Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spirit In The Sky

Robert Dale Tribby
1958-1998

This photo is of my favorite cousin (sorry girls!) Robbie and his wife Donna. They lived in California at the time. A very free spirited, simple, loving and gentle life there during the late seventies early eighties. They also had the pleasure of life in Vermont, as well as Tennessee.

When we were little, Rob, and two of his sisters, lived in Indiana. I was little but remember them moving away. Texas was so far, but at least I had other family there so I knew we would still see each other. In Houston, he was blessed with yet another little sister. Rob was all boy. He teased us girls all the time and we loved it. Julie & Leann were always trying to join in on the corrupted fun, but poor Rob always got in trouble when they'd get caught.

Rob's life was always torrid. His relationship with his father was unthinkable. He tried for so long to please, then he rebelled. Things only worsened for him.

When he was a young teenager he came up to Indianapolis to give life a whirl. His father left him on the Interstate with a point of the finger as to the direction to Indianapolis from Houston. Rob hitched rides till he arrived. He moved around alot. I was four years younger than Rob, so I only got parts of the stories, but I never understood, why on earth, my cousin did not live with us, my other Aunt & Uncle, my Grandparents or his other Aunts & Grandparents. He mostly lived in what was called a half-way house for run-aways. He would stay with us for weekends but return during the weeks. He also tried to go back "home" to Houston a few times. Whenever he did stay with us, Julie and I were thrilled. We thought of him as our big brother. We loved him madly.

I understand Rob was, well, a rebel. He didn't follow rules too well. He smoked, he drank and he did a few drugs. Such were the seventies for a lonely, confused, angry young man.

He found his way to a Commune, in Tennessee. There he found a new way of life. Say what you will about Communes, this place was a bit of Heaven on Earth for him. There, he was loved. I remember my sister and boyfriend (now husband) going to see him. She must have been 17 or 18. I was so afraid she would stay and never come back! She did. She was able to explain his way of life to me and I was glad he found this place. This is where he found Donna.

From there they moved to Vermont, then settling in California. Rob & Donna had two beautiful sons. He was so good at keeping in touch. And keeping us in his life.

I am not sure why, but Rob got restless with his peaceful life and journeyed back to Indianapolis. He kept in touch with his family in California but chose to start a new life back in Indy.
For the next 10 years, Rob would try to find himself. He was an extremely smart man. He was never afraid to try new things and was a true Jack of all Trades. He meet a new love, had another son and was living his life the best way he knew. I loved having him at all our family gatherings. He was funny, he was like a mini-Tom (my Dad).

Rob fought many demons and depression. He always wanted to please and make others proud. I don't know if he will ever know how deeply he touched our lives. I see his smile everywhere. I hear his laugh. I feel his presence.

Rob died one evening over 11 years ago. It was a great loss. He is deeply missed. I try to keep his memory alive. His spirit is all around.

Today was Rob's birthday. Today Rob would have been 51. He died when he was only 39.

He will always be The Spirit In The Sky to me. This is Rob's song.

Julie, Leann, Shari, Janet, Jamie and I miss you, Rob.
My folks do. My husband and daughters do. We all do.

5 comments:

An English Shepherd said...

Such a sad tail but nice that he left such fond memories.

The boss was born in 1958 as well so thinks this is so very poignant.

Mark said...

Some of the best people I know fight demons usually alcohol and drugs. I have found that sometimes these people feel more with their hearts so they can be so fragile and tormented inside yet so wonderful to others.

Rob sounds like a great spirit and my kind of guy.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Sad but memories makes them with us forever...Great post..Unseen Rajasthan

janis said...

Thank you.
Yes Whizz sad tail but good memories.
Yes, Mark, you would have found him most interesting and entertaining. Had that great dry sense of humor we like.
Rajasthan, yes indeed they stay with us forever.

A human kind of human said...

Bitter-sweet! So sad but with such happy memories. I think I would also have missed him had I known him.