Oh man, this holiday season is going to be tough.  In part because, as I mentioned before, my grief over Rudy seems to be more vivid this second year without him…the first year was cluttered with so much grief that it was hard for me to compartmentalize the pain…this year my grief is easier to distinguish…this year grief over Rudy is specific and deeply felt.  The other reason this season is going to be a challenge is that it’s our first “real” Christmas without Rudy.  You may recall that last year at this time our community was held captive by what turned out to be the largest wild fire in California history at the time…schools closed, many local businesses closed, whole communities evacuated and all the holiday festivities we typically participated in were cancelled.  We basically hunkered down at home and stayed put.  It was a hard time, for sure, but it was so far from what was familiar that it kind of just added to the clutter.

Thankfully our community is moving forward & rebuilding and with the much needed rain we’ve gotten this week, there is no threat of a fire this year…life around us is moving on and holiday fun has returned.  It’s a good thing but Rudy’s absence in the spaces he used to occupy in all our familiar Christmas fun is so totally obvious.  It’s gaping wide and filled with an ache that is so, so deep.  I missed him last night at the SBRM Staff Christmas Party and I’m already missing how ever single day in December used to be filled with some holiday celebration or preparation whether is was for church or school or the rescue mission and how Rudy was my constant companion in it all.  Ugh!

That being said, I’ve also been thinking about some pretty bold heart-to-heart conversations I’ve had with a few friends in the last year about the hope of seeing Rudy in heaven some day.  I was reminded of it again yesterday while watching the State Funeral Service for President G.H.W. Bush and the many references made about his finally being with his beloved daughter Robin who died of leukemia when she was 3 years old.  To be honest, that’s a tricky concept for me and runs the risk of being over-simplified when referenced as a potential “silver lining”.  As much as I miss Rudy now and know, wholeheartedly, that when the time comes for me to be reunited with him, it will be an amazing experience, that reality holds little comfort for me at this stage in the game.  I wish I could say it brings me peace on some level but it doesn’t because I really don’t want to die in my 50s and leave the rest of my family.  The other reality that plays into this for me is that my relationship with Rudy was defined largely as his caretaker and his cognitive disabilities limited the way we interacted on many levels…it blows my mind to think that so much of what our relationship was based on won’t even exist in heaven.  I know I’ll recognize the love we shared but it will be a very different relationship in the eternal realms and it’s hard for my small, temporal mind to grasp the comfort in that right now.  Does that make any sense?

What a strange mix of thoughts and feelings.  Welcome to my twisted world!

Bottom line?  Today hurts.  And there is a lot of piercing Christmas cheer ahead that I want to push through and stomach because I don’t feel the freedom to step back.  If this were a different kind of grief journey, I would have no problem saying “This is hurting a little too much right now.  I’m gonna choose to step back this year, take a break and reengage next year”.  Instead, there’s a need to be present in it all this year (no matter how emotionally crippled I may be) because I feel the constant movement of that damn hour glass…no time-outs, no stepping back to take a breath, no reprieve, no chance of remission.  Aw man, I better stop before I get any further down this rabbit hole.  You get the idea…it’s complicated.

Your continued prayer is so greatly appreciated.  I think I’ll let you sort out the above and pray as God leads you to pray rather than share a list.  Today kind of feels like one of those Moses moments when our family needs the faithful to do the hard work of holding our arms up for us…not due to a lack of faith, just a lack of energy.  😉

Rudy’s smile always makes me smile so to close this post, here are some memorable moments we shared with our boy our last December together in 2016..

Rudy the Christmas tree.
Outing teacher Todd as Santa at his school party!
Charming the local news media sent to the rescue mission to cover the homeless feast.
Singing Christmas Carols!
Christmas eve at church.
Christmas Day at the Rescue Mission.
Family time



9 thoughts on “OUCH!

  1. Trish, You are an incredible lady, mom, wife, sister, friend, lover-of Jesus! Your writing is beautiful, honest, raw at times and oh.so.real! I know i tell you this a lot, but i truly am so thankful that you allow us to share in your LIFE! I, too, gasp sometimes at your family photos with no little Rudy faces in them…I was fortunate enough to meet him at our Cast C reunion and his infectious little personality and smile will forever capture my heart! Trish, i am standing in the gap right now for you – pleading with God to bring you Joy and Comfort that only He can bring. I cant fathom why so many trials are in your path – LORD! Please hold Trish, her children, her precious husband, Rolf, in Your Arms. Let them physically feel your presence with them right now. I love you, Trish, more than you will ever know. I look forward to February when i get to see your sweet self in person – up close and personal! Standing in the gap!!!!

  2. Second year was more searing, the fog of loss cleared a little, and so much seemed like a “first real experience” of life going on when I wasn’t. The world loves you as you are, however and wherever. Blessed are those who mourn. So says scripture, and so I hold on to that.

  3. Ouch! That puts it mildly. I can think of a few other choice words. I am trusting God in you right now because I know he speaks and moves in your life. He is a Good Father even when this season makes no sense at all. Thank you for putting words to what I would like to say but don’t know how. You always turn it back into God’s goodness. I am grateful for you.

  4. Your allowing me to enter your pain is a special gift. Thank you for being real, and in that holding the fragile gift of hope. It feels incredibly hard to process the mix of pain with the whole, that you manage to do it so well. Now we see in the mirror dimly… And when things are dim, we will keep holding you up, and lifting your arms up to our prayers.

  5. Thanks for keeping your heart open and sharing from its depths. My mind and heart get blown away with your honesty. May God’s presence and love carry you and your family each step of your journey.

  6. Sharing your grief, and your struggles, as you continue this Journey through your continued ministry to those around you. Sending Love and will be with you, Asking God to Give you Strength in all forms.

  7. Oh Trish. You bring love and joy and hope to so many around you. How can we give that to you?

    Please know that you and your wonderful family are thought of daily, and that love and prayers for all of you are a daily part of our lives. I hope and pray that you will find the thread of love and hope in this holiday season, and that it will grow every day throughout the coming year. You know that Rudy wouldn’t want you to to be missing one gram of the joy he felt every day that he had on this earth.

    I pray that you find love and joy and warmth and promise in this holy Christmas season. Starting right now. Know that we all have our arms around you, and we are lifting you into the bright light and love of our Lord.

  8. Thank you Trish for your honesty…..so glad we got to see you and BE with you! Praying often for you!!!

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