super single mama - ds is 26 months. He is not normally screaming in an upset I'm scared/hurt/emotional way but a I don't like this way - but it's still beyond tantruming & he can carry it on literally for hours (I am embarassed to admit we've tried just seeing what would happen). Ideally I would like to gradually move out of his room but we're not quite there yet - afterall I did just stop nursing him to sleep 2 weeks ago.
That makes perfect sense. I'm thinking though that if you stopped nursing to sleep (regardless of if it was your choice or his), you laying next to him may be more distracting than helpful. He may very well get mad if you sit right next to the bed, but you'll be right there and can comfort him. Tell him you aren't leaving, that you're right here, he's ok - the first few nights it might be tough, but he will adjust to that and you not being in bed with him may make it easier for him to fall asleep - he just may not know it yet.
ETA - you could also try sitting ON the bed, that way you are actually on the bed, but not laying down either.
I saw that you had success last night (the night before maybe? not sure, my days are mixed up), and getting rid of the nap might make things TONS easier - we haven't done that, but we have shortened ds's naps significantly which has made him happier, and me happier!