(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.
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. 🙂