Wednesday, November 30, 2005
December first is World AIDS day.
I took the whole family to Texas to visit my favorite uncle. This has been 11 years now so all the kids were young ranging from 3 up to 10.
My cousin David lived at home with my aunt and uncle and we spent a great weekend talking and playing and them getting to know my wife and family. Of all my dad's brothers this brother is the one I've known the longest.
David did not look all that well and my aunt told me he had a kidney problem. It was good to see them again as it had been some years since my last visit.
We had been home about a week when I got a call from my mother. My aunt had called her in tears to tell her that David did not have a kidney problem but was dying of AIDS. She was very afraid of how I would react. I knew that my kids had been in no danger whatsoever of contacting AIDS through casual contact with their uncle David.
David, his best friend, and their girlfriends had all shared needles and had all contracted the virus and are now all gone. My cousin was never a junkie but had used drugs off and on.
About a year later David passed away and I drove my parents to Texas to attend the funeral. It was the usual somber family gathering for the funeral but I made it a special point to go up to my aunt and calm her fears. I told her that I knew David had been no danger to my kids and when I heard the news I sat them down and explained AIDS to them and told them that it was a tragedy that has struck down so many good people like their uncle David. I told her that I was so happy that they got the chance to meet their uncle David and we embraced, both of us in tears.
So from an early age my kids have known that AIDS can strike anybody and that it is not the "punishment of god" that the religious hate mongers say it is.
I'll always be sad that it took my cousin's life to teach my kids about the tragedy of AIDS. I will always be sad that AIDS takes ANYBODY'S life.
I want to thank all those who sent their prayers out to the family of my dear friend and to remind you all to treasure and love every moment you spend with those around you.
That's my daughter for those of you who follow the blog and remember the post about her friend passing away.
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