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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec. 1st is World AIDS Day

Will you join me? I urge you, if you are on TWITTER, MySpace, or on FaceBook, to RIGHT CLICK, then copy the picture above of the Red Ribbon and use it as your profile picture for today in support of bringing awareness to AIDS and to support in finding a cure.

My cousin Raymond (who I have blogged about before many moons ago) was a victim of HIV/AIDS. He died when I was fourteen years old (almost TWENTY years ago). I was there, along with my grandmother, his mother, and his sister and her husband as Ray drew on his last breaths.

To see him struggle and fight on that last day was beyond heart breaking. As a "child" to be witness to such a horrific scene, it was unimaginable to see death in it's raw form. And in one of it's worst ways. I held his hand and told him it was okay to let go.

He was more than my cousin. He was my "brother". He loved me as if I was almost his. We went places all the time together. Hung out listening to Madonna and Prince. We watched movies.

And I even ate off his fork and took sips from his glass of drink. And I hugged him and kissed him (on the lips) all of the time.

Unlike his own REAL siblings and mother, I did *not* live in fear of his disease...Or of him. So he was "sick" with HIV/AIDS. He was still a human being. And I treated him the same AFTER he became sick, just as I did BEFORE he started showing the signs of full-blown AIDS.

Yes, Raymond was Gay. All out, too. He had the "walk", the "talk", and the "mannerisms" of a truly "Gay" man. That to me, made him even more lovable. Don't ask me why, because to this day, I can't pinpoint the reason.

When he died, it forever left an aching hole within my heart. I didn't lose my cousin. I lost my brother. And for a "technically" only child, that was a loss almost to great for me to bear.

Sadly at the end, I noticed relief in his mother and sister. And for the wrong reasons. It seemed like they were "relieved" to be rid of the "eye sore" of the family. The "problem child" that supposedly brought shame upon their family name. As well as humiliation. And that in its self SICKENED me.

NO ONE should have to "hide" their disease and live in fear of those that are SUPPOSED TO love them UNCONDITIONALLY, no matter HOW the disease was spread to them, be it through unprotected sex, an open wound, or tainted bags of blood from a donation.

I'm a straight, married mother of three beautiful children. I could be in a serious car accident today and require a blood transfusion. And it could POSSIBLY be tainted with the HIV/AIDS infection. Yes, screening has gotten much better since their testing abilities of the 1980's. But science and medicine are NOT perfect and could miss that one bag of blood.

A friend and I could both get cut and they accidentally taint my blood with the infection.

If I contracted AIDS, how would YOU view me? Would I be a Leper? Would you (especially if you don't know me from Eve) ASSUME that I am in a homosexual (Lesbian) relationship?

Or would you extend your hand and your heart to me and my family? Would you shake my hand and hug me? Maybe even playfully take a sip from my glass.

What would you do? After all, those with HIV/AIDS have a right to be treated as human beings, too.

1 comment:

Adoption of Jane said...

Excellent Post! I bet you were the one person that brought joy to Raymond during all that turmoil.

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