When the big boys were little they played Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam video game ALOT and every time their video game persona would crash, all they had to do was shake the remote control and the game would reset. We’d get so caught up in watching them play that when they’d crash and burn we’d yell “Shake to recover. SHAKE to RECOVER!!” at the tv screen. Naturally, that transferred over into real life so when the kids would fall down, we’d encourage them to “shake to recover” and if they weren’t hurt, they’d hop up without skipping a beat and continue to play…no tears, no fuss. I was reminded of that a couple of times this week because I still wake up in the early hours of the morning in total disbelief that Rudy is gone and I’ve caught myself physically shaking my head as if that’s somehow going to reset the events of the past 6 weeks. Then my heart breaks all over again when I come to the realization that it doesn’t work that way in real life…only in video games.
It’s September. August feels like a total blur. We’re slowly finding a rhythm to our daily routine here at home. We hear tidbits from the boys on our family text thread and they seem to be settling in too..
The MOD Squad had an excursion yesterday…something we can add to the growing list of things Rudy couldn’t have done with us. First on that list was a pit stop we made in Vail on our marathon drive back to California from Kansas. We stopped in Vail to find a potty and stretch our legs and decided, spontaneously, to ride the gondola up to the top of the mountain…
Rolf, Olivia and I decided to break up the long holiday weekend yesterday with a day trip up north to San Simeon to tour Hearst Castle (a favorite stop on California’s Central Coast). We’re in the middle of a brutal heat wave here and it wasn’t lost on me that Rudy would have had a difficult time in the 100+ degree weather on top of the hill where the mansion is located. With all the transfers and steps and narrow corridors, it’s just not a place we could have ever taken him…so we made sure to enjoy it that much more and not take any of it for granted.
I’m kinda carving out a routine to my day. I’ve been getting up and doing my house chores early before it gets too hot and then before I know it, Olivia and Rolf are home and I couldn’t tell you what filled my day (you know, part of the “blur phenomena” I mentioned earlier). I know that things will become more defined as time passes but what is clear to me now is how much I miss the “Rudy routine” and the people we met along the way. Rudy definitely widened our circle of relationships…for me especially. His therapists and nurses and doctors and doctor’s office managers and special ed teachers and aides and bus drivers and pharmacists and the enteral supply reorder lady (and, yes, even the crApria delievery man) became the people I interacted with on a daily basis and although the friendships will last, I know, the daily interaction with these people is gone and that is part of the loss for me. We haven’t just lost Rudy, we’ve lost the entourage and the party that seemed to follow Rudy wherever he went.
I ended up incorporating a couple of trips to the cemetery this week as part of my new routine and both times I ended up interacting with one of the grounds keepers. On my second interaction with her, I found out her name is Gayle (or Gail?) and that she never had children. She has worked at the cemetery for a while and takes great pride in her work. The second day we talked she was tending to the hedges along the perimeter of the property and she told me “I consider the cemetery the painting and the hedges the frame…and a beautiful frame can make a painting pop!”…what a sweet and clever perspective. I thanked her for taking such good care of things and as she drove away in her little maintenance cart, I thanked Rudy for widening my circle…again. I know that there is going to be a moment or two (or twenty) in each day where I’m going to long to be able to shake and recover from a life without Rudy but it’s important to recognize that each day is also bringing new introductions and experiences that are rich and life giving and important to the life of our family as it exists now…and often, it’s the simplest that end up being the most profound. Rudy certainly taught us that.