06 January, 2005

In Memoriam

My friend Rick died yesterday. He was 42. He had AIDS.

I met him at work...he covered for me during my maternity leave with Meghan. He worked with volunteers. Even though he was very sick, and in a lot of pain, he enjoyed his work and put his whole heart into it.

He had psoriasis and really bad arthritis - Bob had to open bottled drinks for him because he couldn't do it on his own. They always joked about it.

Rick did not deserve to die. He did not deserve to have to live with HIV. No one does...not the kids, not the crackheads, not the gay guys, not the men on the down low, not the prostitutes, not the drug users...no one.

AIDS promises an agonizing death and a damn sure pain in the ass way to live.

So people, in memory of Rick - use a condom. Use clean needles. Get yourself tested. Get your lover tested. Don't let this disease be fought on the basis of morality but on the basis of science. Talk to your kids, your kids' friends, your friends' kids - tell them the truth.

Because no one should die at 42. But if we don't so something - if we don't all take responsibility for the health and lives and safety and sanity of ourselves, our families, and our communities, then Rick's death will have been in vain.

And I, for one, am not willing to let that happen.

Be safe, stay well, and let's end this nightmare disease.



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