{ how has your life been touched by AIDS? }

I miss you all..

Very Much

Thank you

I am a different person because you let this little straight girl tag-along into the whirling world of parties, glitter, fashion, coffee, house music, madonna, games of truth or dare, politics, overly sweet cakes, beautiful drag queens, freedom, acceptance, flair, and most of all you taught me acceptance.

Yan Sham-Shackleton {yanipoo@yahoo.com2 Dec 2000



One of my mother's friends tested positive a few years ago. He's one of her best friends, been by her through thick and thin, she loves him dearly. He's one of the people I admire most artistically. His gift, his talent, they're enormous. He has the rare ability to make whatever he touches gorgeous. My mother says that he's one of the very few real men she knows. Which just gives more credence to the fact that gender and sexuality have little to do with that part of a person.

When Michael dies, a true light will have gone out of this world, and he will be sorely missed.

May God(s) stand between you and harm, in all the empty places you must walk.

laf  2 Dec 2000

He was my very best friend, and always said I had blue music in my eyes. He was smart, loving, funny, good-hearted, just a beautiful person.

And he died when he was 17.

He'd gotten AIDs through a transfusion before testing had become mandatory, and only found out he had the virus mere months before he went.

Instead of curling up and waiting for death, he reached out. He spent most of his remaining time with the poor, the homeless, the sick. He built up houses, ran drives for food and clothing, tried to do everything in his power to make sure his time spent here was not wasted. He always said "If we don't help each other, are we really living, or only surviving?"

He truly lived in his short time, and a great many people miss his shining light.

Tara {isiseyes@yahoo.com2 Dec 2000



My uncle died when I was fifteen. He was a talented actor, lived by himself and worked in a bank.

My mother cried and let me believe that it was just the cancer that killed him. Nobody told me he had AIDS. Nobody told me he was gay. It didn't occur to me to ask what the embarrassed silences at the funeral home were about when his friends came to pay their respects.

I found out from another uncle, who is also gay, four or five years later.

I wonder how long he had it. I wonder why nobody ever told me. I wonder why I still can't bring myself to mention it to my mother - that I know what he died from - that I know he was gay - that I'm not ashamed of it, so why is she?

Galway Lad  2 Dec 2000

i am not politically correct.

recently i slept with someone half my age. he had been married, and he told me he hadn't had sex with anybody except his wife since he'd divorced her a few months before. i don't know why i believed him, but i did. i spent a month with him, as his guest and had what i would venture is pretty risky sex. i tested negative in 1985 and never have been tested since. as a journalist i wanted to see, back then, how AIDS patients were being advised and dealt with and i was not unimpressed. since most of my behavior doesn't warrant it, being tested again never crossed my mind.

i know so many people, many famous and others not, who have died from AIDS that if i listed their names it would fill the page. except for a very few (really only one i can say for sure who got it through a blood transfusion) all of the other's basically risked their lives with their behavior. there is really no good reason to have "un"safe sex. alternately, in my somewhat narrow view, their is no reason to have children who will be also at risk. what one chooses to do personally is okay if it doesn't directly affect somebody else.

my point is simply AIDS doesn't come and get you. you go and get it. by whatever means that is, EXCEPT and this is a "real" exception, if you are struck with it {inadvertently} that is to say unknowingly and against your will. on the other hand - treatment for the dying - whether it be from AIDS or some other equally (and yes there are MANY other diseases which waste people) needs to be given different consideration than it is now being given. epidemic diseases require EPIC resources for them to not ravage and destroy entire communities.

we are at war, not so much with diseases in the world, but with pharmaceutical companies who withhold treatment[s] from those who need it most - it seems to me. unless something very dynamic occurs in our culture which changes some of the balance sheets from dollar profit to human profit[s] i can't see how this dramatic landscape will change for the better. wailing, whining, prayers, tears and sadness make no difference if the actual indifference of the people who CAN change it -- doesn't change.

but my hope isn't yet dimmed. for as long as there are loving souls like Derek who make fora like this possible (on such a wide range of experiences) i believe individual people may still rally for the causes which matter to them most, and when enough of them are together the collective voice does make a significant difference. perhaps a younger generation of people with more awareness will make that happen.

my own tears streamed with great sadness for my dear friends who are gone and i will love them until my good-bye. i know why they took the risk they did. like some people surf the high wave -- for the thrill -- like i did in dallas. because taking risks is fun... as i indicated at the start .. i am politically uncorrect.

warri0r_gURL  2 Dec 2000



Tommy, Del, and Clint each touched my life in a special way. Tommy taught me how to die with dignity, love, compassion, and honor. I fed him, bathed him, laughed and cried with him, took away his pain, gave him his breath. I helped his family in the transition of realization of their son and brother's disease and comforted them in his passage. I held and smelled his pillow after he had gone and remembered him once more. Del taught me much of what I know about caring for renal patients. He taught me much of what I know about dying. In the midst of hallucination and childlike wonder, Del cleared a path for the recognition of a new, beautiful, and pain free world where there are no atrocities and hatred. Clint, oh Clint, such joy and laughter I had never experienced. Such overt terror, grieving, resolution, hope, and acceptance....you ran us through an emotional gauntlet and never flinched. You were the child I never had. You were a steadfast pillar in a stormy and tumultuous time. You told me that you loved me and then you were gone. Thank-you to each of you who brought me closer to a place that we will one day meet again. You have each taught me to live unconditionally and with love and compassion in my soul.

Carol {cmgcash@aol.com3 Dec 2000

When I found out that my father had contracted AIDS, I tried to cope the only way I know how... I wrote a song.


"Take from me this song, because it's all I have to give you. Take from me this blood I shed and offer up to you. I've spent hours painting visions of a purple fiery sunrise that I picture to be heaven.

I would give eveything, if I only had something to give. I would love.

And if nothing else, then take me away... instead."

In the song, I am bartering with God to spare my father, and take me. I had hoped to convey the absolute helplessness that you feel when someone you love is stricken with this disease. Feel free to email if you are interested in listening, or sharing.

Marshall Higgins {mjhigg@gtlakes.com3 Dec 2000



My words do not belong here, but I put them here to note that though many fall silent, we have not all forgotten.

Zach Garland {zachsmind@yahoo.com6 Dec 2000

My dead friends Ian and Ross I think about too seldom. That kind of forgetfulness has put something of a curse on me, with Ian especially.

Joe Clark {joeclark@joeclark.org1 Jan 2001




He was gorgeous with freckles and a ready smile.

He took me out in Miami Beach when Tim was too tired to go. We danced to C+C Music Factory with our arms in the air.

We drove around elated, so young then that we were technically not old enough to rent a car. The rental place misread my license.

He made a silly movie aping West Side Story.

I celebrated his birthday with him once in New York City.

He shared my friend Tim's life for years at a time.

Somewhere I have his photo.

He was too embarrassed about the bad show they were in to let me come see it.

He was completely flabbergasted that I tried to clean the roaches (impossible) out of their Miami apartment.

He was a sweetheart.

He was very young.

I have not forgotten.

Mary T.  28 Aug 2001

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{ 8 JUN 2005: Posting has been discontinued. }