Gary’s Story

Site created on April 20, 2018

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Journal entry by Michelle Maes

Thursday night my phone woke me up. Bellin hospital was calling to tell me Gary had coded. He had been on oxygen, and at some point between 10:30pm when he got his melatonin, and when he was checked at midnight, the cannula was out of his nose. His oxygen level was low, and then his heart stopped. The nurses and doctors worked for 20 minutes and were able to get his heart beating again. 

In the early hours of Friday, his family and I talked to the ICU doctor. He told us that with the 20 minutes of CPR, they were very concerned his brain didn't get the oxygen it needed. Neurology would be in to see him to give their input. 

He had been hooked up to a ventilator since coming out of the code. He would have small, frequent tremors, but the nurses gave him sedation which quelled them. 

After speaking with neurology, we learned that his brain truly had been deprived of oxygen for too long. He would never wake up, and he'd have no quality of life. This was what I was fearing from Day 1. 

We gathered the family, including my parents, brother, and sister-in-law who drove up from Illinois to say goodbye. 

Shortly after being taken off life support, I held my sweet Gary's hand as his heart stopped beating. The family was gathered around as his suffering ended. 

Gary was brave and strong and wonderful until the end. He has my heart, always. I know he'll keep it safe until we meet again. 

I miss him with every fiber of my being. 

Today is the first day in 13 years that I haven't seen or talked to him, and it's breaking my heart. 

The number of people who have reached out to me to tell me how he changed their life for the better has brought me comfort. 

Gary was my best friend, my one true love. I was so lucky he chose me to love and spend his life with. 

This part of our happily ever after may have ended far too soon for my liking (and I'm sure his), but I know one day I'll see him again. 

My life is filled with wonderful people who love me, and memories of a phenomenal man, so I know I will be okay. It won't be easy. How can it be when you lose your everything? I do have faith that one day, in the far off future, I will feel the sun's rays, and I will know that it's Gary saying hello. I know he would have held on for me, but it wouldn't have been fair to him. 

When they say a person passed peacefully, it's true. He was surrounded by the people who loved him best. The ICU nurse commented she rarely sees a patient with so many loved ones who come to say goodbye. Sadder are the ones who pass alone. 

Gary, I will love you until my heart takes its last beat and we can be together again. I can't imagine the party going on in heaven. Stay safe my love. 

Gary's obituary (ugh) is available online through Proko-Wall Funeral Home ( Please feel free to share his story, and celebrate his life with us. Knowing Gary meant you were bound to have fun and laugh. 

I'm forever grateful he made it to his benefit. How often does a person get to see just how loved they really are?! He was able to hold on to that beautiful memory as he passed from our world to the next. 

 ~ Michelle ~

Book one has ended. Check back in a couple months for book two. The hero of the story may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten. 

Thank you for loving Gary. It was pretty easy to do, wasn't it 😁 He was the best 😇❤ 

PS- Gary, I would really be grateful if you could tell me your password for your password app 😉 Maybe tonight in a dream, okay? 
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