In Honor of Rusty
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Everything is charged with the potential of reminder. There is no forgetting. –Nicholas Wolterstorff
Everything is a reminder. The expiration on the box read May 3. And down I went in the grocery store. Struggling to remember how to breathe. We live in the same house where Rusty lived and died. We sleep in the same bed where I nursed Rusty, took naps with Rusty, read to Rusty, held Rusty's body before handing him over to Adam to be carried out of our home forever. Our home. Our church. Our schools. Our community. Rusty is everywhere. There is no forgetting.
If each thing I missed about Rusty was a grain of sand I could walk on his beach for the rest of my days here on earth. Rusty didn't know how to live life halfway and it was the greatest privilege to behold. This is a picture of Rusty playing bags on June 12, 2010. He had just turned 3 a month prior. We were in Prescott, Arkansas and it was a sweltering 101 degrees. The Russ Man played for hours. Giving it all he had. That is how he lived. That is what I miss.
I cannot articulate how much I miss the way he challenged me. His greatest gift to me was allowing me to see life through his eyes. His passion. His zest. His perspective. Rusty and I were talking about his celebration of life service if he wasn't healed on this side of heaven, and I mentioned I was having a tough time trying to put it all together. Kinda like a theme. Should I go with green—his eyes—his favorite color? Should I go with baseball—his favorite sport—his dreams? Should I go with gray for brain cancer awareness? I told him I was pretty sure I had settled on gold. I didn't get a chance to explain before he interrupted with, “Oh I get it, bring out the gold in everybody. Everybody has gold in them. You just have to find it. You been saying that to me every day of my life. Better go with that one mom.” I replied with, “I was actually thinking of gold for childhood cancer awareness, but I like your way of thinking better.” “Really mama. Really. Encourage and edify. Encourage and edify. Encourage and edify your sister. Encourage and edify your classmates. Encourage and edify your teachers. Encourage and edify your friends. Encourage and edify your teammates. You say that to me every, single, day of my whole life. It really gets annoying. But that is what I think of when I see the color gold.” That. That is what I miss.
Rusty taught me more about life, love, passion, and perseverance than any other influence in my life. I am forever grateful to have known him.