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Welcome to Keith's Beloved Hearts Memorial

Keith's Beloved Hearts Memorial

Memories of Keith

Keith was a wonderful and caring man. I met him 8 years ago, on-line, as they usually do it these days. Keith had cerebral palsy, and was self-conscious about having me look his legs, which were slightly bent, and was concerned about how I viewed his body, when I just saw a
beautiful man. I never minded about the cerebral palsy. It was his soul that I was looking at. He had a pure soul. He was very giving, tender and loving. However, his mother did not approve of our relationship from the start. She was pretty upset when she thought about Keith and I. I feel sorry for her, but there is nothing that I can do about it. Keith's original passion was to go into the Dominican Order in San Antonio, TX. He tried for 2 seasons. He felt that God was calling out to him to be a priest, but what he was really doing was, running away from his pain, running away from being a gay man, and running away from his family, who only accepted Keith conditionally. You see, Keith was not her natural child. He was an orphan baby in Helena Montana. He was adopted at 3 months of age, while still at the hospital. The nurses named him Keith. A wonderful family couldn't conceive a child, but they wanted children so badly, so they adopted Keith, knowing that he had cerebral palsy. They also adopted 2 other girls, as babies. Keith was the oldest. He had many operations to straighten out his legs. On his 14th birthday, Keith found himself at Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children in Washington state, where he was to have yet another operation. The family resided in Montana, and they packed up their station wagon with Keith's sister Klarie, Kathy, their dog and their grandfather. They were about an hour out of Helena, when a tractor-trailer rig struck them from behind. Their car exploded, and Klarie was ejected from the car in flames. Another motorist stopped by and rescued Klarie and put out the flames. Klarie ended up in a 6-month coma, she had broken her back in several places, and during the medically induced coma, and she lost a part of her cognitive function. Keith was alerted about the accident via a doctor and nurse who told him that his family had perished in the accident, with the exception of Klarie. He was devastated beyond all words. It is this accident that spoiled Keith's life forever. He had always blamed him self for the accident, and even though Klarie eventually recovered, she was scarred with 50% of her flesh burned , and had to learn to walk again because of her broken back. She loved her brother dearly, and never blamed him for the accident. After Keith went to live with his "aunt-mom", and "uncle-dad, (Keith's father's brother, they lived with other cousins, which eventually became his brothers. He had to attend school, and had special dispensation due to his cerebral palsy. As Keith matured, and finished high school, he decided to attend UPS, the University of Puget Sound, where he acquired a batchelors degree. I don't know what his major was, but I believe it was in English, as I recall Keith talking about it. After that, Keith transferred college and ended up bring transferred to the University of New Mexico. He acquired a Masters degree in Spanish, and also went to Brazil to study. He was also a teaching assistant at the University of New Mexico; it was there that Keith discovered that he was gay. He said that he always knew it, but he came out to his "uncle-dad", as this was his closest perantel figure, after his adopted father, having perished in the car accident. While Keith attended University, he saw an opportunity to volunteer with the AIDS Buddy Program, which he never told his family about. He had been assigned several individuals, with whom he would assist. Keith told me about all of the adventures that he had with the AIDS buddies, unfortunately all of them had died - as this was in the 90's, before the medication could sustain a life. During this time Keith became interested in the Catholic faith, which eventually drove him into enlisting with the Dominican Friars. He tried for nearly 3 years, but it was not for him to be a friar. He was deeply religious and faithful, and this is where the story turns. After 2 years of being home in Albuquerque, he went on-line on the Internet, and looked me up. We chatted few times, and then it was forgotten. About 1 1/2 years later though he looked me up again , and we chatted. I was living in Sacramento, CA and he in Albuquerque, NM. He said that he had a friend in Sacramento that he wanted to see, and asked me if he could meet me. He had already told me about his cerebral palsy, so that was not an issue for me at all. I just wanted to meet a nice friendly guy. Well, it turned out that he was really anxious to meet with me, and he used his friend as a ruse. We met, and when he departed the escalator, and I saw his feet, I fell instantly in love; it was something in my soul that stirred that said that we would be together forever. I got Keith into my apartment, and we introduced ourselves formally, then the passionate kisses came. He was a little guy, just my size, as I am also thin and small. We felt like school kids. His visit was short, only 4 days, but we made the most of it. Then, we started the flying back and forth every 2 weeks, for nearly 3 months. The credit card debt was mounting, and then one day I asked Keith, "what are we doing? We can't be doing this forever!” That's when Keith decided he'd make the move to Sacramento. After a few more flights, everything was in place; Keith had decided to get rid of everything except the bare essentials, which he would pack in his car. The last time I flew to ABQ, to pick up Keith, was in August of 2007. We made the drive back to Northern California, without event, and soon, I had Keith living in my bungalow. The first 2 years were wonderful, and we would stay up until dawn talking, or making something to eat. However later on, things began to change. Keith was a recovered alcoholic, and he had relapsed. It was very painful for both of us. At first the issues had to do with his family, and feeling guilty for living, when his family had died, then a year went by, and we had decided to get married before California overturned prop. 8. This was in 2008. That was a happy time for both of us, but, unfortunately it wasn't to last for very long. Keith began drinking again, and passing out, then out would come the hurtful words. I knew that he didn't really mean it, but the words hurt, none-the-less, One day Keith stated to me that he had a dream about my dad. My dad has dementia, and Keith had an idea, that we should move from our bungalow in Sacramento, down to Modesto, CA, about 90 miles south, purchase a home and to help with taking care of my dad. At first, I thought it was a crazy idea, but then I began to warm up to it. So I went to Modesto, hired a real estate agent, then the search for the house began. There were stipulations for the house; it had to be one level, and very few steps to the front door. It was hard to find houses that we could afford, like that. We had submitted offers to different homes, and all of them were rejected. After a while, it seemed that Keith's plan wasn't going to work out after all. That's when I decided that we should move back to Albuquerque. That was in 2009, in the fall. We eventually found a condo that would suit Keith's cerebral palsy. It was larger than our bungalow, but small enough to keep up So we flew to Albuquerque to look at this condo, we found it suitable, although I wanted a real back yard, Keith was happy with a patio, so we made the deal, and within 2 months we were back in Albuquerque - a city that I had no idea about. The problem was that Keith was rather introverted, and rarely left the house except for grocery shopping. That left me to find my own way about town, which I eventually did, with the aid of a GPS in the car. I wasn't working, and Keith had never had a real job due to his disability, so he was on Social Security. I had tried various jobs, part time, so that I could care for Keith. Eventually I went on Social Security Disability, for panic, anxiety and depression disorders. So here we were in New Mexico, both on disability. Financially we were able to keep our home, because of an annuity that Keith had acquired, after the accident. He was made a beneficiary with his sister Klarie. The money was tight, but we made it work. Although Keith was back in New Mexico with friends he knew, he started his drinking cycle again. It would ebb and flow. Sometimes it was pretty bad, and Keith had to be hospitalized. He had clinical depression, which didn't help things, along with my own depression diagnosis. Last September he was hospitalized because he was so dehydrated from consuming so much alcohol. I went to visit him every day, and thought to my self, that this would break him of his alcoholic cycle, but it was short lived. Within 3 weeks he began to drink again. He did not attend AA regularly, and even brought home booze, after attending a meeting. He had a death wish for over 2 years that I knew of, and said that life was not worth living. He was in constant pain from his aching joints and legs, and said that alcohol was the only way to numb the pain. He prayed to God often, stating that he wanted to be taken home. I know that he loved me, as he told me several times. There were years of cards and flowers demonstrating his love for me. There were also hurtful words, and sometimes Keith told me that I should leave him, but how could I leave the man that I loved. Crippled not by his legs, but alcohol? I vowed to stay by his side, forever. When we had gotten married in 2008, I promised him 25 years of love, and if (in my 80's), I decided I wanted out, then I would do it. In my mind he was the perfect man for me, sensitive, caring, generous and loving. He was a very tender man when he wasn't drinking, and loved our 3 cats, one that is cross-eyed, has a bent spine, and only 3 legs. He fell in love with my Joy, when he fell in love with me. Our wedding pictures are a testament to our love, but it would not endure, as I had hoped. Last May Keith entered rehab, for 40 days. They were excruciating days for me, as I missed him so much. I only got to see him on Sundays for 2 hours, and call him every other day for 5 minutes. Our love for each other was so strong, and I was so hopeful that this last stint at rehab would turn out okay. Well, his sister came to visit us, after Keith left rehab, and she stayed with us for 10 days. It was during that time, that Keith eventually went to a liquor store and bought a pint of vodka that he kept in the car. His sister asked him to give it to her to pour out, but he refused. He said that he kept it for a safety net, in case he needed a drink. It turned out that the rehab would only delay the inevitable. Klarie left for home on August 11th, and that was the last day she was to see her brother alive. Once Klarie was gone, Keith began to drink heavily, and it was all I could do to keep him feed and clean. On August 27th it was my 56th birthday, he had ordered a dozen roses for me, which were past their bloom, so that mean they wouldn't last long. I took a picture of them with me in the frame. On August 30th, I got up in the morning to find Keith passed out in the kitchen. I propped a pillow under his head until he woke up. On August 31st, the fateful day came upon us. I had been watching TV with Keith in our recliners, we were watching a series on DVD, when at 7:00 p.m., and I asked him if he wanted to eat dinner. I asked him 3 times, and all he did was to blow smoke in my face from a cigarette. I thought he was mad at me, but I didn't know why. So I just continued to watch the program, then at 8:30 p.m., he announced to me that if I didn't like the way he lived, that I should just leave him. I told him that I was his forever, and that I loved him, and would not leave. Suddenly at 10:30 p.m., he stated to me that he was hungry, by then I was upset with him because I had offered dinner to him earlier. Although Keith had cerebreal palsy, he could still walk around, drive a car, shop, etc., so I felt as though he was just using me as a maid. Even though I was upset, I got up from the chair and took food out of the refrigerator to heat up in the microwave. I cut Keith a small strip of steak, prepared with mixed vegetables and potatoes, heated it up and served it to him. When I presented the plate of food, he ate ravenously I told him to slow down, or he would choke on his food. 15 minutes later he asked me for more steak, even though there was some on his plate. I told him I would fix him a new plate as soon as he finished up his food on his plate. He woofed his food down so fast - then it happened. He got quiet, turned to me looked at me then at the TV, then a few min later, I didn't hear anything from him, and saw that he had passed out from all of the booze in his system. I continued watching TV, thinking, that Keith had simply passed out, as he has usually done, over the years, then wake up 15 min. to 30 min. later, as was his pattern. It was only after the movie ended, that I walked up to the DVD player to take the disc out, and turned to him, to tell him that I was going to bed, that I noted that Keith hadn't just passed out as usual, he looked different and his head was red. I walked up to him and called his name, then shook him, then, he was unresponsive, and took him out of his chair and called 911 - they advised CPR, which I did, but did not get any response. I was in shock, my beloved Keith was really gone, and I just couldn't believe it. He had passed out so many times in the past with a plate of food in front of him, then woke up, and resumed eating. He had been drinking all day, which wasn't unusual, but at this time and at this moment, God had finally called him home. Keith wanted to be with the Lord above all else, above his love for me and for his family. He had evn told his therapist that all he wanted to do was die. Keith had a Do Not Resuscitate Order, on the refrigerator. As soon as the paramedics read that notice, they stopped CPR on Keith and confirmed that he was really gone, with no hope of survival. I was completely devestated - and scared with a life facing me without Keith. Now it has been over 3 months, and I am still devastated. I am alone in an empty house without my husband, the man I have always been faithful to in love and honor of our marriage. I am so sad and lonely, and think of Keith constantly. I have our wedding pictures out, as a reminder of better days, now I have his clothing, his walker, his wheel chair, clothing and jewelry, but no Keith to greet me as I walk through the front door. I have 2 cars now, all the reminders of what once was a beautiful relationship and marriage, to look at in wonder, and now I wonder what I am going to do with the rest of my life at age 56. No life partner. Now I am alone with 3 cats, on disability, and am wondering how long I will be able to stay in my home. I miss Keith so much, that every day is the same in my life now. On Sundays I attend church, Thursdays, I see my therapist, whom Keith had known for over 20 years. She told me that Keith prayed to die. I still wonder why he wanted to leave me, but now that I think more about it, he wanted to go to his real home, to be with his real father, our Heavenly Lord, for which Keith devoted most of his entire life. He wanted to be with God, and his family who had been killed in that car accident when Keith was only 14 years old. I was and still am very grateful to have had my beloved Keith in my life, even though if was for a very short 8 years. God keep you safe my love. I will join you in a few short years, and then we can share eternity forever together. I love you Keith, my sweetheart, Love your husband Zack.

 

Survived by:

Zachary Alexander, his husband. Sister Klarie, "Aunt-Mom" Linda, cousin Wendy, cousin Bryce, cousin Jeff, his friends Cliff and Ede Katzrow, his ex-partner Brad, Father Tom Zotter, his friends in the Dominicans, and countless people that his life intersected with them. we all miss him tremendously, and wait for the day we can all greet Keith, and tell him how much he is in our hearts, and genuinely loved.





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