In Memory of Rudi Byrne by Laura Littlejohn
It’s been two weeks now since my beloved Rudi has passed away. I can honestly say it’s been two of the hardest weeks of my life. I suppose some may wonder why I’d choose to write about something so personal and especially putting it into such a public domain and I’ve put alot of thought into that myself. I think the main reason is really that he had such a deep affect on so many peoples lives, some of those people whom he had never even met, and I just want to let them all know that it’s ok to feel the loss that you’re feeling. Whether you met him in the foggy or the thomas house and shared stories and bulmers with him or whether you conversed solely on facebook, it’s ok to feel the loss of this great man and mourn how you see fit. So maybe I should start at the beginning…
Robert ‘rudi’ Byrne. Even typing that doesn’t seem right, he’d kill me if I ever called him Robert. Rudi. Rudi was how we all knew him. He was a character that was larger than life and full of love. Even if you only had the pleasure of being facebook friends you could feel the love eminating from him. He spoke with such raw emotion about EVERYTHING. From his love of family, friends, music, football, when he spoke about something he was always so full of passion which was evident with his constant use of the caps lock WHENEVER HE TYPED ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK (I actually contemplated writing all this in caps as some form of tribute to the big man but when I started it, it soon gave me a headache looking at it all on screen!). And as we all know facebook was a really big part of Rudis life. It was where I actually came to know the man in question myself. According to Facebook we had been friends since february 2011 but one of the first posts I can find is me thanking him for sending me a birthday gift which was in march so I’m wondering if perhaps we were friends on myspace before then. Myspace? Anyone remember that? Anyway, I digress. We became friends on facebook and I don’t just mean one of us added the other then liked the odd picture or made a funny joke on the odd post but we became friends. Even the most embittered cynic like me warmed to Rudes straight away, he always had a kind word to say, he would constantly be sending messages asking how I as or how the kids were and he genuinely cared. And as I said, even going to the trouble of sending me birthday gifts.
It’s at this point in writing that I kinda hit a brick wall, I start to get emotional when I think of the most wonderful friend that I’ve lost. It’s just so overwhelming. The loss in my life feels physical, I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself. I really don’t want this to come across as the kind of stuff that people just say when someone has passed. I am most definitely not looking back with rose tinted spectacles, there really was no one else like this man in the wolrd, well at least no one that I’ve ever came across. I’m sure there are so many similar stories from his facebook friends from overseas who never had the pleasure of being in this great mans company. Luckily for me I had the fortune to meet him in person. The first time I ever went to Dublin was to DJ at a ska reaggae night and Rudi insisted he come and collect me at the airport, he didn’t want me landing in a strange city on my own and negotiating my way into town alone even though I was on my way to meet my friend who was coming from Belfast. By this point I already knew him, we were already proper friends but I’ll always remember and appreciate that first proper time we met. From then on every time I came back to Dublin, Rudi was always one of the first people I’d make arrangements to see and latterly I always made a point of taking the train out to dun laoghaire to see him as I started to worry that it may be the last time I got to spend with him. Every moment was special.
This man meant so much to me. He was always there, he’d be one of the first people I’d go to with good news and one of the first I’d trust to help me out with a problem. I trusted him with my life. I just know there’s so many other people out there who felt the same. He had so many great friends in Dublin, when he was out in the pub he was the centre of the group, everyone always wanted to be around him to hear his stories, listen to his advice and get one of his famous bear hugs. I have really never heard anyone say a bad or even indifferent comment about him. He’s so sorely missed. And will continue to be for a very long time. Facebook is definitely a much quieter and far less funny place without him. He was always so generous with emotions, he had a gift and everyone always knew exactly how much he cared about them.
Rudi, you made my wee world a much better place to be, you enriched my life with your love and kindness. I don’t know what to do now that you’re gone. I do know that I can only honour your memory the best I can by being the best person I can be. If more people in life were like you the planet would be a far better place. R.I.P. Rudi Gone but never forgotten