Just so all of you know, Laura passed very peacefully and with more love in the world than any one person could ever hope to have. She literally passed while my arms were around her, I held her left hand in mine, and her mother’s hand in my other. My grandmother, mother and father were there, who she was extremely close with. My grandmother and Laura were both going through very heavy medical treatments at the same time (my grandmother had brain surgery just after Laura’s BMT), and they both have very similar hearts. My grandmother spent the night at the hospital with Laura for a number of nights during the BMT. They were true birds of a feather and loved each other very much. So much that Laura cried almost every time she talked to my grandmother. Laura made it clear to me that she wanted them there with her.
Other than about a two hour period where I came home to sort of eat and clean up, I was with her from 11am Sunday morning until she passed around Monday, just before 4pm. I held her hand and talked to her. Sunday she was awake quite a bit, and I told her everything that was going on. She slept a lot Sunday night, and when she woke up around 7am, I re-explained what was going on, told her what it would mean if we took the tube out, and what it meant if we didn’t. I reaffirmed my promise to her that I would be with her until the end (which is a promise I made to her a long time ago), one way or the other. She told me, in very definite terms, that she wanted the tube taken out. Her doctor (who she has been seeing for a while now), who is an amazing, wonderful human being, also asked her twice, and she told him yes as well. I am certain she understood what it meant. It was sort of a chance for a peaceful, loving passing, vs a drawn out, painful ordeal. She didn’t need to experience that, and Laura was such a strong person… I know she understood and we all made the right decision.
I left her briefly while they took the tube out, which she said was ok. I came back and she seemed distressed. I asked her if she was in pain, and she said she wasn’t. I asked if she was comfortable, and she didn’t give me much of a reply. I asked if she was still glad that we removed the tube, and she nodded a very positive “yes”. At this point, I kissed her all over, and rubber her head, and held her hand for many hours. I told her… I don’t want to repeat everything I told her, but in brief, she has no question about how much I love her, nor do I have any question about her love for me. I talked to her, and guided her, as she fell asleep.
I am positive she passed in her sleep. I had the nurse up the medication a lot, because while she said she wasn’t in pain, it looked a little painful. I couldn’t bear her feeling any pain, and we said good bye the best way we could. Plus, her oxygen levels were so low, her brain couldn’t possibly have been functioning correctly. I still guided her out of this life, telling her to stop suffering and that it was ok to let go, and be at peace. I cried much less as she passed than I did when she was awake, because I was glad I knew she was no longer in any pain, which she clearly was in before.
Laura was my special little Siddhartha, my little buddha. She lived sort of an adventurous, odyssey of a life, and in the end, she found real true love and compassion, was at peace with her self, and the world. She touched many people through her works, and through her words. While we were not legally married, in both of our eyes, we were. Our bond was, is, and always will be unbreakable. I miss her more than anyone can ever know, and waking up without her this morning was nearly as difficult as watching her leave the world yesterday.
I will be posting a lot of stuff about Laura including some of her art, photography, and works, as well as pictures of her and other thoughts here. Part of doing this is for you, and so you can remember her, and part of it is for me, because exploring the person I love so dearly is going to be an important part of me rebuilding my life. Also, as such, I wouldn’t mind, sometime soon, getting together with some of her friends who are close to Detroit. Maybe this week, maybe next, I am not sure. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for everyone’s thoughts, love and support. You are all wonderful people, and I wish Laura could have known you more.
I’ve spent all day online, reading thoughts about Laura from other people, and writing my own thoughts, many of which will not get posted anywhere. I am amazed at how many people she has touched through her words, and her work. She was an amazing artist, so it doesn’t shock me that people know about her work, but to the extent they do is rather amazing. And it makes me feel really good.
Writing about my sadness helps. And I want to emphasise and celebrate what Laura did accomplish by finding happiness in her life, despite the great struggle she dealt with. My grief can be narrowed down specifically to a number of areas:
1) I miss her. Plain and simple. We were a team. We were a really strong, powerful team. We were fighting impossible battles and were doing quite well. We had magical chemistry and… it is just hard to explain. I described our early relationship as almost like two old souls reuniting after being apart for centuries. Our chemistry was perfectly harmonious. Our mannerisms complimented each other, and we were very comfortable around each other. Early in our relationship, she told me she had battled cancer five years before, and that it was declared in remission. I told her, honestly, that while I thought this was horrible, she shouldn’t think for a minute that it will interfere with any relationship we have. I told her that if I am with her and I love her, I will stick with her through anything. And I stuck with her through everything.
We weren’t really ever allowed to have a very normal relationship, because she got sick within three or four months after we got involved with each other(with a compromised immune system). So we couldn’t do a lot of things. But we spent all of our time together. We never fought. I mean, sure, we had a few disagreements, as any two people will, but they were very mild, and we always found an acceptable, mutal solution when we didn’t agree on something. And I mean, we did nearly everything together. Just being around someone, especially when you have a special tenderness for them to begin with, and you have such great chemistry, causes you to become impossibly close. Our love flowered in a major way. She loved me more and more because I helped her in every way I knew how, without questions or without ever wavering in my commitment. Plus I genuinely loved her for who she was. I told her how beautiful she was, and how great she was, and that made her feel loved, which is what she wanted. And I loved her more and more because she was both a huge inspiration to me in how bravely and strongly she faced all of these horrible treatments, especially when she knew that the outcome could still be fatal, and how much she supported everything about me. She never interfered when I was working on the festival, or if I wanted to work on music, or go out with people, or whatever. Not that I ever left her wanting, as I said, I devoted myself to her. But she simply never attempted to push me to be anything more than I ever was. Both of these qualities, on top of the fact that she was irrestably beautiful to me, and how much I valued her work and creativity, compounded my love and respect for her.
She was a complete sweetheart. Sure, she was stubborn, but I discovered that if you treated Laura right, there wasnt anything she wouldn’t do for you. Unfortunately, too many other people in her life didn’t treat her well. But Laura was gentle, delicate, and despite everything she has been through, always seemed to be… happy. Laura definitely had a gloom cookie side of her, and she would get depressed, and anxious, but who wouldn’t? I mean, I can’t believe she didn’t have a mental break down. And because she didn’t, I loved her all that much more. Her strength fueled my strenght and allowed me to get through everything.
The time between the festival in May and her BMT in October were probably our happiest time together. It was just a few months, but we spent a lot of time together and did a lot of things. At the time, she was relatively healthy, and not going through any new chemo therapies. I think because we were both rather scared about the BMT, it made the time seem more important. We would go take little Louie, her/our pomeranian, out into the middle of large forests and just walk around. We would picnic in parks. We would go to the occasional movie. We spent a lot of time just being alone at home with each other. All of this made Laura extremely happy, and at this point, her smiling was all I needed to get by.
We really did live like the BMT was going to be the end. It was very sad on one hand, and very happy on the other. By this point, and likely much before it, there was no question how much we meant to each other. It was some time before we moved out of Sara’s house that she said to me, “I don’t want to leave you”. And I ask her what she meant, and she said she didn’t want to die. She started to cry, and I helped sooth her, and reaffirmed to her that no matter what I will be there with her. Through our discussions, she consistently told me that her one, true real dream was that she get through the treatments so that we could get married and live a “normal life”. Laura really craved for a normal life, full of stupid human dramas. Not that she liked dramas, but our personal problems were so much more serious than anything we dealt with when we were younger, including her first bout with cancer. Worrying about bills and payments seemed silly compared to what we were facing. And she was tired of facing all of that. And she faced it all so she could be with me. How could I not absolutely adore the girl? How could I not be completely devoted to her when she showed that kind of affectionate devotion to me?
After the last chemo session, and she had one between June and October, which was right after we moved into Pete’s old loft, her hair began to fall out in huge clumps. So, we had to shave her hair off. Her mother wouldn’t do it for her, so I did it. By this point, Laura was tired of not being treated by a lot of people as a real, serious cancer patient because she had hair. It was amazing how many people felt she wasn’t very sick until we shaved the hair off. She was ready for it to come off. It was things like shaving her hair off that reaffirmed our love for each other. That I would do it for her without hesitation or question (especially with her mom totally refusing to do it), and for me to find her more and more beautiful as I shaved it off… it was a year of these types of exchanges between us that gave us the unbreakable bond that we had. It was a unique situation where we had the opportunity to show our devotion to one another, and we did so with religious zeal.
I would always come into the room before I went to work, make sure she was tucked into bed all cozy, see if she needed anything, and kiss her goodbye, and tell her I love her. She was always half asleep, gave me a kiss, and told me she loved me, and fell back asleep with a smile on her face. One day she said, “I keep thinking one day you’re going to forget to come in and kiss me good bye”. I told her I would never do that. And I never forgot to.
I couldn’t stop myself from buying her little things when we had no money. I would buy her chocolates, or get her a pizza from her favorite place. I would get her books, and all sorts of things. Her happiness was food for my soul. I kissed her every chance I got, and we would, at almost any chance, give each other long hugs where we felt like we would never let go. There was something we had that just found us wrapped in each others arms without any effort. We would often watch a movie while going to bed, and she would curl up under my arm and lay on me. I don’t think she watched half of the movies, she just wanted to be with me. And I just wanted to be with her, and I miss her terribly.
2) I am sad for her. This is the worst of it all. My missing her will be the thing that will make my grief last the longest, but the strongest source of my grief is that I am sad for her. She had almost everything she wanted, and couldn’t just close the circle and bring it all to fruition because her poor little body failed her. And she was so strong, and fought so hard. That is what breaks my heart the most. I feel like all that torture and suffering she went through should have been rewarded better. But, when I really think about it, and think about how happy we were… ugg..I dont know. It just feels like she deserved more time with her happiness. But I do know she was happy, and I could tell that the way things panned out at the end, that she did not regret anything. Nor do I. During those last days of her life, I spent hours talking into her ear, and running my hand through her newly grown in hair. She could barely focus her eyes, or lift her arms. But when I walked into the room, she became instantly animated, trying to reach out for me, find me and look at me. It was, and probably will remain, the hardest thing I have ever done, but in her last hours, I kept telling her over and over that everything was ok, that she could let go, and stop suffering, that our love and bond is unbreakable. Still, it is terribly difficult to not feel a profound sadness for her, as I know how happy she was after the last appointment with the BMT doctor, and she thought she might conquer this thing and we would be able to go live and be happy.
Again, thanks to everyone for… everything. I am so overwhelmed with how many people Laura has touched. I think I literally received 150 emails today. I have read them all, and many of them made me cry. I am trying to reply to what I can. You guys are amazing, and I know it would have made Laura cry too.