Sunday, January 14, 2007

He's 43 and He's Dying

Steven is 43 years old and he's dying.

I was at the hospital with him and his partner last night for hours.

In December of 1992 we buried Dean's first love, Rrank. Frank was 35 at the time. He died from PCP Pneumonia. Frank's father spit on his grave and tried to kill Frank's first love who had, "led him down the path to Sodom..."

I'd heard about families like that before but I'd never seen one in action. I still don't have words for it.

Steven's eyes are still alive but everything else is failing him. Last night he made his will. He dictated it to me. I hope and pray his mother and his partner don't fight over anything. I don't want to be pulled into the middle more than I already am. I love them all and I pray that in their pain they are able to continue with goodness.

I'm numb all over.

He has AIDS, he had a heart bypass last winter and now Hodgkin's disease.

His stomach looks like a malnourished Ethiopian child, it's his liver poking out.

A little part of me dies when I walk into the hospital room. This will be my last friend that I lose at a ridiculously young age. His partner now is HIV negative and I love him very much. All of my AIDS friends have passed and Steven is walking the tightrope between life and death.

I hope the fall is quick and painless but because I know the look of death I see that it's not imminent and there is much pain and suffering on the horizon for Steven, for his mother, for his partner and all of us that love him.

I'm a 36 year old woman and I know how to arrange a funeral for many religions. I know that your eyes cloud over before AIDS takes you. I know that a kiss on the forehead is like the touch of an angel because no one else will touch someone with AIDS.

I know more than I want to know.

I'm frighteningly inarticulate. This is just awful. This is wrong.

I'm wondering why G-d would let a mother bury her son.

9 comments:

Carrying Contraption: It's Not A Purse! said...

I typed and erased several times because I didn't know exactly what to say, but my prayers are with him... so much hate in this world

googiebaba said...

This is a beatiful post. I am sorry your friend is sick.

Anonymous said...

My father was loved by everyone who knew him, even my mother, maybe. He died at 68 after living most of his adult life with health problems. He was obese much of the time and he liked to smoke, up to three packs a day. He had emphysema, had three massive coronaries in his 40s and died while recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. While some of his health problems' (parkinsons, tic delaroux, prostate cancer) sources were unclear, undoubtedly his heart and lung problems were negatively impacted by his smoking and excessive eating. Nobody would say a word if I were to say that my father's lifestyle choices caused his much too early demise.

Dean buried one sex partner who died of AIDS yet he persisted in the lifestyle choices that ultimately will kill him. Most people would call that risky behavior and would say that Dean bears the responsibility for his own illness - that is if they weren't afraid of being called homophobic or worse for stating the obvious. However, we're not allowed to blame Dean for the choices he made. Unlike my father, who wasn't a "victim" of a politically correct and anointed disease, Dean receives sympathy and support.

I do a lot of cycling. I've almost been killed while riding and have a metal plate in my left knee. Nobody has any problem blaming me for my own injuries, after all, it was my decision to ride and my decision to cross the street on a stale flashing sign.

It was Dean's decision to engage in risky sex.

Housewife said...

Dean got or gave HIV to his first love. It's unclear but I've known him 20 years and he's been positive for the duration.

Although I can agree with you in the abstract I don't believe you would say the same thing to a heterosexual person (like me).

I think it's easy to hate gays because you're scared and/or attracted to them.

A Citizen said...

Death is a constant companion in my thoughts- 16 years ago, in the span of one week- I lost my mother, my mother-in-law and my grandmother. Also in that same week I saw the birth of my first son.

My son almost died during childbirth and was in the intensive care ward for a week.

Healing from that week took the better part of 10 years for my wife- I am not sure I ever really let myself heal.

But, watching this process of passage made me realize that we walk with death every moment- Death is a part of life, but in reality, it is a small part.

The fear of death is not.

Every night when we go sleep or even that wonderful moment after we when make love to our lovers (married/straight/gay/whatever) there is a moment of slipping away, the french call it "Peu de mort" or "little death". To me, that is death- its a release. Dead people dont feel pain, only live ones.

It's "life" that is hurting your friend- and the inability to accept that death is coming (which is perfectly normal) that is causing him fear and pain. But is isnt just his non-acceptance, but everyone around him. The fear feeds on itself and spreads like his virus.

It boils down to the quality of life. Everyday he is alive, is a day he is here. There is no other thing more important. Here and now is a special time- and that moment needs to be cherished- no matter what mental or physical state he is in.

Good luck to you Housewife and speedy passage to Dean-

kansasrose said...

Hi poh..I grieve for you...I have lost classmates to aids...friends to aids and cancer...ect..I have not experienced your pain or loss but i am hollowed out reading your words...my SIL lost her oldest son in Feb of this year to a drug overdose. He was 28. I held her. She is hollow now. A shell. I don't know what to say except I feel a piece of it..a loss of a beautiful soul is a loss to everyone. Steven was obviously a beautiful soul.

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