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Tell us about your loved one.
As Bobby's sister, I feel as though I have a very unique perspective of his personality and his life. There are so many things to say about him, I guess its hard to know where to start. Ever since Bobby was a little boy, we all knew he was different than most. He was bright, energetic, and his presence filled the room. He loved his father more than anyone in the world. They were best friends. He loved animals and could've honestly lived outside happily and barefoot for the rest of his life. His teachers never thought he was listening in class, but when asked to recite the declaration of independence or name every country on a map, he smirked and did so with ease. He had a strange intelligence like that. As far as making friends, I've never met a kid who could walk into a room full of fifty plus strangers and befriend them all in an hour. Growing up, everyone knew who Bobby Skinner was. I would introduce myself and the immediate words were, "Oh, you're Bobby Skinner's sister." He had magical charm most men would envy. Girls loved him and everyone wanted to be his friend. In twenty four years, Bobby experienced a grander and more fulfilled life than those do in fifty. He was always looking for the next best adventure, and he always found it. You had to love him for that. I am so proud to have had his last name because sometimes people still like to say, "Oh, I knew Bobby...", and then go on to tell me about some fantastic, outlandish funny thing he did. Those who knew him, knew there was never anyone quite like him. He was truly special in so many eyes.
Tell us about Bobby's struggle with addiction
Its hard to imagine that a person so full of life with the whole world ahead of him could end in such darkness, loneliness and despair. Such is the evil of a disease called addiction. Bobby was impulsive. He always wanted to try something new and he rarely thought of consequences. He started smoking marijuana at a fairly young age. Of course, this generation has been known for its prescription drug use. Bobby was no exception, and with such an adventurous personality he was highly susceptiple to it. It started with benzodiazepines and escalated to anything he could get his hands on. Oxycontin was next. He liked to hide his addiction from our family, maybe to try to save himself from the consequences at times and also saving us from the harsh reality of where his life was heading. It got worse in college and he had to come back home to live with my parents, which started the slippery slope that eventually led to his death. We tried everything. I would come home from college in the middle of the night after desperate phone calls from my mom. I would follow him into dangerous parts of Youngstown, OH just to make sure he was safe. He was getting out of control and never wanted to admit it. He started injecting things like heroin and xanax. He refused to go to rehab. I even called the police on him once to make sure he hadn't overdosed. They treated him like a criminal and failed to realized that this is a disease. It was an absolutely gut wrenching year of court hearings and drug induced outbursts. He had no more friends, no hope and nothing to live for. On September 26th, 2012 the light in Bobby's eyes was no longer there. The demons took over and he was no longer the lively, loving bright soul from his childhood. He committed suicide, I believe, to save us all from the inevitable and daily anguish he felt he caused us. Each day, I look at the tattoo of him on my side as a silhouette in a tree, hoping he has found peace and ask myself "why?"
What made Bobby smile?
What didn't make Bobby smile is the better question. He had an amazing zest for life. He loved his friends, family and a little chihuahua we call Consuela. He loved doing anything outdoors, especially without shoes on. He loved driving around town, visiting every friend and establishment he could think of. He loved adventures, jumping off bridges, swimming in the lake, hiking up mountains, riding with his head out of the sunroof of his car, and pretty much anything that gave him that thrill he craved. He especially loved amusement parks and roller coasters. We took yearly beach trips when we were kids with close friends that turned into extended family. He loved them more than anything. But most of all, he liked sitting on the back porch with my dad discussing life, death, philosophy and everything in between. They were kindred spirits.
What do you miss most about Bobby?
Absolutely everything... everything I have already mentioned and so much more. Lately, I miss more than ever hearing him barrel up the stairs when I get home from school to give me a hug and a hello. I will always yearn for the close relationship I could have had with my brother and now can only have that relationship in spirit. He is always with me.