The MOD Squad

Rolf and I made it home safely late Saturday night from dropping off Max at PLNU.  It was a sweet time.  It was fun to watch Max take it all in and we’re confident he’s in a great space surrounded by great people.

All moved in and ready to start this new chapter.
Wilson surprised Max by coming down from APU Saturday afternoon which added to the fanfare of the official send-off!

Olivia, Rolf and I woke up Sunday morning to our “new normal”.  We went to church and it was hard.  Rudy’s absence was so acute and cut so deep.  There was a different kind of energy to our day without the big boys too.  It just really feels like we went from a family of six to a family of three overnight creating a seismic shift in our day to day family identity.  As a result, we’ve adopted a new nickname…at least on the days we do life as a trio.  Meet the MOD Squad (Mom, Olivia, Dad) – or as Olivia pointed out “the MOHD Squad” with a silent H to include Harley!  Ha Ha.  Life may be dramatically different but finding our way to adventure and fun are on the top of our priority list…stay tuned.

The MOD Squad!

So, what’s next?  No idea and part of me finds that deeply troubling. When Rolf and I were dating I remember we had one of those “ah, ha!” moments in our relationship when we discovered that when we contemplated the future, my thoughts centered on what I’d be doing and Rolf’s were centered on with whom he’d be…a clear demonstration of my task-oriented tendencies and Rolf’s relational approach to life.  This weekend as Rolf and I sat on a bench along the campus thoroughfare and watched PLNU’s incoming freshmen visit dozens of booths set up to inform them of all the wonderful campus activities they could choose to be a part of, I felt an overwhelming sense of panic out of the blue, turned to Rolf with tears in my eyes and said “What am I going to do now?” to which he replied “I don’t know but I know who you’ll do it with.”…a sweet thing to say and a reminder that there are some aspects of who we are that haven’t changed a whole lot in 25 years.  🙂 There’s a big part of me that needs a task to feel grounded but at the same time I’m not motivated by much at the moment so there is an inner conflict that is beginning to surface. The goal is to pace ourselves in the many adjustments before us and, hopefully, find our purpose and direction each day as it unfolds.

I started going through Rudy’s belongings.  I unpacked his travel bag late last week.  It’s hard to know what to keep, what to let go.  These aren’t decisions I’m feeling pressured to make right now but it will be a daunting task whenever the time does come.  Gosh, it’s just heartbreaking.  Interestingly enough, our choices in what we would bury with Rudy came quickly…in an attempt to record the details of that week before his funeral, I quickly snapped a picture of the things we took to the mortuary so I wouldn’t forget:

IMG_7215We purchased the Lightening McQueen pajamas a couple of weeks before our road trip and Rudy wore the pajama top several times as a day time outfit.  He called it his “jersey”…he wore it the two days we were on the road and would have worn it the day he died but I insisted we wash it before he wore it again.  I’m so glad he wasn’t wearing it when we took him to the ER because they cut the shirt he was wearing off and discarded it. The Lightening McQueen slippers were a prized possession and he often asked to wear them as outside shoes…ha ha!.  Wilson bought Rudy the Lightening McQueen cap at his Disneyland Grad Night a couple of years ago and it was his favorite.  The Rt.66 cap was a souvenir he got the first night of our trip and he was wearing it in the last picture we took of him.  I actually wanted to keep the red cap but Olivia felt strongly he should have it and she was right.  The Lightening McQueen books and car were among his all-time favorites and, of course, his container of pacies that Olivia shared about at his funeral had to go with him too.   

funeral rudy

Rudy’s custom casket panel was a gift from our friend Chris…I never even knew you could order a custom casket panel.  It was a sweet detail in the midst of some pretty tragic decisions and there is comfort in knowing Rudy is surrounded by familiar, favorite things.  I know stuff is just that…stuff.  But there can be pretty profound meaning attached to the things that surround us and that’ll be the challenge, of course, in sorting through Rudy’s things…ugh.

There was, however, a stash of “stuff” I was happy to unpack and put away this past week…


…my emergency hospital bag.  When we brought Rudy home from the hospital in May of 2009, I vowed I wasn’t going to be caught off guard again with a surprise trip to the hospital so I packed a bag with the essentials and kept it within arms reach along with the portable file box of important papers, etc for the next emergency trip to UCLA…it sat in it’s spot in our bedroom entry way for EIGHT years.  It didn’t get used in the eight years we had Rudy home because he was never admitted to UCLA (or Cottage Hospital in SB) for an unscheduled visit/emergency!  ‘Hard to believe.  There were plenty of trips to the ER but none ever resulted in him being admitted.  It’s quite remarkable, really, and I praise God for it because after Rudy’s harrowing first 7 months in the CTICU/PICU, I expected he would be in and out of the hospital with all kinds of setbacks.  Instead, his hospital stays were all for scheduled procedures that were never chaotic or fearful for him.  What a gift to him…and us.  His rich quality of life was marked by many things and I count this among them!

One last thing.  A lot of my brain space has been consumed with the big kids…concerned and heavy-hearted for all of them as they settle into their new normal at APU, PLNU and here at home knowing they’ll be confronted by their grief and wishing I could prevent the pain.  I was comforted by the “verse of the day” that popped up on my Bible app today…


I’m counting on it!

Thank you for your continued prayers dear friends!

14 thoughts on “The MOD Squad

  1. I know one thing you really need to do is write a book. You are a wonderful writer (author) and it would be wonderful to read your family’s journey.

  2. Well the MOHD Squad, as small as it may seem, is pretty dynamo….and I think whatever y’all do, you got each others’ backs….so great what Rolf said! And I get the value of Rudy’s “stuff”…..I have a collections of treasured items myself, valuable to nobody else. We all are praying for you as you attempt the difficult task of going through Rudy’s treasures….may you enjoy the memories, repeat the stories, celebrate the gift of His life…..Love you all!!

  3. I agree with Candace. You have a unique writing talent, with each word, we are experiencing every emotion along with you.
    Rolf is my hero today, for his sweet hearfelt words to you. It’s a beautiful tender love story that Rudy was blessed to be a part of. A little boy with treasures beyond belief. You can witness it in that smile of his.
    You are covered in PRAYER as you look through Rudy’s sweet treasures and begin your grief counseling.


  4. I Agree with all the insight from others. Your book is already written. Go back through this Blog of Rudy’s life, it is there.

    Take time to rest my dear friend and not worry to get back into gear to feel “productive.” Your pace you need is more than sufficient to serve you and family. Love Always & Hugs

  5. Dear Trish, Whatever you do in the future I hope it involves writing because you express yourself beautifully and have for the past eight plus years Ive been reading Rudy’s Beat. Know all of you are in my prayers. I know God will direct your steps 💓patta

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Love the MOHD squad — Rest —- You don’t have to be ” productive” just being there is enough.
    Hug yourself and others . Blessings to the 3 of you and the 2 away from home, they know where home is and their safety net . God holds you ALL in his arms and Rudy helps him now .

  7. Amen Sister! I pray your rest in the Lord! You have a beautiful family and I hold you close in prayer. I love you!

  8. Oh Trish, wondering what you’re going to do now… You are going to keep doing what you’ve always done. Being the lovely, generous woman God has created you to be, loving others, serving the Lord in beautiful ways, nurturing your family members, ( and that looks a little different with two away at college ), sharing God’s love with all those he puts in your path, and hopefully nurturing your own beautiful but tattered heart. You have some time now to take a deep breath, to let the tears flow, and to begin the healing journey of life after Rudy. I’m here for you. I love you dear friend.

  9. Aww thanks for sharing all your most precious thoughts and memories with us all. You will always be my hero, Trish!

  10. What can I say after all the beautiful things already posted! Trish, I love you — write that book. Praying for the boys away at school and the MOD Squad at home.

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