Susan Sovereign Fears Heart Attack and Contemplates Death

This November 29, 2007, column by Sumner Press columnist Susan Sovereign is so good that I re-typed it so you can read it without difficulty. Publisher Roscoe Cunningham, a former colleague of mine, gave me permission to reprint her columns. I wish I could get them so I could just copy them because I think they need wider distribution.

Usually, I just copy them and suggest you click on the column’s image, but the type is often a bit indistinct and often it’s so long I have to clip it in half to make it fit on the scanner.

In this column, Sovereign hilariously relates how she thought she was dying and what her “dying thoughts” were.

Read it and I think you will see why I think Susan Sovereign is the Erma Brombeck of Lawrence County, Illinois.

For the last several weeks, it’s seemed as if I have been completely exhausted. Sams tells me that perhaps my internal clock is off and I’m suffering from spring fever in the fall. Sounds about as good as any other explanation I’ve heard lately. Now everyone knows if you have a fever—even it it’s only spring fever, then you should rest, preferable in a reclining position. Therefore, I kicked off my shoes and went to bed.

Perhaps I was more exhausted than I thought because I must have instantly gone to sleep. What jolted me awake was the sensation of prickles that almost felt electric, going across my chest. There was such a feeling of heaviness that I had difficulties breathing. And, to further add to the problems, I was completely blind!

I stayed real still, almost afraid to move. Since there had been so much news coverage lately about women having heart attacks, I knew instantly that was what was happening to me. What would happen to Anna? Who would tell her all the things a woman needs to know such as how to get stains out of clothing or which carry-out place had the best fried chicken? Would Sam ever let her wear makeup if I weren’t here to plead her cause? And Donnie! He was at the difficult stage somewhere between childhood and adolescence. He needed to have someone explain to him that sometimes women don’t exactly say what they mean. And the twins—they’d be a handful for Sam if he had to finish raising them by himself.

Carefully stretching my right arm out, I managed to reach the scratch pad that’s always at the bedside. (Sometimes I dream stories and write those dreams in the muddle of the night. Although that sounds like an excellent idea, about 90% of the time I can’t read my writing the next day.)

I knew I had to make a supreme effort to leave Sam a not telling him how much I loved him and the youn’uns, instructing him in how to care for the family by himself—then I though that perhaps he’d remarry. He’d need help raising the young’uns, and the children would need a new mommy. How long would he wait before he started to date, I pondered. Surely he wouldn’t bring his date to my funeral! How dare he!

By now, it was taking an effort to lie completely still. Perhaps it was because Ihad moved my right arm a little because the prickly feeling in my chest was increasing and moving slightly lower. The heaviness and difficulty in breathing were also moving lower. I must be having a heart attack!

For a short minute, I thought that the blindness was leaving, but then it came back and if anything was worse. I also had this almost uncontrollable urge to sneeze. There was a sensation of a feather tickling me under the nose.

Since I was so certain that the end was near, I knew I couldn’t take any chances. I began having a heart to heart with god. It was comforting to know that He is always available. “Dear God, I’ve always tried to follow your teachings. I’ve never lied—okay, perhaps a few little white lies; tried not covenant what my neighbors had—except it would be great to eat anything I wanted and never gain a pound; I’ve always faithfully attended church services—well, there were a couple that I missed because we had company coming; and live a good life all in all. If you’ll only let me live longer, I will be forever grateful. I want to go to heaven, but not this afternoon. Amen. P.S. Please make sure Sam finds a new wife who’ll be good to the young’uns.

Then once again I tried to lie as still as possible. Then I started thinking about the funeral services. I hoped Sam would not spend too much on the casket. It would be my resting place for a long, long time, but it didn’t have to be fancy. Perhaps he would put a box of chocolates in there with me. I hope he chooses something blue for me to wear and not pink. Peak makes me look as if I’m running a fever. Will he miss me? Maybe he could find someone who can cook. I could hear the heavenly choir humming in the background.

As I was mentally preparing myself for my demise, that uncontrollable urge to sneeze came back. It was a tickling sensation, like a feather or something similar—and then a sneeze erupted that almost shook the house.

Suddenly I could see again! It was a miracle! It was—Kathy Scarlett? She was sitting on my chest and had her tail over my eyes. No wonder I couldn’t see! No wonder I couldn’t breathe! She was slightly heavy or pleasantly plump as she expressed it. Those prickly sensations were from her claws as she kneaded my tummy and chest as cats will do when they are happy. They also purr, which at times sounds like a heavenly choir singing.

I could hardly wait for Sam to get home. How dare he look for another wife before I’m cold in the ground? We’d definitely have a discussion about this.

The night after I read this November 29, 2007, column by Sumner Press columnist Susan Sovereign, I woke up and saw Keely Cat sitting again on my wife’s chest.

He was facing my wife.

No tail in the face, as Sovereign experienced during one afternoon time nap. I think my wife is used to it.

I even found a picture of Keely sleeping on my wife’s pillow. Thought I had one of him on her chest, but I guess not.

OK, now you know how my sense of humor runs. I subscribe to the Sumner Press because of Susan Sovereign’s columns and because of publisher and former legislative colleague Roscoe Cunningham’s pithy column.

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