My mom delivered some really horrible news today, I'm incredibly sad about it and I don't know what to do with this sadness. I have a lot of cousins, and they range in age from their mid-40s to 7, most on my my mom's side of the family. The oldest of my cousins is dying, probably this week.

I've only met him once that I can remember. He was already in his late teens when I was born, and I apparently spent a lot of time around him when I was an infant. The one time I remember meeting him was 10 years ago at a family reunion. I remember him being very interesting - flamboyantly gay and a lot of fun, he was the center of attention the whole weekend.

Last year at a birthday party for one of my aunts (my mom has 7 brothers and sisters), I found out that he was sick. AIDS. Last week one of his brothers told him he looked horrible and he better get to the doctor's office to see what was up. He went in to the hospital, was diagnosed with pneumonia, and they don't expect him to come back out.

While I didn't know him well, he has two brothers with whom he extremely close, and many aunts and uncles who love him dearly. I'm sad for him, dying so young because of a few bad choices. I'm sad for his brothers who are losing a best friend. I'm sad for my aunts and uncles, who are losing their first ever nephew; my grandparents their first-born grandson. I didn't know I could be so sad over someone I don't know well.

I also didn't think I'd ever know someone who died of AIDS. I'm from a small, conservative Mid-West community, and from a large Catholic family. Even though I like think I'm worldly, I know I've been sheltered my whole life. This comes as a big blow to my family for so many reasons.

My mom called me to deliver the bad news today, and I could tell she was fighting back tears the whole time. There's another family reunion next weekend, and we're all sad to know that he definitely won't make the trip, and probably won't even live that long.

All I can do for him is pray that he's comfortable and surrounded by the people he loves. And I do, with all my heart.


audrey said...
July 29, 2007 at 10:46 PM

I am so, so sorry, Jessie. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

donna said...
July 30, 2007 at 12:26 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin.

Sizzle said...
July 30, 2007 at 1:26 AM

I'm really sorry for this sad news. AIDS effects everyone, unfortunately. He is in my thoughts and prayers.

mamatulip said...
July 30, 2007 at 8:31 AM

My thoughts are with you and your sorry, Jessie.

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