Mike Roberts is a dear friend. The Roberts are long time Conway natives. Mike even tried his hand at politics once, running for Horry County Council District 7.
It was heartbreaking news to hear Mike’s voice crack on the phone today. It’s just not his nature.
Mike was informed that his mother, Willie Mae Roberts, has little time left. The family must start the process of making next step preparations.
The Roberts family attend Conway Free Will Baptist. The church has not been allowed to hold services since mid March.
My family moved to Horry County in 1767. We are part of a local “tribe” called Old Horry.
Names like Roberts, Cox, Hardwick, Jones, Vaught, Collins, Hucks, Jenerette, Turner, Smith, Sarvis, Goldfinch, Hardee, Graham, Holliday, Fowler, Long, Barnhill, Gause, Johnson, among many more make up our “Old Horry” tribe. If you are part of that tribe and I left your surname out, please forgive me. Space would not allow for a complete list, but we are all family. AND we are very much connected.
Fortunately, my uncle Johnny Jenerette (graduate Aynor High) and my uncle Carl Roberts (graduate Socastee High class 1951) each passed just before this current Coronavirus outbreak. The funerals were huge. The community gatherings were huge as well. Both were also very intimate. It’s an Horry thing of honor and care.
If you have never experienced it, you have truly missed something foundational, important and divine.
CORONAVIRUS CONTINUES TO ROB HORRY RESIDENTS
Grieving a loss is a hard thing. One of my wife’s aunts just past away last week. We could not attend the funeral of the younger sister to my wife’s mother. She was among the last living of that generation.
We grieved twice. We grieved alone.
Shared community grieving makes Old Horry a special place to do life.
The Coronavirus robbed us of this God given rite of passage. It also robbed us of the God given right of liberty.
People I connected with today in Playcard, Bayboro, Aynor, and Gallivants Ferry concerning this loss equally believe that Wallmart and Home Depot should not be packed at a time when our community is not allowed to say good-bye to a loved one.
The risk of mourning
All of Conway grieved with Pastor Kim Strong of the Trinity United Methodist Church when his wife tested positive for the Coronavirus. Thankfully God chose to spare her life and keep her with us.
Families, like Mike’s, know the new risks of public, community-wide grieving. Still, it’s an “Old Horry” rite of passage. It defines us.
Until we can restore the God given rights that allow us to be fully human again, I ask that each of you “Old Horry” families and friends reach out to Mike and his family.
Hold them as close as is legally possible during this time.
It’s the “Old Horry” way we have done things for hundreds of years.
AND THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE.