May 17, 2022

Anthony Eaton loses his partner of 35 years, after caregiving for 4

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My guest, Anthony Eaton lost his partner to cancer only 5 weeks before this episode recording.  With the loss being so fresh, Anthony demonstrates inspiring courage as he shares about their life together, 4 years of caregiving, and finally saying goodbye.  Anthony shares some golden nuggets of wisdom for caregivers and for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.  He brings such a fresh and admirable perspective and attitude about such a difficult time in his life.

Anthony is a writer and you can find his work on his website, entitled "Espresso Talks".

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Anthony Eaton, and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I'm glad you're here.

Anthony Eaton  0:10  
Thanks for inviting me. I'm glad I'm here too.

Coach Maddox  0:14  
Well, to tell the listeners a little bit about how you and I know each other, actually, we met on LinkedIn. And I don't remember a lot of the details of that. So I'm going to let you tell that story.

Anthony Eaton  0:27  
Well, I reached out to you because I read your profile. So you were doing we have a similar interest in that we basically interviewed people and thought we make maybe a good connection. So I'm always interested in meeting like minded people and people who are doing great work.

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it was great. You did reach out and I responded, and we jumped on a fairly lengthy zoom call and got acquainted, it was amazing. And here we are recording a podcast episode, I discovered, Anthony had a good story to tell. And so he's here to tell it. So one more thing about Anthony, he is a writer, and you can find his writings on his website called Espresso talks. And there will be a link in the show notes. So you can connect to that and see what it's all about. So Anthony, how would you define what it means to be an authentic gay man?

Coach Maddox  1:38  
You know, I would define it as living in your truth of who you are. I've been very lucky that I knew very early in my life that I was gay. And so I never really had to hide who I was as a gay man, and have always consciously tried not to hide that fact. Obviously, you know, as gay men, we what kind of a fine line, maybe less so now, as times have changed a bit, but I've never denied my sexuality. And so, you know, that would be it for me living your truth.

Anthony Eaton  2:25  
Yes, and which, for us has game in our, that part of our lives is a really, really big part of that truth. And then there's that part of our lives that is beyond were much bigger than just our our sexuality. And there's a lot of room and authenticity for that area, as well. I think sometimes as gaming, we maybe lose sight of that a little bit. But yeah, good stuff. I love your definition. Thank you so much for that all of the different contributions. It's like I could write probably a book at this point, on all the different definitions that I've heard, and they've all been amazing. So thank you for that. So for the big question, and what we're here about today, what is the biggest challenge that you have been confronted with in this lifetime, and are have gotten through or are continuing to get through?

So as you know, I expressed to you when we first talked just a little over a month ago, on February 20, I lost my husband, we had been together for would be 35 years in July. And that is literally the hardest thing that I have had to face and am still facing at this time. But he was the one constant in my life. We met when I was most people would say quite young, I was 21. And you know, it changes everything when you lose somebody, no matter how long you've known them. But I think especially somebody who has been in your life for so long. I mean, we built a whole entire life together. We lived together longer than I had been alive at the time. So it's a it's an enormous challenge. And I am finding that it is changing all aspects of my life. 

Coach Maddox  4:37  
Well, and I mean, there's many things that I see you know, one is he's he was a part of your entire adult life.

Anthony Eaton  4:46  

Coach Maddox  4:47  
And how long were you together? It would have been 35 years in July. And, and the fact that he has just passed five weeks ago, I am I'm in awe of your, your courage and being willing to talk about this with it being so fresh says a lot about you, Anthony.

Anthony Eaton  5:11  
Well, thank you. I think that it's important. As a writer, I felt that I needed to share this very personal experience. And I'm interviewing people and talking to people about their personal experiences. So it would be somewhat obtrusive me to not share this experience. And so when he passed, I publicly posted things on social media, and found a great outpouring of support from my social networks, people that I've never actually met in person. And then I have also had a great support network of friends and family and neighbors to help me through this time.

Yeah, that's beautiful. You're very blessed to have that outpouring and those people surrounding you. I think not not everybody has that. So could you talk a little bit about the experience and and leading up to his his passing, just so the listener has a little bit more of a, I guess, draw a picture, draw a picture. You know, I always ask my guests as they tell their story, tell the story in the manner that me as the listener, and my listeners will, will will feel it instead of just hear it.

Yeah. So my husband, Jim was a pretty healthy guy. And, you know, I would say, fairly physically active. He was 18 years older than me. About four years ago, he started having some health issues. And kind of by happenstance, after being admitted to the hospital, they discovered he had a rare This is an oxymoron. It's a rare bit kind of common blood cancer called multiple myeloma, which affects the white blood cells in the body. It is an uncurable type of cancer. There are a lot of different drugs and regimens that they can try to keep it in check. And the best that modern medicine can offer is to get it into remission. And so he fought this battle for the last four years, we fought the battle together. But really, I think when you're facing a terminal illness, you are facing that on your own. In great sense, even we have people around you. And we had a number of times where, you know, other things have happened. He went through heart failure, the blood clot in his heart at one point, just challenge after challenge on top of this disease, and each time he overcame it. But when we went to go do a blood marrow, bone marrow transplant to prepare for that he just did not tolerate the chemotherapy. And it was the thing that finally kind of pushed him over the edge in you know, in January, he made the decision and he wanted to stop treatment.

Coach Maddox  9:03  
I wasn't supported that. And short time later, I lost. He was home with me where he wanted to be

and now has blessed for the fact that we got an additional four years. I'm very grateful for that. But it doesn't ease the pain.

Anthony Eaton  9:33  
I can't imagine you know, watching somebody that I love that much in a state of decline and knowing that there's not anything that I can do at all. Can you speak to that?

You know it's very difficult to think about The decline, especially in the end, because it was so rapid, and somebody who was basically had been healthy prior to this, and you become a caregiver, which I, you know, did graciously out of the love that I had for him. But it changes the whole dynamic of your relationship. You know, for him, someone who had been so independence, to be completely dependent upon me, to help him, especially when he became more physically incapacitated. You know, just, it's just day to day, you know, you're doing what you can do and what you need to do. And you don't have the time to think about, you know, how hard it is. And

Coach Maddox  11:03  
Anthony, the, as you became the caregiver, that would be a very different it was like switching roles, going from partner to caregiver, and did that, was it something where you were, it was fluid, and you moved back and forth between the role of caregiver and I'm sure for maybe a period of time back and forth from caregiver to partner, and then where's there a time when it just shifted completely to caregiver and the partner role was not even really present anymore? I can't imagine how did you experience that,

Anthony Eaton  11:45  
you know, third intertwine? Because you're caring for somebody that, you know, you spent your life with, and that you love. So there was never a differentiating moment. Really, between the two, it was just another role that, you know, I took on for my partner, from my husband, you know, a role that I know, he would have taken on for me had things been reversed. But yes, in the end, you know, it was, it was a lot of care for him. But we also shared some very special moments in those last couple of months, reflecting on the life that we had lived together and that we could build. So I didn't really feel like, you know, I was putting on different hats. It all came in from the same place.

And he was sounds like he was able to still participate in the relationship aspect. Pretty much to the end, that's the vibe I'm getting

Coach Maddox  13:09  
almost almost, it was probably the last three or four weeks. I mean, he had physically declined before that. In the last two weeks, it was difficult for him to communicate with me verbally, to express himself. But you know, you express love to people in many different ways, in just the fact of sitting and holding his hand. You know, telling him that I love him. Things like that. That connection was always there. Yeah, that's beautiful.

Anthony Eaton  14:03  
This is a little bit off off, off topic a little bit, but I'm intuitively being urged to ask this question. It sounds like you two had a very lovely relationship for that. 35 years. What if you were going to sum it up in just a sentence or two, what would you say was the biggest thing in your relationship that generated that healthy loving relationship for 30 years? What What was the the the magic wand the thing that you both did? On a regular basis that really made it work long term when we see so many relationships, straight or gay that don't endure the test of time?

You know, I I know for me personally, and I believe this is true of both of us is that we were committed to making it work. And relationships are hard. It's it's a lot of compromise on both individual's parts, you are always in different places in your own personal development. And so finding a way to work through those challenges, again, there was 18 years difference between us. So, you know, we were at different places in our careers, we were different places and our, you know, emotional and physical development as people. But we were always committed, right? We never ever said, That's it, I'm done. No, we never said those kind of words that you can't take back. And even during the rough periods, which there were certainly rough periods in our relationship, we stuck it out. Because we knew that we could overcome that.

Coach Maddox  16:20  
So we hear that term a lot, it's kind of a buzzword truly committed, and you've drawn a little bit of a picture of what that looked like, between the two of you, because that would be different for different relationships, it would be can you take the take that brushstroke, and draw that picture with a little bit more clarity. So we really do get beside from that label of we were both really committed? What did it look like? How did it play out in day in day out life?

You know, it was things like, you know, when my husband wanted to change careers, go from working in corporate America to going to work in the medical field. I supported that, even though it was a big change for both of us, because I knew that that was something that would make him happy. We supported each other through difficult times, the passing of his parents, the passing of my parents, and inter family, you know, challenges that we all probably face at one time or another, you know, the different situations are siblings, we never got into those personal relationships in terms of, you know, drawing a land a line in the sand, but always supporting each other in terms of, you know, you can talk to me about it, I know you're going to make the right decision, I'm going to support whatever decision we do make. But also never being afraid to tell each other, you know, you're wrong. Or, I don't think that's a good idea. Your relationships are very complex. And so, you know, we go through ups and downs. And when he wanted to take time off of working, when his mother passed, again, I supported that it was a big, you know, changed our lifestyle in terms of what our income was. But again, I knew we would make it work. We also had the benefit of we complemented each other in the fact that we were different personality types, he was a very organized and not spontaneous kind of person. always paying attention to the details, where I am more of a spontaneous kind of person, you know, if somebody said, Hey, let's go jump on a plane and go somewhere, you know, this afternoon, I would do that, that would not ever have been something that he would have done. So I think we were able to, you know, strike that balance between the two of us and our personalities that you know, we grounded each other in our own ways.

You took the words out of my out of my mouth, like I was thinking, you ground he grounded you and and then you kind of lifted him away from maybe sometimes being overly grounded.

Anthony Eaton  19:49  
Yes. Yes. 

Coach Maddox  19:52  
So much on the ground. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. Well. So he passed five weeks ago. What is your journey looking like now? What has this bat past five weeks been about? And? And where are you in? What do you what do you see? Next?

Anthony Eaton  20:22  
You know, I will say that, again, everything changes, although we knew that this could be the outcome, and obviously I knew from the beginning of our relationship that I could end up being alone, just because of the difference in our ages. But nothing ever prepares you for it, even when you know, it's coming. So, you know, I'm a big advocate of mental health awareness. And so I recognized this challenge that I was facing, and I found a therapist, to help me work through it, somebody who wasn't a friend or family that was, could be more objective. And that has helped me. And it's like waves in the ocean, you just never know when they're going to hit you. It's not the physical things of, you know, going through his personal belonging is going through his clothes, but is the memory is especially those, you know, of the end coming. Because in the moment, you can't deal with those emotions. You just you're so focused on what it is that you have to do, and loving and caring for this person. But your, some of your emotional needs take backseat. And so it's working through those, for me, is having to take full responsibility of, you know, everything, the things that he he did, he was the finance person in our relationship, he paid the bills, he did little things, like took care of the plants, you know, we have our roles and relationships. But now all of those roles are mine. And so trying to navigate that is a challenge when we haven't done it for the last 30 years.

Coach Maddox  22:46  
Well, and it's such a huge adjustment on so many different levels, like levels that we could not even perceive prior to it actually happening.

Anthony Eaton  23:01  
You know, my, my neighbor said something to me yesterday, that was kind of profound, and I had not thought of it this way. But the first year is a year of firsts back to the loo somebody you know, all of the things that you used to do together that now you either do alone or you do with friends, yet have to encounter, you know, birthdays or anniversary holidays, all of those things will be first for me.

Coach Maddox  23:43  
Well, and it's it's first on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly basis.

Anthony Eaton  23:47  
It is, you know, just getting things together, you know, trying to figure out what is my life going to look like going forward? You know, who is Anthony without Jim? Not that he will ever be gone from inside. But, you know, he's not standing beside me anymore. And so trying to figure that all out. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  24:20  
Such an individual journey. And grief is such an an understood or misunderstood finance phenomenon I, I've certainly had some, some grief in my life, not anything that I think perhaps compares to what you're describing. Because I do think the loss of a partner is much greater than the loss of a parent.

Anthony Eaton  24:50  
It's very different. I think it is also different, you know, as a member of our community We face different challenges than our heterosexual counterparts. Oftentimes we don't have the sport, I'm very lucky that I do. But, you know, I still lack a sense of families, or that I wish I had. And I know a lot of people in our community would be missing those things. And so that's why I think it is so important. You know, that, we recognize that we build our family, as opposed to the family that will born into. And that has been a great comfort to me. But it's still very different. It's very different. I almost cannot put into words, how different it is, because people just cannot understand unless you have gone through it. And even then, grief is so personal, it is such a personal journey. everybody deals with it differently,

Coach Maddox  26:06  
completely differently, and at different rates and different lengths of time. And I do feel like you are embarking on a whole new relationship with yourself?

Anthony Eaton  26:23  
Yes, I would, I would absolutely agree.

Coach Maddox  26:28  
Because you you have a solitude now that you didn't have in the relationship, that kind of forces you to go within and confront aspects of yourself that maybe you didn't have as much time or inclination to do as a couple.

Anthony Eaton  26:53  
You know, and that's true. And that's not to say that, as a couple, that's bad thing. But your point, yes, it is reevaluating, and, you know, figuring out what, what is my life look like going forward. Knowing that it will be different. But it is also an opportunity, in the sense of, I can do something positive with the rest of my life, as opposed to, you know, sitting in a continual mourning the loss of my partner. I think it's very important to work through that. And this is the reason that I wanted to be so open about what I have gone through. For others who may be going through it may go through it at some point in the future.

Coach Maddox  27:53  
And I at any I'm, I'm curious. Because I know, in my own grief, you know, there, it's all over the map is just all over the map. And I'm wondering as you speak about opportunities that are being presented and you thinking about what you want your life to look like. Have even in the midst of a grief and loss. Have you experienced moments of? Well, I guess the only word that's really coming to my mind is excitement about the possibilities of of of you this opportunity to completely recreate yourself. It's so amazing to me how much of the world doesn't realize, we get to friggin be anybody we want to be we do we get to wake up every morning and decide who do I want to be today? And how do I want to show up in life? And we totally get to choose that down to the finest of details?

Anthony Eaton  28:56  
Yes. You know, as hard as it was to go through my husband's illness. The one thing that it certainly gave me the opportunity to do was to think some about who would I be? What would I What would I do? I knew I had to have some kind of a plan. Because life has to go on. And so I did, I did start doing some planning when, you know, we knew that he was not going to be able to win his fight against the disease and I was lucky enough to be able to sit with him and share that with him because I knew that it would bring him comfort that I had a plan that, you know, in the long term I was going to be okay and I was going to take care of things and the life that we built You know, wasn't going to be in vain and things are not going to fall apart. And part of that is, you know, selling the home that we live in. Because one know, when it's two people, you need all that space for myself as an individual. Now without him, I don't need that. And so I can take advantage of simplifying the rest of my life and downsizing it holding on to the things that were the most important to the both of us. Which will, for me include a move from where I'm at in Texas, back to our home state of Minnesota, where I can do things like focus on my writing, and, again, trying to put some positive things out into the world. Yeah,

Coach Maddox  31:02  
I love that I love that you formulated a plan that you could share with him, what a beautiful gift really to give him in his final days.

Anthony Eaton  31:13  

Coach Maddox  31:15  
you know, you, you spent four years, and I'm really hearing in your words and your energy that you freely gave it was in your heart to care give to be there for him, and in many instances, put his life in his needs ahead of your own. Because you knew it was not gonna last forever, and because you had such great love for him. But now, that time has passed your job as a caregiver has come to an end. And now you get to, it's been about him. It hasn't been about you. And now you get to make it about you for a period of time. And although I know, without even asking this, I know you would gladly trade that opportunity to have him back. But that's not the way the world works. How do you feel about how you see or how do you feel about really, the pendulum swinging back in the other direction? And you getting to make life about you for a change?

Anthony Eaton  32:30  
Yeah, I mean, you're right, I certainly wouldn't give it up, to have him back. But we know that's not It's not realistic, it's not going to happen. And so as with everything, I have really tried to lean into all of it as best I can, while I try to figure it out and navigate it. You know, who do I want to be? You know, I've had a whole career before this, does that all change? You know, there will be certain changes. And yes, there's an excitement to it. Certainly, you know, I recently went went back home to Minnesota, to see friends and some family and people I reconnected with and knowing that they're there is very exciting to know that I will be there with them soon. And again, gathering my family, whatever that looks like, you know, whether that is blood relations or not really the people that I care the most about, and that I know care about me. And so yes, I think the future is got a lot of opportunity. I am excited to continue living it doesn't mean I have forgotten him, as I told him before he passed is that it wasn't the end was just a different beginning for both of us. You know, both going on different journey is just not doing it hand in hand.

Coach Maddox  34:25  
Well, you you definitely have an amazing attitude about all this. And I just want to acknowledge you for that. As hard as I know this much be must be you do have a beautiful perspective and, and a beautiful attitude. I'm wondering if I could mine a little bit of wisdom from you.

Anthony Eaton  34:46  
Certainly. I'm always open to sharing what minor wisdom I have.

Coach Maddox  34:53  
If you were going to drop some golden nuggets of wisdom on people that are being confronted with being a caregiver? What are some of the things that you discovered? And did that really supported you emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally? As you moved into that role, and it got increasingly more challenging? What were some of the things that you would say, to somebody in those shoes that made that journey? A little bit more doable for you?

Anthony Eaton  35:38  
You know, I think everyone should become okay with asking for help. And all that's hard, especially, you know, for a lot of us who feel very independent and suffer a sense of pride about their independence, but I really had to get to the point where I was relying on other people for things and reaching out when I needed that kind of support. In hindsight, I would have probably done it a little sooner than I had. But that's just me. Oh,

Coach Maddox  36:21  
okay. So Anthony, that's golden. Please say that, again. I want the listeners to hear what you just

Anthony Eaton  36:29  
said. Ask for help. You know,

Coach Maddox  36:33  
the part of diamonds, I love the part about you saying, I should have done it earlier. We are always wait to like,

Anthony Eaton  36:41  
always wait, and do it early. People want to help you. You know, it's a matter of, you know, I need to run errands and having somebody sit with my husband because I couldn't leave him alone. Or just the emotional support of, you know, I am emotionally drained, and I need a shoulder to cry. Or, you know, my neighbor who wants to make meals for me, all of these things. They help you as a caregiver, be a better caregiver, because it is very hard. There is no denying it is very hard. I worked almost through the entire length of my husband's illness. Now, thankfully, I worked from home. And in the end, I took time, and I have time now but I think I would have reevaluated even that decision.

Coach Maddox  37:46  
Yeah. Yeah.

Anthony Eaton  37:48  
But in the moment, we don't always know. Right? Hindsight is 2020 No, we

Coach Maddox  37:53  
do the best that we we can you know, what's coming up for me, as I'm listening to your talk is thinking about how we all have a desire to be independent? Yes. And I can look in my own history in my life and realize that I, I wore self sufficiency, like it was a badge of honor. Absolutely, I was gonna do something sufficient that I didn't want to have to ask anybody for anything. And I took it too far. There's, there's a, there's this beautiful thing where we want to be independent. And then there's this point where I took it into, like, like rule. self sufficiency on steroids. And that was not a good thing. And, and of course, but always, at some point in our lives, the universe is going to teach us a lesson, put something in place, I had a situation where I had a little bit of a health scare a couple of years ago, that didn't turn out to be anything life threatening, but we didn't know that at the time. And I was forced to make some changes and forced to ask for some support and some help. And I thought, wow, this is very eye opening. You know, don't wait until you're forced to ask for support, start practicing, asking for support and letting people help before you need it. So it's not so painful when you actually need it. That's what, what what came up for me, through my experience, and that I could feel that a little echoed in what you were saying.

Anthony Eaton  39:36  
Absolutely. You know, my, my husband was also a very private person. So it was a balance of his wishes to maintain that independence and privacy, versus, you know, our need to have people help and support us. Again, there's certain things I may have done differently at all. regret anything that I, I did, I did the best that I could with, you know what I had in terms of my resources. But certainly if you know, somebody is going through this, they need to have a support network, you know, during and after, because you cannot do it on your own. The challenge, I think with, you know, our society and also, you know, being the LGBT Q community is we've oftentimes had to do it on our own. Right, we, we've oftentimes lack the support that others may have, and society doesn't teach us how to handle the emotions of situations that this society doesn't teach us how to manage through grief. we shy away from having those discussions and talking about those things.

Coach Maddox  41:09  
That is what this podcast is about right there. You've just summed it up. And that is talking about the things that we don't usually want to talk about. Yeah.

Anthony Eaton  41:20  
Because they need to be talked about. Absolutely do.

Coach Maddox  41:24  
So you shared some wonderful wisdom about the caregiving aspect. Now you've moved into a different stage, where it's the grief and the letting go in the moving on with life? What are you putting in place? Or what it what what are you experiencing? Or what are you doing? That is really supporting you? And it may be some of the same things. But if it's different, I would love to hear whatever words of wisdom that you could you drop some wisdom and the wisdom on the people that may be having to navigate the caregiving. What's the wisdom for those that are navigating loss?

Anthony Eaton  42:07  
Well, I actually would start before that, you know, I was very lucky that my husband was very organized. And I would say, for any listener out there, whether you're in a relationship where you have children, or you're single, is make sure you have your affairs in order. And by that, I mean, we had wills, we had medical directives, we had all of those things in place. My husband was very organized. So, you know, I wasn't scrambling to find out, you know, how do I pay the electric bill, what's the password to the account, all of these things, we often overlook that because life just happens and we get busy. But it will help you so much. I can't stress how much it has helped me that we have had all of these things in place before his passing, because that has taken enormous burden off of me. Still, there is a lot to do. If you're taking care of you know, things after somebody passes, is it is unbelievable the things that you have to take care of. So I'm trying to wrap those things up. Now, as simple things are, you know, making sure that utilities are in in my name, I had to open my own personal credit cards versus joint cards. And we had, there's just details that we take for granted day to day. Once those things are done, you know, I will begin other transitions in in my life to move forward again to make the move back home. You know, focus on my writing, things like that spending time with family and friends and travel on. Well, what you've just

Coach Maddox  44:14  
shared is huge. You know that the whole get the logistical stuff handled as early as possible, because it did lighten your burden. It didn't make it easy, but it made it easier. And at the same time, if you didn't have well, you'd have had double logistical stuff to deal you still had logistical stuff to deal with but you'd had double if you hadn't put all those things in place. And what that enabled you to do and tell me if this is correct, was to be a little bit more focused on the emotional aspect of it and what how you need to support yourself in that arena. Absolute times we've got so much logistical stuff going on that we can't even grieve and so the grading doesn't start until six months or a year later. After you've got all the quote unquote, paperwork done,

Anthony Eaton  45:04  
absolutely. It is an enormous burden that is lifted, despite the fact that I still have to do certain things. I'm not overwhelmed by those things, the way I would be, if I was starting from scratch trying to figure it all out, especially in our community, you know, despite the fact that we have made so many advances. From a legal standpoint, it's been much easier since we have had wills and things are locked solid. Because it can become very, very messy very quickly.

Coach Maddox  45:53  
Oh, it can become messy for anybody. But it becomes exceptionally messy for the LGBTQ community when we have a loss or something like that, and there's not legal stuff in place. You know, it's a whole different ballgame. Completely. And, and if you don't have the legal stuff in place, the partner usually ends up walking away completely empty handed, I've seen it happen more times than I can count. Your family stepped in and just took everything you can you imagine. No, you know, after 35 years, you own a home and you have this whole life together. And suddenly, his family sweeps in and just walks away with everything I've seen that happen. So what beautiful messages about caregiving, and about, you know, the, the nuts and bolts, the logistical stuff, which has then enabled you to get kind of maybe a little bit of a jumpstart on the grieving part,

Anthony Eaton  46:56  
it really hasn't, you know, is those are often things that we avoid in life, right? We don't want to talk about the inevitable that we're all going to pass, you know, this life will not go on forever. But you only have to do that stuff once or maybe twice in a lifetime, hopefully, is that, you know, make sure that there's a plan, because, you know, whether you're the one who's having to deal with it, or it's somebody deal with dealing with it on your behalf. You don't want to leave that for somebody else. I certainly wouldn't wish that on anybody. And so we'll give you a great peace of mind. If you do it, I would encourage you know, everybody, make sure that you've got stuff in place, because you just never know, I agree

Coach Maddox  47:53  
completely. Even if there's not a partner involved, I have no I have all of the medical directives. I even last year went out and completely planned and paid for all of my death arrangements. So I'm single, there's not a partner. So when I pass, I did not want to leave that burden on what will probably end up being some of my brother's children, I don't have kids, my parents are deceased, my brother's older. Now, that doesn't mean that he won't survive me. Who knows. But the likelihood is that will fall to some of his children. And I wanted to make that as painless and simple for them as I could. So I put all those things in place. You know, we just sleep better at night, when we've taken care of that aspect of our lives. Most of us wait too late to do that as well. Yes, that really shouldn't that stuff should start happening probably in your 40s are definitely in your 50s

Anthony Eaton  48:56  
Oh, by far, I would say, you know, I've got a young couple who are friends of ours, and they adopted a child. And so you know, they did it in their in their 30s. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  49:12  
When there's kids involved, yes.

Anthony Eaton  49:16  
Again, you don't want to leave that to others to have to sort through and if you don't have those things to your point, you know, if you have a strange family that can come in, they can establish, establish legal rights to it. If you don't have that, more likely than not, it's going to go to the state in who wants that to happen. Right. So

Coach Maddox  49:45  
nobody wants that to happen. Especially benefited. Yeah, huh? Yeah. Mm hmm. Well, you know, once again, I just want to acknowledge your courage Anthony. I you know, I'm impasse so I can I have felt throughout our conversation today the the rise and, and fall of your your emotions as as you've talked about this so openly and honestly and you definitely have dropped some awesome wisdom on all of us. So thank you for that.

Anthony Eaton  50:18  
Thank you. Let's move into

Coach Maddox  50:24  
what I call rapid fire questions. Are you ready?

Anthony Eaton  50:28  
I'm ready. Awesome.

Coach Maddox  50:31  
So what are you afraid of? afraid of spiders. Spiders. Okay, got it. That is great. I love that answer. I'm chuckling that's funny. When you're about to take your last breath, you're reflecting back on your life. What will be the most important thing that you reflect back on? That I was a good human being beautiful. I love that. Many years from now, you're a ghost at your own funeral. There are all kinds of family and friends there. And there is a particular contingency of your gay contemporaries their gay men friends that you built the your life what do you hope that those men in particular say about you at your funeral

Anthony Eaton  51:36  
that I was authentic. Well said. Well said Anthony. Beautiful.

Coach Maddox  51:45  
That is becoming an everyday theme in my life and I can tell it is in yours as well. Beautiful answers. Beautiful conversation today. I feel so blessed and honored to have been a part of this with you. There's one thing that I'd like to leave you with as we wrap up. And that is just to tell you that you indeed are an authentic caveman.

Unknown Speaker  52:11  
Thank you. As are you. Thank you, Anthony.

Anthony EatonProfile Photo

Anthony Eaton


I am a Human Resource professional with thirty years of experience. I am also a writer and do interviews with a wide range of people form divers backgrounds. My work has been featured in print and online publications around the world.

My goal is to put something positive into the world that is impactful and entertaining.