In a loving tribute to her soul mate, Kim Schramm-Cannon announced the death of Alex Cannon on her Facebook page this week.
It was just over a year since Alex, at age 59, suffered a fall from a roof of a house he was power washing. It left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. There had been difficult days over the course of the year as both struggled with the new reality of his life.
But Monday was a good day before it turned into what Ms. Schramm-Cannon described as “one of the worst days of my life.”
Alex had gone to rehab and was told by a doctor how well he was doing. Three hours later, he died.
“Yesterday, he told me that he loved me more than I will ever know,” she wrote. He said he was calm when he was with her.
“Even though it has been a terrible year and month, I wouldn’t have been anywhere but with you,” Kim wrote. “Fly free, my love. No more legs or arms to hold you down.”
During his long hospitalization, Alex had been depressed at times, but he improved with move to a Uniondale rehabilitation facility and freedom from a ventilator on which he had been dependent.
Although the couple had divorced some 15 years earlier, they remained solid friends and it was to Kim’s house on South Ferry Road that he would enter after enduring many surgeries at Stony Brook Hospital and the subsequent several week stay at the Uniondale rehab facility.
“He was giving up in the hospital,” Kim said in October. “He didn’t want to go on.” Rehab has given him a lifeline. “They are really lifting up his spirits,” she said.
During the long months, when medical bills piled up for Alex, who lacked insurance, Kim started a GoFundMe page that couldn’t close the gap, but helped to provide some living expenses.
From the time of the accident, friends and relatives supported the couple, even helping Kim and her sister, DeDe O’Connell, to remodel the house to accommodate Alex’s needs.
In October, the Shelter Island Country Club raised $15,300 by sponsoring the Alex Cannon Benefit Golf Tournament where 50 golfers pitched in $100 each to play in a 9-hole, two-person scramble, and the club also sold l,500 raffle tickets.
The money was to help pay for the medical equipment and home health services he would need to return to the Island.
The Shelter Island Lions Club Foundation accepted the funds on Alex’s behalf instead of putting them in a trust fund that would have affected his eligibility for Medicaid.
When Kim told Alex about the golf tournament, she said he was incredulous.
“Why are they doing things like that for me?” he asked her.
“Because you are a good guy,” she responded. “Even I like you and I’m your ex-wife.”
She reiterated that feeling in her Facebook post, saying, “He truly was a good guy and will be missed terribly.”
At the end of her Facebook post, Kim urged everyone to “love one another. You never know when the object of your love will be taken away. It can happen in a split second.”