The StoryCorps Mobile booth is at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, recording the stories of our Colorado community until May 19. All this month, KUNC will bring you just some of the stories recorded at the booth.
Tony Shiver came to the booth to remember his husband, Landon Padgett. After Landon died in September of 2016, Tony relocated from Atlanta to Denver. He was interviewed by his friend, James Thacker, about love, loss and starting over.
James Thacker: Thinking about your late husband, for anyone who didn't know Landon, how would you describe who he was, how he lived his life, or the impact he had on your life?
Tony Shiver: Well Landon, Landon Padgett, came into my life sort of suddenly and unexpectedly. When I saw him, there was an immediate feeling of comfort. A feeling like my life had just changed. And I knew it immediately - it felt like nothing I had ever felt before.
The weight of being alone had just sort of gone away. I just knew that this was it.
You know, when I talk about Landon, there are so many things I could say about him. That he was a musician, he played French horn and piano. He played in the Atlanta Concert Band. He played flute. I think he played piccolo as well - he was just sort of musical by nature. He also was an athlete. He competed in those competitive obstacle races and CrossFit as well. And he was remarkably kind and gentle and calm and in many ways a lot of the things that I have not been in my life.
There are a lot of things that I could say about who Landon was and the things that he did, but more than anything, of course, he was my husband. And I don't think there can be anything more profound in life than that person that you find and who finds you. And I miss that, of course.
After he died, it felt like I was standing in molasses. Like I couldn't physically move. It felt like I was just wandering the world. I was just this entity that sort of existed in the world but wasn't interacting with it in any way.
He was sick at home and then in hospice care at home. I needed to get away from that, but I also didn't want to leave it because that's where he was and that's where he existed.
Thacker: Of course.
Shiver: People started giving me advice. "In the first year don't make big changes, because you don't know what you're going to want to do," but I didn't care about any of that, really. I know that I could not stay there and survive.
Shiver: The memories were too heavy, that he existed everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Change had to come, I couldn't stay in the house. I didn't know how profound the change would be, I didn't know what was coming, I just knew that making the decision to make a change in my life was what I had to do to survive.
My life now, without Landon, is a good one. Not because he's not here, of course. I told myself: "Create a life of impact, a life of meaning and a life of purpose." I came here not to escape Atlanta, not to escape the loss, but to seek something better for my life. And I think I've found it here.
StoryCorps is sponsored locally by Kaiser Permanente