We were out staining the fence when our neighbor walked over to us. “Max Roberts just drowned.” she informed us.
I drew a blank.
Who was Max Roberts? What did she mean ‘drowned?’ How was I supposed to react?
And then like a camera, things came into focus.
Max Roberts, the sweet neighbor kid 3 doors down.
Drowned. Not near drowned. Not ‘haha, just kidding.’ Max Roberts died.
And I reacted in my usual clumsy way – I offered condolences and disbelief. I hugged Lizzie as she walked by in tears, back from being at the Roberts’ house. I stopped staining the fence.
And then I thought about it all the rest of the day. And then I really started to feel it. To hurt. It’s impossible with news like that to not imagine yourself in that situation.
How would I do it? How on earth would I carry on? How would I carry my sweet children if they lost a sibling? How would I teach my children to trust in the goodness of God, when they are faced with a sadness of that magnitude?
I hate being faced with my own inadequacies, but with this news I felt like all my weakness was laid out before me. And I wept.
I wept for Wayne and Pam. But mostly I wept for myself. What am I supposed to do with this?
I did the only thing I figured I could. I went over to the Roberts’ house and did yard work. I was joined by neighbors in throng. I spent two days fixing sprinklers and pruning trees and spraying weeds and cleaning up.
It was a testament to the Roberts that so many showed up with such force. They are much beloved in the community.
But for me it was almost like a way of getting out my own nervous energy, of relieving this pain that i didn’t understand, and that I couldn’t rise above.
The funeral was the next Saturday.
7 boys – now six.
They stood to tell stories of brotherly shenanigans, of ideas gone wrong, and adventures had. But at the close of each man’s remarks, they stood and bore testimony of the Savior. They knew of His goodness, and of His covenant. And in that knowledge was the only sense to be had.
And Pam and Wayne bore testimony of Gods goodness in the darkness. And I was taught so deeply –
Yes, they will have much healing, and dark, long, difficult days ahead. They will have minutes that feel like an hour and moments that feel like an eternity. They will, to be sure, need further comfort, love, and space to mourn the companionship of Max.
But they have already been taught. And they already know. They know in whom they can trust, and they know in whom to look for peace, light, and hope.
I can teach my children – I must teach the kids, where to look in the darkness, and how to live in the storm, secure in their foundation.
It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Maxwell Ty Roberts on June 9, 2023. While free diving off the Florida Coast, Max's earthly journey came to an unexpected close. We are devastated at the loss of Max and cannot imagine life without his wonderful personality and beautiful smile. Born on October 1, 2000, in Draper, Utah, Max shared his entrance into the world with his twin brother and best friend, Ryan. The duo formed a dynamic and inseparable bond, and so the adventures began. Their childhood was filled with laughter, companionship, and the unique joy that comes with twinhood. Draper's community was Max's canvas where he created lifelong friendships, lasting memories, and many cherished moments at home. Max's unquenchable spirit for service led him to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He first served in the Chile, Viña Del Mar Mission, and later, due to the COVID pandemic, in the Washington, Tacoma Mission. Max embraced the opportunity to serve as a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ, teaching the gospel and touching countless lives as he served and loved his fellow man. Max was a full-time student at Utah Valley University. He loved learning. From a young age he had a thirst for reading and gaining knowledge. He devoured books and often read non-stop. As his parents, we wish we could take credit for his knowledge and wisdom, but he developed this all on his own. Max also had a love for animals and anything that crept or crawled. He spent many days and weeks traveling the world, enjoying everything nature has to offer. Max's love of the outdoors was truly a great joy in his life, especially when it involved water and, best of all, the ocean, but his greatest love was entering the lives of others. Max had a smile and an infectious joy that allowed him to have friends in every city, town, state, or country he graced with his presence. Children were drawn to Max; he had just an astonishing ability to love them unconditionally, and that love was always returned. He would do anything for anyone and expected nothing in return, and we do mean absolutely anything, regardless of the cost, time, or travel. He spent time serving and loving others on several humanitarian trips which took him to developing countries where he made friends by the hundreds. Max is survived by his loving parents, Wayne and Pam, who were in awe of his compassionate and generous heart. Alongside his parents are six brothers who love Max deeply: Tyler and his sweet wife Mackenzie, Sam, Parker, Ryan, Jaxson, and Dillon. They are mourning the loss of their best friend and brother, Max, and will treasure the thousands of adventure-filled memories they made together. Max also leaves behind adoring grandparents, Cleve and Deanna Roberts and Ron and Bonnie Clark, along with the best aunts and uncles a boy could hope for; they have all cheered him on and loved him dearly. Max has 41 first cousins that he loved like siblings; they often joined his adventures of exploring the world. Each family member holds treasured memories of Max's bright smile, a testament to his radiant personality, a beacon that illuminated the lives of all who knew him. And lastly, Max leaves behind a very long and beloved list of dear friends who have become a part of the Roberts' family; we are grateful for the love and friendship constantly extended to him. Max’s was certainly a life well lived. As we navigate through the torrent of sorrow that accompanies Max's untimely departure, we are comforted by our faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. We rest in the knowledge that this is not a final goodbye, but a temporary farewell until we meet Max once again. The funeral service will be held Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 1280 E Walden Lane in Draper, Utah. A viewing will be held on Friday, June 16, 2023, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at 1280 E Walden Lane, Draper, Utah. A viewing will also be held prior to the funeral service from 9-1030 a.m.