Drew and I met on May 7th, 2002 in Boston - via Match.com. He seemed likeable enough and we agreed to a second date, and within a month we were exclusive.
By the time he had to change apartments and decided to buy something in Boston since his apartment was going condo, we were definitely a couple. A few years later, partners.
I maintained my New Hampshire home and address since I traveled for work (no income tax in NH) - the moment NH legalized same sex marriage, we tied the knot (January 2, 2010). We honeymooned in Paris the week previously.
He had intelligence, looks, humor, and an outgoing personality. I year or so ago, some strange incident befell him overseas - virus, mental breakdown, combination - we never did figure it out. And we spent a year in and out of hospitals, rehabilitations, etc., very nearly losing him on several occasions.
But Drew was strong and would bounce back, enough that he landed a new job (no more international) and life was returning to normal.
But normal was not to be. I was overseas when his communications "went dark." He was in Boston, so neighbors checked and thought he was OK. When I got back, it turns out they were wrong: he had taken a fall of some kind, and the coffee table won. I doubt he ever knew what hit him.
For me, of course, the situation is surreal. You know when you marry that one of you is likely to go through this, that spouses rarely die together. You just never think it'll be you doing it, and you 'never think it will be this soon - it shouldn't have been this soon.
You ache, you ponder, you hate the universe, you look back on your life, you wonder what you could have done differently, but in the end you realize - or you try to accept - that what is done is done.
I have lost both parents, so I understand grief, just not at such a personal level. I know it's a process, and I know it's not instantaneous. Some days are OK, some are not - it's like when I lost my father, I don't remember the day when I actually stopped missing him.
You never really do stop; you just get back to the work of living. You compartmentalize what you can't change, celebrate what you had, and move beyond what you no longer have. Maybe you meet someone else; maybe you don't. Just like a favored pet, you can't simply replace one lost with something found.
So that's my story.