Boyd Family

After Savvy’s husband died in 2017, she not only to sole parent her two children, but also had to fight to save their home due to a clerical error on the deed. She says dealing with that situation means she hasn’t had time to explore her grief. Noah reflects on how strange it is to suddenly be the only man in the house.

SAVVY: My husband.

NOAH: My dad.

SAVVY: The hardest battle was, up to this point in my life, was beating cancer. It taught me a lot about myself and taught me a lot about relationships, and marriages and discovering him. I mean, I knew him but I didn’t know how strong of a man he was until I saw him support me with my own battle. It was unfair that he he got to see me sick, he got to see my scars, he got to hold my hand and see me survive but he didn’t get to enjoy the end of it with me. It’s like a slap in the face. It’s like how do you do all of these with each other and then not get to celebrate.

I didn’t even think my own emotions were real. I questioned myself on this because it’s a grief that I’ve never experience so I have no comparison as to how it’s supposed to feel. And little things get me upset, and things that really should get me upset don't get me upset. It was like living in a space where you know it’s you and it’s your life but it doesn’t make sense to you.

NOAH: It kind of gets lonely without another guy in the house. I miss my dad. We used to goof around with each other, just fun things together like a father and son would do. I’ll play my game, you know, it makes me happy. I’ll think “Dad, what should I do when it comes to customizing my cars.” I’ll think about it and what he would like. However you like to grieve, you just do it. I loved him a lot.

SAVVY: When you lose someone you love so dearly, that sadness will never go away. It is always gonna be with me. But happiness it not always there. Hearing my daughter laugh is not always gonna be there or my son yelling at his video game. Those are the things you cherish because the grief and the sadness, when they wanna appear, they’ll appear. And when they’re not there, I go in and do what I need to do and keep on being happy, but I allow myself to be sad when I need it.

Play Video placeholderSavvy Boyd: Last Words

I remember his last words. He tapped on the wall and said, “Okay, babe. I’m out of here.” And those were the last words he said to me at 6:57 in the morning. And I know that because I was on my phone, (laughs), not thinking it was going to be the last time I talked to him, or him say anything to me. Just one of those things, “Okay, I’ll see you later.” and I’m glad I have them. You know? One of the last things he said was, “Babe,” and that’s special. It wasn’t just, “Hey, I’m out of here.” You know? It was acknowledging that I was his wife, that I was his babe, that I was his love.

Play Video placeholderSavvy Boyd: I Was Angry at The Why

I was angry. Not at him. I was just angry at the why. Why did it happen? Why did it happen now? Why do I go into remission and three months later my husband’s gone? How do I go from such a high to such a low? (laughs) You know? I accomplished something, I beat cancer, and three months later my partner is gone, the person who helped me beat it. And so I was angry more than ... I guess that is grief, but it was, my anger was my grief.

Play Video placeholderSavvy Boyd: Life Support

We have had the discussion, um, with his illnesses over the years, with mine. We knew what we wanted. I knew what I wanted for myself if I was to pass, and he knew what he wanted, and so we were okay with it because you face it, but you never expect to have to follow through with it.

When they came in and told me that it was in his brainstem, um, knowing the anatomy and knowing how the body works, that is your life-force. It’s not your heart, your heart beats but your brainstem is what gives you who you are, and it was gone. And there was no way to do any type of operation. They said the minute they put him, he would be gone anyways. So operation ... operating on him wasn’t a choice.

And, um, when they brought me back to where he was, it was him but it wasn’t him. Um, the essence of who he was was still there but it was dull. He didn’t have that bigger than life feeling anymore.

Um, so deciding to take him off life support wasn’t really my choice, it was our choice. It was a decision that we had made together, and so I followed through with that.

His family was on board and it was a joint decision. I wanna say it was a joint, with me being the head of it. (laughs) But everybody was okay with it and it was time to do it.

Then I got questioned where I didn’t apparently believe in the same god as them because their god does miracles, and my universe is realistic. And miracles and real ... realism don’t always go hand in hand.

And, um, my mother-in-law told my children I killed her son because I took him off support, which I don’t think anyone should tell an eight year and 12 year old. That’s not their responsibility, and you don’t do it the moment their father’s life support is being taken away. You don’t make that be one of the last thoughts that they have in their head, but she did it.

But he didn’t pass right away, and I wish he had. I wish it was a decision that was done and over because then you question yourself. &;dquo;Am I making the right choice here?” ’Cause he's still here. And then the guilt sets in, and, um, even more, um, grief coming from his family because now he’s in limbo, and it’s my fault that I put him in limbo. Um, and I had some threats, I had some, you know, bodily harm threats to me. Um, so I didn’t get to be with him in the hospital.

Play Video placeholderSavvy Boyd: Take Pictures

I had a girlfriend asked me, ’cause she was going to have to do the same thing with her husband, “How do you prepare yourself for this?”

I didn’t know how to prepare myself for this because I didn’t have someone else to ask that. Taking pictures. I would have taken pictures with him, with him and the kids in the hospital. I would have.

I would have taken a picture of us holding hands, you know, with our wedding rings. And I don’t have those. I don’t have them. I should have. But that was the advice I gave her because that’s what I wish I had have done.

And she did it and she showed me the pictures and it was beautiful. I wish I had it, (laughs) one for myself. I’m glad I could help someone else.

Play Video placeholderSavvy Boyd: Support Groups: Black Women Widows Empowered

I belong to a support group called Black Woman Widows Empowered, and the empowerment that we give to each other ... may not seem like you’re helping someone, but it helped me.

Listening to these women, picking up from devastating stuff. Their stories are theirs and it’s great for them, as in the greatness of the story is theirs. The greatness of my story is mine, but seeing their stories and hearing their stories and seeing how they’ve stepped up and overcome gave me the confidence to step up and overcome.

Play Video placeholderSavvy Boyd: Spending Time with Friends

I am very blessed to really have a very strong core of female friends. I have my support group, um, that developed while I was going through breast cancer, with other women that are going through - It’s face to face group of girls, and we get together once a month. And- and do things. They were there for me.

And then I have my other three little friends They wouldn't let me fall back. They would not let me hide and stop doing what I enjoy. And stop living my life.

And, without them, I think life would be a lot harder. It would be bearable, but I wouldn’t have that friend, or friends, that I can call. Or not even have them to call. They just sense it. They just know. And that is a blessing.

Those are the kind of friends you need in your life. You need friends who won’t let you shut yourself out. Who will keep on knocking on that door, and will not take no for an answer. They won’t let you fall. They won’t let you give up.

Saavy Boyd wearing stylish glasses and a black leather coat, stands outside in the sun
Young woman posing in a floral shirt with a terrier-mix dog.
A small terrier mix dog sitting on a couch looks away from the camera

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