Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Unless you're a twin, most can't say a younger sibling attended their 1st birthday party. I can.

Bret was born 12 days before that 1st birthday and those 12 days became very special to us, playing out in a predictable ritual at the end of each July. On Bret’s birthday, either in the midst of the party, his favorite manicotti dinner or an overseas phone call, would come the words, “I caught up with you, Tra”. I remember turning the tables on his 30th by saying, “You caught up with me, Bret!” For 12 days we’d be the same age and I never really minded when my birthday added one more year because I knew he was right behind me. Until 1995.

I never felt older than the day I turned 37 without my brother. No, thanks to AIDS Bret didn’t follow me into middle age, didn’t lose the rest of his hair, get reading glasses or re-fill his teeth. Then again, he didn’t get to have a family, watch his career take off or reap millions from his early Microsoft investment.

This August 2, I’ll cross into yet another decade without my brother directly behind me but I won’t go alone, lightly or quietly. There’s too much yet to be done. Besides, Bret gave me a really swell gift. Wait til you hear about it…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hard Times

Apologies for the test pattern. You've just witnessed the annual period in my training when I hit the wall, burn out, panic, whine and am ready to throw in the towel.

Training is hard and I have to think about it every day. Living with HIV/AIDS is hard and you have to live with it every day. The difference is I have a choice so what am I whining about?!

Isn't it time those living with HIV/AIDS had more of a choice? Isn't it time for a breakthrough?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Test Pattern

"typically broadcast at times when the transmitter is active but no program is being broadcast" (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


What do you say when someone tells you their friend has cancer?
What do you say when someone tells you their brother has AIDS?
Why, for so many, are the answers different?
anticipated and real.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Profile in Courage

My NPR alarm went off this morning with a story marking today as the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. It painfully repeated the events of the day and brought back a flood of feelings connected to its affect on my young life.

About 3 weeks earlier, my mother had taken us to hear Kennedy's campaign speech in Oregon (a primary he lost). She and her friends had followed the campaign closely and were ardent fans, much in the same way I recalled the adoration of his brother 5 years earlier when I wasn’t too young to recognize a light had been vanquished in the hearts of so many of my elders.

Watching Kennedy on the Capitol steps, I remember thinking he had an unusual accent and was the brownest white man I'd ever seen. When the speech had come to an end, we were unprepared for the crush of the crowd that threatened to trample us small ones for the chance to reach out and shake the hand of the man they saw as the embodiment of long overdue change for a stagnant nation. At about waist-high, I couldn’t see a thing but my arm moved away from my body and I felt the warm, firm, embrace of a hand…then release… then seconds later grip again. I’ve often wondered vainly what sort of energy was passed onto me in that handshake, doubly given, perhaps doubly intended.

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.
- Robert F. Kennedy, in a speech in Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.

News of the assassination affected me deeply, sitting glued to the TV, watching the scene played out over and over again, praying for a different outcome. 21st century parents might wonder at a mother who allowed her 10 yr old to be so exposed to such a tragedy but I treasure that complete experience and truly believe it molded quite a large part of my resolve, persistence and courage, particularly in the battle to change the face of HIV/AIDS in the world.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Not Quite 50

In more ways than one.

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