Hello good people.  My name is Michael and I lost my partner of 36+ years, Danie (pronounced Danny, his Mom had a thing about spelling her kids' names 'differently), only 15 days ago.  He was in his usual state of active, good health until 9 weeks before he became ill and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  Danie had never smoked, nor had I.  He would have celebrated his 62nd birthday this summer.  I will be 64 in a couple of months.

Danie's final illness robbed him of his amazing energy and gregariousness very quicky.  At first we thought, or at least I hoped, that chemotherapy would give him a few months, or a year or two or three,  It happens...  But that wasn't in the cards.  He never re-entered the hospital after his diagnosis, but his last 7 weeks were filled with tests, doctors' appointments, eventually the need for home oxygen and strong pain medication, and a new reality for both of us,  As time went on he, and then I, realized that his body could never withstand the rigors of chemo.  By his 2 weeks he had moved out of our bedroom upstairs to a beautiful room downstairs that he designed specifically for when either of us was ill.  He couldn't climb the stairs anymore and he felt bad about waking me up with his bouts of coughing.  By about 3 days before he died we both decided officially to give up the hope of chemo and requested home hospice care the following day.  Before he could even be evaluated, he died in bed, while I was taking a shower.

That was on March 27th at 4:00pm.  We had recently celebrated 36 years together, and were talking about finally getting married at home this summer after ongoing renovations were completed.

Now he's gone.  And I'm left with a hole in my life that appears to be bottomless, a house we owned together for over 22 years that we were finally fixing up per his direction, and 4 beautiful Australian Shepherds that were the 'apples of his eye'.    

There are a lot more details to the story of our lives and my life since losing him which I will write about in due course.  It's been so long since I had to fend for myself in this world that I've forgotten how.  Close friends and both our families have been very supportive and I'm learning to let them help out in some ways, but the two of us were so self=sufficient together for so long that even accepting help is hard.

I miss him so much it hurts to my core.  And the dogs, who are a great comfort, will not let me sob.  Every time my crying becomes the least bit vocal, they jump up on me and lick my eyes.

When I resorted to crying in the shower, they would stand just outside and all bark at me until I stopped.  Now I can only do it in the car.

But, without those 4 girls, our(now my) house and occasionally my work when I manage to get there for more than an hour or two, I would be totally lost.

That's about all I can write at this point.  Thanks for reading.

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Replies to This Discussion

Michael,

Beautiful story....thank you for sharing that.

Only advice is despite your dogs attempts at stopping you from crying, don't let them.  It's probably the most cathartic, therapeutic thing you can do.  I would literally breakdown anywhere--restaurants, gym, walking on the street.  I'm convinced it helped me get through those first 6 months.

I am so sorry for your loss,its so hard.I cry every day .I lost my partner of 13 years on October 5 2014,of congestive heart failure.

Michael, I am so so sorry for your loss.  I am still in the early stages of grieving following the sudden and unexpected loss of my soulmate Jason.  All I can say is that this site has been a god send.  Even our dogs want to take away our pain, but sometimes what we need most is someone to just to share it and feel it with us.  Share as you are able, because you are not alone in your pain.

Tom

Thanks Steve.  The hardest for me right now is telling people who knew him but did not know he died about his passing.  That always turns be into a sobbing wreck.  With my dogs I'm learning how to let the tears come silently so they don't get upset.  It's the sobbing that cues them, and I can be a big sober.  I sob at sad movies and Danie ALWAYS laughed at me for that....
 
Steve Levin said:

Michael,

Beautiful story....thank you for sharing that.

Only advice is despite your dogs attempts at stopping you from crying, don't let them.  It's probably the most cathartic, therapeutic thing you can do.  I would literally breakdown anywhere--restaurants, gym, walking on the street.  I'm convinced it helped me get through those first 6 months.

And Steve, we're almost neighbors - I'm in Venice Beach.

Steve Levin said:

Michael,

Beautiful story....thank you for sharing that.

Only advice is despite your dogs attempts at stopping you from crying, don't let them.  It's probably the most cathartic, therapeutic thing you can do.  I would literally breakdown anywhere--restaurants, gym, walking on the street.  I'm convinced it helped me get through those first 6 months.

Thank you Tom.  The last 2 weeks are sort of a blur to me.  Sometimes it seems Danie has been gone forever, but most times when I close my eyes I still see him as I found him after my shower on the day he died and it seems like it just happened.
 
Tom Hogshead said:

Michael, I am so so sorry for your loss.  I am still in the early stages of grieving following the sudden and unexpected loss of my soulmate Jason.  All I can say is that this site has been a god send.  Even our dogs want to take away our pain, but sometimes what we need most is someone to just to share it and feel it with us.  Share as you are able, because you are not alone in your pain.

Tom

David - 5 months is a drop in an ocean of years.  I'm sure I'll still be crying daily in August.  Danie would have been 62 years old this summer.
 
David Simpson said:

I am so sorry for your loss,its so hard.I cry every day .I lost my partner of 13 years on October 5 2014,of congestive heart failure.

Michael,

Friday will be the 10 month anniversary of the death of my partner.  Patrik died of Pancreatic Cancer and unfortunately suffered for a very long time before finally succumbing to this insidious disease.  

I unfortunately relate to much of what you have described.  I have been through the endless hospital visits, doctors appointments, private nurses, Morphine, Methadone, oxygen, home care nurses and finally home hospice.  It may seem uncaring to say this, but it is good that Danie passed so quickly, because it meant that he had to suffer less.  I too have an empty house, which once rang with laughter, love, silly jokes and the pitter patter of puppy feet.  I too have that empty pit in my stomach, and for the first 6 months or so I felt like I was living on Mars.  Nothing, absolutely nothing seemed real, everything felt distorted and just getting through the day was a surreal process.  Even today he is the first thing on my mind when I wake and the last when I go to sleep.  I won't sugar coat it, you have embarked on a long and painful journey that no one else can share - it is yours alone.  You will cry until you feel you can cry no more.....and then you will cry some more - lots more!  

It hasn't been a year yet for me, and yet I can tell you that it does begin to change at some point.  Mind you, I didn't say it gets "better", it just gets "different", and it becomes easier to breathe and you begin to become conscious of whats around you again.  I now am able to get through entire days without breaking down, sometimes two days in a row, and then something (anything) will remind me and I will dissolve into tears again.  One day I had a complete no-holds barred breakdown in a grocery store parking lot - people must have thought I was mad.  But even as I still have these moments I also feel calmer and more accepting.

Friends who have gone through this themselves, and others on this website assure me that I will again find reason to smile and even though I'm not there yet the small changes that have happened give me hope even as I look back at the loss of my love.  I wish that I had something terribly profound to relate to you that would make it all clearer somehow, but it seems that the journey (this horrible journey) is a necessary component in healing and that we must all muddle through as best we can toward the warm light at the end of a very long tunnel.  If you can take comfort in anything, know that all of the men and women here are muddling along with you.

Hang tough Michael, we're all pulling for you.

Eric - today is not a good day for me.  Well none of them are, but yesterday I did not have to leave the house so I didn't.  And I got to stay in this comforting space surrounded by the things we collected and the 4 dogs Danie loved so much.  I had 2 visitors who had not visited since he died which broke up the day.  But today I have to step out into the world again, go to work, start physical therapy for my lower back which I had been ignoring while I was a caregiver, and go to a neighbor/friend's house for dinner.  I would much rather stay home.

Michael,

I'm in West Hollywood.  I would be happy to meet for coffee/drink, whatever.  This forum is great but sometimes real contact is better.

Steve

I understand Michael, Jason and I loved doing things for eachother.  Last week I kept seeing things that would be perfect for an Easter basket before catching myself. Dozens of times a day I still think, I need to tell Jason about that.  It's a microsecond of an impulse, but the wave of pain is immense, and I relive the realization that I am never going to see him, hold him, or hear his voice again in this lifetime.  I used to think the phrase "misery loves company" was a negative.  Now I see that company of others who know exactly the pain I feel is a blessing.  My challenge this week has been people who ask me how I'm holding up.  Even the best of friends will not be able to tolerate the long term need to express our pain, and that is where this site seems to be of so much help for me.

Michael:

I totally get the desire to lock yourself away in the house with all your cherished memories - I did it for months.  Leaving to go out into the world always made me feel like an alien on another planet and I would race home as soon as I could (I actually created a small altar to Patrik in a corner of one of the bedrooms, with photos and favorite things of his).  This too will change eventually and you will venture out more, but for now you need the comfort of the familiar.  I see Steve mentioned that he is in West Hollywood, so am I, so if you need to talk I am also available.

Best,  Eric

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