Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away

Every time I see a sunflower, I think of Bobby. When we visited the accident site for the first time, the only color I remember seeing was that of the surrounding sunflowers. Someone at Bobby's graveside service laid three sunflowers on his casket. They are bright, wild, and in unexpected places. When I returned to Moscow about a week after his accident, I saw them everywhere. To me, they are a small piece of him and for that, I love them. 

Thank you Mom, for giving him something from me-- even when I can't be there.
  I love you

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Unbreakable Brotherhood

There is something truly special that comes from the bond of two brothers. Luke is 17 years old, only a year and a half older than Bobby and they had a wonderful friendship. Countless times someone would ask if they were twins, as they got older they stayed close in height and build and I'd even find myself calling them by the opposite names. It became a habit to say "LukeandBobby" as one word since they were always together, a packaged deal. Unlike some teenage siblings, these two were best friends.

Bobby was the little brother to six of the coolest boys I know. He loved hanging out with them and doing whatever it is boys do. During a visit from the Miller boys (from Denver) an airsoft war erupted in the backyard. Bobby spotted them from his room and showed no mercy as he shot them from his window. The older boys came running into the kitchen looking for shelter, we tossed them a few cookie sheets and shoved them out the door. They used the pans as shields and chased each other around the neighborhood for what seemed like hours. This was the first time they had ever met Bobby. Needless to say, he fit right in. For anyone who knew him for his muscles, you have his big brother Matt to thank for that. Matt was nicknamed 'buffness' among the household in high school. Bobby was quickly Buffness junior as soon as he discovered cute girls. He looked up to his brothers so much, always asking for advice and taking notes. He was turning into such a wonderful young man and without a doubt had them to thank. 

I wish I could better describe the bond between Luke and Bobby, only they could truly explain the brotherhood full of love, respect and friendship. My heart hurts for Luke more than he knows. Losing your brother along with your best friend is something no one should ever experience, especially at such a young age. I'm so proud of him for getting up each morning and making the best of his days, for sharing Bobby's story and reaching out to their mutual friends. Luke and Bobby were so similar that Luke is often approached by people he doesn't know who were friends with our little brother. He is truly the absolute closest you'll get to Bobby. I hugged him the other morning as he was leaving for school and that's when I realized it. I didn't want to let go, I could practically feel Bobby through Luke.

Luke told my parents about a dream he had, he and Bobby were talking about 'what it's like' and Bobby told him he felt like a moth, attracted to the light. That is so Bobby. He's visited a few of us in our dreams and I'm so thankful for that, I look forward to my next chance at seeing him. Please keep Luke in your thoughts and prayers as he deals with this, he has the sweetest and most loving heart. Bobby will be forever missed, but our baby brother will always be with us. 

All for one and one for all
My brother and my friend

What fun we have

The time we share
Brothers 'til the end.
~Author Unknown

Bobby's Pallbearers brothers Eric, Greg, Luke, Marc, cousin Jake and Matt

Big brothers Greg & Marc in Colorado- Bobby Strong 

Bobby & Luke- McCall Summer '11

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good for the Heart

Bobby was such a cute little guy growing up, he was always so animated and knew how to steal the spotlight. It's hard to keep your eyes off of his funny little personality and silly smile. He grew up with his good buddy and neighborhood friend Justin, these videos were taken by Justin's mom. Videos are so precious, getting to see him moving around and living in that moment is something absolutely irreplaceable. 

Bobby is in the front row in both videos (red/black/white striped shirt in the first video, and second one in on the left, white shirt in the second video) I love watching these, we'll just say he wasn't very good with props. These clips should leave you smiling, just the way he'd want.  

Kindergarten Graduation

Thanksgiving Program (our struggling little Pilgrim) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Comforting Words

These are a few quotes I've stumbled upon and kept for encouragement. Quotes seem to sum up what I'm thinking and feeling in many different situations. There is often a loss for words, I hope these will offer some comfort to you as well. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Worlds Apart

Luke chose this song in memory of Bobby. At the time, we hadn't watched the official music video-- just one with lyrics. This song will forever remind us of our little brother, and be a constant reminder to buckle up for Bobby. 

'Dedicated to the teens who have lost their lives in car accidents, and to all those who loved them'

So far away from where you are
These miles have torn us worlds apart
And I miss you
Yeah, I miss you

So far away from where you are
Standing underneath the stars
And I wish you were here

I miss the years that were erased 

I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face

I miss all the little things I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

I feel the beating of your heart
I see the shadows of your face
Just know that wherever you are
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

So far away from where you are
These miles have torn us worlds apart
And I miss you
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

The Little Things

"I'm pretty hard to be without" isn't that the truth 

In Good Hands

Looking for answers... it's something we all do. Death and the afterlife is something none of us have ever known. My mind is filled with questions about the entire process and what Bobby is experiencing now. More than anything I want him back, I want to erase September 9th. I want to see him and hug him as tight as he'll let me. I want to tell him how much I love him and punch him in the arm for not wearing his seat belt.

Religion has been a significant factor in how my parents have raised us. I'm grateful for the guidance and the faith I've gained from what I've learned at Treasure Valley Baptist church throughout my life. Now more than ever. I know I'll see Bobby again, I know our family will be together again someday and that he's waiting for us in Heaven... I can't imagine his excitement right now. I'm looking forward to seeing that little grin of his, to hearing his voice and knowing we'll never lose him again.

I recently read 90 Minutes in Heaven written by Don Piper, a true story of death and life. The author is an ordained minister who was in a severe accident involving a semi truck crushing his car, killing him instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, he experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music.

Ninety minutes after the wreck, covered with a tarp and beyond hope, he miraculously returned to life on Earth with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss.

"In my next moment of awareness, I was standing in heaven. Joy pulsated through me as I looked around, and at that moment I became aware of a large crowd of people. They stood in front of a brilliant, ornate gate...

As I try to explain this, my words seem weak and hardly adequate, because I have to use earthly terms to refer to unimaginable joy, excitement, warmth, and total happiness. Everyone continually embraced me, touched me, spoke to me, laughed, and praised God. 

Everything I experienced was like a first-class buffet for the senses. I had never felt such powerful embraces or feasted my eyes of such beauty. Heaven's light and texture defy earthly eyes or explanation. Warm, radiant light engulfed me. As I looked around, I could hardly grasp the vivid, dazzling colors. Every hue and tone surpassed anything I had ever seen. 

I felt loved- more loved than ever before in my life. I knew what the Bible means by perfect love. It emanated from every person who surrounded me."

Throughout the rest of the book he experiences some major life obstacles during recovery, facing some extreme injuries. He continually says that he didn't want to live, and only wanted to go back to heaven.

If you knew Bobby, you know that living a life filled with pain and limited abilities would have never been something he would have ever wanted. Seeing his spirit and his positive attitude crushed by severe injuries would have been heartbreaking for everyone. Not that this is any easier... Luke said to me right after the accident "I wish he would've just been hurt" I have to agree with him, though that's a selfish wish. He's protected from this world and in a much better place, that should make everyone happy or at least hopeful.

Knowing that he is not in pain, he is perfect in every single way, and he is with the one who loves him most, makes me feel at peace. I know I'll see him again, and that he'll be the most animated angel waiting to greet me.

"There Will Be A Day" Jeremy Camp
Sang by a wonderful family friend at Bobby's graveside service 

One of a Kind

Bobby was the youngest of my seven brothers. And he was without a doubt, one of a kind. He had such a sweet spirit and the most contagious laugh you'd ever heard. He was athletic, charming, goofy, kindhearted, witty, and extremely lovable. He was such a busy little guy growing up, always keeping us on our toes. When our mom was pregnant with Bobby, I remember everyone thought she'd be having a girl and there was talk of naming the baby Rebecca. Poor Bobby never quite lived that one down.. to our amusement he was instantly nicknamed "Becky" which unfortunately for him, stuck. Picking on him was our duty as his siblings, but he knew we'd always protect him and take care of him the best we could.

When we were younger both Matt and I were home-schooled for a couple years which meant spending a lot of time babysitting Luke and Bobby during the day. I loved playing 'mom' with them and would come up with new games and adventures to keep us all entertained. One of my favorites was setting all of the kitchen chairs into the living room in an 'airplane' formation. I'd transform the living room with whatever I could find in our bedrooms to make it look like an exotic destination. I made each of them passports with coordinating stickers found on their assigned seats on the 'airplane'. We traveled the world in our living room. We also had fun making menus before lunch (almost always consisted of pb&j's or mac n'cheese) which they never seemed to grow tired of. We'd play 'magic land' where Matt would dress up as a fortune teller and we'd transform my room into another unknown land where we let our imaginations run free. Marshmallow gun wars, living room laser tag, sardines, ruthless pillow fights, you name it... we always had a good time.

It's these innocent childhood memories that are the furthest back I can remember clearly with Bobby. I'm happy that we had those times growing up to be goofy and playful together. He grew up so fast I could hardly keep up. To every sibling reading this, take care of each other. Have fun, don't start meaningless fights, spend time together as much as you can, those memories will last a lifetime.

Table manners were never really our thing... Dominican Republic family vacation  '06