The call came Saturday afternoon, the first day of June. I had just finished a late lunch after working on a freelance project for a couple of hours, planning to clean the kitchen before relaxing on the patio with a good book.
You can tell sometimes, when the phone rings a certain way, that the news is not going to be good. That didn’t happen this time. There was no warning of what I was about to hear, how the lives of so many loved ones would be shaken to the core. It was from my sister, Jackie, in a voice I barely recognized, weeping, telling me that her son, my nephew Randy, was dead.
I heard the words. I heard the anguish in her voice. But I could not take it in, that this fine man, a beloved son, husband, father, nephew, cousin, friend, was gone. There was no warning. He was fine only two days earlier when he had mowed Jackie’s yard and then had supper with her. Thursday night supper was a mother/son tradition, something they began more than 10 years ago when Randy’s wife was working those evenings. This was a time they both looked forward to having together.
When the words finally registered that Randy was gone, I said, “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
I made calls to my son and daughter, with their reactions being much like my own — shock, denial and finally, some semblance of understanding that this had actually happened. I made other calls, texted and emailed friends and family requesting prayer. Then I changed my clothes and made a drive I never expected to be making when I arose that morning.
If you could say there is any such thing as a “good death,” that’s what Randy had. He’d been helping a friend that morning with some carpentry work — Randy was an excellent carpenter — and he must have come home to relax awhile before he started on his next project for the day. His wife had gone garage sale shopping with her mom, and when they got home, they found him in his chair. The death must have been quick and painless. When my sister and other family members saw him one last time at the funeral home, she said he looked so peaceful, as if he was asleep. It was such a comfort.
Everyone has been so kind, so supportive, throughout this whole ordeal. From the compassionate response of the EMTs and police officers who responded at their home, to the rallying around of friends and family, we have felt such love and concern. So many reached out with visits, calls, texts, emails and food — and especially, with their prayers. We felt them. The peace that passes all understanding has enveloped us like a warm, comforting blanket, and we thank each one for their part in weaving it together. The Bible’s words are true: Matthew 5:4 (KJV) says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
Randy was cremated, and his ashes will be buried beside his father, who died in 1981. A celebration of life service will be held at a future date.