(Nephew, Mickey Robbins, was 21 on this date three years ago. He passed away nine days later. I gave the following remarks at his memorial service in Archdale, North Carolina:)
I want to make these comments as an uncle and member of the family. Mickey was kind and caring. My wife likes to tell about the card we received in the mail from Mickey when he was about six years old. We had just returned home to Florida from a visit. The card, which we still have, was actually a 4x6 index card. Someone had helped him write several sentences on the front to say "we enjoyed your visit." On the back he had written in his own handwriting "come again" and had taped a quarter and a nickel. I think he may have been saying, "If expense is a problem, I want to help."
Mickey was also gifted. He had an unusual ability to express himself, including musically and theatrically. He was a really good mimic. We remember him as a child telling about Mr. and Mrs. Crooked-Mouth.
Mickey was a cute little guy who grew up to be a handsome young man. He was quiet when he needed to me. I talked to him when he last visited our home and he gave good attention to what I said. He was also quick - quick witted and a quick study. Mickey was also quirky. He had a lively responsiveness and delightful energy for life. It must be a family thing. My wife is quirky. I love that in her and I loved it in Mickey.
I also want to say something, as a minister and Christian counselor, about "Remembering Mickey." "Remembering" is an essential first step for healing the deep hurt we experience when we are separated from a loved one by death. Your healing will begin as you set aside a time each day to remember Mickey, to recall your favorite times together with him, and to look at the portraits and the pictures you have of him like the ones you see displayed here and the one I saw last night in which Mickey had stuffed his pajamas, front and back, with pillows and was bouncing on the floor.
Also grieve. Sometimes, our natural reflex is to turn away from pain, to deny or minimize our hurt. Counselors understand that when you suppress your pain, it tends to manifest itself elsewhere in your life - to impair your physical health, to malform your personality, and even to affect your relationship with others.
Also cry. N.C. State basketball coach, Jim Valvano, who died with cancer, taught us to cry. He said, "Find time to cry every day." He understood that crying is healthy, that tears are the relief valve for the emotional pressures of life.
Also talk to Mickey. Death does not end our relationship with Mickey; it only changes it a little. We do not believe you can hear him talk to you, because we believe we can only hear from Heaven what God says to us by the Holy Spirit through his Word. But the Bible clearly teaches that our loved ones in Heaven are fully aware of us on earth and can hear what we say to them.
In the morning, when you awake, say "Good morning, Mickey." Tell him, "I love you, Mickey, and I miss you!" Do that every day if you want. And may I tell you the words that I know Mickey wants most to hear you say to him? They are the words, "Mickey, I will see you later." We can say that because Mickey trusted Christ as his Savior and is in Heaven. We do not need to say "good-bye" to our loved ones on earth who leave this world before we do. We just say, "I’ll see you later."
In closing, I want to say that we can also memorialize Mickey. You can memorialize him by advancing a cause that he would have invested in, perhaps in the arts. Or you can invest in the education fund that has been established in his name. You can also memorialize Mickey in another way. You can let his death move you in a positive direction, perhaps educationally or vocationally, that you would not have otherwise gone.
Time alone does not heal, but in time you will heal. The darkness may tarry long, but in time it will begin to lift, and the sun will shine again - as certain as the morning comes and as certain as spring follows winter. God’s redemptive plan for us provides for our healing and recovery. Death never wins! And we can say with certainty, "Mickey, we love you, we miss you, and we will see you later."