Robert Irwin on What He Wishes He Could Ask Late Father Steve Irwin

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Robert Irwin often thinks about his late dad, Steve Irwin. In an interview with The Australian’s Women Weekly, the 20-year-old conservationist reveals what he’d like to ask his dad, who was killed by a stingray in 2006.

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think: ‘Gosh, I wonder what I’d ask Dad if he was here,'” Robert admits. “When you lose someone, a father figure, at such a young age, who is such a commanding presence of positivity and everything that is good in the world, of course all I want is for him to be here for me; to go, ‘What do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ There are so many things I wish I could ask him on so many levels.”

Though Robert was only three when his dad died, small things often spark big memories of The Crocodile Hunter.

“That happens throughout my life, particularly [around] connections with Dad. Because Dad was such a passionate, prominent figure, it just really imprinted on me from a young age,” he says. “Little things. Pieces of footage. Photos. Even something like a shirt I wore, and it will just come flooding back.”

While Robert didn’t “really even quite know what death” meant when his dad died, looking back, he knows he has his mom, Terri Irwin, and older sister, Bindi Irwin, to thank for keeping his childhood happy in the wake of tragedy.

“For Mum and Bindi, it was pure, unfiltered devastation and loss,” Robert says of Steve’s death. “And it’s the same loss for me but in a different way. So, the way they helped me to navigate my life, I am so grateful for it. I will always feel like I am missing a part of myself, but I never feel like I missed out on anything.”

The female Irwins managed to do that in many ways, including by playing Steve’s show for Robert daily.

“That was with breakfast, every morning,” he recalls. “I remember studying it and watching everything he did. Mum made sure he was in the living room. Dad was part of everything.”

In addition to his continuing his family’s legacy and his own work as a conservationist, Robert recently made headlines for his split from Rorie Buckey, his girlfriend of two years. Though he didn’t mention his breakup in the interview, he did speak to how his parents’ relationship inspires his romantic choices.

“They hit everything at 100 percent together. They were a team — it was them against the world. They were fighting the good fight, shoulder to shoulder, and look at what they created together,” he says. “For me, I look at Mum and Dad as my absolute role models in many departments, including the relationship department.”

“That’s the goal — two people living side by side and smashing life together with such a sense of mutual admiration and respect,” Robert continues. “Who are constantly lifting each other up and never second guessing. There was nothing they wouldn’t do for each other, and they were so equal on everything.”

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Originally published here.

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