I’ve had a series of losses over the last two months that have caused me varying degrees of distress. One of my uncles died. We weren’t close in the last decade or two, but as a child, he was a stalwart, kind figure in my life. He was there on fishing, camping, and hunting trips. He is the first of a generation in my family to pass, and so it is filled with special meaning, i.e., that my parents generation are getting old.
A week later, a dear friend of mine died quite unexpectedly. She was a pillar in the local theater community I’m a part of. Her brother came a great distance to see to things, but he was at a loss as to what to do for many of the arrangements. I stepped in and helped by finding a place for the memorial service and by getting some folks together to help with the unenviable task of beginning to sift through her belongings. She stored many of our theater company’s articles at her house, and those had to be removed.
In helping with her house, we discovered a secret world. She was a hoarder, and the house was beyond filthy. In her public life, this friend displayed a degree of verve and vitality. In private, she must have been beset by demons I can only imagine.
In another loss, the summer Shakespeare in the Park was riddled with backstage drama of the worst sort, and it found its way on stage in a most unfortunate way. One of the actors took it upon himself to show his displeasure with some of the shenanigans by sabotaging a scene in a performance. He was fired in the middle of the run. The rest of the run was spent finding replacements for him for certain nights who were willing to walk on stage, script in hand, and play the part.
The friend who died was to have directed a small play I had a role in. An accomplished theater professional volunteered to take her place, but then one of the actors from the three-man show backed out. We found a suitable replacement for him, but then there were problems with rehearsal time at the venue. In a pique of temper, one of the actors had an argument with the new director. It was all too much for the new actor who begged that we postpone, and in the end, we simply cancelled the play.
All of this was topped off by my walking into a door frame, jarring my jaw and causing me to bite down hard on a front tooth. It’s still sore, and I have a real fear that I’ve done permanent damage to it.
Two deaths, two plays gone bad, and tooth trouble made for a summer not to repeat. I made it through with my sanity intact mainly because of medication and talking openly with my psychiatrist, case worker, and therapist. It’s impossible to say how I would have managed had I not had people in my life I could readily turn to for help. They were there for me in times of trouble.