I remember exactly where I was when I found out Rush Limbaugh had passed away.
My family was on a little mini-vacation at an indoor water park. After nearly a year of COVID-19 restrictions, it was the closest thing to a fun family trip we’d taken in a year. We’d gone to Disney World mere weeks before COVID was declared a pandemic and everything shut down, and since then, travel wasn’t easy. For a while, crossing state lines could put you in mandatory quarantine. It was a short two-day, one-night trip, but it was enough.
It was the last day of the trip, and we were getting our final fill of water fun when I decided to back to the locker we’d rented to hold our things. I honestly don’t remember what my purpose in doing that was, but naturally, in doing so, I had the opportunity to check my phone. I did that a lot. Even on vacation, I like to stay on top of what’s going on.
Biden had been in office less than a month, and he was going full steam reversing the progress made by Trump over the previous four years. As usual, there were several alerts on my phone’s screen when I got to it. But there was only one that mattered, the one announcing that Rush Limbaugh had passed away.
The news hit me hard. Sure, I knew Rush was sick; we all did. It even seemed that things weren’t looking good because his absences from his radio were becoming more prolonged and more frequent. Still, it was hard news to accept, even for me. I’d never met him or called into his show, nor did I tune into his show regularly. I wanted to, for sure, but as a writer, I can’t even listen to music in the background, let alone talk radio when I’m working on an article. So, my opportunities to tune into Rush were, unfortunately, few and far between. But I’d been a listener since college. In my senior year, I had a talk show on my school’s student radio station, which of course was heavily inspired by Rush. I subscribed to the Limbaugh Letter, too.
Still, I would often listen to clips after the original broadcast or tune in for inspiration when I needed it, and, of course, if Rush read something I wrote on the air. It seemed like whenever that happened, I’d get a flood of texts, “Rush is reading you on the air!”
For example, in mid-January of last year, Rush read an article I’d written here at PJ Media about how a CNN article had undermined the Democrats’ case for impeaching Trump over the Capitol riot.
The last time Rush read me on the air (that I’m aware of) was five days later, on Inauguration Day 2021—a month before his passing. He read an article I wrote pointing out that Politico was no longer covering up Joe Biden’s cognitive decline because the election was now over and it didn’t matter.
However, the most challenging part of learning the news of Rush’s passing was that I had to keep it secret for a couple of hours.
While I couldn’t regularly tune in to Rush’s show, my wife did listen regularly. I knew the news would sadden her, so I decided not to say anything about it until after our vacation was “officially over” so the information wouldn’t cast a dark cloud over what was supposed to be a fun time. So, I waited until we were in the car, ready to drive home, before telling her.
It’s been a year now since Rush passed, and it’s hard not to still fill the void left by his absence. It would have been something to hear his commentary and insight on the dumpster fire that is the Joe Biden presidency. He would have given us something no one else could. And if there’s anything this past year has proven, it’s that his shoes are too big to be filled by anyone else. And that’s okay. There can only be one Rush.