover soon and would not need a wheelchair at any time.
Meanwhile, authorities had been investigating the accident and determined that the gates at the railroad crossing had been working properly. But Travis said that he would make sure to get more answers and that he would investigate the entire test himself.
About his late wife, he said: “She is irreplaceable. The fact that my son is alive is a miracle.”
Travis took to his Facebook account to thank the countless people who had offered his support after the death of his wife and said that he truly believed his wife had “sacrificed” herself to protect the family. son of him What a sweet feeling to have…
Truly recovering from this tragedy will be incredibly difficult for this family. We wish them the best of luck in their physical and mental recovery.