Submitted by his brother, Mac Lynch

Who Robert was

Robert Lynch (left) and his brother, Mac

Robert was a superlative character. He really played by his own set of rules. A lot of that led to borderline behavior, but a lot of it was pretty funny and epic. He had big ideas, too. One day, he just hopped in his car and drove to Colorado to go to a bluegrass festival. It was just kind of the way he lived. He was a larger-than-life character doing wacky, over-the-top stuff all the time.

He loved to share photos

Robert was really big on taking pictures and sharing them. He would often frame photos and give them to people or give them the images. He always had a camera on him or his cellphone. He was always really good at giving people pictures of the experiences they had together.

He drove fast

Robert was always into Audis, and he had a Porsche at one point. It runs in the family; all of us have always been really big car guys, specifically German cars. Robert liked anything German, all-wheel drive, fast and loud. He was always shuffling through different cars.

Mac and Robert

Robert was a dreamer

He really just wanted to be his own boss. He had a lot of ideas. He wanted to start all kinds of businesses, like urban gardening or drone photography. One business he actually did start was a video production company; they’d videotape live shows, music production. His company won a Grammy for a video they produced for North Mississippi Allstars.

He made his own music, too

He didn’t perform often, but he would perform by special request. He sang at my parent’s 25th anniversary and some local gigs around town. He performed at my wedding, too. He sang “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

How drugs became a part of his life

When he was a teenager, he started experimenting with pot. He didn’t make any effort to hide it from me, so I knew right away. Opiates became part of his life when our small-town family doctor starting peddling them to him and many of his friends for all manner of minor pain complaints, real or imagined.

The turning point

Ten years ago, I had an informal bachelor party for my wedding, and he was my best man. We were all on vacation together in Costa Rica. By then his behavior was pretty bad, and I invited him knowing he was a liability, but he was my best friend when I was younger. He was on drugs, and I remember dragging his limp body, thinking he was going to die. We were abroad, so I didn’t know who to call or what to do. All I could do was stay up with him and make sure he was OK. It was traumatic for me, being scared for his life and realizing how fucked up he was. That was the moment I realized he was more likely to die than get better. It all just went downhill from there.

At the wedding he did OK, and he performed the song. I repeatedly told him I was there for him if he ever wanted to get sober, but our relationship never fully recovered after that trip.

How Robert died

He was just out of rehab and immediately relapsed. He died in a hotel room, alone. I was in Massachusetts, on vacation, when my parents called me. They were still in shock, so it was a very weird conversation. I had been expecting that call for 10 years. When I got it, I was prepared. I was thinking: OK, it’s here. We’re finally doing this.

I never heard him say that he wanted to be sober — in 20 years. It’s super scary, and it’s not a warm and fuzzy aspect of him, but it’s true. He could’ve been a lot of great things — a great lawyer, a great musician, a great race-car driver. He was smart. He was a dreamer. With a slightly different combination of mania, he could’ve done something really amazing. He was never going to be an accountant in the back room. That was never him.

If I could say one thing to Robert, it would be

It brings me peace to know that you aren’t suffering anymore. You will always be missed, and you will always be loved.