Next Vine, Please…

I often liken Life to being Tarzan swinging on vines through the jungle. We’re going along fine, and then suddenly, there’s no immediate vine. Forward motion stops. We are suddenly acutely aware of the world, and how we’d perhaps not been paying as much attention to living as we had been.

This past weekend, my significant other’s ex-husband died. He lived next door, and would often walk in unannounced. He was a daily visitor, and this was mostly fine. When he lived here, he had built a sauna in the basement. In April 2020 the heater burned out and took an electrical box with it. The box was replaced, and eventually the heater was replaced–first with a piece of crap from China, and then with another from Finland. Much better, much simpler to use.

So he took his first sauna on Saturday night. He often said that people with heart conditions should not use a sauna, but ignored his own high blood pressure and enlarged heart. He believed his time in the sauna led to better health and well-being.

I found his shoes still outside the sauna Sunday morning. That did not bode well. I looked through the window, and saw a foot and calf at an odd angle. I looked closer. Not good. I opened the door and looked in. It appeared he had fallen asleep, had a heart attack and died, sliding to the side and backward. I called 911.

After giving a lot of info about things unrelated to the problem, we got to the matter at hand. Was he breathing? Was he stiff and cold? Not breathing, stiff, yes, but not cold–the sauna was well-insulated, it seems. A while later police and paramedics arrived to pronounce the time of death, perhaps 12 hours later than the actual time.

So now my SO is in emotional distress. They had divorced amicably, and he was part of her everyday life, even though he tended to drive her crazy. He was as non-compliant a patient as my late wife. But death has a way of slapping we the living in the face and waking us up to the world.

I am giving her all the love and support I can, while simultaneously helping her navigate how one clears the house of a hoarder. Oh, my, the stuff…the stuff… But I have said that keeping busy is the best way to cope. And we will be quite busy…

Published by stephenschrum

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts; interested in virtual worlds, playwrighting, and filmmaking. Now creating a podcast called "Audio Chimera."

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