Photo 1. NASCAR car driven in honor of Robby's service
Photo 2. At high school graduation
Photo 3. Back from training
Photo 4. March, 2011, with G-Ma
One year ago today, March 21, 2011, we lost our Marine, Robby Rawlins. I have been thinking for days how I could do something to honor him, but I have been empty in spirit and in heart. I'm crying as I write this, but I've decided just to celebrate his life - that's what he would've wanted.
Robby had behavioral issues when he was little. One day, mom and dad came home only to find that Robby had decided to remove a few light bulbs with his BB gun. He also redecorated the mirrors, thinking they looked better with a few scattered holes.
I remember one Sunday in church, as the congregation stood to sing, he took off running on the pews that were now minus their occupants. If I remember correctly, it took a couple of us to corral him.
It wasn't until later that he was diagnosed as having ADHD. After receiving some help in the classroom, and getting involved in sports was he able to work off some of that excess energy. He graduated from high school and went immediately into the Marine Corps, a longtime dream of his. You can understand why we were so very proud of him.
He served one tour in Iraq, was stationed in Guam, participating in the ceremonies commemorating the battle of Iwo Jima. When he came home, he brought me a baggie with some pieces of sea glass and shells. He couldn't have brought me anything better since I've always been on the hunt for bits and pieces of treasure like that - and I don't believe he even knew it.
Shortly after his death, his sister, Ashleigh, discovered that she is pregnant. And yes, it is a boy.
Robby's full name was Robert (named for his dad, grandfather and great grandfather), William (named after my husband and Leah's dad), Rawlins. His nephew's name is Robert William Smith. His legacy and those of the men who passed before him will continue.
The above photos are the memories I keep close to my heart: The boy he was and the man he was becoming. The last photo was taken in March, 2011, and was the last time I saw him. The disarming smile and mischievous gleam in his eyes is how I hold him in my heart.
I love you to the moon and back, dear Robby, dearest grandson....