I want to start by saying that sometimes real life doesn’t seem real.

9 months ago my brother in law, Robert, after months of fighting, met our Jesus.

Today is his Birthday.

His 50th.

And it doesn’t seem real. I keep expecting all of us to be used to it, but we’re not. I don’t think we’ll ever be.

He should be here.

And even all these months as we have all grieved, and gotten used to many parts of this new life, none of us are used to this part of real.

I think I have a great love story. I feel blessed that I married the man of my dreams and the man that I love. And it is hard and not perfect, but we work at it.

But my sister in law Susan and Robert have THE love story. Not because it was like some sappy Nicholas Sparks film but because it is real love, the kind of love that is devoted and natural.

The kind of love that is not codependent or passive aggressive but a partnership, untainted by jealousy or any divisiveness.

Weddings are full of vows you hear and know, but almost become just words we’ve heard over and over but not truly paused on.

Of course we cry at weddings because they offer hope and the vows are pretty. But the living of vows and living those words is incredibly hard.

Marriage is a living vow.

For richer or poorer. In good times and bad. In sickness and in health.

Robert and Susan lived those vows.

Beautifully. Fully.

And those touched by their love story, are changed.

I said once to Chris, when he called me after being in ICU with him…

“This can’t be happening. Robert is the best of all of us.”

And I meant it. While I married into a family of amazing people, he is the best of us. The kindest, most accepting, and giving of all
of us.

This is not some memorial where I put on my rose colored glasses.

It. Is. True.

So real life, still seems unreal. Because he made an impact always. He made us all better.

Maybe it was because he had Hodgkins as a teenager. Maybe it was because he was an Eagle Scout. Maybe it was because he could fix anything, make anything, and probably the most knowledgable person I knew.

He and my Sister in Law started dating when my husband, her little brother was very young. So for him, he doesn’t remember a life without Robert.

When we started dating 20 years ago, he told me if he ever got married, they were the couple he wanted to emulate. We even went on our Honeymoon where they went, we had a five year plan to wait for kids like they did…but well, God had other plans for us. But we always looked to them as our inspiration.

We still do.

Today Susan sent us a text and asked all of us to spend a moment and share a story about Robert and to wish him a Happy Birthday.

I started this post hours ago…and Dyp still has not been able to pick one.

So I’ll start with the kids. This is their Uncle Robert in their own words.

Jonah: I can’t come up with just one story…but I can say this– Uncle Robert would drop everything to help with something. When we broke down in Grants Pass for Casey’s Graduation- he spent hours helping Dad. And how he always had the pool ready and had the movie set up on the grass. He was the best! We miss him.

Daniel: I loved our beach trip. We all went together and stayed in that big house. We played games the whole weekend and Uncle Robert made pancakes. It was one of the best weekends ever. Oh, and Uncle Robert and Aunt Susan were so nice when I was sleep walking and walked into their room and just stood there. I prayed every day because I really love him.

Micah: We had a big party for Casey, and he bbq’d and then we had ice cream! It was so fun. (I asked him if there was anything else) I’m just really shy. (Something he said a week ago was that he wants to be able to fix cars someday like Uncle Robert.)

Grace: When we were at the beach Uncle Robert put me on top of the all the kids.(pyramid) He made sure I didn’t fall. He told me it was ok, when I got cold too that it was ok to come back. Also I love Mikaela, and Casey is funny, and I love him.

And our stories…

Like my husband, and Jonah I really can’t find just one story. But there are things I can’t forget…how he and Susan were together. How proud he always was of Mikaela and Casey, of everything they did. How he always seemed happy to see me and was interested in what I had to say. How he loved when babies would make lots of noise at their baptism’s. He liked good music. Even once, years ago, he made a joke that he thought might have hurt my feelings(he hadn’t) and came and said sorry to me. But the fact that he checked in meant so much. He meant so much to so many.

Then theres’s my husband, who picked one story but has a lifetime of them- but the one that stands out and always will stay with him is the time that Robert took him to see Hulk Hogan live. He was around 8, and when he talks about it- he still lights up. It meant so much. He said something I mentioned earlier “I don’t remember a time where Robert wasn’t a part of my life.”

…So here we are.

Today. Robert’s Birthday.

I wish I could be more eloquent in my real today. But somedays I just wish this wasn’t where we all are. I wish I had better words, but really the grief has no words that I can ever describe.

I wish I could bring more comfort to Susan, who I love so much. Or to Mikaela and Casey. Or to Palmer and Millie- and all Robert’s Siblings. And to our family- and to Robert’s life long friends…

But instead I can just do this.

I can do the things I have learned from
Robert- over and over again.

I will love.

I will adore my family.

I will be faithful and help people.

I will make people feel special.

I will never take anything for granted.

I will never take anyone for granted.

I will work hard at my job.

I will love my spouse completely.

I will always try.

I will do the right thing.

I will fight.

And I will view life as a gift. Every single day.

Our family will never be the same. But I am incredibly grateful to have had Robert in my life. I’m so grateful that I got to be a part of this family.

He should be here.

But we are the Blessed ones. To have known and loved-

The best of all of Us.

Happy Birthday Robert. You are so loved. You are so loved.



Daniel collects crosses and only puts things he loves up with his crosses. He chose a picture of Uncle Robert, Aunt Susan, and Mikaela and Casey…I love his heart.