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Andrea Langworthy's column: Scared to death

Last Sunday morning, the ringing telephone woke me at 10:30. Ten-thirty? you're no doubt asking. Really?

Yes, really. You see, I had awakened at 2 and couldn't fall back to sleep. When my husband got up at 6, I begged him to be very quiet. "I'm going to try to fall sleep," I said.

When the phone rang and he didn't get it, I pulled myself to an upright position and called his name. No response. I listened for the rustle of a newspaper, the clank of a spoon against a cereal bowl or even a cough. Nothing. I dialed his cell number. It rang on the other side of the house but he never answered.

It was all I could do to drag my stiff and weary bones out of bed but I made my way to the kitchen. The door to the garage was unlocked but when I checked, the garage was dark and quiet. The car was still there so I pushed the button to bring up the outside door and called out my sweetie's name. Nothing.

I walked towards the den, saw he wasn't sitting on the couch and turned my head towards the guest bedroom. He wasn't in there, either.

At that point, I walked back to our bedroom, plopped myself down and tried to figure out what was going on. It didn't seem likely he had walked down the hill to water plants because his back had been bothering him and was causing some nerve pain in his leg.

Even so, I decided to ask a neighbor to see if my love had done a Jack and Jill and tumbled down the hill that is so steep I couldn't get up or down it myself.

As I was dialing, I remembered the woman who had lived next door to me when I was young. Had my spouse suffered the same plight as that neighbor and died while sitting on the toilet?

The guest bathroom door was open and the room was dark. With trembling hand, I turned on the light. No one there. I walked to the front room, opened the blinds and looked outside. A neighbor's truck was in his driveway. Could my sweetheart have hobbled over to chat with the man?

I turned to walk back to our bedroom so I could call and see if my loved one was visiting the home two doors away. That's when I noticed the body — partially hidden by one of the French doors that had been closed half-way. Stiff-straight on the floor of the den, his hands clasped at his heart, my husband looked as though he had been praying.

I yelled out to him, calling his name over and over. Nothing. I kept screaming for him to wake up. Just as I decided to call 9-1-1, I called out one last time. Louder than ever.

Loud enough to wake the dead. He sat straight up, pulled off his headphones and asked me what was going on.

Once I had stopped shaking and crying, we laughed about our near-death experience. Later, I confessed that, to my credit, when I thought he had passed to the great beyond, never once did my mind go to the life insurance policy. I swear: not even for a second.