|Above, my cousins Ralph, Rosemarie, Maria and I with Santa last Christmas |
Eve. The record album was a present to me from Ralph. Photo by Ashley Kerr.
Our family suffered two losses this week. Both were totally unexpected.
My cousin Lucia's husband Jeff passed away on Sunday from organ failure. This was a shock as I just saw him on July 1 at my cousin Maria's party and he seemed to look better than he had for quite a while. He had a great sense of humor and we talked for a long while about everything ranging from cigars to recreational vehicles. He wanted to eventually get a RV to travel around. Services will be held this coming week. He will be missed.
Then this happened.
Today, I received a call from my cousin Ralph's phone. As I was driving, I couldn't answer it. Later I called back after arriving at In 'N Out Burger in Northridge. The connection was bad and I thought they said they were from a gas station who had his phone and were trying to get it back to him. Then the connection was cut off.
Several minutes later, I received another call from my cousin's phone. This time the connection was better and it was the sheriff's station. They said that my cousin Ralph had been found deceased in his room in Bellflower. They asked what my relationship was to him. I told them we are cousins. They asked if Ralph had any known medical problems. I told them that he had heart problems. I was asked if he had any children or other family. I told them no and that I will have his sister Rosemarie contact them. She's pretty much the head of their family since my Aunt Rose passed away last year.
Thankfully, my former roommate Jes was with me so she had a pen and paper for me to write down the detectives' information.
I then tried to contact my other cousins to get Rosemarie's phone number. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I reached my cousin Annette and got Rosemarie's phone number from her.
Then I had the sad duty to inform Rosemarie about Ralph's death and give her the sheriff's information. That was tough.
She later told me that the sheriff told her that there was no foul play involved and that Ralph passed away from natural causes. And, also, he had pre-arranged funeral plans already in place.
Up to now, that is all I know about the situation.
It took about a couple of hours for this to sink in. Now I am just stunned beyond belief. Ralph and I have been hanging out together for lunches and hitting used record stores such as CD Trader, Amoeba Music and others in Burbank for the past several months. Those were good times. We last communicated two nights ago and it was about Jeff's funeral services. He was like a younger brother to me and he will be sorely missed.
Having two unexpected passings in the family within a week is a double whammy, to put it mildly.
Two nights ago, Ralph said this about Jeff:
It is hard right now. Stay positive. Remember he's out of pain, in the Lord's hands. That's a good thing.
That now applies to Ralph.