The outpouring of love and kindness and remembrances on Instagram, FB, in texts, emails and phone calls has truly buoyed our family in the midst of this crushing loss. All the messages and photos make us cry but also fill us with a profound sense of being surrounded…especially meaningful as we navigate this from so far away.
I so appreciate Rolf sharing about our last day together as a family with Rudy…it really was magical. Although we are all grieving differently, I’m grateful for our family’s ability to process thoughts and feelings verbally right now as things surface. Not to overshadow Rolf’s post, but I wanted to share my memories of Rudy’s last day before the details start to fade.
To say “losing Rudy is beyond comprehension” would be an understatement. In my mind, his decline was going to be gradual…we were going to see it coming…we were going to do hospice at home with the help of “Nell”, our friend who also happens to be a hospice nurse. In my mind, we were going to be cuddled in bed, surrounded by people we love. In my mind, Rudy’s last moments would be peaceful and he would hear our goodbyes…might have even had the presence of mind to usher him into heaven with a favorite hymn. I had it all planned out…in my mind.
What unfolded was a very different scenario. Just Sunday we headed off to church with our big 15 passenger van rental packed full and ready to embark on an epic road trip to visit family in Kansas. We were excited to travel along Route 66 and see the beauty of the Southwest. It was going to take us 3 long days of driving to get to our destination but we planned to make some fun stops along the way. Monday was a particularly incredible day (as Rolf already shared) and we pulled into Guymon, OK a little after 11pm for our final overnight stay before reaching my mom’s on Tuesday. We all fell into bed, slept soundly and woke up bright and early Tuesday morning ready for a fun stop in Wichita to visit friends before heading on up to Lawrence. Rudy woke up happy, sat on the floor playing with his new flatbed truck toy he got the day before, asked to watch Paw Patrol on TV and happily stayed in the room while the rest of us ate breakfast in the lobby in shifts. When we got back to the room, I asked Wilson to give Rudy a quick bath while the rest of us packed up and loaded the van. Rudy was cold after his bath so once Wilson got him dressed, Olivia snuggled with him under the bed covers and bumped up his O2 as she typically does when we need to warm him up but he was still uncomfortable. Although it was early, the air temperature outside was already heating up so Olivia suggested he might warm up faster in the van. She carried him to his car seat and I followed behind with the O2 concentrator. Rudy was fussy but there was NOTHING going on to suggest there was something serious happening. Olivia left us to go get her things and I saddled up next to Rudy to comfort him while we waited for the others.
Without warning, he got quiet, he might have opened his eyes a bit and the next thing I knew I could only see the whites of his eyes and he became unresponsive. I yelled to Rolf to call 911, he ran into the lobby and the clerk at the desk told him it would be faster to drive to the hospital ourselves…in seconds the big kids flew into the van, the doors slammed shut, I unbuckled Rudy, put him on my lap and, not detecting a breath, began doing mouth to mouth. Rolf had us at the hospital in less than 5 minutes, Wilson grabbed Rudy from me and ran him into the ER. The amazing team in the ER began working on him immediately…chest compressions, intubation, defibrillator…the big sibs settled in the ER waiting area and Rolf joined me with Rudy. For the next 45 minutes, we watched for any sign of life in our boy, waited for the gasp of air that would suddenly bring him back, occasionally called out “We’re here Rudy…Mommy and Daddy are right here”. Feeling completely helpless I remember cheering on Nurse Mary who was relentless in giving Rudy chest compressions…”Don’t stop Mary. Keep going!”…all the while whispering under my breath…”Not today, Rudy, not today”. At one point, the mood in the room changed ever so slightly and Rolf whispered in my ear “they’re only doing this for us now”. The ER doctor looked up at me without saying a word but kept working…a few minutes later he walked up to me and Rolf and said that they were able to get his heart rate up a bit but there hadn’t been any blood flow to his brain for too long. With that, I said “we’re done”, climbed up on the gurney with Rudy and started taking all the wires and tubes off of him. Rolf left to get the big sibs, the room cleared and there we were, just as we were when our journey with Rudy’s heart defect began, the 5 of us huddled in a medical examination room in disbelief trying to process what just happened. We each took time to hold Rudy and love on him. It was tender. It was sweet.
We were informed a little while later that because of the special circumstances of the case, the fact that it crosses state lines and to follow a protocol to rule out child abuse, the OK state medial examiner wouldn’t release Rudy to us without an investigation which required him to be transported to OK City. The local mortician, Bob, promised he would take special care of Rudy in the meantime. So, with that, we made the agonizing decision to leave Rudy in Guymon and make our way to Lawrence to be with family and try to figure out what to do next. Rudy’s body arrived in OK City sometime Tuesday evening and by Wednesday morning the medical examiner was finished with his investigation and notified us he was ready to be released. Rolf, with the help of our good friend and funeral planner Chris, arranged for Rudy to be released in the care of a mortuary in OK City who is now working with the mortuary in Goleta to coordinate Rudy’s transport back to CA…a surreal logistical puzzle that Rolf is excellently executing remotely by phone.
I know this is more information than anyone needs or wants but I wanted to record it for me…for us…for the big sibs and their families when I’m long gone. Like our dear friends who have walked this road before us, I understand now the importance of holding on to details and not wanting the details to slip away.
In the hours since losing our boy, I’ve played it back over and over many times and although it isn’t at all how I planned it would be…I’m at peace with how it played out…honestly, it was a reminder of how little control we have in life. EVER. We had to surrender every detail of that morning…there were no choices…no room for stating preferences. We put our boy in the care of perfect strangers in a completely unfamiliar place and, in less than 3 hours from first arriving at the ER… drove away. Even now I wonder how in the world we did that! God was and IS so present. We are experiencing His peace in the midst of the excruciating pain…everything aches…my head, my teeth, my body, my bones…the pain is so deep and I sometimes find myself begging for relief but there is peace.
So what do we do now? Plans are underway to get our family back to California this weekend. Although the details are not confirmed, we are hoping to have Rudy’s service and burial sometime around August 7th. Please keep an eye out for service details in the coming days. In the meantime, pray for our family…we need wisdom and grace, good communication and clarity as we move forward in the next couple of weeks especially. We love our worldwide circle of family and friends so dearly and can’t thank you enough for loving our family and our boy the way you have the past 8 1/2 years. We are humbled and lifted up by the love all at the same time. Forever grateful, Trish
54 thoughts on “Not Today”
Thank you and Rolf for taking us with you on this journey with Rudy over eight years ago. Thank you for walking us through these last few moments of Rudy’s precious life and his sacred death. It won’t ever be the same without him.
Sweet Trish, thank you for sharing and letting us be a part of such a sacred moment. I love you and continue to pray for each one of you as you walk down this path. May the God of Peace fill you all.
Dear Trish, thank you for sharing the last few days (hours) of Rudy’s precious life and the life of your beautiful family (truly a treasure)! We lift you up in prayer as only we can. The Lord knows every tear, journey and so much more that one cannot even comprehend. We send our love!!
You are the most amazing family I have ever met and the most wonderful boy. My heart is hurting so much.
Love from nurse “Jenica” ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Jessica, I have been thinking about you ❤️
I’ve been thinking of you too 💗 He filled our hearts with so much joy.
We carry you and him in our collective heart. Our tears continue to fall. You are all so deeply loved.
My deep condolences for you and your beautiful family. Thank You for sharing Rudy’s last hours and his entire beautiful journey with us. I had the pleasure of meeting your sweet boy. The few times I met him at the office with Dr.Harake, he was always super silly and full of smiles. He was one of my favorite patients, he will truly be missed. May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences. I will keep your family in my Prayers. Heaven has gained a Beautiful Angel.
I am profoundly saddened by Rudy’s passing. I can’t begin to imagine how you all feel. I have followed, and delighted in, your journey with him for years. But I am thankful that he is with Jesus now.
My love to you sweet mama. Prayers for the pain to be lifted and the special memories to always bring comfort.
You and Rolf big bros and sis are all in my Prayers
Prayers for Grandma too!
Trish, Rolf, Wilson, Max, Olivia and Rudy,
Oh how I and so many others have fallen so hard in love with the Geylings. You have shared so many of your innermost thoughts and hurts and lives with us. It is never TMI. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all this and more. Rudy has affected my life and so many others. The world has lost a true and beautiful warrior. The only thing that helps me is knowing he is with the God and Father we all love so much. Prayers continue for peace in all your hearts and will see you around August 7.
Oh Trish, my heart hurts for you so! You’re the most amazing mama I know! May the Holy Spirit be your comfort and help your family through this huge loss. I love you!! ❤️
You don’t know me but I found your blog last January riding home on the train to San Diego from a doctors appointment at UCLA with my first baby Kayla who was 26. They had just told us she needed open heart surgery as she had a congenital heart defect. I read your blog from start to the end of January. You and your family ministered to me and helped me to have trust in the doctors at UCLA. I am so sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you and your whole family. Know that even though we never met, you touched people in profound ways by writing this blog. I will think of you often and be reminded of the Geylings every time I look at my own precious daughter Kayla. Prayers for peace and comfort.
In Christ, Teri
Thanks, Trish, for writing down and sharing the details of Rudy’s last hours. I’m sure they were written through tears as they most certainly are read through tears. I love how Rudy as touched so many lives through your and Rolf’s posts over the past 8 1/2 years, and I pray that writing now is cathartic for you both. Love you guys…Jeanine
“has” not “as”
I thought, somehow, that death could never happen for Rudy. I guess that’s because he was so full of life, so fully full of life. So, I keep thinking, this could not be true. I’ve read all your detailed writing, Rolf and Trish, and thank you for all the details! My heart wants to follow you on your journey. At the moment, I’m driving with my family through the Mohave desert, driving home from our Southwest camping trip, and my thoughts are on your journey. I imagine it must feel endless, uncomfortable, and empty, like the desert. And I have been imagining each one of you, Rolf, Trish, Olivia, Wilson, and Max looking at this “desert” journey differently, all with your different reactions to what you see and feel. I don’t have to tell you this, I’m sure, that the desert holds many unexpected beauties in it that you don’t see at first. They come upon you when your heart is ready to see them. Which your whole family has- ready hearts for sure. I have been thinking about your wonderful family for several hours now, as I read your news as we began our drive across the Mohave today. I feel a lot of big, big, big love for your family. My heart is aching for all of you.
Interestingly, we drove past the Wig Wam Motel on Route 66 on July 22 and again on July 26th. My mother’s birthday was on the 24th, and we were camping in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On our way back through Winslow, we stopped at the Safeway across the street from the Wig Wam Motel to do our shopping. But, I was attracted to the Motel. I ran across the street to get a few iconic pictures, but something else attracted me to stay longer. I even thought about a few Cars lovers I know of, including Rudy, when I saw the tow truck. I walked around that whole property. I even vowed I would have to come back and stay some day, it was that special. So, Rudy, and your family, do leave their presence everywhere they go!
I will be in touch, of course. Love, Cheryl
And love from Michael, Cami and Angela, as you are in all of our hearts ♥️
It is spelled the Mojave. It spell corrected me, so I doubted my spelling. But I just saw a sign that said Mojave.
Geyling Family… I’m soaked with tears as I was on the day I heard of Rudy’s passing. So sweet to read Rolf’s post on his last day. Svea shared Olivia tribute with me. And how brave of you to write about the day. I am and always have been in awe of you and your family. I keep thinking about my mom and how she would be completely heart broken over Rudy’s passing. Then it donned on me today that she is not heart broken at all! She is having a dance party with Rudy right now in heaven!
Your comment on your physical pain resonates with me. Although I cannot imagine your grief, I understand such deep sorrow that your entire being aches, even your teeth. I am just so so sorry.
All our love, The Moody family. Ron, Lisa, Svea, Eston and Eli.
I just got home from work, hot and tired and put on my shorts and my Team Rudy shirt. Then I check my email….no! I’m so sorry to hear about Rudy. My tears join yours. Hugs to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugs and love and prayers to you all, Thanks for sharing your thoughts, dearest Trish. Wish I could make your pain easier to carry, but all our prayers are with you. The little Warrior is with the Lord, we know that and talking the Granpa Dick and Opa !!
“Not today”. That says it all and you wrote it all so beautifully. Thank you for so gracefully sharing your family with all of us!
We have been on this journey with you as you have shared, and we have read every post, and marvel at the family you have nurtured with God’s love, compassion and hope. I was so saddened to hear this news and immediately responded with NOOOOOO! But almost immediately I had this picture of Rudy running full speed ahead into the arms of Jesus….love, compassion and hope straight ahead. We are praying that you will deeply feel the love that all of us feel for your family and receive the compassion and peace that Jesus offers us….there is no doubt you will. Thank you for the gift that you have been to me personally as I journey with you. xoR
I am honored to read this.
Rudy touched so many people during his very short time here on earth. Your family has touched us all. There are no words to express the grief we all felt when we heard the news.
Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers every day.
With much love,
Sharon and Scott
So sacred and precious Mama memories. Broken for you all. Praying. Love you guys. Our sorrow is great, yours unbearable. Thankful for the peace you’re experiencing. Only God.
Dear Trish, Rolf, Olivia, Max and Wilson,
Thank you for taking the time to share with us how this happened. Rudy was such a delight and we can’t even imagine how much you are all missing him right now…we are with you in spirit and will continue to pray that our God will wrap you in his love and comfort. And may he grant you the wisdom, grace, good communication and clarity you are seeking. And thanks for mentioning the peace that you sense amidst this unimaginable loss…we know where that is coming from! You are so loved dear friends…
Trish, I can’t imagine the horror, and the pain….Thank you for sharing….may that peace continue to flood your heart. Love you so much….
These kind of stories can easily make a person question their faith. Why ? Why ? Why ? How can God do that to a family, to a child ? Then you realize, God has a plan, and clearly in Rudy’s case, God’s plan in part was for Rudy to be a beautiful gift to a great family, friends, and even strangers near and far. What this young boy taught all of us along his 8 1/2 year journey cannot be put into words. In his life and in his passing, he made us all stop and realize the important things in life, and appreciate them more. Now that is legacy ! He was a gift. Thank you very much for sharing your story, your very personal story, with so many people. My deepest condolences to all of you !
Thank you for sharing with us the details of your last moments with precious Rudy. We feel honored and humbled.
We love you all so much and continue to grieve with you.
Oh my dear Trish, Rolf, Wilson, Max and Olivia — although I never was privileged to meet Rudy, I loved him with you. Having followed your blog posts since that first ultrasound, then through his birth and many months in the hospital, then through his 8+ years, I was grateful to follow his life, and your family’s life; your simple yet profound joys; your agonizing questions; your honest and unshakable faith; the courage and enthusiasm you lived every day. Thank you for inviting us into your lives, for sharing so honestly and faithfully, for honoring God in your day-to-day. You have encouraged, inspired, and blessed me/us deeply. And now we grieve with you and for you… yet not as those who have no hope. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” How grateful I am that Rudy is Home and WHOLE, after that little heart, that loved so fiercely, finally gave out. I never met him… but I will. And I can hardly wait. In the meantime, I pray for each of you, knowing the Lover of our souls is somehow enough. With so much love for you all…xo, Jane
To the entire Geyling family, my heart goes out to you every time I think about your loss. I am honored to have known sweet Rudy (aka Bob). My deepest condolences to your strong and loving family.
Thank you Trish for sharing details of Rudy’s last day, as hard as that must have been. I keep thinking about Rudy and his new toy truck. I’m picturing his broad smile as he plays — plays with a complete and total joy that I’ve forgotten or maybe never knew. I believe that Rudy is still playing with that truck right now. For me the blessing of Rudy is to find my own truck, and to love others by helping them find theirs.
Our thoughts and prayers are with your whole family.
Thank you for sharing all of this, Trish. I am praying for you everyday.
I’m so sorry doesn’t begin to express what my heart wants to say! We’re praying.
We love you Geylings.0
I am so shocked and sorry to read about Rudy’s passing. But thankful that all of you know the Lord and that Rudy is now experiencing far greater things than can be imagined on earth. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with all of us. Through your sharing, that little boy touched more hearts than you will ever know, I’m sure. God bless you all as you grieve this loss…
Thank you! Thank you for sharing this with us. Continuing to pray for you all.
Thank you for sharing these intimate memories with all of us. Rudy’s story impacted so many of us who never even met him. May His Comfort be sweeter than you ever imagined as you all mourn together and celebrate his life. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Rudy was nothing short of amazing. My memories of Rudy were always his smile, even when he wasn’t feeling 100% that little boy had the biggest smile, no obstacle could steal his joy. Not even all the tubing for his oxygen could stop him from having a good time, he was truly special and mostly because he had such an amazing family. I remember going there and. I matter that you guys had going on you all started each day with such positivity. You all are truly unique and helped Rudy live his life to the fullest. I know that whatever anyone says it will never make things any easier but know that you brought so much joy into his life, never treated him any differently and loved him with everything in you.. I’m sure that anyone who knew or met you all saw and felt this… God bless you all, you are truly going to missed Rudy… love you, Gina
Trish. Thank you for sharing. Our hearts go out to you and the family. Rudy was an amazing child. The love, kindness, compassion and patience exhibited by your family is a true inspiration to us all. All our love, prays and deepest condolences. The Madrigal Family….
Thanks so much to Rolf and Trish for sharing their memories of precious Rudy’s last days! God in His wisdom and mercy arranged for him to experience joy and excitement rather than gradually slipping away in hospice care. The whole family is in my prayers for peace, strength and comfort in beautiful memories and knowing Rudy is whole and infinitely happy and excited in God’s loving arms.
Sending unending love and prayers to you all. I think of you all day long, and my heart aches.
Please know that sweet, joyful Rudy knew how he was cherished in this world and luxuriated in the love that surrounded him every minute of his life. I can’t imagine a happier child!
Please allow yourselves to be surrounded now in the love of Rudy, your family and all of us that love and support you. We share in your grief, and will forever remember the remarkable baby that brought such joy to everyone he touched.
May the peace of the Lord be with you.
Dear Geyling Family,
Thank you for sharing your loving thoughts and feelings in the midst of pain and loss. You have been sharing like this throughout your journey with Rudy, and you have blessed many with your example of steadfast faith and love. You have helped us continue through a similar journey with Pat’s brain injured brother John, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak for the last 50 years.
We have been comforted to know that in heaven, John will not need a wheelchair, and we know that there you will be reunited with Rudy with a perfect body and that big smile.
Love, Gary and Pat Hanson
Oh, oh. Dearest Trish, thank you for recording this. I am beyond grateful that you were all together, doing something wonderful and fun. Grateful for the good care, for extended family nearby, so many pieces of beauty amidst the searing pain. Prayers continue for you all.
Sending love and huge bear hugs,
Chris & Michelle Hughes
No words! I’ve been following your family for many many years. Rudy was/is a fighter and an amazing little boy! Fly high Rudy! May you (the family) find great comfort and grace in Gods arms at this time. You all are in my prayers. 🙏🏻🙏🏻
Such an incredible journey these last 8 1/2 years. thank you for sharing and Yes, it is important to remember and write it down. This has been your journal, and I am personally so thankful for you and Rolf and your opens through this journey. May the Lord continue to bless you and lift you up as these next days wiz by and you prepare for his service. To God be the Glory!
I have followed Rudy’s journey ever since he was born as my sister introduced me to your blog and Rudy’s birth. She was in a Bible Study with you years ago. I thank you for sharing and opening up your lives with us….I feel as though I know you all so well and would love to just sit with you and hug you and listen to your memories. Praying for your family at this time and knowing that Rudy is with our Lord and Savior, perfect . So thankful for your faith and so many friends and family. Peace and Love to all.
Rudy amplified hope, love, courage, faith
Our superhero was an emblem of tenacity
First beat, first smile, first scoot, first step
Powered by a V-6, 750hp soul
Like lightning, your energetic spark
Rocked our world
No denying, Captain Rudy,
You lit a torch within countless hearts
With our deepest and
most heartfelt condolences,
Gloria, Steve, Audrey, and Ryan
Thank you for honoring us and trusting us with your precious last moments with Rudy. I will treasure them along with your family Trish. Hugs so tight.
Trish, Rolf & family.
We love you!!! We are praying for you!! If you need anything ( seriously anything ) we are here for you. I’m heartbroken. Rudy was a joy to teach. I loved shooting hoops at school with him. We would sit at lunch and play cars. He stated daily that, ” I’m going to be in your class next year, Mr. Tod”. Man I liove that kid!!! Rudy brought me so much joy everyday!!! We love you & are praying for you all!!❤️🙏
Tod, Colleen, Caleb, Josiah & Noah Severson
Thank you both for sharing . . . I’m a friend of Patty Dietz and have prayed for y’all on this journey in your lives. I know the pain you are feeling all to well. We have two daughters with the Lord. Our Sara was born in 1982. She died of SIDS at 8 weeks. Alyssa would be 18 now. We miss them dearly. I know of no greater sadness than to lose a child. You all will continue to be in our prayers. Please post picture of Rudy. We love that infectious smile.
My sweet daughter and family, You are in my thoughts constantly!
We are all grieving deeply and will always cherish our memories of Rudy!
With a hug and much love. Mama Jo