Prudy and RBJ weren’t home when Reagan drove in. When he opened the door he didn’t smell lasagna baking. Now, at 7:00 at night, Tinker’s car parked in the drive couldn’t be a good thing. Reagan opened the door, leaving Tinker’s fist in mid-knock. He didn’t say come in, but backed away and moved aside for Tink to pass. He walked right to the family room and said to Reagan, “You need to sit down. There has been an accident.”
Reagan sat down on the couch, and Beasley moved up against him as close as he could get. It was something terrible. Reagan sensed it, and he knew Beasley did too.
“We found Prudy’s car down over an embankment on River Road. Reagan... she didn’t make it. We don’t know how long the car had been there, but she and RBJ were both dead when they found them.
I’m sorry, Reagan. This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in fifty years.”
Reagan just sat there, too stunned to say anything. Beasley whimpered. He looked up at Reagan and put his head back down. Tinker fidgeted in the deafening silence, not knowing what to do.
A week later the church was packed as four hundred people squeezed in breaking every fire code violation ever set. Wayne, Reagan’s dearest friend, conducted the service of remembrance. He invited members of the congregation to rise and share their memories. This went on for over thirty minutes. And while it was cathartic to them, it only tore Reagan apart as he felt alone amid 400 well-meaning friends. Reagan understood how loved his family was, and that should ease the pain, but it didn’t. Why had God taken his family?
It was so final as Ross closed the casket. While dozens mourned, Reagan sat stoically, staring at nothing in particular. He was still in shock by the reality that when the caskets closed his family would be gone. The closing of the caskets was nearly silent as the latches clicked shut. To Reagan, it sounded like two freight cars coupling together. It couldn’t be real.