Walking with the Dead: Remembering World AIDS Day
Morning coffee had me scanning the obituaries. Still others, I discovered in passing conversations with friends, who assumed I already knew.
I hold on to my dead. They have become the elements in my reality.
I can still hear Celie's fluid-filled lungs laboring in her emaciated transgendered body. Her quick, shallow breaths are wind in my universe.
Peter's night sweats are my water. I remember holding him, trying to warm his shivering body -- hoping that somehow I could heal him, even for a short while so he would sleep. Entwined in sweat and tears; I held him for what seemed like forever that night.
My fire resides in Bill's fever-ridden body on the ice mattress. It was too early on to name the disease, so he wasted, an anomaly for the medical students to ponder. I'd nap with him on the frozen bed: "No, I'm not cold, I'm with my friend."
David's ashes are my earth. At death, his wishes were ignored as the family cremated him before an autopsy could reveal how his lesion-filled brain and lungs could have functioned for so long. I imagine smearing his ashes, warrior-like onto my body, as I call into the night.
My dead: they are my mandala. I walk among them and live.
Please take a moment today to reflect, remember, and recognize World AIDS Day.