LEAVING A LEGACY.
On July 7, 2015, our son Nolan lost his life in a tragic car accident on his 21st birthday. Nolan was an amazing son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, lacrosse player, golfer, friend and hugger.
In an effort to make some sense out of our loss, and create something positive out of this tragedy, we have formed the Nolan Robison Foundation.
Nolan experienced many challenges during his life and was preparing to start a new chapter in his life. Sadly we will not see Nolan grow older but through this Foundation he will continue to help others.
VIDEO CREDIT: JOHN BISSET
A MOTHER'S STORY
“Thank God every day for the situation I’m in.”
“Say ‘I love you’ multiple times a day.”
“Be nice to everyone, never know when a random person might become your best friend.”
Nolan wrote these rules of thumb a little over a year and a half ago while at Bridgton Academy. He had struggled to handle high school, attending Gilman 9th grade and into October of 10th, then spending a year at Boys Latin and graduating from Baltimore Lutheran after 2 rough years of depression and anxiety.
Bridgton was a challenge as it was strict and there were not a lot of things to do nearby and it was all boys! Although it proved to be one of the best things he had done (he later admitted), it was not without times of him wanting to come home. On the 8 hour drive home after graduation the realization hit him that he no longer had all those buds to hang with, or the lacrosse, or the inspiring teachers who encouraged dialogue and interaction, or the lobster dinners at Bob’s for $20. This was the first time we ever saw him sob. In retrospect, it was great that he cared so much about something after having the depression rob him of his usual joys for so long.
Summer was another growth time as a relationship struggle and uncertainty about college hit him square in the face. Having learned to drive a stick shift came in handy as he landed a job as a valet at Michael’s Café. This was a place that allowed him to share his smiles, hugs, and love to the many friends’ parents, family, and neighbors that frequent there. Although there had been dark years where we didn’t see this sunny side of Nolan, many school mates shared at the viewing how Nolan had encouraged them in their difficult classes, gave them hugs in the halls and generally found ways to make others smile all while he was down inside.
In one of Nolan’s essays he shared, “I believe there is a spiritual battle going on around us at all times that we cannot view. I wholeheartedly believe that evil is the cause of my down and outness, but light overcomes the darkness because I choose not to wallow in my sorrow. I have issues, yes. I do not let them own me.” He went on to say how music was something that helped him.
Nolan became very in tune with his body but often, when he claimed to “not feel well” (mentally) we were hard pressed to understand and sometimes even believe it. During a rough night valeting, the truth of his issue was made clear and he knew he needed to find a different type of work. With the fall came CCBC classes and old and new friends there. And, somewhere in the journey, a passion for golf was revealed. Not only did he love to hit balls at the driving range and golf at Fox Hollow, Pine Ridge, and BCC but he found a perfect job cleaning clubs and golf carts and setting up all the members scheduled to play at BCC. In this he found motivation to work hard, to get up early, to plan ahead, and to be enterprising. It was so good to see him have joy and purpose!
As he pushed through traditional style classes at CCBC and started to get annoyed with having parents wanting to know his whereabouts, his hunger for a college experience intensified. He would have regular chats with the coach at Berry College and he had made a list of the teammates in his upcoming class with their numbers and position. Next to his roommate’s name he had written: “Dynamic Duo”.
Not sure why God had this timing before college started to take him, but there is some peace in him leaving at the top of his game.
A GODFATHER'S STORY
Too Young, Too Soon
Too young, to be gone,
Too soon, you were taken.
Life’s a blur, seasons changing,
Live it now, no time for aging.
We can’t know why, there is no answer;
We can only grieve, in your honor.
For 21 years, you enchanted us;
You touched so many, look around us.
My godson, my friend, I will miss you,
Like a son, you know I love you.
Too young, my heart is broken;
Too soon, you’re with God in heaven.
Rest in Peace Nolan,
GT (Gumba Tom)
A SISTER'S STORY
“This goes out to all the shawtys out there that ever got their hearts broken. It sucks but you’ll get through.” Well, Noles94, as much as I used to make fun of you for this line in one of your original raps, now it is true; my heart is broken.
From the very beginning you were for sure a character. Despite my assigned gender, I tried everything in my power to become like you, even if it was wearing boys underwear for the first 8 years of my life. So thanks for that. You assumed the role as big brother with such ease.
I remember being in the back cabin of your tricycle for hours as you would take “baby Kayla” everywhere.
From a very early age I was not afraid to go somewhere new because I knew my big brother would lead the way and always have my back. That is, if you weren’t beating me up of course. I credit my thick skin and hard head to you. You never went easy on me which I am thankful for because it has truly prepared me for the world. You were always stronger and faster and you never let me forget it. I do want to say sorry for the time when I used to sharpen my pinky nails to a point so I had some advantage when we would wrestle.
Wow, remember the countless hours spent playing mini hockey and mini soccer in the family room, or down at Pinewood catching crayfish? I have an abundance of fond childhood memories with you. There is no one in the world that I would rather fight with than you. I will miss you telling me how much of a terrible person I am.
I can finally say I will miss you farting on my face and you squeezing me as hard as you can when you know I am in a terrible mood. You knew just how to get at me. It will still take me some time to get over you stealing my “Kayla coke bottle” and then putting your dip spit in it. See the thing is, you knew how to fight, hard, but what you did even better was love. You loved so hard Nole.
I will never forget the one time we were on a trip and we stopped and there was a homeless man. You used your money and begged Mom to spend more so you could buy this man groceries. You loved in an incredible way. I am going to let that fierce love live on. I find myself telling so many people how much you loved them and that’s when it really hit me, the abundance and the caliber of your love.
This love was shown to me in some mysterious ways. Remember when you locked me out of the house, but also locked yourself out, but then you got arrested because the neighbors called the police because they thought you were an intruder. I will never forget the look on your face when you saw me in the window of the Smith’s house, while in handcuffs. I am still salty you never accepted my friend request on Facebook. And, hey Blair told me where you were making a pit stop on your birthday where you were going to make me drive. My leg still hurts from when you threw that razor scooter at me when we were unpacking from the beach.
Or that one year there you would not take a good Christmas pic. You were always there to steal my pacifier. Then again you were there to punch the kid that wouldn’t let me swing. You slept with me if I was scared at night. You brought Riley up to me when I was sad. I will miss you coming and snuggling with me, getting food for us, long boarding rides and so much more.
Because as much as I pretended to hate you, you were my favorite person in the world. We just had a special bond. I am so proud of all that you did and the person you grew into. It’s going to be so hard without you. I can’t imagine living life without my big brother by my side. Now I have an angel on my side. I love you so much. Your hugs are something that I will miss the most. Okay, enough from me, go play a round of golf with Granddaddy.
The word hug easily conjures up a feeling of warmth & love.
Nolan was known for his warm and strong bear hugs. He also “wrapped his arms around“ those that were struggling and in need.
The best way to honor his memory is to continue to spread that feeling of warmth & love just like he did.