Coping With Loss Using RC

Over the years RC has gotten me through a lot. When I got my first Rustler back in 1996 it helped ease the loneliness of being an only child with two parents who worked more-than-full-time jobs. When I had that 27mHz transmitter in my hands it didn’t matter if I was out there alone. It didn’t matter that the other kids in the neighborhood were older and doing things that older kids do like learning to drive and going on dates; they had outgrown the community wide kickball and baseball games of years past while I was just coming into that age range.

While living in the dorm at college I would often head to the track in the evening instead of going to parties that I wasn’t invited to or having dinner by myself in my room. It was nice to have the sound of a nitro engine to drown out the noise inside of my head; to help me make sense of all of the changes that were going on in my life.

When I lost my sight in 2012 and had to have eye surgery I spent pack after pack following my SCX10 around the yard re-learning how to track a moving object with one damaged eye. Teaching others those techniques not only gave me a sense of purpose (I was unable to work at that point) but also helped me to feel like I was making a difference in other’s lives as well.

Last Wednesday, April 3, my wife and I had to head to the E.R. as she was having some complications with our pregnancy. We learned that we had lost our daughter and the doctors could not pinpoint the cause. I felt numb. I couldn’t process much of anything that day. I don’t remember the drive home. I don’t remember dinner that night, or going to bed, or sleeping at all. what I do remember is trying to quickly work through what was going on so that I could be there for my wife.

On Thursday morning I rolled out of bed at around 2 and as quietly as possible made some coffee. I spent the next few hours in the workshop. I wasn’t doing anything in particular, just going through the motions. I swept the floor three or four times, I organized and re-organized my parts rack, I sprayed Quick Detailer on any body shell that looked dirty, not really paying attention to anything at all. After a few hours of having an in-depth conversation with myself I didn’t feel better about the situation but I did feel “clearer”. I was now ready to go in and wake up the Mrs. and start helping her deal with what was going on.

I am not saying that RC could replace my daughter, nothing ever will, but what the hobby did was afford me a distraction and a way of processing the unthinkable.

I feel like more people need to remember that this is just a hobby, a way of relaxing, a distraction from things that cause us pain and worry. Every pull of the trigger should be a release of that worry, every turn of the wheel should help us feel better and not add to the stress of an already chaotic life. My wife de-frag’s with music; she has a studio quality set of headphones that she will put on and just escape into a world of harmony and melody without interruption or intrusion from the outside world. When I am driving I can tune out my surroundings; focus on the sound of the tires rolling across the terrain, the rhythm of the motor revving and slowing with my every flick of the trigger, the clatter of the body pinging off of its mounts. For the duration of the pack nothing else really matters. That time is my therapy, the driver’s stand is my couch and my RC trucks are my therapist. For the cost of one hour of “shrink” time I can buy another truck and have hundreds of hours of enjoyment and I consider that the best investment I can make in myself.