I posted this earlier on the Bereaved Spouses page.

I need to share my grief burden here today. The pain is still sharp and I am having a hard time figuring out how to go on without him.

Todd died unexpectedly of heart failure July 22, and since then chronologic time has blurred; I am aware that daylight comes and goes, but I cannot tell you what day of the week it is without referring to my calendar. I have lost 15 pounds. 

I have lost my mother and father, and those losses were difficult, but losing Todd has been like having my arms removed. He was my right hand man and my left hand man. We were very, very happy together. Both of us loved to watch gymnastics and ice skating, and neither of us understood football. =-) He was about as nutty as I am and was very quick to forgive my many faults and errors. Where I fell short he strengthened me and propped me up. I miss him so much and I don't yet understand why he had to go.
His heart gave out, and he was put on life support until his family could gather round. Because I am an RN the hospital allowed me to hold him while life support was removed. I was allowed to wash and bath his little broken body and prepare him for the mortuary.

I dressed him for the viewing, carefully ironing his new white shirt. I put his favorite jacket and tie on him. We have matching diamond rings. I wanted him to keep his on. I don't want anyone else to wear it. I need to know that he still wears the ring I surprised him with. He adored it and cleaned and polished it every day.

Todd's family was and is wonderful to me. They were supportive throughout all of this. But on my side of our partnership, I was alone. Because I come from a very religious Mormon family I had just planned on getting thru the day of the funeral the best I could on my own. My relationship with Toddles was the big elephant in the middle of my family's living room that no one would talk about. To make them more comfortable, Todd and I would take our matching rings off when my family was around. I am now ashamed to say that I referred to Todd as my roommate when with my family. Todd knew I did this and was understanding. He was from the same religious heritage, but his family hadn't been active in the church. I deeply regret that I was not strong enough to honor Todd by being forthright to my family.

My family found out about the funeral.

They came. 

My siblings made the trip without my knowledge. Some drove 200 miles round trip. Remarkably, two siblings who live 1200 miles away just happened to be in the area for other reasons, and were able to be there. All of them and their spouses. They are all very, very Mormon. I did not know they were coming. I didn't know why they would come or what they were going to do. Would they go to all this trouble to collectively show self-righteous pity?

They grabbed me and hugged me tight. They cried with me.

The brother that got there first wrapped his arms around me and held my head in his chest until I finished wailing. And at this moment in life I learned that there is no stronger or more needed condolence than that which comes from family.

I told him and his wife- all of my siblings- that they didn't have do go to all this trouble. Each of them told me that they wouldn't miss this funeral because I am their brother. They told me that they loved me. And they told me how sorry they were that I lost Todd.

A powerful memory from the funeral is seeing my family standing to my right side. They stood by me shoulder to shoulder around the side of the casket where I could see them through the service. The two closest to me put their hands on my shoulders.

After most people left the graveside I was able to see my Todd one more time. I made sure his bow tie was straight, that he had his beloved ring on nicely, and I put three dozen red roses in his arms. I hired a trumpeter to play lofty classical music at the conclusion of the graveside service; it was as if heavenly angels beckoned him home.

I bought three burial plots. One for Toddles, one for his mother, and one for me. I am comforted to know that I have a place next to him when my time comes.
I still cry alot. For hours and hours.

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Replies to This Discussion

 I will get back to you.  I am so tired right now I can't type and need some sleep.  Peace my friend.  Take care of you and don't worry about anyone else or what they think.   Rick

Brent:

First, my condolences to you on the passing of your beloved Todd. My partner, Tina, passed in March of aortic dissection Type II. Although I'm not Mormon, my family, while quite small, is quite divided as to religion with my only sibling and I being of different faiths, as my Mom and Dad are. Add to that, the difference of race and economics, and the contrast between the two families was phenomenal. However, at the Celebration of her life, people of all races, creeds, etc. came together in a way similar to your experience.  What happened, like what happened to you, is that love transcends all. I can say that it's gotten only a bit easier in the last 5 months but support still comes to me from my family as well as hers. Living one day at a time is how I cope. Sometimes, it's 5 minutes at a time. A friend came me a wonderful description of physically leaving this world but spiritually being present. [It's too long to post but you can find it written by Conan Henry Scott Holland. It was written over a century ago but it still resonates.]

 

Peace!

 

Nancy

Thank you, Nancy, for your condolences. I will look up the Holland piece. I am happy that your families could come together in love, too. 

Peace, too.

Brent

Nancy Kennedy said:

Brent:

First, my condolences to you on the passing of your beloved Todd. My partner, Tina, passed in March of aortic dissection Type II. Although I'm not Mormon, my family, while quite small, is quite divided as to religion with my only sibling and I being of different faiths, as my Mom and Dad are. Add to that, the difference of race and economics, and the contrast between the two families was phenomenal. However, at the Celebration of her life, people of all races, creeds, etc. came together in a way similar to your experience.  What happened, like what happened to you, is that love transcends all. I can say that it's gotten only a bit easier in the last 5 months but support still comes to me from my family as well as hers. Living one day at a time is how I cope. Sometimes, it's 5 minutes at a time. A friend came me a wonderful description of physically leaving this world but spiritually being present. [It's too long to post but you can find it written by Conan Henry Scott Holland. It was written over a century ago but it still resonates.]

 

Peace!

 

Nancy

Brett,

i am SO SORRY about your loss, i cry with you. my entire life died on March 22,2012 sudden cardiac death. He was so strong, decisive, supportive of His little submissive. we were the same age but He was wise beyond His years. with all that strength and knowledge, He also had a massive stubborn streak[family trait]. He steadfastly refused to go to the doctor when he got sick in mid February. the event occured on Feb 27. His family gathered and celebrated His 66th birthday. He was intubated and was in/out the whole afternoon. i stepped back and let the family[brother+sister]gather around the bed. on march 22, His sister and i met with the doctors for an update - it was day 16. we were told about his current status, chance of leaving hospital 50% ... chance of leaving a nursing home 0%. We were then told my Beloved had significant brain damage and would never come back to those who loved Him. it was time to make a decision. we agreed on a decision to remove the ventilator, His sister left for her home and her partner leaving me the responsibility of telling the doctors to let Him die. i did and i will carry that with me for the rest of my life! along with the belief that i could done more, been more aggresive, had taken him to the doctor when He originally got sick in February. He had COPD, KIDNEY FAILURE,  DIABETES and was closing in on the home peritonial dialysis. He hated His condition, He felt His body was failing Him. and so did i.

Dennis,

My story is very similar and I had to make the decision to discontinue vent and all assistance.  We both had living wills and were each other's health advocate's.  Not the first time I had to make this decision it was the 4th time.  However, and I know it was the hardest thing to do, think of it this way, it was the last great gift you could give him.  To let him die with some dignity and the release from suffering.  I know it doesn't seem that way right now, but down the road you will have peace with your decision.  I feel for you.  I'm just a few weeks later than your loss but time doesn't mean much right now.  We are all hurting and need each other to get through this valley of tears.   Peace and love to you.  Be kind to yourself, you are worth it.


 
denis schwartz said:

Brett,

i am SO SORRY about your loss, i cry with you. my entire life died on March 22,2012 sudden cardiac death. He was so strong, decisive, supportive of His little submissive. we were the same age but He was wise beyond His years. with all that strength and knowledge, He also had a massive stubborn streak[family trait]. He steadfastly refused to go to the doctor when he got sick in mid February. the event occured on Feb 27. His family gathered and celebrated His 66th birthday. He was intubated and was in/out the whole afternoon. i stepped back and let the family[brother+sister]gather around the bed. on march 22, His sister and i met with the doctors for an update - it was day 16. we were told about his current status, chance of leaving hospital 50% ... chance of leaving a nursing home 0%. We were then told my Beloved had significant brain damage and would never come back to those who loved Him. it was time to make a decision. we agreed on a decision to remove the ventilator, His sister left for her home and her partner leaving me the responsibility of telling the doctors to let Him die. i did and i will carry that with me for the rest of my life! along with the belief that i could done more, been more aggresive, had taken him to the doctor when He originally got sick in February. He had COPD, KIDNEY FAILURE,  DIABETES and was closing in on the home peritonial dialysis. He hated His condition, He felt His body was failing Him. and so did i.

Dear Brent,

 I am sorry for your loss. And my heart goes out to you. The passing of my partner is still hard to cope with he passed on April 28,2012. We both came form Mormon backgrounds. Although my parents are not. So you have my support.

Dear Denis,

Your partner died on my birthday.

I am so sorry for your hunny's passing.

The decision-making process for releasing Todd was quick. Because of his multitude of previous health problems, he was not a transplant candidate. His organs had started failing. He was taken off life support about 12 hours after he coded.

I see that this was lucky for him and for me. I am sorry that you had to go through 16 days of touch-and-go, and then to have to be alone to tell the doctors to let him go.

I have lots of guilt, too. It's tough to shake. But as for someone elses' guilt, like yours, I can be a back seat driver and advise you that guilt is a useless emotion. Nothing good comes from it. It is sleek poison to the soul. It is easy to look through the foggy rearview mirror and see other possible routes or turns that may have been better. But you'll get in a wreck by staring into that mirror too long.

There's a good reason why the rearview mirror is small, and the front windshield is large. Look bravely ahead. Put your car into drive. Face forward and keep your eyes on the road.

My heart is with you.

Brent

That's all easy to say to you. I need to follow that advice.

denis schwartz said:

Brett,

i am SO SORRY about your loss, i cry with you. my entire life died on March 22,2012 sudden cardiac death. He was so strong, decisive, supportive of His little submissive. we were the same age but He was wise beyond His years. with all that strength and knowledge, He also had a massive stubborn streak[family trait]. He steadfastly refused to go to the doctor when he got sick in mid February. the event occured on Feb 27. His family gathered and celebrated His 66th birthday. He was intubated and was in/out the whole afternoon. i stepped back and let the family[brother+sister]gather around the bed. on march 22, His sister and i met with the doctors for an update - it was day 16. we were told about his current status, chance of leaving hospital 50% ... chance of leaving a nursing home 0%. We were then told my Beloved had significant brain damage and would never come back to those who loved Him. it was time to make a decision. we agreed on a decision to remove the ventilator, His sister left for her home and her partner leaving me the responsibility of telling the doctors to let Him die. i did and i will carry that with me for the rest of my life! along with the belief that i could done more, been more aggresive, had taken him to the doctor when He originally got sick in February. He had COPD, KIDNEY FAILURE,  DIABETES and was closing in on the home peritonial dialysis. He hated His condition, He felt His body was failing Him. and so did i.



Curtis Magnuson said:

Dear Brent,

 I am sorry for your loss. And my heart goes out to you. The passing of my partner is still hard to cope with he passed on April 28,2012. We both came form Mormon backgrounds. Although my parents are not. So you have my support.



Brent Pettit said:

Curtis,

I replied to you, but I think I replied in the wrong place... if you don't see my reply, please look about both our pages. You'll see my reply somewhere if you look a bit.

Sorry about this. 

Brent



Curtis Magnuson said:

Dear Brent,

 I am sorry for your loss. And my heart goes out to you. The passing of my partner is still hard to cope with he passed on April 28,2012. We both came form Mormon backgrounds. Although my parents are not. So you have my support.

Brent:

My condolences to you on the loss of Todd.  Your story is at once heartbreaking and compelling with your family's love shining through when it mattered.  But the heartbreaking part is also why many, if not all of us are here.  I lost my husband, ironically named Brent, on March 28.  I, too, was lucky to have loving families and many, countless friends to comfort, aid and care for me.  But the hole in our lives is our individual hole.  Todd obviously is to you what Brent is to me and what others on this site have lost as well.  

Be good to yourself right now.

Best,

Chip

So sorry for your loss, Brent.  I'm so happy that your family members have been there for you.  My partner and I were together for 16 years when she was diagnosed with small cell cancer, and neither of us had officially come out to our families.  Shortly after her diagnosis, she and I sat down with her parents and siblings and brought them up to speed on our relationshiip.  None of her family members were suprised.  One sister looked at us and said, 'Well, duh ... do you think we're blind".  We planned a re-commitment ceremony 6 months later - to share our love with friends and family.  Her family showed up en masse ... I had one brother and one sister that attended.  I received a letter from another sister refusing to attend the ceremony because she believed our relationship was a great sin.  My mother respectfully declined and I heard nothing from the other two siblings.  My partner's family made the drive from Ohio to Georgia numerous times to lend a hand with her care ... they helped me work with hospice to get her back to her hometown for her final three weeks of life ...  they helped me prepare for the funeral and were by my side the entire time.  Only one of my family members attended the funeral.  Ouch!  My religious sister had mended fences with me over the accusations of sinful living, my mother has been supportive, and the two siblings that attended the re-commitment ceremony had been supportive as well.  The other two never mention it - pretending that the relationship never existed.  I can be angry about it at times, but mostly I pity them that they refused to open their hearts enough to get to know the amazing woman I loved so much.

Dear Rebecca,

Thank you so much for your post. I am deeply sorry for you loss. And I am sorry that your family lost the sweet association with the two of you as a couple. 

Your post comes at a very good time. Today marks two months that I've been without my Todd. I have friends coming to spend the night with me, God bless them.

While Todd was frail and had many health issues, he was the strong giant. I don't know how I get through the days without his help, his laugh, his positive and humble outlook. I got out of the house this morning and went to an orchestra rehearsal, and I was rude and snappy to people in the group. I am ashamed of myself, but I know that my behavior is affected by my deep sorrow and grief. I am a RN, and I need to find work but I haven't got the energy to even try. Today I wrote Todd a thank letter on a greeting card, as if I could drop it in the post and have it delivered to him.

I wish that the viel between me and Todd could be lifted even just for a moment, so that I could assure him that I love him more now than ever, that my heart aches to have him back, and that I want to be with him some day.

Rebecca Rude said:

So sorry for your loss, Brent.  I'm so happy that your family members have been there for you.  My partner and I were together for 16 years when she was diagnosed with small cell cancer, and neither of us had officially come out to our families.  Shortly after her diagnosis, she and I sat down with her parents and siblings and brought them up to speed on our relationshiip.  None of her family members were suprised.  One sister looked at us and said, 'Well, duh ... do you think we're blind".  We planned a re-commitment ceremony 6 months later - to share our love with friends and family.  Her family showed up en masse ... I had one brother and one sister that attended.  I received a letter from another sister refusing to attend the ceremony because she believed our relationship was a great sin.  My mother respectfully declined and I heard nothing from the other two siblings.  My partner's family made the drive from Ohio to Georgia numerous times to lend a hand with her care ... they helped me work with hospice to get her back to her hometown for her final three weeks of life ...  they helped me prepare for the funeral and were by my side the entire time.  Only one of my family members attended the funeral.  Ouch!  My religious sister had mended fences with me over the accusations of sinful living, my mother has been supportive, and the two siblings that attended the re-commitment ceremony had been supportive as well.  The other two never mention it - pretending that the relationship never existed.  I can be angry about it at times, but mostly I pity them that they refused to open their hearts enough to get to know the amazing woman I loved so much.

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