When the good die young, others question why
A rash of unexpected deaths in Truckee has left many community members wondering, Why them? and telling themselves, That could have been me.Our mortality gets thrown in our face when a sudden death occurs, said Patrick Keilty, a marriage and family therapist with Childrens Cabinet in Incline Village. Three unrelated deaths were reported last week by the Truckee Police Department. One of the deaths was well-known Truckee resident, Matt Rusanoff, who died on Feb. 26 at the age of 35. Like the saying: When push comes to shove, Youre shoved into dealing with death when someone dies unexpectedly, Keilty said. [Grief] can grab you by the scruff of your neck and take you for a ride, he said.In todays culture, we have something called the mid-life crisis that occurs somewhere between the ages of 35 and 50, Keilty said. In that second phase of life, many people become introspective about their lives and begin to analyze their own mortality, he said. All of us have unfinished business, Keilty said. It all surfaces when a death occurs.Rusanoff died from a seizure of unknown origin. After shoveling snow earlier in the day, he complained of a headache and a sense that he was feverish before suffering a seizure 15 minutes later. Rusanoff was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital and was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed on Feb. 28 to determine his cause of death, but autopsy results wont be in for eight to 10 weeks, said Robin Storrs, civil assistant with the Nevada County Sheriffs Office. A 37-year-old West Sacramento man was found dead in his vehicle on Interstate 80 near Alta on Feb. 25. Stephen Gordon Buffums body was discovered by a chain installer when he noticed Buffums vehicle had been stopped for a few hours in the chain-up area on the eastbound side of the interstate, according to the Placer County Sheriffs Department. Autopsy results to determine Buffmans cause of death were not available at press time.On the same weekend, California Highway Patrol received a 9-1-1 call at about 4 p.m. on Feb. 24 regarding a man who was believed to have had a heart attack, said CHP Officer Steve Skeen. Several people driving by stopped when they noticed Nazar Dimitris Toyota truck parked near the center divide on Pine Avenue, he said. Because he wasnt breathing, passers-by administered CPR on Dimitri, 57, of Los Banos, Calif., prior to the paramedics arrival; however, he was pronounced dead at Tahoe Forest Hospital, Skeen said. Autopsy results indicated Dimitri died from coronary artery disease a somewhat common cause of death, Storrs said.On Feb. 25, Truckee resident Frederick Vizgaudis, 60, was found dead by his roommate in the bathroom of their residence on Olympic Boulevard, according to police reports. Vizgaudis evidently died of natural causes and no autopsy was performed, Storrs said.
People go through definitive stages when grieving the loss of a loved one, but the stages dont necessarily follow any particular sequence, Keilty said.First, many people experience a state of shock with a sense of numbness to the news and may react with denial, he said. Then grievers will go through a stage of sadness followed by anger over the loss. Mourners will also go through a bargaining stage, which is often a process with a higher power, he said. Grief raises the ante in response to any underlying issues survivors might have with family, relationships, or jobs, Keilty said. People should recognize where they are in the grieving process and not try to push away emotions since they will surface eventually, he said. The undercurrents of our life will be stirred (when a death occurs), Keilty said. Most of the time it will stir up the dark waters of our life.In dealing with the death of a loved one in a healthy way, the event can be the opening process to your next venture of life, he said.
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