My parnter just passed away from Leukemia on 12/5/07. He was visitng his family in Texas and fell ill while he was there, entered the hospital on 11/30 and died 5 days later. I flew to Texas to be by his side while he was sick. When he died I faced the challenge of honoring his wishes to his family. They knew of our partnership and was very accepting. I also had to call my family to let them know my "friend" passed away. To cry to my mother to let her know that my husband died. I cried...so did she, much to my suprise. I was faced with planing a funeral in Texas as well as a memorial service back home. His Family included me in everything, making me the decision maker. The funeral home was very accepting also, when it came to the arrangements and paying the bill. However, when it came to next of kin...the law states that I have no rights. I digress...The funeral was in a Catholic church and the priest recognized me as the spouce...And he did a great bi-lingual service for me. Robert is Mexican-American, his Mom speaks no English and I speak no Spanish. At the Military burial, his Mom got the flag and I got the Crucifix. All was beautiful. Back home we had a memorial service, he was a part of our very small town. This is where I was worried, small town in upstate NY. MMMMMM how would the community accept us as a couple. I placed an obituary in the local paper stating I was his life partner and announced the place and time of the service. I was overwhelmed with the over 100 sympathy cards, and the 80 people at the service. Our minister of the presbyterian church plannned the service with me...I assisted in the service. It was so beautiful, however, there was not enough room in our house for all the people at the reception. I thought it would be small, but the town really showed support. What a beautiful send off for my partner...where there could have been conflict, there was none. And there is lots of support during my grieving. We are coming of age as gay men.
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