I never knew Robert. Never got to see his smiling face in person. Never got to hear his laughter. Never got to watch him learn to crawl, then walk, then run. Never got to see the joy in his eyes that small children are capable of at the littlest things.
But today, I watched him grow up. I got to see him as a newborn. A growing baby. A toddler sitting around in diapers. A youngster discovering the absolute joys of a blue magic marker and hands and face and legs and everything in between.
I got to see all the many people that touched him. All the people he touched. The souls he enriched in almost 6 1/2 years.
Picture after picture on the screen. Sorting, sampling, deciding. Admiring, staring. Crying. Seeing hurt that is just as raw now as it was in 2002.
Somehow feeling a piece of that hurt myself. Somehow, in seeing all those snapshots in time, I felt like I watched Little Robert grow up. I felt like I had been there. I felt like I had touched him. Like he had come off the screen and into my life. For a moment.
But, I hadn't known him. Never saw his smile. Never heard his laughter. Never touched his soft perfect skin. And I never will have the opportunity...
But he touched me nonetheless.
Choices people make in their own lives nearly always impact someone else. In this case... a young man made a choice to drink and drive. His choice affected so so so many people.
And still is.
And forever will.