Longtime Gay PWA Advocate, Has Died
I knew Randy from his many stints on various HIV panels and councils over the years, and came to appreciate and respect his insider approach, to get the same goal we shared: the best care and services for people with AIDS. We argued, we often enough agreed, and we knew our respective roles in public advocacy. He went above and beyond performing his self-appointed duties and advocacy with honor, he was loved and he should rest in peace.
Randy's husband, partner, lover, companion and so many other things, Lee Hawn has given me permission to share this heartbreaking note of his. It shows the love Randy had at the end of his life, the joys he passed along to his circle of friends, and that he wasn't in pain. Very hard to read this without tearing up, but it has dignity and grace - just like Randy:
It’s Saturday morning about 7:45. Randy died during the night at 1:50 AM. About six hours ago.
Christine and I went to the hospital yesterday afternoon at 2:30. They removed the ventilator at 2:45. While we were there Randy’s sedation (Propofol) had been removed and he was actually awake. His eyes were open. He was receiving morphine to keep him comfortable but the amount was not enough that he was asleep. Christine and I sat with him, talked with him and held his hand. We reassured him that we would be ok when he let go.
At one point he had roused. I called his name. He opened his eyes, turned his head to me and I said “I love you.” He smiled. I will never forget that. What a special gift. Randy was a special gift to me, being in my life. What a thing!
Christine and I remained at the hospital until late in the night. We decided to come back to the house for some rest. I had set my clock for 4:30. When I phoned the ICU at that time it was the nurse who informed me of Randy’s death.
We returned to Randy’s room and there he lay. We (Christine, me and the nurse) proceeded to bathe Randy’s body and rub some lotion on his skin. Then the time came to transport him to the hospital morgue. But before that, the three of us placed his body into a bag, gave him a toe-tag (yes, a tag on his big toe) and gave him a final kiss.
So that was the process we gave to Randy. I thought it important to share our actions with you all.
As hard as it was, it gives me a sense of completion. I have gone full circle with Randy.
Randy’s body will be cremated and his ashes scattered as per his wishes. There will be a gathering of friends and family at a later date still to be decided.
In the meantime, I will be ok. I have plenty of support out there if I need it. I will call on some of you when I need it.
Thank you to so many people who have written, phoned, texted, facebooked. The outpouring has been incredible.