She was 14, I was 16. We had known each other for years, both kids at the Parkwood Baptist Church in Durham, NC, where our families attended. We dated for a few months during my Sophomore year in High School. Robyn was always sweet, beautiful, and had a great sense of humor. For the life of me now, I don't remember why we broke up.
But we were only teenagers. After we broke up, we remained close. We still attended the same youth meetings, we went to the same High School, we went to the same summer camp -- Fort Caswell Baptist Assembly near Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina. She was among the group of friends that hung out at "the wall" at Jordan High School during my senior year, 1982-83. She also dated a good friend of mine that year.
Bill was Roman Catholic. When he invited her to go to the beach with his youth group, she pulled me aside and said, "Dale, you have to go! I don't want to be the only Baptist there!" Bill invited me along too, and it was a very interesting experience. I learned alot about Catholics. I learned that Bill was passive/agressive. And I learned that Robyn was even easier to talk to than when we had dated.
After I entered Wingate College in 1983, we saw each other only a few times. At Homecoming in the fall of that year, and a few times over the next three years or so. She graduated from Jordan in 1985, and went on to College and then Pharmacy school at Campbell University in Benson, NC. She became a Doctor of Pharmacy -- the last time I remember seeing her was almost 20 years ago, and that's what she said she was going to do. She was working at the Kerr Drugs there near Lowes Grove in Durham. I think it was the summer of 1988 -- though it could have been 1987. She was at that time also dating the man that she would eventually marry. That was the last time I saw Robyn. I thought about her once in a while, and thought about trying to reconnect with her, and others, with whom I grew up, or went to school or church with. I thought about it....
This morning, my Mom sent an email, with an attachment. Robyn died Tuesday. She was just 41. She had battled breast cancer for eight years. I didn't know.
Strange as it may seem, when I read the obituary, it threw me for a loop. It had been 20 years, but for some reason, it was like I'd seen her just last week. She wasn't "supposed to go" that early. She was younger than me. She had two boys. I remember calling her a "force of nature" one time in school. She was. Nature won't be quite the same.
I know that hindsight is always 20/20. Still, I wish I had tried to find Robyn. I know now I'm going to look up some old friends. I'm also going to pray for Robyn's husband, Tim Tilley, and her two boys, Jake and Triston. I'm also going to pray for her Mom Wanda and her Brother David, both of whom I knew. I can't imagine how they feel. I hope you'll pray for them with me.
Robyn, you were a gem. You will fit right in there in Heaven. I'll see you again. Enjoy your rest, my sister....