The Final Week

Robbie fought with every ounce of strength he had left. It proved not to be enough as the lung disease proved stronger and more insidious.

Over the last few days, he was having increasing difficulty breathing. The constant dry cough led to more nausea and no amount of antiemetics seemed to make him more comfortable. As a result, he wasn’t eating enough and was losing weight fairly quickly, down 6% in the last week. He endured multiple CT scans, electrocardiograms, ultrasounds and x-rays all ruling things out but not finding a cause. As a result, there was little choice but to do a biopsy and it was determined to work on only one side to minimize the risks.

A simple lap around the hospital floor proved too taxing for him on Monday. He was struggling and on Tuesday told Deb that he wanted to fight on but was feeling really tired.


The scheduled biopsy had to be delayed a day since he wasn’t clotting well enough. Finally, on Wednesday he had the procedure. He was anxious all day long and couldn’t focus, until finally Deb pulled out some cards and kept him distracted. The actual biopsy took longer than expected because they found an excessive amount of fluid building up. When he came back, he seemed better, no longer coughing or nauseous. However, he still struggled with his breathing switching between a variety of masks and delivery methods, none of which made him comfortable enough to sleep.

3:30 Thursday morning, he was lacking the energy to move much because there was a build up of carbon dioxide in his blood. They switched his breathing gear and he rallied quickly and was lucid. They discussed the possibility of intubation but he made it clear he didn’t want it.

They continued to check his blood gases and the numbers were horrible. Just before 6, I had to explain to Robbie he needed to be intubated. Again, he didn’t want it. Dr. Li explained that if Robbie wanted to fight, he needed this. Robbie took a pad and pen and scribbled, asking how long it would stay in. We didn’t know. He then asked would he be asleep for the procedure. Dr. Li assured him of this. Robbie finally nodded. He was put to sleep, given pain medicines and intubated.

The rest of the day was a blur. Deb arrived by 7 and we summoned Stephanie Massaro as our touchstone. She suggested having Katie come earlier than planned. If her brothers could come, they should, she suggested. It was clear then that he had hours and this was it. There would be no miracle answers from the biopsy (in the end, it appeared there was leukemia and two funguses in the lung tissue).

The level of support we received from the hospital staff was extraordinary. Jess, his favorite, came in from her day off as did others. Everyone from 7-West came around the corner to sit with us. Doctors from around the hospital who had met or treated Robbie come by. The entire oncology team assembled for hours on end and Stephanie stayed with us until the end.

Fathers Bob and Sam came and prayed, played traffic cop, door guardian and friend. They too stayed.

John, Jim, and Jeff arrived. A friend drove Deb’s mom down from the Albany area. Neighbors came bearing bag lunches so we could eat.

Erica and Kendra from Child Life took Father Bob to pick up Kate at the Amtrak station and prepare her for what was happening. All through this, the ICU team added medicines, blood products and extra arterial and femoral lines to measure or administer. Deb hated seeing like a pin cushion but they saw the need for him to still be with us for Kate.

The entire family sat with him for a while and then came the hard choices, the ones parents should never have to make. Dr. McCabe and Dr. Massaro reviewed them with the three of us. We agreed no heroic measures. No more blood products, no more medicines except to keep him asleep and pain free.

With incredible gentleness and compassion, his nurse Jill carefully removed various leads and connections, then washed him up with a lavender-scented soap Robbie had commented on liking the day before. He was then carefully placed under the quilt Deb had made him years before.

After a few more minutes alone with Robbie, the rest of the family joined us. We all sat in silence and tears, watching him breathe, glancing at the monitors to see how remarkably stable his condition had become during the afternoon. It was difficult knowing it was all because of the medicines and breathing equipment.

The Fathers came in and led everyone in prayer. We sat with him and around 7:30, as the nurse shift change occurred, many more came by.

Once they had left, we sat with him for a while until finally Kate and Bob couldn’t keep watching. Deb didn’t argue but didn’t one to be the one to tell the doctor. Bob went outside and told Dr. McCabe it was time.

Quietly, the various devices were turned off and the room monitor was shut down. We were told it would take an hour, two tops. The three of us sat with him, holding his arm, his grandmother on the other side, murmuring prayers.

The final minutes we could see his chest slowing down, the breathing machine taking more time between breaths. In the background, nurses were watching, occasionally stepping forward to suction blood and mucous from his nose and lips.

He shuddered a few times and Stephanie Massaro stepped forward and let us know this was natural and he wasn’t feeling anything.

Around 8:25, Dr. McCabe came in, listened to his slowly moving chest and told us he was gone. The breathing machine was silenced and we all sat with him for just a little bit more.

Bob did not want to come back for his belongings. The first thing he did was remove the plastic Smiley face from his door and brought it to the door of the nurse’s room on 7-West. The nurses quietly removed the last of the lines and prepared his body.

We said our final farewells and left the room.

143 comments

  • Janna Silverstein

    It sounds like Robbie departed surrounded by love and compassion. My sympathies to the whole family. You’re in my thoughts.

  • My most sincere condolences to you and your family. You’re all in my heart and thoughts.

  • I am grateful for the support you all had and that Robbie made it long enough for Kate. What I wouldn’t give to be able to be one of the ones there and present, offering my arms along with the others. God bless.

  • You have our deepest sympathies.

  • Allen Ross

    Thanks for sharing this with us, although I know it was hard. It reminds me of the last minutes we had with my mother. My condolences, and prayers for your family.

  • Laura Anne

    *blurry screen*

    *sympathies and sorrow*

    Peace now, for Robbie. May peace and healing come to you and the rest of the family as well, in its time and season.

  • Frank Hernandez

    Please allow Gina and I to express our deepest and most profound condolences.
    We are deeply saddened by your loss and your entire family is in our thoughts.

    Most Sincerely,
    Frank and Gina Hernandez

  • Jim Valentino

    Bob,

    My deepest condolences to your family.

    There just aren’t words….

    jim

  • Craig J. Ries

    I too offer my condolences, as well as my thanks for your willingness to share these private moments with us, not only now but over the entire period of Robbie’s illness. I never met Robbie, but these entries told me what an incredible young man he was and what spirit he showed until the end.

  • David Mack

    I have no words. I’m a writer; I’m supposed to have words. But there are none. None equal to your loss, anyway.

    Please accept my and Kara’s deepest condolences, and know that we mourn with you.

  • The Bergstroms

    Words fail me as being inadequate to cover my feelings right now. I have a few rules that I live by, and this breaks one of them like my heart, that no parent should ever have to face this. Robbie was a very bright light in this life, and he struggled to beat this as hard as anyone could ask for (and believe me there were a lot of us who were asking that he beat this!)

    We’ll miss Robbie’s smile, his light hearted comments and enthusiasm, his cheer as he brightened up any room he entered. We’ll miss his antics on stage in Maryland, and everything he brought to his many performances. Shore Leave was quieter this year, and it was our hope that this would be the last convention he would ever miss again as he was finishing the treatments. I was disheartened to hear at the convention of his relapse, but I had hoped it was only a minor stumbling block. I was wrong, and I curse that he was taken so early in life.

    I can’t even begin to imagine the grief that Bob, Deb, and Katie are feeling right now, and I’m even more chagrined that I can’t be there for them now with a hug. We’ve been thinking of all of them since we heard of his early diagnosis, and misplaced our confidence in the strength of modern medicine’s miracles and Robbie’s Herculean strength (which of course still had its limits.)

    Our thoughts still go out to the family in your loss, and when we see you again be sure to collect the hugs that we’re keeping warm for you (even though none of them will ever replace Rob.)

    Rest in well deserved peace Robbie, you’ve more than earned it…

  • Karen Sullivan

    Lisa and I offer our deepest condolences and prayers for you and all your family. May you find comfort in the wonderful years you had together.

    Karen Sullivan

  • Susan Shwartz

    Words cannot say how sorry I am.

    May his name be for a blessing.

  • Steve Saffel

    Bob, Deb, and Katie:
    You are wonderful folks. Robbie was lucky to have you, and you were lucky to have him. If only the whole world could know the kind of love you represent. I’m so sorry.

    Steve

  • kawherp

    I’m very sorry for your loss. It breaks my heart to realize that while I was tucking my own kids into bed last night, you were gathering at Robbie’s bedside to tuck him in one last time. That is something no parent should ever have to do.

    I never knew him, but have been praying for him since the diagnosis and following is progress on this blog. You’ve all been on my mind a lot today, because I feel like I’ve lost a friend… one I never knew.

    Your family has my deepest sympathy and will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers over the coming months.

  • Mike Gold

    Bob, Deb, and Katie:

    Of course, there are no words at a time like this, only strong emotions. You share the love and support of your many, many friends all across the planet.

    Mike

  • Eta (The Little Elf Devil's Mom)

    Daniel and I send our condolences too. We so regret the shirt Daniel got signed by everyone at Shore Leave will come too late for Robbie to see how much everyone loved him, but we will send it to you soon so that it might comfort you and your family. Daniel says that he will again raise money for the Luekemia Lymphoma Society, Lace-Up for the Cure in Robbie’s name. Robbie will truly be missed!

  • Eta (The Little Elf Devil's Mom)

    Daniel and I send our condolences too. We so regret the shirt Daniel got signed by everyone at Shore Leave will come too late for Robbie to see how much everyone loved him, but we will send it to you soon so that it might comfort you and your family. Daniel says that he will again raise money for the Luekemia Lymphoma Society, Lace-Up for the Cure in Robbie’s name. Robbie will truly be missed!

  • Eta (The Little Elf Devil's Mom)

    Daniel and I send our condolences too. We so regret the shirt Daniel got signed by everyone at Shore Leave will come too late for Robbie to see how much everyone loved him, but we will send it to you soon so that it might comfort you and your family. Daniel says that he will again raise money for the Luekemia Lymphoma Society, Lace-Up for the Cure in Robbie’s name. Robbie will truly be missed!

  • Howie & Susan

    Tears fill my eyes as I read all the tributes to your special kid and special family. It took incredible courage for you to share this awful journey with friends, and with strangers who became e-friends…right up until the end everyone wished with all their might would not come.

    As others have written, there are no words we can offer to ease your pain.

    It was an honor to share Robbie’s life with you.
    We wish we could share your grief in a way that would ease it, even a little bit.

    The world will forever be less bright without Robbie’s light and joy and smile. But we will all remember him.

    We loved him and we love you.

  • Howie & Susan

    Tears fill my eyes as I read all the tributes to your special kid and special family. It took incredible courage for you to share this awful journey with friends, and with strangers who became e-friends…right up until the end everyone wished with all their might would not come.
    As others have written, there are no words we can offer to ease your pain.
    It was an honor to share Robbie’s life with you.
    We wish we could share your grief in a way that would ease it, even a little bit.
    The world will forever be less bright without Robbie’s light and joy and smile. But we will all remember him.
    We loved him and we love you.

  • Howie & Susan

    Tears fill my eyes as I read all the tributes to your special kid and special family. It took incredible courage for you to share this awful journey with friends, and with strangers who became e-friends…right up until the end everyone wished with all their might would not come.

    As others have written, there are no words we can offer to ease your pain.

    It was an honor to share Robbie’s life with you.
    We wish we could share your grief in a way that would ease it, even a little bit.

    The world will forever be less bright without Robbie’s light and joy and smile. But we will all remember him.

    We loved him and we love you.

  • Blair Learn

    Bob, Deb, and Katie:

    Like so many others, I find that no words are adequate. What I remember about Robbie is his enthusiasm and good disposition. The world is a sadder place without him.

    Please take comfort in the knowledge that your family are in the hearts and prayers of many people who care for you.

    – Blair

  • David Stepp

    Bob,

    Robbie’s story has touched the world. May he be at peace and may your family have the comfort you need in the coming days. All our prayers are with you.

    D.

  • Bob, we are all thinking of you and your family. Miss you lots. Love, Amy

  • Bob, Deb & Kate —

    I’m so terribly sorry. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts,

    Allyn

  • Rhett Thomas

    I can’t stand this, Bob. I just can’t stand it. I just feel so much sorrow for you and your family and Robbie. This story wasn’t supposed to end this way but it has, but you have an enormous amount of strength to draw upon in this time and I wish you the best in drawing upon it.

    You and your family will be profoundly in my thoughts and those of countless others who’ve been following Robbie’s travails through your blog posts and personal correspondences. I hope that brings at least some comfort, even if it’s pitifully small.

  • Kevin Lauderdale

    I’m just so, so sorry to read this. I really thought he was going to make it. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, but if there is any comfort to be found it’s that you all did the right thing every step of the way. You fought and fought for life until the end.

  • David Peattie

    Mr. Greenberger, I am so very sorry to learn of this. I’ve been following the story on your blog and I was so hopeful that Robbie would pull through this. Having lost loved ones myself, I can well understand what you and your family are going through. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences go to you all.

  • Cary Abend

    My deepest sympathies.

  • Bill Olver

    Bob,
    We haven’t met in person – I’m just a fan of yours from your many days at DC.

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your family’s loss. My sincerest condolences in this difficult time.

    Bill Olver

  • Tim Lynch

    Bob,

    This whole saga has carried with it so many echoes of the e-mails I sent to friends and family during my mother’s battle with cancer a year ago. Both had the same ending, alas, but I can only begin imagine how much worse it must be in this case. No parent should have to bury their child, ever.

    I never met Robbie, but it’s clear that both his life and his passing have created communities full of love and support. May those communities be at their very best for you now.

    My deepest sympathies.

  • Alan Kistler

    I don’t know what to say except how sorry I am. He was a great guy and I liked him as soon as I met him. He was smart and funny and very honest, all great qualities in my mind. He was very lucky to have the family he did for support.

  • Susan O

    I still cannot even speak. Thank you for your selflessness in sharing Robbie with everyone. Thank you for allowing us to visit with him. The brightest sparks burn out the quickest, and his was blinding in its energy. Our hearts are with you.

  • Brian Sarcinelli

    Please accept my deepest condolences. I cannot imagine what your family must be going through.

    Robbie was an amazing young man and he will be terribly missed.

  • Bob,
    I’ve followed Robbie’s story for weeks now. My thoughts go out to your family.

  • Pat O'Neill

    Bob:

    I just learned about all this over at Tony Isabella’s forum. My deepest sympathies and condolences to all the Greenbergers. We’ve been out of touch, but memories of your friendship and collegiality are always with me.

    Best, Pat

  • Pat O'Neill

    Bob:
    I just learned about all this over at Tony Isabella’s forum. My deepest sympathies and condolences to all the Greenbergers. We’ve been out of touch, but memories of your friendship and collegiality are always with me.
    Best, Pat

  • Pat O'Neill

    Bob:
    I just learned about all this over at Tony Isabella’s forum. My deepest sympathies and condolences to all the Greenbergers. We’ve been out of touch, but memories of your friendship and collegiality are always with me.

    Best, Pat

  • Bob, I only learned tonight what happened. Words are my business, but they fail me tonight. I will pray for you, Deb. and Katy to find comfort and peace in the days to come.

    Robbie was a golden child, a wonderful youngster, and an incredibly brave young man.

    I am so very sorry.

    -Ann C. Crispin

  • Alexandra Honigsberg

    Bob, Deb, Kate, everyone who loved Robbie —

    Too many sorrys for words. He was a joy and you guys and he are more Good than I can describe. As inadequate as anything is, I continue my prayers for you all and hold you and cannot know how you feel.

    With love,
    Alexandra

  • Arwen

    Oh Bob, I’m so sorry. I just don’t have the right words. Peace to you all. {{}}
    -Arwen

  • Carla Ebmeyer

    Mr. amd Mrs. Greenberger,
    I just heard and I am so sorry. My heart is with you. I will always remember Robbie pass ing me notes in class and hiding my expo markers in the overhead so I couldn’t write more notes on the board. He never failed to make me laugh.
    The day we visited at the hospital, I asked him when he became a pirate, he said to me, ” It all started the first day you said we would be going on a boat, from that day on, we became pirates.” This made me feel special. I will always hold Robbie close to my heart. I’m so lucky to have known him.
    Ms. Ebmeyer

  • Carla Ebmeyer

    Mr. amd Mrs. Greenberger,
    I just heard and I am so sorry. My heart is with you. I will always remember Robbie pass ing me notes in class and hiding my expo markers in the overhead so I couldn’t write more notes on the board. He never failed to make me laugh.
    The day we visited at the hospital, I asked him when he became a pirate, he said to me, ” It all started the first day you said we would be going on a boat, from that day on, we became pirates.” This made me feel special. I will always hold Robbie close to my heart. I’m so lucky to have known him.
    Ms. Ebmeyer

  • Michael Murphy

    I hadn’t seen Robbie in a few months, but I’m really glad I hugged him the last time I saw him.

  • Bob-you and your family have my prayers and thoughts. Please accept my condolences and love.

  • Steven L. Rosenhaus

    Bob,

    Please accept our condolences and wishes for you of strength and peace. May Robbie’s memory be a blessing to all who mourn him.

    It sounds like he was an extraordinary person, and I am sorry I never got the chance to meet him.

    Steven and Ruth Rosenhaus

  • Bill Mulligan

    I’m so sorry for all you have gone though. Thank you for, in a time of unimaginable grief, taking the time to share this with us. I haven’t yet needed to face anything like this but I probably will some day and the strength you have shown will be a standard I can only aspire to.

    My deepest sympathies to you and your family on the loss of such a great kid.

  • Mark Evanier

    Boy, I wish I had something more clever to say than the obvious things. Very sad. Thank you for sharing this story with everyone, Bob. I know it couldn’t have been easy to tell but it may help others cope with their problems.

  • I am so sorry to hear this sad news. It is unimaginably difficult to watch someone you love so much going through this and be so helpless. Please accept my most sincere condolences.

    We are still fighting this battle with my son. It is a rocky road.

  • I’m speechless and deeply sorry for your terrible loss.

  • Lisa Sullivan

    I’m in the UK right now with limited net access, but Glenn made sure I heard this awful news. Bob, I am heartbroken; you, Deb and Katie are in my thoughts.

  • Bob, Deb, Kate,

    My heart is broken and the tears won’t stop. You and the world have lost one of the greatest kids I’ve ever had the joy to know and the world is a much sadder place because we’ll never gain the benefit of the fine man he was going to be.

    I only ever saw him twice a year, but he was always full of life with a wide grin on his face and an enthusiastic energy that was the envy of many. Robbie was was very intelligent and creative, and he had a wicked wit. At the same time, he was gentle, kind, and considerate and he never failed to offer his assistance where needed. He was good with kids and patient with the elderly and generally fun to hang out with. And I’ve never heard a soul utter a bad word about him.

    The Boogie Knights were blessed and honored to have him as our squire. We will miss Robbie terribly.

    You have my deepest sympathies and love. As always, if there is ANYTHING I can do to help you through this ordeal, you have but to ask.

    Smap

  • Steven Jay Griffel

    I am terribly sad about your loss. You son seemed a very wonderful and beautiful boy. Barbara and I send to you and your family our very deepest sympathies.

    Steve Griffel

  • gordon purcell

    I’m so sorry to hear this overwhelming news. You and your family have all my sympathy and prayers. if there’s anything I can do to help, just call. All my best wishes.

  • Rick Taylor

    Bobby,

    Incredible account of an impossible situation.

    True grace under fire.

    Bill and I send our love and prayers.

    Find your peace.

  • Chris Carothers

    Simple words cannot describe how I feel about the loss of such a great kid like Robbie. I met him and chatted with him several times at cons and he was always full of life and had a razor sharp wit that everyone loved. He will truly be missed by all who were lucky enough to have met him.

    My wife (you know her as Terpette on the Trek BBS) and I want to pass on our deepest sympathies to your entire family. Please know that you are not going through this alone. You have many friends that are here for you if you need us.

    Rest in peace, Robbie.

  • I’m so sorry.

    There’s nothing else to say – he shouldn’t be gone, not this young. Our condolances to you and your family.

    Susan and Kel

  • Linda Swann

    I didn’t know him that well, mostly through Kate’s stories, but I loved him anyway as well as his wonderful family. I will miss him. Know that you have our love and support from down here in MD. God bless.

  • Brian & Niki Alvey

    After reading this post, we went back and read your first post back in January when he was diagnosed.

    We are so sorry for the loss of your son. He was a wonderful young man who was well loved.

    Brian and Niki

  • Brian & Niki Alvey

    After reading this post, we went back and read your first post back in January when he was diagnosed.
    We are so sorry for the loss of your son. He was a wonderful young man who was well loved.
    Brian and Niki

  • Brian & Niki Alvey

    After reading this post, we went back and read your first post back in January when he was diagnosed.
    We are so sorry for the loss of your son. He was a wonderful young man who was well loved.
    Brian and Niki

  • Words aren’t enough. May it comfort you to know how much Robbie was loved, and how much we all still hold him and you in our hearts.

  • Barbara Helfer

    Dear Deb, Bob and Kate,

    When I look for words to say – I come up empty. I will miss Robbie and will treasure the memories I have of him. I love you all very much.

    Barb

  • Nea

    I am so, so very sorry for your terrible loss.

  • Kevin Dilmore

    This is news I hoped never to hear. My heart aches for you all.

    Bless each of you for your courage and spirit throughout Robbie’s fight. I admire each of you. Robbie could not have chosen a more loving family and better advocates for his care.

    And thank you, Bob, for sharing the most painful story of your life with those of us who love you. Each of us is a better, stronger person for walking this walk with you, and you have given us a glimpse into the life of your son to whom we will pay tribute every time we need to muster strength and will as you have done since his diagnosis.

    My prayers remain with you all.

    Kevin

  • Brad

    Words escape me. My condolences on your loss.

  • Alan Coil

    My condolences.

  • Bob Fleming

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family, Bob. I never got to meet Robbie, but I felt that I knew him thanks to your account of him over these past months. What a brave kid, and how fortunate he was to have such supportive, thoughtful and loving parents. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Bob Fleming

  • Dorsey

    One of my first memories of Robbie is patiently allowing Delian to follow him around the gaming room, teaching him the ropes and helping me get Delian arrested by the Klingons.

    I beleive there is more than this life and I asked my sister Jo to look out for Robbie. She was a truly creative person and knew how to laugh, they should get along well.

    We will miss him. Please let us know if there is anything at all we can do.

  • Bob, Deb and Katie,

    The world will be a smaller and sadder place without Robbie. Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Bob, Deb and Katie,

    The world will be a smaller and sadder place without Robbie. Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • You don’t know me; I’m a friend of Alison Hyde’s. I found my way here from her blog, and I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for your loss, and that I’m glad Robbie isn’t suffering anymore. My love and prayers to you and your family.

  • Mindy Newell

    Bob,

    My heart is bleeding with you and your family.

    God bless all of you.

    Much love,

    Mindy

  • Much love and support from this corner of the universe. [[[hugs]]]

    -Jean and Jim

  • Neil Ottenstein

    My condolences to you and your family. I saw Robbie year after year at Farpoint and Shore Leave and though I didn’t really know him I feel like a family member is gone now.

  • Bob –
    We are so very sorry at this sad news. All those years we’ve known and worked with you, yet our orbits never quite intersected to meet this amazing young man. We grieve with you; our love and prayers go out to you, Deb and Kate.

    -Richard & Wendy

  • Bob –
    We are so very sorry at this sad news. All those years we’ve known and worked with you, yet our orbits never quite intersected to meet this amazing young man. We grieve with you; our love and prayers go out to you, Deb and Kate.
    -Richard & Wendy

  • Bob –
    We are so very sorry at this sad news. All those years we’ve known and worked with you, yet our orbits never quite intersected to meet this amazing young man. We grieve with you; our love and prayers go out to you, Deb and Kate.

    -Richard & Wendy

  • Dear Bob,

    I am very sorry to hear this sad news. Though I’ve only met you in conversation one or two times at Shore Leave, its amazing the effect one person can have in the lives of others… I am sure that Robbie will be missed but his presence will be with you always.

    To you Deb and Kate we give a prayer for healing. Blessed Be.

    -Lourdes

  • Thank you for sharing this Bob. I can imagine how difficult it was writing if the difficulty reading it is any indication.

    My condolences to all of you and may we be strong in the times to come.

  • I am sorry for you loss. My sympathies to you family.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. No one should ever have to go through what you are. Robbie touched all our hearts and my family will never forget him.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. No one should ever have to go through what you are. Robbie touched all our hearts and my family will never forget him.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. No one should ever have to go through what you are. Robbie touched all our hearts and my family will never forget him.

  • Bob, Deb and Katie-
    Sue and I just want you to know we care. Love to you all.

    Bob-
    You’ve been a great friend through the years. I can never thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. To know that Robbie was born around when we started working on STARMAN together is so weird to think about.

    I have no idea what it’s like to lose a child, but I am thinking of you. If I can just listen or be there for you in any way, please let me know.

    God’s peace and love to you all … especially Robbie.

    Tom

  • Greg Rucka

    Bob –

    I only just learned about this, and I cannot express my terrible sadness for your family’s loss. You have our deepest, sincerest sorrows and condolences, and we are holding you and your loved ones in our thoughts.

    Greg

  • Dan Veltre

    Bob,

    Oh Bob. I haven’t been able to stop crying since reading about your son. I wish and pray for strength for you, your wife and daughter, and for those who have been touched by this sad moment. My condolences to you Deb, and Katie.

    Dan Veltre
    Your old roto friend.

  • Caroline

    I can’t even express my words adequately enough to mourn your loss. I knew Robbie in high school. I wouldn’t even say we were friends, but we were in the play, Grease, together our Junior year and I had a class or two with him along the way. I was so moved by his support group on facebook and I participated in the bone marrow donor drive at Fairfield U in hopes that he could find his match.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that there are so many out there grieving with you. I hope that you and the rest of Robbie’s family can feel love in your hearts and peace in your minds.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you.

  • Diane Trezza

    Dear Deb, Bob, and Katie,

    There are no words that I can offer that will give you the comfort you need at this time. Please accept our deepest and sincerest condolences and prayers.

    Robbie was a wonderful person who enriched our lives so much with his spirit and personality. We loved him and will miss him. We are both thankful for having him for a part of our lives.

    Diane and Frankie Trezza

  • So sorry. My heart is aching right now for you and your family.

    My prayers are for you all right now.

  • So sorry. My heart is aching right now for you and your family.

    My prayers are for you all right now.

  • Tom and Maggie Restivo

    This is a death in the family in the larger sense. Fandom grieves with you. Our prayers amd thoughts go out to you and your family.

  • Lisa Goldberg

    Bob, I’m a good friend of your sister Judy, we met in Indiana about 15 years ago. She’s been keeping me posted on Robbie since the beginning. Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. As a parent of a teenage boy, I can’t even imagine your pain. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Paul Balze

    Bob, Deb and Kate:

    I’ve been trying to find the words to express how sorry I am for you all. Robbie was a terrific kid who grew into a fine young man, and I know how proud you all were of him.
    When you first wrote about his illness here, months ago, I was as shocked as anyone and really hoped everything would come out all right in the end. And, for a moment there, it looked like that might really happen. I’m so very sorry that it didn’t.
    I will always admire and respect Robbie for facing his illness with such courage and determination. I’m proud to have known him.

    Paul

  • Bob,

    I just returned from a weekend away and saw the horrible news on the list. My heart breaks for you and your family. Robbie was a handsome, charming young man who brought a lot of joy wherever he went. Please accept my deepest condolences. Your friends love you all.

    –Hildy

  • karen Schellinkhout

    Bob, Deb, and Kate.
    Our heartfelt sympathies continue to you. We sat in church here in Oregon and all I could think was how many Sundays Robbie would watch to see if the altar servers would show up, and then run at the opportunity to fill in, even if he was upstairs with the choir. He has touched so many and we feel for your loss. Bob your writing was so helpful to give us some sense of the journey you’ve been on. Thank you for sharing.
    love, Karen and Douglas

  • Tom Mason

    My condolences to you and your family, Bob. This is just heartbreaking.
    –Tom

  • Oh, no. I’m so sorry. Robbie will be missed, and all of you will be in my thoughts.

  • Kathy Gonzales

    Dear Bob, Deb, & Katie,

    I was so saddened to hear that Robbie lost his battle. He will be truly missed.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

    God be with you,
    Kathy, Peter, and Emily Gonzales

  • Marie Bell

    I am saddened for your loss. Robbie was a great kid. I have seen him growing up over the years at conventions. You should be very proud of him. He will truly be missed.

    Marie Bell

  • Marilyn Mann

    Dear Bob, Deb, and Katie,

    Robbie was a light and a joy to everyone who ever knew him, and he will never be forgotten. His life mattered! He was a living example of how to live life well, and we all learned from his shining example.

    My love and prayers are with you all.

    Marilyn Mann

  • Jerri

    Lurker here with an aching heart and teary eyes… I have no words and no comfort I can give will make things easier for you… but I will be praying for healing for your family.

  • Diane Sahar

    I spent the weekend camping in the Allegheny Mountains. At night, there was a gentle breeze and clear dark skies with a myriad of stars. That one extra bright and twinkling star had to have been Robbie’s light shining down on all who loved him. Robbie will always be a part of every one of us. Please know my heart is heavy as I send my love, my respect and my condolences to Bob, Deb and Katie.

  • Jeff and Brenda Steele

    We are so saddened by this news. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

  • Kit and I send our prayers and good thoughts for your whole family.

  • Nuance Shaffer Bryant

    Bob,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish there were adequate words I could find, but there aren’t. Just know that your family remains in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Madeleine Robins

    Bob, Deb, and Kate–

    I am so sorry for your loss. From reading this it’s clear that Robbie and all of you have a community that loves you and supports you–but I can only imagine the pain of this loss. Wish I were on the right coast, to offer more than word support. You’re all in my thoughts,

    Madeleine

  • Janet Harvey

    Bob, I just saw the news in a friend’s blog. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Sandra

    Dear Bob, Deb and Katie,
    I will always remember Robbie. He was a fantastic kid. Everytime I visited Pazzi, he made me smile… He used to love play his trumpet for us. He was a happy child. He was lucky to have such a wonderful family. My thoughts are with you. Lots of love, Sandra.

  • Dawn S.

    Bob, Deb and Katy,

    The world is a little dimmer today, but heaven is a lot brighter.

    Keeping you all in my prayers, may you find peace in your happy memories.

  • David Keefer

    Bob, Deb, and Kate:

    I have read through all of the above comments and condolences and stared at the screen for what seems like an eternity, and I still can’t find the right words. I’ve known Robbie almost from birth and, even though I only got to see him two or three times a year, I saw him grow into a very likeable young man. He will be missed by all, and the world is a sadder place at his passing. Look after each other, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.

    Our thoughts are with you,
    Dave, Mary, Hope and Rosie

  • Edward Sanders

    My thoughts are with you

  • Lawrence M. Schoen

    Bob, some things make no sense, and never can. You are in my thoughts.

  • Cindy

    Robbie was such a “gift” to all of us who have known him. I am sorry that I can not be with you today, but you are all in my thoughts.

  • Bob,
    Just heard this on The Beat. Really sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you…

    all best

  • Dorie R

    I am so very sorry. Love and sympathy to all of you…

  • Bob Boudrow

    I am very sorry to hear of your son’s passing. Please accept my deep sympathy at your loss.

  • Scott Shannon

    Both Liz and I have followed Robbie’s fight on your blog. We are so sorry to hear about your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Jesus Bob, I’m so very sorry.

  • Roddy Kopera

    Bob, Deb,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I will hug my children even more tightly tonight.

    Please accept my most heartfelt condolences.

  • Bob, Deb and Kate:

    Love, devotion, joys, sorrow…a rollercoaster in your life. I’m so sad to hear of the passing of Robbie. But you got to spend time, share life…and have so many fabulous and heartfelt memories.

    I weep…yet I smile at what a wonderful family.

    You all are in my thoughts.

    Joel Thingvall

  • Lisa Sponaugle

    Bob:

    Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt thoughts go to you, Deb and Kate. It is crushing that such a bright and beautiful light has left our world but Robbie’s bravery and strength remain forever. Pat, Grace and I always loved the times we saw Robbie at conventions and were always entertained and laughing whenever he crossed our paths. We particularly think of the time he tried desperately to sell the five-year-old Grace in the hallway at Balticon – his hilarious routine that day is a memory we will treasure. Robbie, we love you– it was an honor to know someone like you. Lisa, Pat and Grace Sponaugle

  • Phil Giunta

    Bob:

    You have our deepest and most sincere condolences. Our hearts go out to the Greenberger family.

    We shall keep you and Robbie in our thoughts and prayers.

    All of our love,
    Phil Giunta and Evon Zundel

  • Cindy M.

    Dear Deb, Bob and Katie – Lauren happened upon a notice on Face Book today, while visiting her Dad in California, and called me immediately with the terrible news about Robbie. None of us were aware of the situation, having moved a few times since Dill Road. We’ve lost touch over the years, but will always remember Robbie’s gentle and mischievous personality. I still think of him as a boy, but of course, he’d grown up quite a bit since we were neighbors. Thank you for posting this blog, which I am now reading for the first time. I don’t know where you found the strength, but your efforts were hopefully therapeutic for you, and certainly helpful and meaningful to those who have been following Robbie’s story for some time. I’m sorry I didn’t know sooner. We wish you comfort in the coming days, and eventual peace. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Cindy, Leigh & Lauren Milender

  • daniel bonner

    Bob, I’m so sorry for your loss, although happy for Robbie’s love-paved transition. I’d been reading your posts for some time now, and was really hoping for different. The Mysteriousness is aptly named, hm? Prayers and best wishes, Daniel Bonner

  • Mike Everleth

    I’ve been out of town and just heard the news today. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. My prayers are with all of you now.

  • Alice Raeford

    Bob:
    My Deepest sympathies and prayers go out to you and your family. May all happy memories of Robbie keep you and the family strong.

  • Bob Ahrens

    Bob, Deb and Kate,

    A quiet oppresive silence settled over the once joyous household, only gentle sobbing to be heard, a weeping by a heart too broken to understand why a soul so good and pure has been taken away from all who love him. Both shocked and decimated, I only received news of this after I returned from a short hospital stay of my own, almost worthless by comaparison.

    When will the hurt end? When will this all make sense? We may never know. The pain will one day ebb, but not the memories. A person born of love and lived his life in the company of adoring parents, a devoted sister and supportive freinds and family can only turn a good boy into a strong and confident man, and as a man he faced his final challenge with grace and dignity.

    Some will say this is a tragedy, and of course I agree. But we can also take it as an example. The bar has been raised. When we all face the end of our time in this universe, we can look back to the brave young man we knew and say “this is how it’s done. This is how a courageous battle is won.” And he did win it. Not by beating the disease, but by not letting it beat him.

    As a parent, I can almost feel the pain and anguish you must feel. It should never be the duty of a parent to bury their children. Be consoled by the enormous capacity he had for joy and love who he showed to everyone who knew him, a trait he learned only through the love he was shown by you.

    A young man so loved as Robbie will never truly die, as long as we continue to remember him. We will see him again, though we will all miss him.

    I know it must be hard now, but if you feel the need, please call or write.

    As ever, at your service,
    Bob Ahrens

  • Holly Wheeler

    Dear Greenbergers:

    I just learned of Robbie’s death from a Community Theatre email. I didn’t know Robbie –but I happened to be seated next to him at a Ludlowe Italian class lunch at Avellino’s several years ago. He was a remarkable young man.

    My deepest sympathies to you.

    Most sincerely,
    Holly Wheeler

  • Holly Wheeler

    Dear Greenbergers:

    I just learned of Robbie’s death from a Community Theatre email. I didn’t know Robbie –but I happened to be seated next to him at a Ludlowe Italian class lunch at Avellino’s several years ago. He was a remarkable young man.

    My deepest sympathies to each of you.

    Most sincerely,
    Holly Wheeler

  • Jerry and Ellen Silber

    Dear Greenberger family:

    On behalf of my wife and I, we would like to offer our condolences of your son Robbie. We did not get the opportunity to know the wonderful young man he grew up to become. We have met you, as well as the other authors at Shoreleave. Even though we did not get to meet Robbie, we can still get to know him through his family and others he touched. Its amazing how Star Trek has been a way to bring together people as a family with such positive ideals. My heritage/religion – Judaism – along with Star Trek has helped to teach me about making thw world a better place. Star Trek has had such a positive message which in Judaism is called – Tikkun Olam – healing the world. Losing Robbie is a terrible thing, but I think it’s important to learn from his example to continue the mission.

    Our sincere condolences,

    Jerry and Ellen Silber,
    Albany,NY Fans Association Star Trek Meetup group

  • julie

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Robbie will be missed by all of us at shoreleave. My prayers are with you and your family. julie

  • Ray and Connie

    We would like to take this time to express our deepest sympathies to you and your family. Going thru this same procedure a few years ago with loved ones ourselves, we know the difficulties that befall your heart at such a time. Peace is now with your son, too young, but at least he is in no more pain. Take care.
    Sincerely,
    Ray Ferry
    Connie Bean

  • Darla Vasilas

    To the Greenberger Family:
    We were so sorry to hear of your loss. You are all in our prayers. Take solace in knowing that he is no longer in pain. He will be missed by all of us at Shore Leave.

    Darla and Steve Vasilas

  • Diane Brown

    Your have been a much valued presence at ICON for many years. My heart just breaks for you and your family and your beautiful son. I am so very sorry. I hope the outpouring of sympathy I’ve been reading helps you.
    The entire staff of ICON extends its deepest sympathy on your terrible loss.

  • Angela

    As a long-time Shore Leave attendee, I’ve watched all the “next gen” kids, including Robbie, grow up, and it’s been wonderful to see them integrating into the fan-and-con culture in their own ways, thus I’m saddened to hear one of those great kids is gone. I’m sorry for your loss, and my thoughts and condolences go out to you and your entire family.

  • larry

    to the Greenberger family, I am very sorry to hear about your loss. I know you have had a hard strugle.

    Larry from Shore leave

  • Dear Mr. and Mrs. Greenberger and Kate,

    My son Robert and I just heard the tragic news from our dear friend, Robert Longo. I lost track of my emails for a while, until today. The world has lost an incredible young man!!! We all met many, many years ago and I spoke about my aspirations to become a writer. Your family is so wonderful, gentle and kind! You all made me and my son feel welcome and right at home. My son and I both have grown-up in the convention. It’s like one big, loving family, reaching out it’s arms to embrace those who need comfort. Our hearts truly break to hear of Robbie’s passing. We know he is alive in heaven and is smiling down on his family and all who loved him! No parent should ever have to bury their child. My heart ‘as a mother’ swells up with tears reading Robbie’s story. My son Robert says, he will keep Robbie’s memory alive, especially when he plays in the Gaming Room. I will also keep this special young man close to my heart, always!!! Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family for all time!!! May God continue to hold Robbie gently in the palm of His hand and forever hold him close!!! God’s peace! Love and Prayers, Robin and Robert, Jr. Lopez

  • Dear Mr. and Mrs. Greenberger and Kate,

    My son Robert and I just heard the tragic news from our dear friend, Robert Longo. I lost track of my emails for a while, until today. The world has lost an incredible young man!!! We all met many, many years ago and I spoke about my aspirations to become a writer. Your family is so wonderful, gentle and kind! You all made me and my son feel welcome and right at home. My son and I both have grown-up in the convention. It’s like one big, loving family, reaching out it’s arms to embrace those who need comfort. Our hearts truly break to hear of Robbie’s passing. We know he is alive in heaven and is smiling down on his family and all who loved him! No parent should ever have to bury their child. My heart ‘as a mother’ swells up with tears reading Robbie’s story. My son Robert says, he will keep Robbie’s memory alive, especially when he plays in the Gaming Room. I will also keep this special young man close to my heart, always!!! Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family for all time!!! May God continue to hold Robbie gently in the palm of His hand and forever hold him close!!! God’s peace! Love and Prayers, Robin and Robert, Jr. Lopez

  • Diane Bellomo

    Bob,

    I wept as I read your blog, saddened not only at the loss of Robbie, but also at your having to put your writing talent to such a heartbreaking task.

    May God be with you in this time of sorrow, and may you find strength in your family and friends as you continue – incredible as it may seem – to live, to laugh, and to thrive. Though I never got to meet Robbie, I’m sure he wouldn’t want you to do anything less.

  • Becca Ostman

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Greenberger and Katie,

    This is Becca – Cayley and Danicah Waldo’s Aunt. This is an inexcusably tardy message, but I just found out the tragic news. I don’t even know if Cayley and Danicah know yet, but I’m going to call them if I can stop crying long enough to dial. I wasn’t as close with Robbie as my “sisters” were, but I knew him fairly well from being part of “the gang”. He was such a sweetheart and a good person – and very funny. I can’t find any words strong enough to express how so very sorry I am for your loss. As a mother now, I just can’t comprehend what you must be going through. And Katie, big hugz from me. I am so sorry and I’m really kicking myself for not going to SL this year cuz it’s been like eons since I’ve seen you! If there is anything I can do or if you just want to talk or whatever, feel free to email me and I’ll give you my number. My thoughts will surely be with you and I will keep you in my meditations. I mentioned Robbie in my meditations often once I learned he was sick. I am humbled by his courage and bravery throughout such a tough thing for a young man to endure.

    love and hugz, Becca

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