Sometimes, really bad things happen to really good people; and that’s a horrible and painful truth about life that some of us learn far too soon. Such was the case for 9-year-old Robbie Ecuyer, who lost both his mom and dad just two weeks of each other this past spring.
According to his aunt and now-legal guardian Crystal Skawinski, Robbie’s mother passed away on May 2, after losing her battle with gastroparesis and cystic fibrosis, while his father died from an overdose on May 24.
Shortly after, Robbie went to live with Crystal, who told him his parents had both gone over “the Rainbow Bridge.”
Robbie’s story is now going viral, not because of the tragedy of his parents’ death, but because sometimes when awful things happen to good people, the rest of the world pitches in to demonstrate what humanity and loving kindness truly look like. And it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Skawinski says she was searching for something to help Robbie navigate his own grief when she decided to turn to social media. The loving aunt began asking friends to help cheer him up by sending her photos of rainbows to show Robbie, and what she got in response was nothing short of amazing.
Over the next few days, her Twitter feed was flooded with #RainbowsForRobbie, as well as words of compassion and support.
“I have so much faith in humanity at this point,” Skawinski tells Babble. “Considering the details of Robbie losing both of his parents and there being over 10K comments out there, I have only seen a couple of people who have made a negative comment. I’m sure I haven’t seen ALL comments, but I have seen A LOT! My heart is so happy and so full knowing that so many people took a couple minutes out of their life to send my precious boy a rainbow.”
The experience has also connected Skawinski with strangers all over the world who she now regards as faraway friends.
“I know it’s only been a week but I’ve met quite a few people that have stayed in contact with me,” she shares. “It’s also such a good feeling to know that when people see a rainbow now they are going to think about Robbie. THAT is the best feeling in the world!”
Trying to explain death to a child is unbelievably difficult and emotional for anyone. Robbie, who has autism, is understandably still reeling from the loss of both of his parents, but the fact that his aunt is doing everything in her power to make sure he feels loved and supported is certainly helping.
“Robbie is doing amazing,” Skawinski gladly reports. “He’s got a lot of people who love him and he knows this. He talks about his mommy and daddy and them being in Heaven over the rainbow bridge. You can tell he gets down sometimes, but the rainbows and the love my family has for him brightens him right back up. I don’t want him to forget mommy or daddy so we make sure to keep them in our daily lives as much as we can.”
In the meantime, Skawinski says she is working to keep Robbie busy with things that he never had before — including a swing set in the back yard, lovable family dogs, and a cousin whose baseball games he gets to go to. “He loves all of that!” Skawinski shares.
As for handling his newfound viral fame, Robbie’s aunt says he’s pretty excited about it, as you can imagine.
“Robbie thinks he is famous, it’s actually very cute,” she shares. “He can’t believe all the rainbows he has received. He doesn’t always tell us how he feels, but he lets me know when he wants to see the rainbows. It’s his way of talking about Mommy and Daddy.”
The Twitter thread where Skawinski initially posted her call for rainbow pictures has been exploding with mesmerizing images of rainbows from all around the world for days; but it’s the lovely messages of hope and kindness that have really been lifting Robbie’s spirits. And it’s easy to see why — just scrolling through the tweets is enough to make your heart swell with gratitude and remind you that there really are good people out there trying to make this world a little brighter.
If you have a minute — and find yourself in front of a rainbow in the next few days — share your own. I know a little boy who’d love to see it.