Saturday, September 6, 2008

Late Night Call

No one is ever out of communication with the outside world anymore. But there was no cell phone service at the resort. My eighteen year old stayed home. He knew where we were, but no one else did. He went to a local concert, so he was not available.

We got a call at 11:00 at night from Julia's cousin. The cousin knew we were at a place called Pine Mountain. She called hotels until she found the right one.

Roberto, Julia's brother-in-law, had a massive heart attack during the day. He died on the spot without time to say a word. His son was with him, in the department store. His son was, at that moment, an orphan.

The son called his grandmother--Roberto's mother-in-law (my mother-in-law, too, since Roberto and I each married one of her daughters), who is advanced in years. She picked him up. They went to the hospital. After an hour the doctor told them the news that Roberto had, indeed, died on the spot. It is called sudden death.

Later that night my son called. He arrived home and his wrist was sore from an awkward collision in the mosh pit. We advised that he call church friends and go to the hospital. He carries his insurance card--my insurance from work.

Before he left for the hospital he called his grandmother since her number was in the phone's memory. She had been sleeping, so she was not thinking. She told him Roberto had died. My son and Roberto were close. He was inconsolable, there, three hours away from us.

His former young mens' organization leader at church took him to the emergency room where they said he had a cracked wrist, wrapped it and put latched a brace onto it. It is hard for an eighteen year old to undergo such physical and emotional trauma on his own.

Roberto had insurance. They will have social security survivor's benefits. Their family may also get a legal settlement since Roberto had heart symptoms the previous day, when to the emergency room, and was sent home with Pepcid. Roberto's father died at about Roberto's age (47) with a sudden-death heart attack, as had Roberto's patriarchal uncles.
For now the plan is that Roberto's son and my mother-in-law will finish two years of high school in their home, then move north and live with us, where the son will go to school. Who knows?

Roberto was a rare man. His deceased wife (Julia's sister) had severe diabetes for years. She had multiple amputations. She was all but bedridden for years.

He cared for her.

He loved her.

He stayed.


Paul Maurice Martin said...

That is rare. I'm in my 15th year of a progressive illness that now has me mostly bedridden. You learn a lot about people along the way.

rasa said...

Very sorry to hear this, John. My thoughs are with you and Julia and the boys. He was indeed, sadly, a rare man.