So much to feel and so much to sort through in our heads and hearts. Much as I want to start this off with assurances that we’re all right, that’d be lying. We are crushed and aching. Most accurate to say that we have some “OK moments”. We are grateful to be together as a family and with extended family.
We’ve so appreciated all the posts and messages–more than we could ever respond to. Such care for our family and a testament of the love that marked Rudy’s life.
As I’ve got a moment where I feel clear-headed enough to write, I want to remind myself of the beauty of Rudy’s last moments. The long-awaited family adventure driving across the southwest to Kansas. In his trademark relentlessness, for weeks there was the daily barrage of “I go Grandma’s house now?” several times an hour.
Travel day started with church, where Rudy felt so safe and loved. He chose to go sit with some teen boys. Having gotten the usual “Go away, Dad!” I sat by myself while the musically talented members of the family (everyone else) led worship. Was so touched to get glimpses across several rows of attentive pats on his back, kids familiar enough with his O2 setup to be adjusting tubes and keeping it from getting tangled, whispers and gestures to keep him mostly quiet.
Then the van adventure was on. Time together seeing new places, laughing and dozing in the van. Deploying in and out of rest stops and hotels–with the rotating care for Rudy that’s just been part of life for our family.
We didn’t know Monday was going to be our last day with Rudy, but so glad it turned out the way it did. At our quick stop to see a corner in Winslow, AZ, Rudy was giddy to pick out a shiny blue truck. As the clerk picked up on his enthusiasm for Cars and Lightning McQueen she gave us directions to the Wigwam Hotel up the interstate in Holbrook–the inspiration for the movie’s Cozy Cone Motel.
Even as it was happening, I knew I’d never forget it. Our little boy squealing as he scurried around the muddy gravel parking lot of the kitschy little place with its eclectic assortment of cars. Many of them didn’t appear to run and most barely looked anything like the movie characters but that didn’t stop his identifying them as such. “Look! Hudson! Doc! Sarge! Fillmore! Ramon! Mater!”
He would run himself breathless, ask to be carried and just as quickly demand to walk again. A maid even let him go inside one of the rooms to check it out. Heard his newest expression “I’m so excited!!!” many times. The big sibs entered into the experience like they always do, taking turns holding his hand, the oxygen concentrator and carrying him when he needed it. Gave Trish and I the chance to have one of those “Did you ever think we’d see our little boy doing this?” moments.
I’m so glad we were aware of this and so glad that this was what marked Rudy’s last days with us: being immersed in the love of the family smitten with him and being rendered breathless by his ability to extract more joy from a moment than any of us ever could.
We’ve seen things more beautiful than we ever knew existed. The weight of losing this is unbearable. So grateful for people who’ve walked with us and trusting that this will be what God uses to lead us from here.
More when we can.
35 thoughts on “Something I want to remember”
Thank you so much for sharing this special last day with us Rolf. And Thanks be to the Lord for this precious time he and you shared! Only He could have orchestrated it so well.
Praying for the Comforter to be near to you all.
I will forever be blessed by knowing Rudy.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Beautiful. May the good lord now hold you all in his hands and lead you through this unbearable pain.
Precious Geyling family, what beautiful memories of a very special boy. I can hear him saying all those words with such excitement! Brody has been sharing his memories of Rudy and we’ve been able to cry together. What an impact Rudy made! So much joy exuded out of that little body and we will miss him dearly. We continue to pray for comfort for you all. Much love, the Freds
Precious words of a precious little boy, Rudy! Thank you for sharing these moments with us. We hold you close in prayer!!!
Thank you Rolf for this post. The little boy blessed us ALL over and over . May the Lord bless you and give you all peace.
The little boy is in a HAPPY place and even more “exhited” with the Lord
Thank you so much for sharing this…..we love to hear how Rudy’s last day was. I love that his last phrase was “I am so excited!” and yes, what Oma said is a great comfort: he is even more excited now.
So glad you shared this moment with us all – and all the other incredible moments you have had with Rudy. My prayers and thoughts are with you all.
You are all so deeply loved. We are all broken hearted. Word has spread through the entire school community. Rudy has carried us all forward.
We will carry you as Rudy carried us. He was the strongest most beautiful child I have ever had the honor to know.
Rolf & Trish, These memories are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing them. I am so grateful for that road-side segue to your trip. We are all so sad along with you and holding you in prayer. Love, The Chases
Dear Geyling Family,
We have had glimpses from afar of the amazing love and commitment you have exhibited within your family to dear Rudy, all the while ministering to so many others….an example we shall not forget. We pray the comfort for each of you that only Jesus can give.
In His love, Susan and Bruce Wennerstrom
I was thinking about that same thing after I read that you had been there. What a blessing to see his joy on that day. I will never forget this story and how God knows all and loves you all.
Such a beautiful sentiment on a beautiful soul surrounded by a beautiful family!! What a teacher Rudy was and how much I need to learn!!! Thank you, dear Geylings! Love, hugs and more!!
Thank you for sharing Rudy’s life with us. The entire Geyling family touched and inspired me in so many ways and I have been following your journey through the years. Rudy inspired so many and I will carry him, and all of you, in my heart.
Thank you all for sharing Rudy’s life, we have followed his trials and his victories daily on his website. He was an inspiration for us. Such a lovely little boy and so brave. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. Thanks again Rolf and Trish and the Geyling family for sharing with all of us.
What great memories to have. Please know how much we ache for you and the depth of your loss. This is a bitter journey to take. May the God who lost His Son comfort you.
Another beautiful Testament of how all of your love for him and each other allowed Rudy to live a life of normalcy in the mist of his daily medical needs. He lived a lifetime in that one moment those memories will remain with you all knowing that it was a day that Rudy would never forget! His joy and love of life lives on as he lives free of the tubes, tank and tired little legs in heaven with our Heavenly Father.
I pray healing of your hearts and peace beyond all understanding. God has not forgotten you just as He never forgot Rudy.
Your family has expanded my hearts capacity to care to love and to feel. Thank you for your sharing your journey with all of us and for your honesty during every moment. You are being held by our Father just like Rudy has been since day one. Feel his arms and the community’s arms holding you now. Thank you❤️
This helps us heal too. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post.
Thank you for sharing, I am weeping as i read this. These moments are so eternal. The Walsh family loves you and will continue to pray God’s peace and loving presence over you.
Rolf, thank you so much for taking the time to write down these wonderful memories. What a sweet little guy you all had the privilege of having in your family!
I feel like I can relate in some way b/c I had a a severely handicapped older brother named Johnny who was so dearly loved in our family who suddenly passed away this past March. We were devastated, but I can’t tell you how comforting it’s been to us to see with the eye of our hearts how Johnny’s now in heaven, enjoying being with Jesus, unencumbered & undiminished by all the handicaps he had in this life.
Anyway, I’m praying God’s great love & blessings on your whole family as you grieve & miss Rudy… May you guys know the comfort of His presence in this & of all those who love Rudy & your family.
Rolf…what a beautifully written expression of Rudy’s (and the fam’s) exploits on Monday. I loved the posts from Winslow, AZ and the Wigwam Motel. Rest in knowing that you and Trish and Wilson and Max and Livy gave Rudy an amazing life. He will be forever missed. Big hugs to all. Jeanine
I’m touched by your post. I remember very clearly; you sitting in front of us during service on Sunday, while Rudy was hanging out with his older friends. Most of us want to protect that which is fragile, yet you and your family always shared Rudy and enabled him to live life to the fullest. You allowed us to partake in that, giving all of us our own special moments with Rudy. My family and I are very grateful for that.
My life will forever remember this special family who brought me to know this gift from God, little Rudy. The LOVE displayed by all of you so deeply and sacrificially to care for his needs, was an inspiration to all of us in your path. I envision him running into the arms of Jesus, well and complete. Our beloved little Hero.
Praying for you all continually. So grateful that you had the joy of a new adventure to spark Rudy’s excitement that has left you with this memory. A joyful day, full of new wonder for Rudy. Authentic presence in the moment that helped you and Trish and the sibs to enjoy each other and Rudy on that day. We grieve with you. No doubt the felt gap without your Rudy must feel unbearable at times and yet I thank God for the sweetness of what you have to remember and the fact that your whole family was together to share it. The Lord bless you and keep you and carry you one moment at a time. Love to you all.
Thank you Rolf for sharing in your loving way the beauty that is Rudy. We miss your family, and have you all in our thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for sharing this. I’m praying daily for your family.
Thank you so very much for this, dear Rolf!! As I’ve been skimming through your and Trish’s photos the last few days (through tears), I’ve thought, “How lovely that they could give Rudy this grand adventure at the end of his remarkable life on this planet!” And I can almost hear him calling out that newly-learned phrase as he catches a glimpse of the grandest adventure ever. Thank you all for loving him so well and for sharing this delightful boy with us all.
We are praying for your beautiful family.
Chris & Michelle
Rolf and Trish, We have watched your journey as a family of six since the day that Rudy was shared with the broader world. Our hearts ache for this moment in time when everything changes, again. As an outside reader, thank you for letting us delight in the last big adventure on earth. Keeping you in thought and prayer forever more. The Fitzpatrick Diersings
Thank you Rolf. Each one of your family memebers is such a blessing to me and my family. This news is stunning and hard to imagine as we hadn’t ever really thought it could happen. If there could be a last day planned, I cannot imagine one finer than the one Rudy had. This fact brings me more joy than I can express. My heart is with all of you as you try to understand how to move in a forward motion again. We are always here is you need anything, always.
As many times as I read this post(lost track of the count) it is the most wonderful testimony of the little boy . Our Rudy our angel. We’ll never forget you precious one💕😘🚗
I continue to be amazed how one young boy gave and received more love and joy than most of us experience in a long life! Rudy inspired many to see simple joys and to revel in them. May his memory continue to be a blessed comfort to your family. You are in my heart and prayers.
I just love that story and photo – Rudy in one of his peak experiences! From what I remember and learned through all your stories, was that Rudy had the means to make even an everyday event something special with his smile and commentary. He taught me that life is to celebrate, no matter how, no matter what transpires. he taught the most beautiful of lessons in his pure way.
In reading all of the notes of love and prayers people are sending you, we add our love and prayers too. The expressions of love and caring from so many are the same as are in our hearts. May our Lord Jesus Christ, the great healer, bring his peace and healing to your broken hearts.