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Rod McLeod Morrison

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[00:00:00] He died of AIDS. Age. [00:00:06] We've been together for about 20 years. 20 odd years, and I had moved away for a while. [00:00:13] And then came back. And [00:00:17] I thought something wasn't right. And [00:00:20] I guess that he was positive for some time. And then finally he told me, and so for the last three years, you know, so it was sort of, we're still very close very together. Then he had to go into hospital, he had numerous doses, pneumonia, whatever it is. And he came out. And he always sort of, is I'm fine. I'm fine. He was always wanting to lead his own, you know, look after himself, he didn't want to bother anybody. [00:00:53] Towards the end, though, he was getting [00:00:56] quite bad. [00:01:00] Hit [00:01:02] with [00:01:04] it. We woke up one Saturday morning, and no, sorry, on a Friday night, arrived home and it's a soft cooked [00:01:12] dinner. So late dinner out. [00:01:14] And we started eating us. And they promptly brought it all up all over the table. And this is having a couple of times. And so I said, Well, I'll look after myself. [00:01:25] I don't want. [00:01:28] I don't like this. I don't want to put you through to anything. And the next day woke up. And he was talking funny. And he wanted to go out to power. And he insisted on going out to power. So we drove out there. And I'm so concerned that I said, Well, unless I drive back, I'm catching the train back. I won't drive with you. [00:01:51] And [00:01:52] so we I drove home, and I said I think Chicago, rehab the hospital and go to the hospital very wouldn't. So I rang the RMB, his doctor and the doctor came around and the doctor said he's got to go into hospital, but he won't go is the virus has hit the nerve center of the brain. He's paralyzed on the right side of his face and the left side of his body. That was on the Saturday on the Tuesday, I went in to see him and had an argument with them up in the ward, because they wouldn't let me in. [00:02:26] Eventually, I [00:02:28] got him to see him. And [00:02:30] he was getting better. [00:02:33] I knew the doctor and the doctor took me to one side and said, Well, you know, we're getting fixed up. [00:02:39] He's probably got [00:02:41] eight to 10 months of quality life left, that will probably need somebody full time to look after him. So I said that's all right. He accepted that. And I sat with him. And then he asked me to get the doctor again. The doctor came in and he said he had painted his chest. [00:03:01] So they examined him and discovered her pleurisy. [00:03:05] And they then said that [00:03:09] they would be able to treat that and that he'd be able to go home by the weekend. On the Wednesday I went in to see him and he was much brighter and what have you. And the evening he wasn't so hot. And he said will you go home, feed the dogs and come back and start with me. as well. I'll start with you. The dogs can wait. And then he said, Well, you hold my hand until I go to sleep. So I sat there holding his hand. And about half past 10 at night he says I'm going to sleep now. Go home. [00:03:53] I'll see you tomorrow. [00:03:57] So [00:03:59] I said with him until he been to sleep and I've been home. quarter past 12 in the morning, I got a phone call to say that doing a routine check not found him lying on the floor did [00:04:15] and [00:04:22] just died. [00:04:39] Well, Michael and I first met [00:04:43] in [00:04:46] 1970. [00:04:50] I was in the Air Force at the time. I was also married at the time. We I came to well turn and through going to gay pubs and clubs. I'd met a group of people and become friendly with them. And this couple had said that they had another flatmate who was way overseas and had been away for about eight months during a world tour. And I've been to their place a few times for dinner. And they told me that Michael was that their flatmate Michael was coming back from England and now can have a welcome home dinner. And they invited me along to meet him. And so I went along and last night and met Michael, who's [00:05:42] quite a tall guy with [00:05:44] very sort of straggly Einstein like here out all over the place and, [00:05:49] and a bit of a bit, [00:05:51] a very much an extrovert, [00:05:54] and talk to talks incessantly the whole night about his trip around Europe. [00:06:00] And as I news, [00:06:03] some of the places you've been to what have you, we sort of talked about the, our own impressions of them. And we talked until quite early in the morning. And then I went home and I sort of thought about and I thought this isn't my ideal sort of the man. You know, sort of I think my ideal sort of man was sort of a very muscular Metro looking man, builder, or bricklayer or something. So the ideal man that every woman every man wants to emulate and kind of go for. But I was quite intrigued with Michael. And so when he rang up a few days later and said, I'd [00:06:47] like to meet for a cup of coffee. [00:06:49] I suggest and Sophie event, met about three o'clock in the afternoon. And about four o'clock the following morning, finally got home again, having spent a little so time talking and walking and drinking coffee and eating and then going to drinking some going to a pub. And I actually found a very easy to talk with. And we also discovered that we also had a lot of similar likes and dislikes and comment. And so we started meeting once a week, twice a week concert escalated. And then eventually, one Saturday night, we've been out. And we've had a lot of fun. And he says why why bother going home? Why don't you stay here the night. And so I didn't have any problem with that at all. So we found to be together. And everything happens that happens and beard. And I decided I rather like the guy and I rather like being there with him, I found great comfort, being with him. [00:07:59] And so started [00:08:03] suppose what led into 20 years of [00:08:07] happiness. [00:08:13] He [00:08:15] didn't want anybody to know, he didn't want any of our friends to know he didn't want his. He didn't want him to have anything to do with the AIDS Foundation. Because in the early days, there were several things that were done, which were pretty upsetting to some people. Information leaked out and everybody knew what was happening with everybody else. So basically, he just wants to stay home be looked after, by me, which I was quite happy to do. He went in and out of hospital a few times. He had a local doctor looking after him. There were good days or bad days. That then towards the end of 1999. I think it was things were getting worse, his down periods were a lot more frequent. His periods in hospital were a lot more frequent. He was having to go weekly for inhalers treatment for numerous doses. [00:09:23] He was losing a lot of weight. [00:09:26] He was having trouble keeping food down. [00:09:29] And they were sort of combating most of that. So he'd sort of be right for a couple of months, and then he'd go back down again. [00:09:45] During the day, he was a lot [00:09:48] better than he was at nighttime nighttime, it seemed to hit him very hard. Where he wouldn't be able to move, we wouldn't be able to walk properly. He'd be extremely weak, [00:10:01] uncontrollable [00:10:03] vomiting, diarrhea. [00:10:07] And so basically, I was [00:10:10] sort of checking on them during the night and cleaning them up. [00:10:16] And looking after him. [00:10:19] And then [00:10:22] towards the end, things go very bad. [00:10:42] we bounced off each other, [00:10:45] probably for our own benefits. And certainly for our own good. We probably were a good reflection of each other to in that [00:11:00] his [00:11:01] outspokenness, his loudness, his always rushing about at 100 miles an hour. And never stopping to think probably reflected very good on my quietness, my being able to sort of take things a lot easier and to think about doing things before doing it where he just went ahead and did it. Where I would sort of think and say Should I do it Should I do it will be good will will not be good. By the time I'm finished arguing with myself. It's too late. He would probably where you would wake up and you say, let's go up to live in. today. We're living now. And so before I had time to think about the pros and cons and whether it was good or not, would be on our way. So we were a good reflection of each other and probably in some respects opposites. That also alike in a lot of ways to. He was always he always involved himself. In other people. He was probably one of the kindest, and gentleness people I know. who also had quite a temper on him. He was a miser. And he would we were living in kill Bernie, he would walk down to the supermarket. And then he would come back and go through the tool tape and say they've ever charged me two cents, and so walk back down to claim his two cents back. Likewise, it was one of the most honest so if they'd overpay, if they'd given him too much change, he would walk back and give back to them. He was a miser to the point of engaging himself at once when he had come home from his job. And he said he had the stomach ache and it wasn't feeling too good to been to the doctor and the doctor wasn't certain what was wrong. He said, Well, if it gets any worse, over the weekend goes to the hospital. So he went to bed on the Friday night and Saturday morning and half past six in the morning. I woke up to him moving about. I said What's wrong? He says I'm a terrible pain is real agonies. I'm going to the hospital. I saw Dr. Yoga. No, no, no, no, you stay where you are. I'm all right. So So I've made my own way. And it was can be very stubborn that way. So okay, well, good. Texas notes. [00:13:28] All right, I'll grab a bus. [00:13:32] So anyway, off the wind. And then I got a phone call from the hospital say he was in surgery, he had his appendix burst, and that they were operating on him straight away. When he came out of anesthetic and everything else, well, why didn't you let me drive your get to Texas? Well, I walked up to the bus stop, and there's no buses coming. So I walked to the hospital I thought would be all right. And besides five pay for texting, and it would have cost me $1 on the bus. And so it's sort of quite mean. But it was also one of the most generous people that I know he would if somebody needed help or somebody needed something. He would open his heart, his house, his wallet, whatever, and give it to them. You never turned anybody away. He never [00:14:25] turned anybody down. [00:14:37] I think he died the way he wanted. He didn't want never liked to first. And he also fairly private person, and [00:14:47] he [00:14:50] wouldn't want wanted anybody there. [00:14:56] I think he decided himself that [00:15:02] that was the time. [00:15:06] He would have hated living on having to have somebody do everything for him to have lost that control over his own life, his own actions. I think he decided himself that that was the time. And that was the place. I believe he did it, then he wouldn't have wanted me there. [00:15:38] I think he would have wanted me to be as upset as I was. [00:15:45] I was angry that he had done it. I was very angry [00:15:52] that he'd [00:15:55] done net without saying anything. [00:15:58] Without letting me know. [00:16:08] That's what he wanted. That's the way who else [00:16:13] I can understand it. [00:16:20] No, I feel safe at the same after that. [00:16:34] I had to go home and bring his family and tell his family that tell his father and his brother that it died. [00:16:44] Because he had [00:16:48] never been able to tell them he never told them he was gay. I couldn't tell them that he'd had AIDS. [00:16:57] I told him he died a pleurisy. [00:17:03] And they came up. [00:17:06] They wanted to see the body but they couldn't because when the body was taken to the morgue, because Michael died of AIDS, they wouldn't put him near any of the other bodies or in the cello cabinet. And his body had deteriorated to such an extent that they couldn't allow anybody to view the body. Michael has never been a religious person. And he always said that when he died, he wanted to be cremated. And then two days after the commotion, to have the notice in the paper that he had died and people to be informed. [00:17:50] And that's what he said he'd Lyft and as will [00:17:55] ever about six months beforehand. [00:17:59] It comes down to tears. [00:18:02] And come to me he says you don't agree with me putting the notes in the paper after I've been committed to you. I said no. I said I felt that some fear on his friends [00:18:15] and those who loved him [00:18:17] not to be able to [00:18:19] be part of saying goodbye. Not being able to share what they felt and to be able to express their sorrow and being able to say their goodbyes in some way that he was depriving them of [00:18:35] the actions of saying goodbye. [00:18:39] So it's about [00:18:43] if you will do it, you can take a funeral service, but only if you do it. [00:18:51] So I agree to that. [00:18:55] Sorry, I took his funeral service. He had it all planned out is [00:18:58] exactly what he wanted, [00:19:01] what music he wanted. [00:19:05] And he wanted to send in the clowns to be played as funeral started. [00:19:13] And as a funeral, [00:19:16] also a chaplain at the time. So there was my little white robes, walking up the aisle to the coffin ahead to the tune of send in the clowns. And I had to laugh [00:19:30] because I thought this is his final revenge on me [00:19:33] that here I am pumping up [00:19:36] all made up and white robes and what have you to his favorite tune of sending the clowns and the biggest clown of all was walking up the aisle. Shortly after we started the funeral, the dogs which have been kept in the car got out of the car. [00:19:57] And I came running into the chapel [00:20:01] right up front and set the coffin. And [00:20:10] awesome [00:20:22] he goes the same [00:20:26] as he would have laughed all the time. [00:20:37] probably still laughing [00:20:50] 20 years [00:20:56] after 20 years so [00:20:59] so your life has stopped. [00:21:05] Nothing safe at the same. [00:21:09] The person you always talked to is no longer there. [00:21:15] person you felt comfortable just being beside [00:21:18] just sitting with not saying anything. It's no longer there. [00:21:27] If I say things if your life which becomes so natural, so routine. [00:21:35] It's no longer happening. [00:21:45] You've got to start all over again and you can't [00:21:53] surrounded by [00:21:56] things that remind you every day [00:22:02] surrounded by memories [00:22:06] never go away. [00:22:13] You live your life [00:22:16] hoping that doors can open. [00:22:22] He's going to come back. [00:22:28] You can hear the voice open for the [00:22:32] arguments [00:22:40] doesn't happen. [00:22:51] nobody really understands. [00:22:58] So you have to pretend you have to [00:23:02] laugh and joke. [00:23:11] Even now 10 years later, it's still here. It's [00:23:15] still empty. [00:23:22] Sure want one o'clock back. [00:23:27] Go back and do things all over again. Maybe different if the same.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.