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For as long as I can remember, every time my sister and I would fight, my mom would say, “You two have to stick together. I won’t always be here.”
My mom always says getting HIV was the best thing that ever happened to her. She started doing motivational speaking for people who were newly diagnosed. And it pushed her to finish a lot of things she’d been holding off on, like recording an album. And paying a little bit more attention to me and my sister.
I don’t want to be a drama queen, but for me, my mom’s diagnosis was like a nightmare in the daytime. Doctors used to tell my mom, “It’s not the end of the world, you probably won’t even die from this disease. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” That’s all well and good, sir, but I hope for a little bit more in life than my mother getting hit by a bus.
For the longest time, I used to be really angry. I was angry my mom waited so long to get tested, because she would have been a lot better off if the doctors had caught the virus earlier. I was angry I couldn’t be angry at her, because she was sick. But most of all, my anger was a little self-centered. I was angry my mom didn’t think enough of my sister and me to keep herself around.
Her status has gotten worse. She now has AIDS. Along with that diagnosis came a difficult decision for my mom. Whether to start AIDS medication. She’s watched AIDS drugs affect her friends-- their voices, and how they look. My mom’s a singer. Her voice is her life.
She decided to take the drugs. The first couple weeks were really hard-- they made her so sick. And even though she’s better now, for me, her taking drugs feels like the beginning of the end.
And I don’t know who to go to as I watch my mom’s body break down. It all seems to lead back to what my mom used to tell my sister and me as children-- that all we have is each other.
· MedlinePlus: AIDS
· Wikipedia: AIDS
· JWCH Institute, Inc.
· Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative
· World AIDS Day
· The AIDS Memorial Quilt
· The Body
· Journal of the International AIDS Society