Robert H. McNiff IV

Robert H. McNiff IV

Loving, sweet, funny, handsome, charming

Robert was smart, funny, athletic, and outgoing and enjoyed meeting new people. As a child, he had the confidence to walk up to a woman in a store and say, “Excuse me, I just wanted to tell you I think you’re beautiful.” Of course, he got a positive response, and she thought he was charming. He also loved cats, dogs, and singing and dancing to music on the radio. He played baseball and football and loved watching NFL, NBA, and MLB games on television.

Robert had a big heart and never wanted to see others struggle without lending a hand. After a neighbor had a car accident and was in a wheelchair, they became friends. They would watch sports together, play chess, and hang out. A favorite family vacation was at Pawley’s Island in South Carolina in 2017 where Robert enjoyed all the requisite vacation activities, the beach, the pool, shopping and having pizza and ice cream, even attending a Pirate Voyage Show! The beach was his favorite place to be.

Robert was close to his sister Tori. They enjoyed listening to music, watching Psych reruns, summers at the swimming pool, and eating out. Robert and his older brother Tim enjoyed playing video games together, eating at Subway, and going to the pool. Tim was 10 years older and once recruited his little brother to act as his wingman to approach a girl and get him a date, and it worked, she agreed! Robert was looking forward to moving to Florida, spending time with his brother who became a father just two days before Robert passed away, meeting his new nephew, and making a lot of money as a realtor.

A big accomplishment for Robert was being sober for six months. His mom said, “he was healthier and happier than I had seen him in a long time. I was proud of him. I made him his favorite treat, a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for his 6-month anniversary.” Unfortunately, Robert relapsed shortly after that. He died of an accidental overdose at 18. No one present at the time tried to save him or call 911.

Robert’s addiction caused extreme weight loss, mood swings, insomnia, lying, depression, and paranoia. At one point, the police burst into Kathy’s apartment because Robert was selling drugs, which caused them to be evicted. She lived in a motel for three months until she could find another place to live.

His mom misses his dynamic energy, hearing him sing in her car while driving together, going out to eat, his hugs, and his smile. Kathy has joined an overdose loss support group, is going to therapy, and her faith in God is deepening. “Without those three things, I am not sure I could laugh, share happy memories of my son and help others who have lost children to addiction.”

She goes to the cemetery once a week to visit with Robert, changes the flowers and flag each month, and trims the grass around his headstone. “Doing those things allows me to keep caring for Robert and brings me peace,” she said. “I want Robert never to be forgotten. I’m so thankful for the 18 years I had with him. His life mattered and addiction does not define my son.”

Robert’s mother, Kathy Baker, provided the information for this narrative.

August 17, 2001-January 29, 2020

Age 18-Lived with the disease of addiction 7 years

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