Life - and death - have a way of turning a day to something you hadn't planned on. I was working on my email in my pajamas this morning when Linda called "Randy, come here quick."
I ran to the front door, and saw a fire truck at the neighbor's house three doors down. We heard a siren in the distance, it was coming closer, then the siren stopped and the ambulance turned onto our street, and stopped in back of the fire truck. I ran back in and put on my pants and shoes and walked down to the house - Leroy and Nina's house. Their neighbor, Mary, came out also and we watched the EMTs take the gurney in. We had no idea what had happened, but we knew it wasn't good.
By the time Linda got dressed and came down, the EMTs came out with a grim look and started talking on their radios. We could hear only snatches of conversation about "down ... 30 minutes ...declare ..." When one EMT walked to his truck, I went down and asked what had happened. He said "the gentleman died..." Linda and Mary burst into tears, and we three hugged each other in the wind and cold. We didn't know what to do. Mary went and called Nina's best friends to let them know.
Finally, the firemen came out, took their suits off, and we approached them again. They said that there was nothing they could do for him. Soon, they called for Mary to go in and console Nina. Linda went off to go to church. I went across the street to tell Arland about it, and he said "Leroy was fine last night when we were talking in the garage. What a terrible thing."
This afternoon, we went down to visit Nina and took her some cookies to share with visitors. Others were there. She said that Leroy had gotten up, taken the sports section into the bathroom, and never made another sound. She found him on the bathroom floor, and called 9-1-1. They tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful. A massive heart attack, they said.
Mary and others had the situation under control - the body had been taken away, tentative plans for burial were made, family and friends were contacted, and Nina was grieving in her own way. There was a lot of sharing about Leroy and even some chuckles about his habits and personality.
My friend Leroy was a wonderful man - a Chargers fan, a Padres fan, a real Neighbor who helped you any way he could, a mechanical genius, a wonderful husband and father.
May he rest in peace.