Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

I am reading the statistics:
AIDS has decreased by 20% world wide.
Patients with AIDS are living longer.
This is good news.

I am remembering:
the young man being supported on both sides,
his arms draped over his relatives' shoulders,
being dragged through the hospital door,
his legs no longer working,
his eyes, agonized,
as they met mine,
his chest wracked by strangling coughs.
"Isn't it pitiful?"
asked one auntie to the other,
as they sat in the waiting room,
watching him pass by.
He suffered horribly
and died soon after.

I remember:
the man in the last room down the hall,
who had  just been diagnosed,
crying, his whole world shattered.
He was cold, but the nurse
wouldnt bring him a blanket,
wouldnt enter his room.
I brought him two, and tucked him in.
I felt stricken:
to be reduced to crying for a blanket
and to have even that small comfort denied.

I remember:
the young man from Port,
where no doctor would treat him,
calling the doctor in Tofino,
who accepted him and sent him
to our small hospital.

I remember:
my gay lifelong friend,
who died by his own hand,
not from AIDS, but from a lifetime
of difficulty and intolerance
of which he just got tired.

I remember:
Ryan White,
who fought for his rights
while fighting for his life,
and inspired millions.

I think of:
all of the sad-eyed orphans
in Africa,
living without their beloved parents,
waiting for rescue,
so their smiles can come back.

I think of:
all of the people,
many alone and abandoned,
in their lonely rooms,
trying to stay alive
all of those whose brave battle
has finally ended.

World AIDS Day:
millions of beautiful stories
that ended too soon.


  1. A savage illness. No-one will ever convince me that AIDS was not man made. It didn't exist until 25 or so years ago and then suddenly it made a gigantic leap from apes to man. I don't think so somehow. I've always felt that it was an experiment that was used on the poor in Africa just to 'see' what happened to the 'expendables' their population being so huge and always prone to famine and such anyway. I don't know if it would be experiments to use as a weapon or, scientific research by powerful drug companies but, somehow I've always thought it was man made and that it didn't just 'happen'
    I read a blog somewhere that a scientist has been experimenting in Sweden (think it was Sweden) with Avian flu. Until now Avian flu is only passed via contact, but this guy has no made it airboune. They say IF it ever got let loose it could wipe out 3/4's of the world in a short time span and, he's going to publish for ANYONE to read what he did to make it!! How's that for playing with fire! Amazing!
    As to your stories, I've known a few men who've had AIDS and some who are HIV, all savage illness's and yes, the stigma was dreadful when it first made it's ugly appearance. Any life threatening disease is savage to the person suffering, but another reason I loved Princess Diana is, she was brave enough to take their hands, shake their hands and touch them tenderly to show the UK public, it was safe to treat them tenderly.
    Thanks for sharing your sad (but hopeful for the future) stories with us Sherry.

  2. sherry, you are the real deal. this is both savage and beautiful and i thank you for writing it.

  3. Thank you for saying it so well--tragedy all around. You're an angel.

  4. Here's the link to the blog I read on the scientist and what he's done with the Avian flu virus, as if it wasn't already deadly enough. Engineered Avian flu airborne

  5. Sherry, a poignant and pointed post. Inaction in the very beginning let this spiral out of control. (Thanks, Pres Reagan). I wrote a song for World AIDS Day in memory of my dear friend Jeff, who died in 1988. Last thing he knew on this earth was that I was pregnant with Riley...
    Click the top left link for the song. Love, Amy

  6. Sherry, I had not realized you had contact with so many people who had AIDS. You know my friend Peggy -- she was in South Africa for a while working for the Africa Project. She wrote a book about her experiences....many people with, women, children. ( ) It is a wonderful book really. It is good that people with AIDS in this country now have a chance to live a longer lifespan. It no longer, thankfully, is the death sentence it once was. In Africa it still basically is.

  7. Impressive - and very very moving.


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