Last Tuesday, the evening after my uncle passed away, my Aunt Jean came to me asking me to write some words of thanks to my aunt on behalf of the brothers and sisters. After spending the week listening to their stories, these are the words I wrote and then spoke at the funeral yesterday. Some have asked for them and this seemed the easiest way for everyone to have access to them. If you aren’t part of the Roberson clan, I hope that you will be encouraged to think about your family in a new way and to speak love and thanks to them while you have the opportunity.
“Aunt Jean came to me on Tuesday evening, asking would I write a special message to Aunt Faye from Virgil’s brothers and sisters. I’ve spent the week hearing their stories of years gone by and especially of these past few months. So, Aunt Faye, this is my spin on the words and stories I’ve heard but this is their heartfelt reflections and message to you.
We have stories through the years. We shared the childhood memories, the Christmas mornings, the eight children around a table fighting each other for food, fishing and swimming in any small piece of water big enough to hold us. So many memories, lost memories that have come flashing back as we have watched Virgil slip away from us here.
We shared those young, formative years, those early memories, the parents and even the DNA, but you shared a young love with him that grew to a beautiful, adult love and commitment as you created a home and a life together.
In the last ten years since you’ve moved back to Plymouth, we’ve been able to see your life together up close, and it’s been a joy. We watched as Virgil graciously cared for you during your during times of health but watched as you stepped up to the needs as the roles reversed.
And you created a home together here. A wonderful, colorful, rich and warm home that you have willingly housed so many Roberson get togethers in. You’ve let this unique, big and often loud bunch of Robersons take over your home. We know we can be a little difficult at times, but you’ve made us feel like we’ve had a home in your home, been part of your family. We lost Granny’s house as our gathering spot, but you’ve allowed us to stay connected with one another. You have planned and created activities for the grand and great grandchildren and given us a place where we continue to share life, laughter, a little sarcasm and snark but also a lot of love. In more ways than one, you and Virgil have been a bridge and a connecting point for our family. That is no small gift you have given to all of us. Thank you.
These last few months we have seen you love and care for our brother. You have stood by him, helped him navigate doctor visits and hospital stays. You have loved him and cared for him in a tender, genuine, self-sacrificing way. You have put him first and we have watched you put everything aside to take care of our special brother that only we thought we could love that much. You faithfully gave him all of yourself right up until the very end. Even though we are certain there have been times where your own health issues may have caused you pain, you never breathed a word of it. You continued to travel to appointment after appointment, hospital to hospital, putting your own potential pain and exhaustion behind Virgil’s needs.
You even found a way to be by his side, the love of your life, and still generously share him with us, in his last moments. You shared precious, final moments with Virgil. You let us have final moments alone with him, and we know deep down you would have liked to have them all for yourself to save and store up, getting every last drop, but you gave them to us. Those final moments are precious pieces of Virgil we will carry with us forever. Thank you for letting us be there with you, with him. Not only were you constantly concerned with allowing us into this process, you were a pillar of strength when we fell apart. We hoped to be a comfort to you but instead, you were a comfort to us. A place of safety where we could fall apart. That also is a great gift. It is a precious gift and we are so grateful to you for sharing those final moments.
Most importantly, we want you to know that you are a part of our family…for better or worse. We thank you for all of the precious gifts you’ve given us and we love you.”