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When the End Comes....


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I apologize in advance for this morbid subject. But, a good friend asked me for advice and I'm not sure what to tell him. Here's the scenario:

 

[ol]Chad and Brad have lived together in a monogamous relationship for over 15 years.

 

Chad and Brad were both previously married and their children know NOTHING about their lifestyle or relationship. (The children live about 1,000 miles away in distant states.)

 

Chad is approximately 70 and and Brad is about 73. Both have health issues and I suspect one (or both) may die in the next 1-2 years.[/ol]

Chad asked me what he should do if he wakes up one morning and finds that Brad has expired in his sleep. Should he call 911? Should he just call a funeral home? Should he call Brad's doctor?

 

Their home (and bedroom) is filled with gay-related decorations. Plus, both are very private people and so they don't invite "strangers" into their home. Chad is concerned that emergency responders would question their relationship based on their home decor.

 

Chad specifically asked:

 

[ol]Do I take time to remove all the gay decorations before having the body taken away?

 

Could I get in "trouble" for not calling 911 immediately on an obviously dead person?

 

What do I do if Brad dies while I'm out of the house and I come home and find him dead. Does it matter that it was an unattended death?[/ol]

So, what are the logistics involved for a dead partner who dies at home? Chad's not concerned about funeral, burial / cremation, etc. He's more concerned about what his immediate actions should be and what agency or organization to call for assistance.

 

Appreciate your feedback.

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Chad and Brad should see a lawyer to draw up the proper documents for power of attorney and durable pow. There relationship can be explained any way that they see fit, and one can be given authority to sanitize the others belongings.

I can't help but say that it is sad to have to live (and die) in the closet at that age. It's often the case that the children and family know more than they let on anyway. But, to each his own. I can only choose for myself. Those in that situation know more than I do why they need to do as they do.

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I agree with all the stuff about getting the legal stuff in place, but that isn't what was asked.

 

>Chad specifically asked:

>

>Do I take time to remove all the gay decorations before

>having the body taken away?

 

Absolutely not. It would be tampering with a potential crime scene, at least until investigators determine it isn't one. And it may be seen as intentionally delaying medical attention.

 

>Could I get in "trouble" for not calling 911

>immediately on an obviously dead person?

 

He could if there's a chance that medical attention might have prevented the death. DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN THAT POSITION. Let a medical professional make that call.

 

>What do I do if Brad dies while I'm out of the house and I

>come home and find him dead. Does it matter that it was an

>unattended death?

 

Call 911. Immediately and without hesitation. Absolutely.

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God, is it me or is this the most depressing thread ever?

 

Maybe it's just my perception because I'm not 'out' either. I have friends from Hooville who obviously know and I'm sure a couple friends/relatives suspect, but I just don't see the point in coming out. However, I'd decided for a while now that if somebody flat asked me there's also no reason to lie... The closet isn't all that important to me one way or the other.

 

But to imagine being 70/73 and *desperate* to stay in the closet... 'Is it OK to hide the gay stuff before calling the paramedics?'

 

Seriously?

 

I mean I know there'd be generational stuff at play here and I can really understand they'd see no reason to involve their families (especially if not close). But if wondering where to stash anything gay is the most thought they've put into what's going to happen should either die--with apparently *no* thought into what will happen if either gets sick first, well, it's very hard to believe anybody could be so shortsighted yet still competent to sign the paperwork mentioned.

 

Anybody else with me here?

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Guest ncm2169

I have strict instructions that my roomie is to remove my computer upon any misadventure.

 

Whatever is left over they can have. }(

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Guest zipperzone

>I have strict instructions that my roomie is to remove my

>computer upon any misadventure.

>

>Whatever is left over they can have. }(

 

That could place your roomie in an awkward position. If it is know that you have a computer(s) and it/they have vanished and the roomie is the only person who could have had access to them.......

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Guest zipperzone

>Their home (and bedroom) is filled with gay-related

>decorations. Plus, both are very private people and so they

>don't invite "strangers" into their home. Chad is

>concerned that emergency responders would question their

>relationship based on their home decor.

 

What concern is it of emergency responders what they display in their home and why would they care. I'm sure it's not the first or last time they experience two people living a gay lifestyle.

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>I agree with all the stuff about getting the legal stuff in

>place, but that isn't what was asked.

>

 

Well, it could come into play, but only if one of the legal documents was a "Do Not Resuscitate" order. Both members of couple should have Advanced Directives which leave directions for what their wishes are in case they are no longer able to speak for themselves. They should also name each other as surrogate decision-makers through DPA forms.

In most cases, 911 should be called, since lay people can't pronounce death. However, often in the case of terminal patients with DNR orders, the funeral home can be contacted directly (you may wish to contact your local hospice with this info). In fact, when paramedics are called, they usually are required to take all resuscitation efforts unless there are very specific forms clearly made available at the time they come in. This may lead to a messy death which might not have been part of the patient's wishes.

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Guest msclonly

You can't take it with you!

 

I am amazed that no one mentioned getting rid of the stuff now or beforehand, so that no one has to worry what to do with it at the last minute, which probly wouldn't happen anyway. No need for the survivor having to clean up the place by himself.

 

I know many Seniors who get rid of a lot of stuff as part of reaching the 60-70 years of age. Best to give it away or trashing it, then worrying about it, especially if it has little value as fine art, etc.

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I think it's good that your friends are preparing themselves for what the future may bring. The law may vary by state and locality, and the local coroner's office may be a good source for legal questions.

 

But I would encourage them to broaden their questions beyond what they have asked you. What if Brad wanted to receive health or hospice care in his home; would he forego it, or would he put his "gay" belongings in storage? What would Chad do if he woke up and found Brad in distress; would he hold off calling 911 until he "straightened up" the bedroom? If he did find Brad had passed on, would he want to start disassembling the environment that they had created together; or would he rather hold Brad in his arms and say goodbye?

 

I understand that they have built a well-guarded closet for themselves, and don't need anyone to judge their choices. But it sounds like their reality may be changing, and it's very possible that strangers will be coming into their home for many reasons. If Chad and Brad could become comfortable with the idea that those strangers are there to help them, and not to judge them, it might make this part of their lives much easier.

 

They may want to consider some professional counseling to help them work through these decisions. They're lucky to have your friendship, and each other.

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I just have 2 questions:

 

1. What are gay decorations? A bouquet of wax dildos? Decoupage made with cum instead of lacquer? A framed portrait of Paul Lynde taking loads in the Meat Rack on Fire Island? :p

 

2. What is a gay lifestyle? My lifestyle is very different from my gay CEO friend's, which in turn is very different from the lifestyle of an unemployed gay couple living in a trailer park. I've always thought "gay" was your sexual orientation, but "lifestyle" took into account economic level, personal habits, tastes, etc., and that it's also a word used against us by homophobes. Can't we say "being gay" instead of "living the gay lifestyle"? Can't we say "masculine" instead of "straight acting"? Can't we all just get along? (Oops, sorry, that's Rodney King.) :p

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There are so many points to make related to this question - and not enough time to make them all.

 

However, I will clear up one misconception that seems to have been noted a couple of times.

 

If someone dies (or is found dead) there is NO REASON to call 911. You should call the funeral home or mortuary and say that "my friend" has died. They will come and take care of the rest. If the person in question is in distress then 911 should be called.

 

However, if someone has already died, then 911 is not necessary.

 

Another tip might be to find a local funeral home and make pre-arrangements for both people. This puts many of the questions to rest and the surviving person already has a number to call for removal of the body.

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+1 They really need to make plans and talk to people with experience. Lawyer first and make final arrangements second. Good lawyer though--there are a lot of assholes out there who either recommend against a trust or set it up wrong so they can make tens of thousands in probate while they drag the loved ones through hell for a couple years.

 

http://www.neptunesociety.com/

--A lot better then dealing with what many feel the worst of the worst used-car salesmen become when they grow up (funeral home directors).

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Many thanks to those who responded and offered advice. The idea of having a power-of-attorney (including DNR instructions) is crucial and something Chad has previously indicated he wants to do.

 

But, I'm having trouble reconciling the core question of what to do if Brad dies in his sleep and is found by Chad when he awakes. My personal opinion is identical to deej that he shouldn't be messing with the house decorations, altering the scene, or delaying notification. Also have the same concern that deej and Unicorn expressed that lay people can't legally pronounce a death. I think that's an important point.

 

However, I'm torn on the issue of calling 911. For an attended death (died in his sleep at night) then I think a non-emergency call to the police to report a death is appropriate. But, rentingdad's suggestion of calling the funeral home directly also makes sense. I'm going to encourage Chad to make pre-arrangements for himself. I'm sure the funeral home will prodive specific instructions on who to call. Hopefully, Brad will follow Chad's lead and also make pre-arrangements.

 

ncm2169's comments on removing the computer is exactly what Chad and Brad have instructed me to do with their computers. But, zipperzone brings out a good point that this should probably be done in writing to alleviate issues with the relatives since they communicate weekly by e-mail and know they each own a computer.

 

To answer Rick Munroe's question, the gay decorations they're most concerned about others seeing are the male nude calendars in the bedroom. Yes, one of them has a nude calendar fetish and there's at least 15 current-year calendars on the walls and a couple of large nude framed art pieces. There are several male nude figurines in the living room.

 

Again, I appreciate the comments and suggestions.

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I just don't see the problem in sanitizing the scene, unless it is possible that the death was caused/affected by, say, a dildo. Or a bottle of poppers. That I would then leave in place, so the cause of death can be determined without having altered anything. But, getting rid of calendars, stored dildos, figurines, well, that is up to the party surviving.

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>However, I'm torn on the issue of calling 911.

 

It's a tough call, pardon the expression.

 

In some cases, and some locales, you're OK calling a funeral director. In others, the coroner needs to be the first call.

 

911 operators know who to involve in your locale. They don't necessarily always respond with an ambulance.

 

An attended death generally implies hospice or other care is present. In those cases, they'll know what to do. Let them. They are a tremendous help. (When mom passed, in the middle of the night, my sister and I were left alone to grieve while the hospice nurse took care of everything.)

 

When a friend's wife drank herself to death, he arrived home one day to find her on the floor. (Unfortunately, this was not unusual.) But it was clear she was not breathing. He called the coroner, and the coroner called emergency services and the police. They all arrived together.

 

May as well start with 911 and make sure all the bases are covered.

 

That's what we pay them for.

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one finger...it was nice of you to answer some of these questions....especially when some...well, at least one... respondent had no real interest...some good advice....particularly around not caring about the opinions of the first responders, if they are needed... and about skipping the 911 call

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>>Chad specifically asked:

>

>[ol]Do I take time to remove all the gay decorations before

>having the body taken away?

>

>Could I get in "trouble" for not calling 911

>immediately on an obviously dead person?

>

>What do I do if Brad dies while I'm out of the house and I

>come home and find him dead. Does it matter that it was an

>unattended death?[/ol]

>So, what are the logistics involved for a dead partner who

>dies at home? Chad's not concerned about funeral, burial /

>cremation, etc. He's more concerned about what his immediate

>actions should be and what agency or organization to call for

>assistance.

>

>Appreciate your feedback.

>Having lived through the death of my wife at my home there was a quite a bit that I did not know. After my wife died, I took the time to clean her and dress her so that she would not be wheeled out of the home and exposed in any way. I did this for her, she had a sense of dignity and privacy that I think would have been compromised and I did it for me as a last act of love and caring before dealing with the reality of her death. After lying on the bed with her for a short time, composing myself and having some last words in the privacy of our home, I called the funeral home. They informed me that in my area, the police must be called for any unattended death. I then called the police, who came to my home at 3 AM and who did a perfunctory evaluation. They did ask me who had dressed the body and why and they did bring me to another room while they did whatever evaluation that had to do. They did examine the entire house superficially but did not open drawers or closets (figurative or literal). They then asked for details of her expected death and her doctor was contacted and then the police left. I called the funeral home at 4 AM and they came about 9 AM. In the interim I called a few friends who came to my home to support me and to say their own goodbyes.

If the person has had an expected death, this scene or some close variation will take place. If the death is unexpected, the police will call the doctor and the medical examiner to evaluate whether or not there is a suggestion of foul play. If there is, the medical examiner will arrange to have the body autopsied. If not, you will then be allowed to make your arrangements.

Now if that person is still alive and death was not anticipated as imminent, any delay is to be avoided and 911 should be called. This is the situation where a living will should be signed and available for review by the hospital staff.

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I can't imagine that emergency responders will be paying a lot of attention to artwork, or even to the calendars, and even if they notice them, they aren't likely to care, if they are professionals. Of course, if the men live in a small town in a conservative area, it's possible that there might be some local gossip, but that has probably already started because they are two men living together. It's also always possible that the person who finds the body might not be the partner, or he might not be alone when it happens, so if they are really concerned about potential embarrassment, they might consider redecorating.

 

A pre-arrangement with an undertaker is a good idea (I had one when my mother was in hospice care in Pennsylvania and I lived in California, and it was a great help when she died), and the undertaker can probably also answer the question about who has to be contacted in that locale.

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Guest Callipygean

Admittedly an uncomfortable issue to deal with, OneFinger, but no need to regard it as morbid. Death is just a part of life, and as has been succinctly pointed out, none of us is getting out alive :) It is not a thing we eagerly anticipate, nor should we dwell on it, but as Shakespeare so eloquently put it, "It seems to me most strange that men should fear; seeing death, a necessary end, will come when it will come".

 

Philosophical musings aside, I think the key to make one's death as smooth a passage as possible, for oneself and all else concerned, is prior planning. It's never too early to do this. I'm not sure what the situation is where you or your friends are, but here in Canada there are organizations like the Memorial Society, which will assist in pre-planning one's death, including wills, all aspects of funeral arrangements (such as the who, and how, of disposal of remains), and "living wills" (aka advanced directives), which set out one's specific intentions and instructions in the event of terminal incapacitation. Better to make those determinations clear in advance, than burden friends, family or loved ones with those decisions -- if the need arises, they will have peace of mind, at least, in knowing they are carrying out your wishes. These kinds of arrangements, together with wills, are best worked out and drawn up in consultation with a lawyer -- it is well worth the time and expense of doing so. I have pre-planned (and pre-paid) all my arrangements, gone over everything thoroughly with my friends, and left them copies of everything they will need when the time comes. I'm set to go. :)

 

This may seem a macabre undertaking, to be sure, but once it is done, then you can put it all aside, forget about it, and get on with the business of enjoying life. Secure in the knowledge that ones' death, whenever it comes, will be as untraumatic an ordeal as it can be for those left behind. I am eternally grateful to both my mother and my partner for making such pre-planned arrangements. When they died, all I had to do was make a single phonecall to the Memorial Society, and from that point on, everything went on full automatic. I had nothing more to do but to get through my own grieving process. That's enough for anyone to deal with at that time.

 

In matters of privacy, whatever our own convictions, it is not for any of us to judge on behalf of others, either during life or after it ends. If it is something that truly matters to an individual, then all the more reason to take the pre-emptive measures required to ensure that privacy is respected, in death as in life.

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>2. My lifestyle is very different

>from my gay CEO friend's, which in turn is very different from

>the lifestyle of an unemployed gay couple living in a trailer

>park. > Unemployed gay couple living in a trailer park gives new meaning to term double wide. Wherever that couple is living, I think we here in hooville should start a charity for them "Gays Living in Trailer Zones" GLITZ and perhaps arrange to buy them some taffeta curtains and a demitasse set.

>

 

 

I have never seen a purplekow;

I never hope to see one;

I can tell you anyhow;

I'd rather see than be one

 

Help there is a purplekow in my mirror

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>After my wife died, I

>took the time to clean her and dress her so that she would not

>be wheeled out of the home and exposed in any way. I did this

>for her, she had a sense of dignity and privacy that I think

>would have been compromised and I did it for me as a last act

>of love and caring before dealing with the reality of her

>death. After lying on the bed with her for a short time,

>composing myself and having some last words in the privacy of

>our home, I called the funeral home.

 

P-kow, thanks for sharing such an intimate and personal story. I was moved by it...

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I have taken some of the posts in this thread to heart, and I have just instructed Derek that in the event I die before he does, he is not to put my Cher dolls on eBay. He must care for them and shampoo their long, luxuriant hair twice monthly. I'm putting it in writing. :p

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