(Big sigh) It will be three weeks tomorrow since Rudy passed away…and the big kids and I are planning a day trip to Oxnard to go school shopping.  Rolf returned to work today. The daily routine filled with every day life stuff has resumed.  It’s painful and hard to navigate.  It’s difficult to focus.  To exist is to ache.

It is impossible to recap the past three weeks.  There are so many details that are already lost because there was just too much to retain.  I can say, though, that our family experienced one sacred moment after another since Rudy’s death where raw pain and the loneliness of excruciating loss were met with extravagant expressions of God’s grace and love over and over again.  The care our family received from family and friends in the wake of Rudy’s passing has been tender, generous and comprehensive.  The plans we made while still in Kansas and asked friends in CA to execute played out seamlessly without a hitch.  The details of Rudy’s return to CA and the process of laying him to rest were done well and honored him so sweetly.  Rudy’s funeral service and burial were Holy Ground experiences, for sure, where God took our plans and knit them together into something truly glorious giving us all a glimpse of Heaven on earth.  Rolf, the big kids and I have extended grace, love and concern to each other in the midst of our individual pain…something we don’t take for granted in these tense times.  There have been a lot of groaning sobs but there have also been a lot of laughs.  I think we all tried real hard to live in the moment these first crucial weeks and we survived.

Now, however, the hard work of grief begins…now that the adrenaline rush is subsiding and family & friends are all gone…now that time is no longer standing still and we’re confronted with the reality that life is moving on with or without us…but definitely without Rudy and that hurts.  Unfortunately, there has been room to think this past week since Rudy’s funeral and it has been hard to control my thoughts.  I’ve been haunted with all the “what ifs”…what if we didn’t go on the road trip at all, what if I hadn’t instructed Wilson to give Rudy a bath that morning, what if I had been more attentive when he got fussy, what if, what if!!  I’m actually surprised my mind is even going there because in the days immediately following Rudy’s death, Rolf and I felt strongly that there wasn’t anything more we could have done and everyone in the family worked so well together to insure Rudy got the best care.  It all seemed so clearly out of our control. My rational mind knows it to be true still but my heart is burdened by the haunting thoughts and I desperately want to turn back the clock.

So, what are we doing now?  More than we probably should be doing…there are many details on our plate right now that need our attention so we’re trying our best to focus. There is a local family in need of a medical van like ours so we are working with them to transfer ownership this week!!  Though a huge blessing for all, the sudden loss of the van is thrusting me into a car buying process that I wasn’t quite ready to do just yet.  As a result, we decided to rent a car for a month or so to give us time to car shop.  The boys leave for college NEXT WEEK so this week is all about college prep and packing!!!  It’s obviously too soon for me but I think both boys are excited to get settled and start their school year.  Olivia starts school on Monday!  A lot of my process won’t start, I don’t think, until everyone is back at school and the house is quiet.  I had to go to Rudy’s neurologist’s office today for an appointment for me and it was followed up by a stop at the blood lab where Rudy got his monthly blood draws.  It was hard to be in these familiar places without Rudy and many tears were shed today.  I’m sure there will be many days ahead with the same refrain “many tears were shed today” and we’ll take it all one day at a time.  Please keep praying for us, friends.  It’s going to get harder before it gets any easier and, to be honest, I’m feeling fearful and insecure.

At last, Rudy back home in our home church. Sunday August 6th      (PC Greg Lawler)
funeral band
“Rudy’s Band” at the funeral. Monday August 7th      (PC Dale Weber)
funeral olivia
Olivia sharing “sibling memories”.
funeral casket7
Our family’s final goodbye.

funeral procession5


funeral procession8

funeral burial6

funeral burial11

funeral burial12

funeral burial15

funeral burial19


Our first family outing last week was to Kyle’s Kitchen…we were blessed by their tribute to Rudy!
We love you Rudy and are finding it hard to do life without you in it but there is comfort in knowing you are experiencing eternal life without limitation or sadness & pain. Good for you big boy!

Here’s a final instruction we gave at Rudy’s funeral.  Will you join us in paying it forward for Rudy? –

Rudy’s life was defined by love…and in his memory, we would like to extend his legacy of love beyond his local community. If you’d like to participate, we’d like you to make a copy of the attached cards to give away along with an act of kindness (preferably to a stranger). You could pay for a person’s meal behind you in the drive thru or at the table next to you in a restaurant. You could pay for someone’s car wash or groceries or weed a lawn. Get creative, have some fun with it and experience the joy of making someone smile… just as Rudy did every day of his life. 🙂

PIFFR copy

artwork by Cara Celeste VanNortwick

20 thoughts on “Haunted

  1. My heart is broken again tonight.This is such a beautiful post with beautiful heart wrenching photos. Thank.you for sharin them..
    You are such an inspiration, just as Rudy was to everyone. .I was afraid you would disappear from the blog and I needed to know how you are doing. I always looked forward to Rudy’s name popping up on the blog list with new posts, and it’s not the same anymore.:( Please remember you are never alone in those haunting moments. Rudy is there smiling down on his Mama and we are here Praying for you and your family.
    May your heart and soul find peace and comfort.every day.and I hope you will continue to post.
    Rudy will NEVER be forgotten.
    {{{Big Hug}}}

  2. Sweet Trish, I can imagine that you are willing to relive those last hours of Rudy’s life… what if… what if not…
    It is so human. It is so mother-ly (does that word even exist in English?). It is so you!
    You not only tried, but you really did your best to give Rudy the best care and a great life! And do not deny! There are way too many witnesses 🙂 !
    Know it is ok to have the “what if” moments.
    Know we understand!
    Know we all wanted to have been able to extend Rudy’s life.
    But it was not in our power.
    But reading your blog, giving you time, sending you love ❤️ IS in our power!
    And remember that even when you sleep, someone of your (uwp) family is awake and sending you and your family good vibes. Together we will make those haunted moments shrink and eventually go away. Trust us on that!

  3. Sweet Trish and Rolf and to those wonderful Sibs.
    May the Lord bless you and hold you in his arms
    and give you healing !

  4. After Fred’s death I had such similar feelings and thoughts… Al Ewert gave me these words from Elizabeth Elliot…” Do what is in front of you and do it well. And then do the next thing…” You seem to be already doing this!❤️ God has you dear Ones…He will be your amazing Comfort and Guide. Love you, Jolene Stoesz

  5. After Fred’s death I had such similar feelings and thoughts… Al Ewert gave me these words from Elizabeth Elliot…” Do what is in front of you and do it well. And then do the next thing…” You seem to be already doing this!❤️ God has you dear Ones…He will be your amazing Comfort and Guide. Love you, Jolene Stoesz (prayers too)❤️

  6. I am trying to imagine the daily ache of your every day… but I can’t fathom the pain of losing a CHILD. I love what Jolene wrote…and like so many others, we here are lifting you up to the God of all comfort. Even yesterday I said, “I can’t believe Rudy is gone!” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures…..we want to continue to honor dear Rudy-kins, the precious life God gave you for a very short time, a little life that continues to touch many others!

  7. Tears are good, necessary, healing. Regret, not so much. I get it, but I will pray against it. Every one of you has done a superb job on this journey – believe it, celebrate it. Thank you for the beauty and vulnerability of this post and for the exquisite experience of the memorial service. The hardest part is upon you, sweet friend. One foot at a time. One.

  8. This deep wound, this hole, along with comprehensive rearranging of daily life is painful. It comes only one step at a time, and is navigated only one step at a time. It is individual and it is collective, searingly personal on every level. One moment at a time. One small task at a time. One familiar experience made painfully new at a time. You can do it. You can really do it. When you feel like you can’t, just don’t, wait a minute, or a day or a month, and try again. You can do it.

  9. I’ve only known Rudy and your family at a distance so I only know a part of what your life has been like and currently is but my picture of Rudy will always be one of this little guy with a huge smile that took up his entire face!! He had bad days I’m sure but that whole face smile will always be what I think of when I think of Rudy. He obviously was a happy little guy especially in the last pictures you posted of him in and about all his car buddies. I can’t imagine Rudy feeling anything but absolute and complete love and gratitude for his family. I have to believe in his Father’s house that smile is now a whole body smile with heart, and legs, and arms in on the action too:). I’m so sorry for the dark days and wish I could wash them quickly away but I pray that you will always keep that huge joyful smile before you and be lifted up. With continual prayers, Patta Dietz

  10. Sweet precious Trish, Thank you for sharing this very intimate time in your family’s life with us. Your words are so eloquent and full of grace. I think of you, Rolf, Wilson, Max, Olivia and precious Rudy constantly with much love and a sense of gratitude that I was fortunate enough to get to spend time with you all in Tucson last year at our reunion. Those precious memories will forever be in my heart. I love you dearly! Melani

  11. Although we have never met you, we have loved Rudy from afar for 8-1/2 years, a result of your vividly detailed blog. From the start, what a treat to get to follow the adventures of such an uplifting family. Your special brand of heart, humor and truth is so admired and, on some days, when the world is rough, so deeply needed. We recently decided to torture our aching hearts by watching ALL of Rudy’s videos, from start to finish. Oh the treasures you have captured and will someday find such strength in. We sobbed when you cut the cake at the hospital and then wheeled him home in that little wagon to meet the best sibs in the whole wide world. What a remarkable couple. On an incredible journey. SURROUNDED BY SO MUCH LOVE. Pure goodness. It was (and is) so clear Trish had given birth to an angel here on Earth…all those nurses clapping…and that hair! That hair is the stuff of legend, full of so many secrets of life! We laughed as Rudy bounced up and down in his chair to the Beach Boys “I Get Around”. It was easy to fall in love with your son, even from afar, and the same can be said of your whole family. Just the way you write about things and capture every detail, every little eyelash on film … you have such love and faith, and you continually RESTORE MY FAITH. Sister to sister, I am sending a hug to beautiful Livy. What an incredible young woman you are. The cakes and costumes you made for Rudy. Your incredible love radiating for him in the pictures when he was first brought home from the hospital. Just the way that baby boy looks at you with his irresistible cheeks! There’s a reason Rudy’s smile was a mile wide. It’s clear that all along he knew he was lucky to be yours. And vice versa, of course. THE BEAT GOES ON!!!!!!! I am printing the cards, strapping on my invisible angel wings and doing good in the name of Rudy. We feel a great loss for having never met him. You are never alone, Trish. You have Rolf holding your sweet hand. You have the most amazing kids. You have so many thoughtful friends who have all put into words so eoloquently their sorrows. You have God–so much grace, it’s incredible. You have a prayer-a-day from total strangers. And you will ALWAYS have Rudy.

  12. Dearest Geyling Family,

    I initially started following dear, sweet Rudy’s remarkable and extraordinary journey when he was just a few months old, while I was undergoing treatment and recovery for cancer in early 2009-2010. He was born 2 months before my first grandchild, who is 8½ years old now too.

    Rudy was an exceptional, special, marvelous, endearing, loveable and phenomenal little boy who brought immense laughter, joy, love, happiness and inspiration to all who knew him and to all those who never met him like myself who avidly followed your blog/journal and chronicle of Rudy’s precious life these past years. It was always a highly anticipatory and uplifting occurrence to discover a new email arrival from “Rudy’s Beat” in the inbox. The process was first to eagerly scroll down to view all of the Geyling photos, especially those of Rudy; scan down further for a prospective video; then settle down to enjoy each excellently written and well crafted word of the ongoing legend that was Rudy’s wonderful, amazing, fascinating and truly heroic life.

    Like so many others, I was utterly shocked, devastated and completely heartbroken to hear of Rudy’s sudden and untimely passing. That final event transpired exactly as it was intended and just as it was meant to be in the last moments of Rudy’s brief life. He is laughing, smiling, running, carefree, reveling and marveling now in an alternative existence with his God, unimpeded by the physical constraints, limitations and restrictions that he experienced while here. Although the grief, sorrow and anguish of his tragic loss is profound, overpowering and immeasurable now, Rudy will remain forever a part of all of you with such cherished, treasured, beautiful and incredible memories of him and he will remain deeply rooted and firmly anchored in your hearts forevermore.

    Rest in eternal, everlasting peaceful slumber and let perpetual light shine upon you, sweetest, dearest and beloved Rudy…

    PS – Watched Rudy’s service on live stream. I could not have missed it for all the world. It was so very touching, poignant and moving. Thank you for making it available for viewing and for making the slideshow of Rudy’s Life available too. I downloaded the slideshow tribute to keep always.

    May God bless and keep you all in His loving care.

    Fran L.
    Written on: 31 July 2017
    Currently: Austin, Texas

    All of Me
    Matt Hammitt

    Afraid to love
    Something that could break
    Could I move on
    If you were torn away
    And I’m so close to what I can’t control
    I can’t give you half my heart and pray he makes you whole

    You’re gonna have all of me
    You’re gonna have all of me
    ‘Cause you’re worth every fallen tear
    You’re worth facing any fear
    You’re gonna know all my love
    Even if it’s not enough
    Enough to mend our broken hearts
    But giving you all of me
    Is where I’ll start

    I won’t let sadness steal you from my arms
    I won’t let pain keep you from my heart
    I’ll trade the fear of all that I could lose
    For every moment I share with you

    You’re gonna have all of me
    You’re gonna have all of me
    ‘Cause you’re worth every fallen tear
    You’re worth facing any fear
    You’re gonna know all my love
    Even if it’s not enough
    Enough to mend our broken hearts
    But giving you all of me
    Is where I’ll start

    Heaven brought us to this moment
    It’s too wonderful to speak
    You’re worth all of me
    You’re worth all of me
    So let me recklessly love you
    Even if I bleed
    You’re worth all of me
    You’re worth all of me

    You’re gonna have all of me
    You’re gonna have all of me
    ‘Cause you’re worth every fallen tear
    You’re worth facing any fear
    You’re gonna know all my love
    Even if it’s not enough
    Enough to mend our broken hearts
    But giving you all of me
    Is where I’ll start

    You’re gonna have all of me
    You’re gonna have all of me
    ‘Cause you’re worth every fallen tear
    You’re worth facing any fear
    You’re gonna know all my love
    Even if it’s not enough
    Enough to mend our broken hearts
    But giving you all of me
    Is where I’ll start

    It’s where I’ll start

  13. Another amazing post from the heart. Thanks for sharing your grief and helping the rest of us keep you all in our hearts. You all are amazing and we love you and share (in a small way) your grief.

  14. Oh Trish. My heart aches whenever I think of you, Rolf and your fabulous children. I cannot imagine the shock, grief, and immense loss you are all dealing with. I’d do anything to help relieve you of your burden, but only our Lord and Savior can do that.

    It is so clear to me that God’s hand was in everything Rudy, from the beginning to the end. The Lord’s love shone through Rudy every day of his life.

    Please know your grief is shared by so many, and we helplessly struggle with how to help. We think of all of you daily, send our love and our prayers for your peace and the comfort of the Lord.

    Trish, I worry about you the most. Be kind to yourself, let friends and family help, love and minister to you, and give yourself all the time you need to work through this impossibly difficult time.

    BIG love and many prayers,

    Deni Sutherland

  15. I knew that you might ask those questions at some point. But your replacement thought will have to be something like this: First of all, these are God’s plans, not your “mistakes.” Along with that, and you know all this, God gave you the perfect timing, in that your family was all together, hampered by no other
    responsibilities. Lastly, Rudy never did have to go back to the hospital with a decline in health. His quality of life was amazing to the very, very end. Which your family has ensured, absolutely. Which is what you wanted. I remember that being on a list of yours, somewhere.

    There is a song that goes like this:
    You’re ok
    You’ll be fine
    Just breathe
    I wish I could sing it to you. It really is so simple and beautiful. My heart aches for all of you, especially knowing that there are so many things to remind you and think about not having him here. But when you get stuck in pain, remember to breathe.

    I love you, Trish girl. ❤️

  16. Trish , I have just read your post again. It is interesting to me that the Holy Spirit put you so intensely on my heart as I awakened today to pray for you as your life returns to ‘normal’ routine. You are in my heart and prayers as you adjust to this new way of living now that Rudy is in His Savior’s arms. Praying for you as you move forward in life. Rudy was a much blessed little boy to be born into your family with outstanding parents, and such devoted brothers and sister.
    Love , Kitty Larsen

  17. Moved to tears. All I can say is “UG!” Love you guys. Press on one sad or happy or confused or dumb day at a time. Its all ok and all to be expected. Love you guys! Jen Z

  18. Dearest Geyling Family,

    I have followed your story from the beginning, for you received your precious son’s diagnosis shortly before I received my daughter’s. Rudy’s life gave me hope when I had none. The teamwork, humor, and faith between you two as parents has been a model for us as we navigate the challenges of raising a medically fragile child. And seeing your “big kids” with their little brother – the love, compassion, and complete adoration they have for Rudy – gave me the courage to dare to have another two children after my firstborn, to view the experience of our journey as a blessing, not a burden for them. I wish I had the words to ease your sorrow. Please know that Rudy will not be forgotten, and that his life had meaning and impact far beyond what you may have ever imagined. We will keep you in prayer, now and always. Thank you for sharing your lives with us.

    1. Oh Jessica, I just wanted you to know how much your comment means to me. I’m grateful to know a little bit about your story and to know our stories are intertwined. I am sorry for the heartache your family has endured over the years but am confident in your strength to persevere in the journey wherever it may lead. Thank you for keeping our Rudy’s memory alive and for uplifting our family in prayer. ‘All such a comfort as we continue to grieve. Blessings to you and your family! Hugs from Goleta, Trish

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